August 26, 2022
Amazon is introducing a voice-activated gaming feature called Alexa Game Control that lets players dictate the action. The February 2023 release “Dead Island 2” will be the first game to incorporate Alexa Game Control. Currently in private beta, the new feature will initially roll out to a wider audience only in North America. Players who want to use the technology will need either a free Amazon account or Amazon Prime. With that in place, one can activate Game Control using push-to-talk or with a hands-free Voice Activity feature that automatically detects speech.
“Alexa Game Control gives users an accessible, hands-free option that allows for easier gaming. Plus, game developers also gain a new tool they can use for a more interactive gaming experience,” reports TechCrunch. While the feature utilizes the same technology that powers Alexa voice commands, you won’t need to preface instructions with the “Alexa” verbal prompt.
Players will also be able to control smart home devices using their game systems, Amazon says. An Echo device is not required to use Alexa Game Control, which will work with any connected PC or console microphone or headset. However, according to TechCrunch, the feature will initially be compatible only with PC and Xbox devices. Since “Dead Island 2” will also be released to PlayStation 4 and 5 and Google Stadia, TechCrunch is hopeful availability will soon expand.
Using Alexa Game Control in “Dead Island 2,” “players can use their voice to access in-game features like navigation (by saying ‘where is the nearest workbench,’) manipulate zombie hordes (by saying ‘hey zombie’) and much more,” Amazon said in an announcement during Gamescom 2022.
“We are committed to building immersive games that people can play wherever and however they want to play them,” said Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of PLAION Group, developer and global publisher of “Dead Island 2.”
“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 needing to purchase any special hardware, added Alexa Games director Steve Bernstein.
The Alexa Game Control SDK/plug-in supports UE4, Unity and C++ game engines. “By incorporating Alexa Game Control into their PC or console-based games, game developers can easily enable voice gameplay to unlock immersive experiences, improve usability and accessibility, and create innovative new game designs,” Amazon said.