Joystiq ran a post Thursday about a company called Phonetic Arts that’s striving for the holy grail of sports video games: voice commentary that doesn’t endlessly repeat itself.
If you’ve ever gotten into a sports video game, you know what I’m talking about. Play-by-play announcers can only record so many lines of dialogue. And once you’ve logged a few hours, those catch-phrases really start to grate on your nerves. “Major League Baseball 2K4” essentially ruined Giants TV announcer Mike Krukow for me. I know fans of the orange and black love the guy, but every time I hear, “Grab some pine, meat!” after a strikeout, a little part of me dies.
Phonetic Arts’ software aims to get around the problem, by essentially parsing sentence fragments, then recombining them on the fly to make sports game announcers say things they didn’t actually say in the recording booth. It’s a concept that’s been around for a while, but this is the first time I’ve heard of software that can execute improvised dialogue in real time. Assuming the final product sounds convincing, someone stands to make a lot of money.
While a lot of the money to be made will come from licensing the software to the makers of sports video games, why stop there? For a small fee, you can make John Madden available to officiate weddings. “Boom! You may kiss the bride.” Politicians would pay a mint if they could get a voice recording of their opponent promising to end Social Security his first year in office. Oh, the possibilities.