Ubisoft said it has gone worldwide with the launch of a chat bot named Sam — a personal gaming assistant — to keep you engaged with games connected to your Ubisoft Club account. The French video game publisher had previously been testing it just in Canada.
It’s one more sign that voice and text user interfaces could be the way that game companies serve us in the future. Sam works with voice commands or text chat messages on your phone, and it provides answers to your everyday gaming questions. In response to your queries, the iOS and Google Play app can tell you about the definition of insanity in Far Cry 3 and tell you if you can pet cats in Assassin’s Creed: Origins.
Charles Huteau, creative director of Ubisoft Club, said in a January interview with GamesBeat that Ubisoft’s team in Montreal worked on the bot for a year, incorporating natural language processing through the Google Cloud technology.
Sam is available for free. You need a Ubisoft Club account and its mobile app to use it. When you log in, Sam can greet you and send you notifications from your games, such as your Rainbow Six Siege weekly challenges. You can earn Ubisoft Club points and spend those on rewards such as weapons, skins, and sound tracks.
Sam is based on the Sam Fisher character from the Tom Clancy franchise, but, sadly, the chat bot’s voice isn’t based on the character’s voice. Sam originated from a hackathon that Ubisoft’s developers held in Montreal last year.
Sam isn’t always listening. When you press a button on your smartphone, you activate the bot and then can ask it commands. When you log in to Sam, it tells you how many Ubisoft games you’ve played, the challenges you’ve completed, your club level rank, and how many units you can spend on club rewards.
So far, Ubisoft has integrated Sam only with Rainbow: Six Siege. Over time, it will add more games. But also knows basics, such as the February 27 launch date of Far Cry 5. Huteau asked it about the weather, and Sam replied, “What I can tell you is that in Watch Dogs 2, the California sun is high in the sky of San Francisco.”
The English-only Sam has some smarts, thanks to human curation of its answers. If you say, “Show me the trailer of BGE2,” Sam will realize that’s the acronym for Ubisoft’s Beyond Good & Evil 2. Ubisoft’s staff is curating the answers for Sam in this way, and the results are better than a typical Google search.
In Rainbow Six: Siege, Sam can analyze your last match, extract key data, and recommend how to improve your skills. It can scan which weapon or operator you are using and make recommendations based on Ubisoft’s human expertise.
On the sophisticated end of the intelligence scale, Sam isn’t quite there yet. Sam can’t, for instance, tell you where to find weapons or other things on a map. Sam is available via the Ubisoft Club app on Android and iOS.
Behind the scenes, Sam is leveraging the power of Dialogflow Enterprise Edition, a NLP (Natural Language Processing) solution developed by Google Cloud. It understands and interprets user input to craft the best answer possible. Over the last six months, Sam was asked around 400,000 questions, which grew its database 10 times its original size. All of those questions will ultimately make for a smoother, smarter, and sometimes funnier experience as the database grows.
Starting with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Sam sends a notification that pushes tips and information tailored to players’ game stats. For example, if your win rate is low on a particular map or if you’re struggling with a new Operator, Sam will be on hand to share select community-created content with tips tailored to your specific needs each time you start a Rainbow Six Siege session.