Azur Games has examined the sound design used in hypercasual games and the effect it has on consumers.
Contrary to popular belief, Azur Games found that more than half of users turn on the sound during their gaming, and high-quality and unique sound design increases LTV by an average of ten percent.
However, the report drives in the importance of hiring a specialist to work on the sound design due to the possibility that incorrect file formats or compression, or unfamiliarity with mobile speaker features, could result in sound that negatively affects gameplay.
Azur Games states that when it worked with a sound designer on its game State.io, average playtime increased by sixty seconds. LTV increased by 7-10 percent, R1 increased by 2 percent, and R7 rose by 0.5 percent. While the rise isn’t necessarily drastic in most metrics, it’s important to note that even 0.5 percent can represent a significant number of players.
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The report also stresses the importance of full-cycle sound design, where the sound effects and music are created simultaneously, letting the sound designer ensure that both elements overlap correctly.
“The defining feature of sound in games is that it’s mostly non-linear. If it’s a movie or a live show, the audience hears the music once and never returns to it, while in games the same sounds can be repeated for hours,” said Azur Games sound designer Valentin Smirnov. “Sound design in games should be practical first, but at the same time you shouldn’t forget about the artistic value.”
“This is the main challenge of working in gamedev: finding a sound that complements the gameplay and doesn’t annoy the players after they hear it for a few hours.”
Smirnov also breaks down the unique challenges of designing the soundscape for mobile games, as opposed to those on other platforms.
“The miniature speakers on mobile devices have a very specific narrow frequency response, so you need to significantly reduce the rise in high frequencies, compensate for the absence of low frequencies and remove possible resonance.”
“In the process of mixing and preparing sound for a mobile platform, I use filters that emulate the frequency response of a smartphone on control monitors, DAW plug-ins that broadcast sound directly to my device during operation, or simply listen to the finished sound on different devices.”