Google Assistant Debuts New Smart Display Games and Interface
Google has launched a bunch of new games for the Google Nest Hub and other smart displays. The games are playable through Google Assistant, emphasizing the company’s growing interest in promoting voice-enabled games on its devices.
Voice Game Shelf
The games cover a broad array of styles and genres. There are a few new attempts at translating the traditional fantasy adventure games, such as Voice Quest, made by Doppio Games, the company behind the recent voice-enabled Pac-Man Waka Waka game that lets users command Pac-Man’s movement in a maze in his own language, Wakanese. Just AI, the developer of a voice assistant platform using the Kotlin programming language, has debuted Power of Words, which combines a fantasy adventure with a hidden word game. Word games are popular in general, which is why Google highlighted the new Horizontal Crosswords, and Game of Words. There’s also the newly launched Daily Word Wheel game from Words With Friends developer Zynga, a Google Assistant-exclusive game, similar to its earlier release Word Pop, which only works with Alexa.
Google is also showcasing more educational games. For adults, there are new games like Daily Brain Trainer and Brainwash Puzzle. For kids, there are new games and activities like My Smart Pet, which works as an adventure in raising a virtual pet that learns how the child speaks the more they interact. For a less vocal pet, there’s the new Hey Fish app that lets kids create a virtual aquarium. Nickelodeon has also committed to the platform, adding stories from its Shimmer and Shine series that Google Assistant can read to kids.
To help people find and play more games on smart displays, Google revamped the look of the portal for games on smart displays, redesigning the lobby to show off featured and top-ranked games, as well as the user’s recently played games. The result looks a lot like the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Games can be launched by voice or by tapping on the game from the screen. It fits with Google’s larger push to entice users to engage more with their devices, whether with games, streaming services like Disney+ and Netflix, and other verticals. The voice-based games are becoming more experimental, as well. Ordering Pac-Man around in his own language is one, as well as role-playing games tied to specific intellectual properties such as the haunted house story in Earplay’s audio game The Orpheus Device. How people access those games is also changing, with more developers monetizing their creations individually or in subscription services like Labworks for trivia and party games or mobile-based voice games from DriveTime.