The rise of voice in gamingDecodings
In the wake of voice-controlled home devices, shopping experiences and workplaces, voice is penetrating the realm of leisure activities and delivering highly interactive and immersive enjoyment.
Boosted by technological progress – e.g. augmented reality, virtual reality, haptics and voice controls – the entertainment sector is offering increasingly rich, deep and immersive experiences. Now that our daily lives are revolving more and more around the home, voice is making its way into our recreational activities, a new lever to get our attention.
Partnered with artificial intelligence and virtual assistants, voice recognition has seen an unprecedented boom. In 2017, the market was estimated to be worth nearly 6.19 billion dollars and expected to triple by 2023, to reach 18.3 billion dollars (Research and Markets).
Voice controls present advantages not only for the execution of many utilitarian tasks, but also for leisure experiences, because they increase the level of personal interaction. As we will see below, voice is present in video games. It is also featured in board games that have been updated and relaunched online by their makers, further evidence that. For instance, the travel trivia game When in Rome adopted an entertaining Alexa-assisted approach with 20 hours of interactive dialogue back in 2017. Monopoly jumped on the bandwagon in 2019 with Voice Banking, a new game allowing players to manage their virtual finances using Mr. Monopoly, a smart banking unit controlled by Siri or Alexa.
On the gaming front, voice has gradually been incorporated into many video game universes. In Guardians of History, Alexa plunges the players into an entertaining, immersive audio adventure set in ancient Greece that has been saluted for its visuals and kid-friendly educational program.
In another genre, the AI tech company Just AI has released Lovecraft World, billed as an “interactive Lovecraft-inspired horror drama with stylish comic book graphics for Google Assistant”. The story unfolds in 60 scenes, each of which requires a player’s action in the end. (“You have to choose the next step of the scenario or solve a specific puzzle using your voice.”)
Series and films have always been a source of inspiration for video games. Not surprisingly, some platforms have created voice-controlled games inspired by their success stories. In 2018, HBO presented , set in a Wild-West-themed amusement park inhabited by robots, and Universal launched Jurassic World Revealed, a new interactive audio story available on Alexa-enabled devices. In 2019, Netflix teamed up with Doppio Games to create a multiplayer game called based on Netflix’s original series 3%.
In the same vein, September marked the official launch of the Labworks.io Voice Arcade platform – sort of like a Netflix for voice-controlled video games – with a subscription service for Amazon Alexa users that enables access to the company’s voice games portfolio for 99 cents per month.
Last but not least, narrative storytelling has acquired voice! The publishing house Chooseco has joined forces with Audible (Amazon) to produce an audiobook version of two stories from its Choose Your Own Adventure series. The listener gets to decide what happens next at certain points of the story, courtesy of Alexa-powered smart speakers!
At a time when the popularity of interactive films like Bandersnatch (Netflix) is surging, this type of undertaking may help revive virtual reading, making readers feel more included.
Labworks.io Voice Arcade was officially announced today as a new subscription game service for Alexa users that enables unlimited access to the company’s voice games portfolio for 99-cents per month. The UK-based game studio has several popular games offered for free on Alexa-enabled devices. Tom Hewitson, Labworks.io founder, and CEO, told Voicebot that over eight million people played its games in 2019 and “we’ll beat that in 2020.”
The new service will first be available in the U.S., UK, and Germany. France, Italy, and Spain are expected to be live with Voice Arcade later this year. All of the games in Voice Arcade at the launch were developed in-house by Labworks.io. However, the announcement indicates that the company is in talks with other game makers about adding their titles to the new service.
Voice Arcade is launching exclusively for Amazon Alexa at this time. Labworks.io does also provide voice games for Google Assistant and expects to bring “Voice Arcade to that platform in the near future.”