Axlebolt Studios and Unity Gaming Services
Axlebolt studios is an international mobile game developer founded by gamers for gamers. Their flagship title, the mobile FPS Standoff 2, launched in 2017 on Android and iOS – but it wasn’t until 2021 that the Axlebolt team decided to empower player communication through Vivox’ mobile-optimized Voice Chat features.
Improve the in-game community and player experience with a proven voice chat solution that works well with mobile
2017, integrated Vivox in July 2021
Android, iOS, Huawei Appgallery
Mobile first-person shooter
Empowering an existing player community with in-game chat
Building a “stickier” game with voice
How do game devs track the strength of their in-game community? One major metric is player retention. Being able to track the amount of players who return to Standoff 2 day after day is a clear sign of the “stickiness” of the game and the community it provides for players.
Since launch, Standoff 2 showed nearly double the average Android FPS retention rates from day one through day 90 – but after integrating Vivox and effectively enhancing the community-building features in-game, their long-term retention numbers skyrocketed.
In addition, this boost to long-term player retention drove Standoff 2’s ARPU up by 12% – meaning Axlebolt could keep on creating new experiences for their players.
“Voice chat is unequivocally a must-have mechanic for multiplayer games.
“In our opinion, voice chat is one of the fundamental mechanics that supports the competitive nature of a shooter game.
“When we introduced voice chat, our long-term retention increased considerably because our midcore/hardcore players need to stay in touch with fluid gameplay, manage combat tactics, and just generally socialize with other engaged players. At some points the players have started returning not only for the gameplay, but also for the social aspect of being a part of the Standoff 2 community.” – Salah Sivushkov, CBDO
Building a mobile-first multiplayer title
Axlebolt set out to build a game that they would want to play themselves. In a sea of FPS mobile ports, they sought to create a mobile-first experience designed for the players gaming from the palm of their hands.
In their research, they found that the average mobile FPS didn’t satisfy their own expectations as gamers, especially projects ported from an existing PC or console title.
Axlebolt’s goal with Standoff 2 was to create a fully self-sufficient gaming experience on mobile – and now, with the game going five years strong, they’ve succeeded.
Prioritizing the player experience
For Axlebolt, their main priority is user experience – focusing on developing what gives the player the best gaming experience, time after time. Standoff 2’s updates are prioritized based on user feedback and features that will improve the mechanical and aesthetic experience of the game.
“Our main priority is user experience, quality of life. We try to imagine what gives the best possible experience to the user. We try to listen to our users a lot, and not to roll out features because they’re ‘hip’ or ‘trendy’ but because the users talk to us as a community. We want our game to be mechanically and aesthetically pleasing.” – Salah Sivushkov, CBDO
As part of that goal, in 2021, Axlebolt decided to offer an in-game voice chat solution to players in a game update to improve the gameplay experience for their player base.
“Voice chat became a reality within one of the major patches, connected to the gameplay adjustments. We made a decision in favor of an already polished solution.
“We could have developed some algorithms and features of voice chat ourselves, but it would have taken a considerable amount of time, postponing a release. We chose in favor of bringing voice chat to our users quickly, so they can enjoy it as much as possible.” – Timur Yalchibaev, Lead Developer
Supercharging the in-game community
With multiplayer games, a self-sufficient in-game community is essential to the livelihood (and enjoyability) of the game – and Axlebolt takes their community seriously.
The Axlebolt developers foster their competitive gaming community by setting up tournaments, encouraging discussions and content sharing on social, and are even planning an e-sports league dedicated to Standoff 2.
But what about building community within the game itself? Axlebolt found that the addition of in-game voice chat to Standoff 2 was crucial in improving the community experience.
“There is no game without the community. When we just released the first patch containing the voice chat integration, our users were incredibly happy with that release. Nowadays, it’s difficult to imagine Standoff 2 without voice chat. This element has definitely made a massive impact on user experience and gameplay.” – Timur Yalchibaev, Lead Developer
Tackling voice chat for mobile
Implementing a seamless voice chat experience on a mobile title presents a few unique challenges – such as quality of hardware available (mic, speakers), echo, reduction of background noise, and more.
“All of that is covered by Vivox out of the box, and does not require additional resources or inputs from the development team.” – Timur Yalchibaev, Lead Developer
With Vivox, Axlebolt had access to a trusted in-game chat solution equipped with built-in mobile-optimized features.
- The Automatic Recovery System kicks in to keeps players connected when they temporarily lose internet connectivity when moving between connection points
- Smart Platform Audio Management ensures the player has the best audio and communications experience no matter how they’re playing – automatically configuring the audio devices on the handset depending on what the user is doing in-game.