The rapid rise of the Crash Games vertical is a phenomenon which changed the online gaming scene. Simple yet intense, crash games built a bridge between casual mobile entertainment and real-money gaming genres.
Our research team looks at actual online traction data for some of the leading games in the genre – Aviator, Spaceman, Mines, JetX among others – and the impact they have had on online casino gaming in Brazil.
Overview of Data Points on Online Crash Games
We analyze online search trends and traffic data related to several crash games that are quite popular at the moment. Our team has segmented a year’s worth of primary KTO aggregate data on the amount of search queries, click-through-rates (CTR), result appearances and user sessions, tracking their change on a daily and monthly basis. Where available, we have also broken down anonymous traffic indicators on State of origin, gender and devices used to play on our site.
Altogether, the search activity and user responsiveness show that:
- • Crash games contribute more than half of KTO’s top 10 casino gamesand nearly 40% of total casino turnover;
- • Roughly two thirds of active players have tried placing a bet on crash-style games;
- • Aviator is the single most important game on KTO’s online casino;
- • The niche has become a gateway for casual or even game show titles (e.g., FootballX, Mines or Plinko) to enter the real-money gaming scene;
- • Expanding demographics show that crash games have created a lasting demand for the mobile casino genre.
Crash Games Are the Hottest Topic in Online Casinos
The importance of this new type of games is easily noted when we rank the most popular game titles across the online casino platform. Below is a breakdown of active player shares – those that have placed at least one bet on a particular game – and the relative turnover shares the title brings to the operator. (N.B. Turnover excludes player winnings paid out which are typically around or above 95-97% of the amounts wagered).
Altogether, 6 of top 10 leading games on KTO are crash titles. At least two out of every three players try them out, while numbers easily rise above 100% because many of those play several games in a given session. On a monthly basis, between 38% and 40% of total casino turnover comes from the macro category of mobile crash games.
The data above takes a snapshot of games’ performance in the fall of 2022, from 1 October to 5 December. The emergence of new games like JetX and FootballX is already notable and we expect it to be more pronounced in the following weeks, based on the sharp rise in popularity of other crash games.
How Do Players Search for Crash Games?
We have examined traffic and acquisition data according to the most relevant search terms that see players land on the specific KTO game pages. We provide these for each game below.
Quite expectedly, most searches, clicks (almost 89%) and game sessions come from smartphones. The below table below shows the aggregate averages for the so-called “mini games” by Spribe, the leading publisher on the market currently:
More importantly, when we analyze the specific search terms, we highlight the substantial growth in lookup volumes seen in Google Search Console over the past 12 months.
We can clearly see that the likes of Spaceman, Mines, Plinko and JetX show a substantial amount of impressions even when CTR is low, likely because of low page positioning soon after game launch. Many end up being sought for in a colloquial term that stands out in players’ memory – e.g., “embaihadinha” (keepie-uppie) is a descriptive reference to the game FootballX (see below).
However, as we saw with active users and turnover, all of these reasonably successful games still fall behind the impressive performance of Aviator, the game of the season.
Aviator Leads the Pack
Aviator is the leading title in the Crash segment at the moment, a true reference for the industry. Defined as a mini game for its simplicity and quick gameplay, it is the “flagship” of the game development studio (Spribe) that published it in mid-2019. Aviator boasts a “provably fair technology” (see explanation below), a return to player (RTP) of 97% and is playable on both desktop and mobile devices.
Although the game has been available for about two years (with most licenses acquired by the end of 2020), it is in 2022 that Aviator has irrupted on the online casino scene. Its importance to the KTO casino gamer pool (60% of active users and 28% of the turnover) is a reflection of the impact it has had on the i-Gaming industry as a whole.
The concept behind Aviator is astoundingly simple: A rising multiplier is applicable to all wagers placed until a “crash” occurs, cutting off the opportunity to cash out for those still in the game. The curve is reminiscent of stock market dynamics, an especially relevant experience in an age when mobile apps and crypto exchange platforms have made asset trading accessible to almost anyone.
Aviator also has social multiplayer features which, because of the game’s simplicity, are easy to spot and get involved with. In-game chats, live bet monitoring of others, win statistics and leaderboards help create the feeling of a gaming community.
Once again, informal promotion channels – social networking and word-of-mouth – have brought plenty of publicity for Aviator and we see a rich variety of related query terms:
We see that assorted topical terms – aviator, game, (little) airplane, bet (wager), money, win (earn), play, casino – are combined to search for the hit casino game of 2022. Evidently users respond well to the game’s popularity and are very creative when looking beyond its specific name. Put simply, many have heard about it and want to give it a try.
