Amazon said it is making tools available to developers to build engaging voice interactions powered by Alexa into new gaming experiences.

Alexa Game Control will bring gamers in-game actions such as interacting with non-player characters (NPCs), swapping weapons and other actions using thei voices in natural and intuitive ways, Amazon announced in a posting on its website this week.

Alexa Game Control will provide an accessible, hands-free option, called Voice Activity, which allows for easier gaming, or gamers can opt to use a push-to-talk button to activate a microphone.

The feature will not require the use of an Echo device, Amazon said. Gamers can use voice engagement with “any microphone or headset connected to their PC or console.”

In “Voice Activity” hands-free mode in-game voice commands can be engaged with phrases like “swap to my best weapon” without the need to speak the “Alexa” trigger word first.

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“Players also have access to Alexa features such as controlling their smart home devices, setting timers, and accessing the weather by calling with utterances like “Alexa, turn on the living room light,” the announcement said.

At Gamescom 2022, game developer Deep Silver announced the launch of the popular Dead Island 2 zombie game now featuring Alexa Game Control. 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 others, Amazon said.

“We are committed to building immersive games that people can play wherever and however they want to play them,” wrote Klemens Kundratitz, CEO at PLAION Group, developer and global publisher of Dead Island 2. “This means that people can play games however they want: with physical media, digital editions, controllers and now voice.”

The game will offer “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,” noted Steve Bernstein, Director, Alexa Games.

Alexa Game Control is built on the same Alexa voice AI platform. It supports PC and console devices, with an SDK/plug-in that supports UE4, Unity, and C++ game engines.

Amazon said Alexa Game Control is currently in private beta and initially will only be available in North America. Players must have a free basic Amazon or Prime account to use Alexa Game Control.

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By Greg Tarr

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