The Rise of Conversational Technologies in Gaming
As voice is transforming into a natural interface for us, more industries are including conversational technologies in their applications. The gaming industry is among them.
Lately, Hasbro released a voice-activated version of its popular board game Monopoly. The game allows players to interact with an electronic black top hat in the middle of the board via voice commands.
Voice is transforming into a necessity for today’s games.
Thanks to developments in AR and VR technologies, today’s games are way too realistic. Gamers feel like they are inside the game. And these new games require a new control device. Because traditional devices such as keyboards and joysticks fall short in offering a realistic experience. Voice as a natural interface answer this need by giving gamers control over many elements of a game.
Voice technologies are much more advanced now.
The days are gone when users had to repeat a voice command to be understood by a speech recognition system. With the advancements in machine learning and AI technologies, speech technologies can understand natural speech. They can also interpret meaning from the user commands. When implemented in games, speech technologies offer a smoother gaming experience.
The interaction will continue to be the key for gamers
Within the past decade, the gamer experience has shifted from offline single player to online multiplayer. Today’s games require gamers to develop a strategy as a team and take a series of actions to accomplish various tasks. This increases the need for a continuous dialog between team members, and voice technology answers this need effectively. Voice-enabled games allow a smooth dialog between gamers through voice commands, and this contributes to an interactive and collaborative interaction for gamers.
How is Voice Used in the Gaming Industry?
Voice technologies have several use cases in the gaming industry.
In-Game Voice Chat
The voice chat feature in games enables real-time chat between multiple gamers. This is especially important when gamers need to interact with each other. For example, in a strategy game, gamers use this feature to share tactics, to warn each other about potential threats, etc.
There are also third-party voice chat applications like Discord, Mumble, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, etc. These apps allow gamers to create a server within minutes. People can join these servers through invite links which give gamers full privacy.
Voice-controlled games enable gamers to play a video game via voice commands. While playing these games, gamers can simply tell their characters what to do. Gamers can make their characters to jump, to hide, to open a door or to switch a weapon just by asking them to do. This provides a smoother gaming experience since voice saves them from dealing with buttons or keys and allows them to focus on their game. The Broken Seal and Bot Colony are among voice-controlled PC games.
Smart Assistants as Game Consoles
As smart assistants become more integrated into our daily lives, the gaming industry uses them as a novel form of game consoles. Developers build voice-enabled games for smart assistants. For example, Amazon offers a Skills Kit for developers who want to develop voice-enabled games for Alexa. With these games, users control the actions in various games with their voices. Various entertainment companies collaborate with Amazon to offer voice-first games for Alexa. Nickelodeon’s Sponge Bob Challenge, Hasbro’s Trivial Pursuit, and The Pokémon Company’s Pikachu Talk are products of these collaborations.
Integrating Voice into Your Gaming Strategy
Consider the nature of your game
If you are planning to include voice technologies in your games, start with answering these questions first: What are the plot and story of your game? What kind of user experience is it offering? Would integrating voice technologies into it enhance this experience? If your answers are yes, including voice technologies in your game can be the right decision.
So, you can concentrate on the technical details now:
Choose the right technology
Today’s voice technologies are not limited to traditional speech recognition systems which allow for only a few voice commands. Instead, AI-based natural language processing technologies enable a natural dialog between humans and machines.
If simple voice commands are enough for your game, implementing a limited speech recognition engine into your game can work. But if you aim for an enhanced gaming experience, NLP can be a better option. This technology understands plain language, which allows users to speak freely. This ensures an exceptional gaming experience, especially when players need to multitask in a game like asking for navigation tips while chasing after the villain.
Design the right scenario
Dialog design is a critical factor in conversational applications. For a natural-sounding dialog, the menu structure needs to be carefully designed. This requires understanding users’ habits and putting yourself in their shoes. In other words, you need to consider what kind of questions they can ask or what kind of language would they use. So that you can build your answers accordingly. In gaming, the menu design needs to be consistent with the general flow of the game. The design needs to be in parallel with the games’ plot and characters. Thus, using conversational technologies wouldn’t distract players from the game; moreover, these technologies enrich their gaming experience.
Conversational technologies promise a lot for the gaming industry. From voice-controlled games to in-game voice chat applications and smart assistants, conversational technologies have increasing use in gaming applications. That is why more gamers turn to voice-based games to enjoy an exceptional gaming experience.
Originally published at www.sestek.com on August 5, 2019.