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2021 SHORTY PHENOM AWARDS

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From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

The Call of Duty Alexa Skill -

Finalist in Games, Artificial Intelligence

About this entry

EVERY CALL OF DUTY PLAYER COULD USE A COACH. WE HELPED BUILD THEM ONE.

Even the best soldiers on the battlefield need a little backup.

Armed Mind provided the voice and dialogue that fueled the Call of Duty Alexa Skill, which used in-game performance data, AI, and a whole lot of helpful insights to give soldiers personalized pertinent intel on how they could improve. From new strategies to optimized loadouts, every Call of Duty player could now have an ally on Alexa.

More than a mere voice-assistant, the Call of Duty Alexa Skill was also an interactive tool, and it had to leverage the back-end data on a player's in-game performance to fuel helpful, accurate insights.

This kind of thing had never been done before, and posed a slew of challenges:

1) Create natural-sounding dialogue to make it seem like Alexa is in the debriefing room, talking to each player

2) Develop tips and strategies accurate to the game's maps and weapons, tailoring tips for each playstyle

3) Only a total dedication to Call of Duty lexicon, lore, and word choice would ensure the skill's authenticity

4) Provide deep insight into player tendencies, while staying agnostic enough to serve future Call of Duty games

5) Expand and curate dialogue trees so that gamers never hear the same phrase twice

6) Prep the Alexa skill for easy deployment to other voice assistants and localization

Why does this entry deserve to win?

The teams embarked to create something that had simply never been done before. A few key strategies governed Armed Mind's support of Activision as the Alexa Skill came to life:

A QUARTER MILLION RESPONSES...AND COUNTING: Armed Mind created over 250,000 distinct responses to over 2,500 questions about everything from a particular player's performance to questions about the game itself. As an evergreen, ever-improving coaching mechanism, the skill continues to evolve with each match, forming the most comprehensive base of intel found anywhere, for any game, in history.

ALWAYS STAY AUTHENTIC: Whether in-game or via Alexa, Call of Duty demands authenticity. In order to assist players, we had to immerse ourselves in their world, researching the best loadouts for different scenarios, providing expert suggestions to help experienced gamers up their K/D ratios, and making sure that all the while we remained true to core Call of Duty experience.

KEEP THE EXPERIENCE INTUITIVE: Call of Duty Multiplayer stresses a ""tight gameplay loop"": a series of actions that drive the player forward. Creating thousands of line of dialogue for Alexa provided a similar challenge: we had to anticipate questions and follow-ups to ultimately craft realistic dialogue trees that drove a personalized, customized, and intuitive experience.

CREATE CUSTOM FEEDBACK LOOPS: The Alexa Skill provided instant feedback to gamers across a broad range of spectrums, improving their skills, calling out new strategies to try, and assessing their in-game performances. Gamers were shown how to play smarter, not harder, with the skill analyzing each player's strengths, weaknesses, and playstyles to deliver custom feedback at the conclusion of each match.

DRIVE MASS COVERAGE: Core and mass outlets covered the launch of Call of Duty's innovative, AI-led Alexa skill, generating organic reach and ultimately expanding the audience from core players looking for an edge to new players looking for assistance as they load-up for the first time. Combined with Alexa's massive install-base, this mass earned reach ensured a successful launch for the intiiative.

CONNECT FANS THROUGH ALEXA: Players didn't just develop a relationship with their coach on Alexa — the Call of Duty skill also ensured their relationships with friends developed, too. By connecting gamers to their friends, comparing their stats, checking to see if parties were online, and informing users of Call of Duty news as soon as it breaks, the Alexa skill serves as an ongoing touchpoint — and connector.

Results

Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty Alexa Skill launched as one of the most sophisticated skills ever created for the platform. Helping both new and old players improve their game was a definite metric of success, but so was the earned PR reach driven by the innovation of the skill:

VentureBeat

Variety

Newsweek

Engadget

Syfy

Yahoo!

GameSpot

TechSpot

SlashGear

More info on the Call of Duty Alexa Skill can be found at CallofDuty.com and on Amazon.

Media

Video for The Call of Duty Alexa Skill -

Produced by

Armed Mind, Activision Blizzard

Links