Virtual assistants have been in our mobile lives for a while and each big technology company has their own offering. The three mainstream systems are Cortana, from Microsoft, Siri, from Apple, and Google Now, from the search giant. While these three work embedded to a smartphone or computer, there are other initiatives, such as M, from Facebook, that works through Messenger. Amazon is also in the game with Alexa, but their approach is really different from the usual, as their virtual assistant works inside its own device, the Amazon Echo. A cylinder-shaped Bluetooth speaker that can connect to just about anything, the Echo stays anywhere you want in the house and you communicate with it through voice commands using natural language.
There’s a lot Alexa can do, and Amazon has been beefing up its features constantly. The latest addition is a game made in partnership with Warner Bros that brings in a Batman vs Superman promotion with it. Called The Wayne Investigation, this is an adventure game controlled by voice where you have to solve the crime of who killed Wayne’s parents. For this, you have several characters to question and each decision may lead to different results. There are up to 37 different decisions and the game time can be anything from 5 to 40 minutes, depending on how good you are on interpreting cues and guidance that will appear as you make questions. Written by people from DC Comics and Crue & Unusual Film, Zach Snyder’s (Batman vs Superman director) production company, the game is available as one of Alexa skills and to open it the user has to say “Alexa, open The Wayne Investigation”.
Other than helping you solve this murder, there’s a lot Alexa and Echo can do, such as play music, order stuff online directly from Amazon, get the weather, read the news or connect to other devices such as smart thermostats. New features are added constantly and they can be accessed from Alexa’s app in the Play Store. Released back in 2014, the device was available on an invitation-only system for a while, but back in June Amazon made it available for everyone with a price tag of $170.