Labworks.io Voice Arcade Launches Today as a New Subscription Game Service for Alexa, Announces New Investor – Exclusive
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.”
Tests Show Conversion Rate in Line with App Subscription Benchmarks
Titles such as True or False, Trivia Hero, and Would You Rather each have thousands of users per day. The company has several other titles as well that are still building audiences, including Mental Samurai which literally features American actor Rob Lowe. Hewitson also said new games are planned for launch during the 2020 holiday season. Each of these titles includes some free version with a limited number of rounds or sessions per day. The subscription package offers unlimited play across all of the titles.
The company has been testing Voice Arcade subscription with users and about 2-3% that are presented with the offer have converted so far. Hewitson indicated that this rate was in line with mobile app subscription conversion benchmarks but may actually be a bit better as most online studies cite 1-2% conversion rates.
COVID-19 Pandemic Lifts User Base
While the Voice Arcade subscription plan has long been in the works, the societal lock-downs ushered in to combat the spread of COVID-19 have led to increases in Labworks.io game use. Between February and June, the company experienced a “rough doubling in users,” according to Hewiston. The pandemic didn’t alter the Voice Arcade launch timeline though it may have made the timing serendipitously more attractive. “We’ve always believed that voice games were going to disrupt family game night but COVID has accelerated that massively as people have got used to interacting with their smart speaker much more,” said Hewitson.
Labworks.io Lands New Investment from VoicePunch
Today’s announcement also revealed that the company has received a strategic investment from VoicePunch, a venture capital firm that exclusively invests in voice-tech related startups. VoicePunch also participated in a seed funding round for Bamboo Learning in December 2019. Labworks.io closed a £500,000 funding round earlier this year in March led by RLC Ventures and at the time indicated it was working on a new subscription games service that would “launch imminently.” The previous round of funding was largely slated for hiring while the new investment is focused on international expansion.
Labworks.io is serving as an early test case around whether voice-related startups can succeed economically on consumer voice platforms such as Amazon Alexa. The math looks reasonably good if you take Hewiston’s figures and look at where they lead. If the eight million users in 2019 roughly doubled in early 2020, that would be 16 million. Let’s say that about half of those receive the Voice Arcade pitch and 2% convert. That would be about $160,000 per month in revenue — a good start.