Amazon Unveils Voice-Enabled Alexa Game Control
Amazon introduced the Alexa Game Control, adding voice commands to video games at Gamescom 2022 this week. Players will be able to issue orders and interact with characters in games through Alexa, beginning with “Dead Island 2,” with more games in development to add the feature.
Alexa Game Control
Alexa Game Control essentially embeds the voice assistant within a game, allowing players to control their character’s actions and converse by voice with non-player characters (NPCs). As Alexa is built into the game software, the player only needs a microphone connected to the PC or game console to activate the voice controls instead of requiring an Echo or other smart speaker. Alexa doesn’t require a wake word for the in-game commands either. The only exception is for using Alexa to operate smart home devices or answer non-game-related queries, as the voice assistant can connect to the user’s Alexa account through the game. For Dead Island 2, the voice commands include requests for navigational help and taunting the zombies before an attack.
“We are excited to debut Alexa Game Control in Dead Island 2,” Alexa Games director Steve Bernstein said. “Gamers will enjoy a more immersive gaming experience by using their voice to goad zombies, ask for help, activate special abilities during combat, and more, without having to say “Alexa,” use an Echo device, or purchase any special hardware.”
The Alexa Game Control seems unrelated to Amazon’s Luna gaming service and branded game controller with Alexa commands for launching games by voice. The Luna controller is connected to the cloud and comes with a microphone button to awaken the voice assistant during gameplay. The actual games don’t have much connection to the voice assistant, however. The new feature is closer to the voice assistant Sony has been experimenting with for the PS5 gaming console. While currently mostly limited to requests to find and open games and apps, adjust settings, and manage audio and video playback, the company has filed several patents for features like an AI video game coach that could help the player in a game while monitoring phone calls and other real-world activities.