Teeming with developments across A/R, V/R, and now voice, gaming’s threshold for innovation is endless, with new startups reimagining how PC and mobile gaming can be made even more realistic and immersive.
Voice-led gaming is a new but flourishing category.
Amazon and Google are taking note of this activity and funding several gaming endeavors directly:
Voice’s impact on the gaming sector doesn’t stop at voice-led games—it can also be weaved into existing platforms and games as a way to enhance gameplay or as an added layer of interactivity. For example, voice can be embedded into hardware and physical components of gaming. Google Assistant can now launch games on its Stadia platform by allowing users to speak to the controller. Similarly, Amazon’s new cloud gaming service Luna has its own Alexa-enabled controllers.
The larger opportunity that is emerging in voice-enabled gaming is the ability to integrate assistants as part of the core gameplay, providing insights and strategies to players in real-time. With headsets being a permanent fixture for serious gamers, assistants are a perfect fit for in-ear advice and analysis. One company that is exploring this space already is Gosu.ai, whose gaming voice assistant, available for League of Legends and other titles, has more than 500,000 active users.
From platform integrations to companion gaming assistants, voice is looking to stay in the game for years to come:
While voice-led games have already emerged as a popular video game variety, we still see the application of voice as nascent. For in-game experiences, we imagine voice taking a more central role allowing users to speak out loud into headsets and have their responses be interpreted by characters in games. Instead of menus and text selection, voice will become a new more immersive way to communicate in-game. Additionally, on the hardware side of things, it won’t be long before we see voice-enabled, ad voice-controlled consoles with custom wake words. Much like the smart home is developing with voice as an interface, the major platform developers will be thinking of voice as a way to navigate and manage functionality as well.
Although companies like Gosu AI have already started developing the market for voice-based assistance during gaming, this is a potentially huge area for voice and one we expect to expand rapidly. For casual gamers, assistants can serve as helpful companions to guide them through tough levels or help teach them complex gameplay. For more advanced users, assistants can potentially be used to help them ‘hack’ games or explore hidden features, easter eggs, or other nuanced areas of a video game. Thinking even further out, it’s not out of the question to imagine gamers becoming assistant app developers and selling their unique assistants to other fellow gamers looking to replicate their gaming strategies.
Since voice technology emerged, voice AI has been continually refined to be more realistic and human-like. As video games continue to reinvent the cutting-edge with impressive graphics, new platforms, and immersive gameplay, voice could be the next frontier, both from a character and player standpoint. For in-game characters, we expect to see voice AI replace or enhance voice actors' roles by creating realistic and unique synthetic voices that bring new depth to on-screen characters. For players, we can imagine their voices being processed in real time by voice synthesis technology so they can immerse themselves deeper in avatars and customize how they sound to others across headsets.