Altogether, in just a few months we have a reported 1.434 million impressions listing KTO’s Aviator page, with an average search-engine-result-page (SERP) position of 6.11 and an average CTR of 2.11%.
In fact, the real indicator of Aviator’s impact is the sharp rise in demand over time:
We see that impressions and clicks simply took off in mid-July.
External Data Support
With all the irrefutable evidence for the leading role of Aviator, we still need to validate these trends in terms of public data and searches across the gaming landscape of Brazil. Not surprisingly, the rise in demand measured in queries (impressions) since the spring of 2022 is confirmed by Mangool’s KeyWord Finder tool:
Besides professional SEO tools, we also sought proof via Google Trends. Again, it confirmed an all-time high in popularity of “aviator jogo” among searches from Brazil towards the end of 2022:
The amount of evidence – provided by both KTO primary data and public sources – highlights the clearly distinguishable trend we noted earlier. Inevitably, it drives business choices and ensures more quality support for the entire crash gaming niche.
Spaceman Confirms Crash Games’ Popularity
The genre’s success has prompted more game providers to explore the crash mechanic as a basis for their releases. Pragmatic Play, an industry heavyweight, released Spaceman (its first crash-style game) in late March 2022.
Players are faced with similar real-time decisions, trading off the benefits of a late cashout against the risks of crashing altogether. The 50% cashout feature leaves them in the game while continuing to multiply the remaining amount. Almost identical quick-play settings, networking options and bet history made the game an instant hit on the market. Spaceman’s reported RTP is 95%.
The graph above shows the amount of daily new users on KTO’s Spaceman page, growing steadily since the summer of 2022 and reaching over 350 in November. The upwards curve provides additional proof for the recent explosion in interest in the game genre.
Spaceman’s growth is also validated by overall search volumes, including by users who did not get around to actually playing the game. The compound amount of impressions and clicks in the last four months illustrates the game’s impact on the Brazilian gamer community.
In the end, despite the gap in ratings and demand between Aviator and Spaceman, the success that the latter has had in the matter of a few months is quite remarkable. Above all, it supports the bottom hypothesis of this study – the rise in popularity of crash-style games.
XGames Take Off
Earlier we touched upon the visibility that fresh new games like JetX and FootballX are starting to have towards the end of the year. They are part of an entire family of so-called XGames by SmartSoft Gaming, including the likes of CricketX and Balloon.
Even though FootballX and JetX only launched on KTO late November 2022, they are already in the top 10 casino games. FootballX sessions rose 66.80% in the first week of December compared to the month before. JetX, SmartSoft’s star title, shot up 68.92% in daily sessions in the first week of December compared to the average November activity.
Mental “bookmarks” are also notable in the search pattern for these two games. Plenty of queries are recorded for “foguetinho” (little rocket), “embaixadinha”, FutebolX (a translated adaptation) and their combinations with jogo, aposta or casino.
Game features follow what is popular in the segment, as well. JetX has the double bet option – just like Aviator – where players can monitor separate wagers and follow different cashout strategies. Autoplay (and auto collect) tools allow these strategies to be self-executed. According to their functionality, XGames also tend to integrate chat options, rankings and other minor social multiplayer elements.
We fully expect these titles to perform consistently well in the coming months and attract more loyal players to KTO.
How Did Crash Games Evolve?
The concept around crash games may be simple yet it is revolutionary enough for the online gaming industry. Most classic genres, already around for decades, pursue added value in terms of visualization, in-game accessory technology and – most recently – Augmented/Virtual Reality features. Card and table games got their live and immersive AR/VR versions, slots became more dynamic. Game studios also started paying more attention to indigenous games for certain local markets.
The crash mechanism, however, is based on a rising yet volatile multiplier opportunity, which has been a true innovation for online casinos. The resemblance to stock market trading raises thrill levels while user-friendly gamification settings provide the casual fun element.
Provably Fair Technology
The so-called Provably Fair Technology behind crash games is based on crypto asset features that affect the very nature of the games. Unbreakable encryption serves to establish game fairness and transparency.
Random Number Generators (RNG) generate billions of game outcomes, just as they do in other casino games. Seed generators are activated by player contribution at the beginning of the game session (or round), allowing for both real-time monitoring and subsequent verification of game integrity. And lastly, cryptographic hashing shortens the random data strings yet validates the immutable algorithm that produces game outcomes. So much so that the results of every round can be checked and verified!
Typically, dice games were considered as provably fair in the online gaming industry until recently. Combined with the small house edge (3% – 5%), crash games continue to make waves in iGaming.
Popularity across Genres and States
The new game niche soon capitalized on its simplicity and the proliferation of affordable smartphones on a global level. What online slots had done for the gaming industry since the start of the century was replicated in terms of market expansion and outreach among previously excluded potential gamers.
