Trends- Hidden Object Games

Goals

Inform the creation of an innovative game in the Hidden Object Games (HOG) genre by analyzing existing games to determine what is popular and new in this category. The report should feature a description of the game, what makes the game unique or special, and information about their popularity. The game can either be a pure HOG game or a mix (ex. HOGs with Match 3).

Early Findings

  • While Hidden Object Games (HOGs) seem self-explanatory, there are several variations that have appeared. They are: AHOGs, or Adventure-Hidden Object Games, iHOG - Interactive HOG (similar to adventure HOGs and are more interactive, FrOG - FRagmented Object Game (where the user might find item pieces instead of finding a listed item, OR the user needs to find item pieces that they will then use in the game, and HOPA - Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure (more focused on puzzles, or point-and-click adventures).
  • Games usually have two editions: the standard one (SE) and the collector's edition (CE). The latter usually has a strategy guide, bonus content, and more achievements to aim for, but is more expensive. Many games are playable across several platforms.
  • In addition to the list mentioned in the Games Radar link provided, the top 10 HOGs on the Big Fish site are PuppetShow: Fatal Mistake Collector's Edition, Enchanted Kingdom: The Secret of the Golden Lamp Collector's Edition, Enchanted Kingdom: The Secret of the Golden Lamp Collector's Edition, Chimeras: Cherished Serpent Collector's Edition, Ms. Holmes: Five Orange Pips Collector's Edition, Road Trip USA II: West Collector's Edition, Midnight Castle, Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Bells Collector's Edition, Living Legends Remastered: Ice Rose Collector's Edition, Myths of the World: Under the Surface, and Adventure Trip: Wonders of the World Collector's Edition.


A look at the HOG "Time Gap"

  • When it comes to the games featured on the Games Radar link, Time Gap has 126,625 downloads on the Google App Store with a 4.5 star rating. It has an average rating of 4.27 stars according to App Annie.
  • According to the writeup, it claims to stand out because of an original storyline, an interactive map, minigames, and the ability to learn real facts about historical personalities like Leonardo da Vinci and more.
  • Reviews praise its sampler of several different genres and classic games (ex. connect four, puzzle bobble) , housed within a HOG.
  • The lowest ratings are due to bugs, the fact that advertisements come up very frequently, and that there is a misconception the game is free when there is a very hard push to rate, share, or buy the game immediately.


Summary

  • In general, the HOG genre is vibrant across most platforms. However, because enjoyment of the game is subjective and there is a multiplicity of platforms, there is no single authoritative expert on the "best" HOGs. It does seem that Collector Editions rank higher despite a higher price point, due to the additional content available. The below recommendations reflect these findings.

Proposed next steps:

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We recommend going deeper into understanding the features AND pain points of popular HOGs. We would profile no less than 3 companies from the Games Radar list linked above, excluding Time Gap, and no less than 3 companies from the Big Fish top 10 list, also linked above. For each company, we would provide a brief description of the game, its competitive advantage according to the game writeup AND according to a review, a summary of the reasons behind 1-star reviews, and ANY information that reflects their popularity (ex. position on the top 10 list, overall rating, number of downloads on each platform IF AVAILABLE).
While HOGs are a distinct type of game, as we have seen in the early findings, games frequently cross over genres. Because of this, it's important to look not just at HOGs but at broader trends in mobile gaming, which are likely to be key in how HOGs evolve in the future. We would identify no less than 5 trends in this space. For each trend, we will provide a title, a short description, and a reason supporting this trend- either a statistic, an example of a game that has put this trend into action, OR an expert quote IF AVAILABLE.