Amazon today announced that developers with Alexa skills games can now sell Echo device owners things like extra lives or special powers in role-playing games, or hints in the middle of a trivia game.
Initial voice apps to offer in-skill consumables include Would You Rather for Family, medieval roleplay game Yes Sire, and Hypno Therapist, a meditation app.
Consumables were first made available in developer preview but are now generally available to all developers in the United States making games and other skills.
The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire voice app from Sony Pictures Television will also launch a skill with in-skill purchases soon, according to an Amazon blog post.
Among the more than 50,000 Alexa skills available today, games have always been a favorite use case.
In-skill consumables are the second way for Echo device owners to pay for games, following the introduction of subscriptions, which launched roughly a year ago starting with Double Jeopardy. Since then, other paid voice games like Jurassic Park: Revealed have also been launched.
The new Echo Show made its debut alongside Alexa Presentation Language (APL), a new version of Amazon’s resource for developers to create experiences that incorporate visual elements like text, images, or video on a screen, as well as HTML 5 or dynamic environments that can be used to create games. Beyond Amazon devices, Sony smart televisions and Lenovo tablets will also soon be able to deliver APL experiences.
Amazon has taken a number of steps to attract developers creating games for Alexa, including a program that pays them based on the level of engagement their app garners from Echo speaker owners.
Last fall, Amazon introduced the Gadgets API and SDK for developers to make games with Echo Buttons or create gaming experiences with their own hardware. In addition to a number of skills available to explain the rules of role-playing games, last year the Ghost accessory was introduced as a voice-powered assistant for Destiny 2 players.
Gaming startups Play Impossible and Sensible Object, who created the first board game you play with Alexa, also took part in the inaugural class of the Alexa Accelerator.
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