Scientific research established in 2019 that an estimated 88.3% of Brazil’s real-money gamers are men. Crash games are, nevertheless, captivating enough to serve a wider audience than most classic casino games.
And indeed, these light and quick games resulted quite appealing and easy enough to get involved with. We see a growing number of female players opting for crash games like Aviator and Spaceman (see table below):
As much as a third of all top crash game players are female. They may still represent a smaller user pool than males, yet female gamers drive market growth and are fundamental to appreciating new-generation gaming culture – even more important in big emerging markets like Brazil.
Female fans of Spaceman, in particular, record a much lower bounce rate once they have landed on the page. They also spend almost three times as much time as males on related KTO pages, visiting more features in the meantime.
Besides the apparent patience of female users, this testifies to the universal appeal of the crash games, allowing online casinos to expand into previously untapped demographics. Crash-style games have indeed opened up the market to more occasional gamers than ever before.
In addition, we have relevant data from 15 out of the 26 States playing crash games on KTO. (Google Trends shows ample search activity in at least 18 States).
The table below shows combined averages in user shares for Aviator, Spaceman, JetX and Mines and the most active gaming states States on KTO.
Casual Games Follow the Hype
Breakout game studios look to develop titles with the potential to expand real-money gaming appeal into more (adult) age groups and across lifestyles. Spribe, for example, defines the genre as “Turbo Games” – an upgrade of traditional casino games, targeted at Generation Y users and new-age gaming behavior.
Crash games appear more casual because players do not need to study rules and betting strategies – as is the case with card games, for example, or a number of table games. Moreover, effortless gameplay links up well with another recent trend among online casinos – the solid demand for TV-style game shows for real money.
Plinko – the Link to Game Shows
This brings us to a game which draws inspiration from the game show genre even without the immersive settings of a true live game show session.
A spin-off game of the longest-running American TV game show, the Price is Right, Plinko has been around for 4 decades by now.
In present-day mobile gambling Plinko is a self-standing title. Almost too simple, Plinko is also based on multiplier outcomes for discs bouncing down between pins until they land on a coefficient. Players control the color coded row of multipliers with the disk they choose to drop, as well as the number of pins to break down the coefficients into more options.
Plinko has gained plenty of player approval in 2022, particularly towards the year end.
Plinko impressions listing KTO’s game page are substantial on a day-by-day basis. Yet the low CTR of 0.47% reveals a highly competitive market, besides the analyzed gap to other leading games such as Aviator or any live casino table.
Mines Bring Back Decision Making
The feeling of control is important even for players that opt for the simplest of games. Compared to Plinko, Spribe’s Mines put back more control in the hands of users. Admittedly, it is not the informed kind of choice many would evoke but in a casual and fun way gamers can pick among a set of tiles on a minefield.
With every opened tile, the increasing coefficients give players a chance to multiply the currently wagered amount. Instant cashout (after every single guess) and autoplay are among the options and settings that players tend to appreciate most. Mines have a provably fair 97% RTP.
The light and familiar “sweeper” game works in low bandwidths and on all devices. Chats and live bets replicate some of the features that have brought success to other crash games. Indeed, we see Mines also experience a constant growth in average daily new users on KTO’s dedicated page (see graph below).
Goal (again by Spribe) is quite like Mines – each tile opened leads to higher returns (multipliers) for the next round but with a volatility (RTP) of 97%. Tile grid size sets up 3 difficulty levels while autoplay options allow customization equal to real-time decision options.
Goal alone attracts 20% of active players (with at least one bet on the game) and contributes 5% of the casino turnover on KTO.
A Summary of Findings
Some crash games may still be modest in performance and popularity when compared to leading titles on the iGaming market. However, the recent success of Aviator and crash-style derivatives in general establish a market trend that points to a new generation of gaming demand and behavior.
The common underlying characteristics of the segment are easy to spot. Crash games are:
- • light (mini), quick-play, evoking dynamic decision making (or ending);
- • enriched by promo features, chats and other in-game monitoring tools;
- • based on multipliers evolving plainly in sight;
- • guaranteed a high RTP;
- • with an elevated volatility, resulting in a sudden crash or an instant win.
Most importantly, crash-style games attract about two thirds of active players on KTO’s online casino and combine for nearly 40% of the total casino games turnover.
Crash games seem like a counterweight segment to live casino productions and all immersive gaming verticals that have enjoyed much success in the past decade. Still, game providers are constantly looking for ways to reinvent online gambling genres and these “turbo games” have given them a new challenge. They have also made operators slimmer, lighter, with an eye towards emerging gaming tastes.
Ultimately, crash games have all the ingredients to be a powerhouse in the sector and look like they are here to stay.