1. Lifestyle
September 9, 2017updated 08 Sep 2017 11:49am

The BBC are making interactive audiobooks for Amazon Echo

By Jack Rear

When was the last time you sat down to enjoy a good book?

For many people, it might be a little longer ago than you might care to admit. In such a fast-paced world, many people struggle to find the time to settle in with a good book. Even when you find the time, studies have shown that our collective ability to focus on information is weakening, so it’s difficult to pay attention to it.

The BBC might have come up with an ideal solution using Amazon Echo.

The company have teamed up with Rosina Sound to produce The Inspection Chamber. It’s an interactive audio drama for voice devices. Think of it like a choose-your-own adventure crossed with a play crossed with a videogame.

The story is a comedy sci-fi audio drama taking inspiration from everything from videogames to existing audio stories. Authors from Franz Kafka to Douglas Adams were inspiration for the story.

However, while we did describe as something akin to a choose-your-own-adventure book, it’s actually not quite that simple. In their blog post about the project, the BBC were keen to avoid such comparisons.

“We’ve seen a lot of examples of interactive audio stories which operate like a Choose Your Own Adventure book – short chunks followed by a choice: would you like to go down the stairs or through the door? We don’t think this works particularly well for entertainment – it takes you out of the moment and forces you to step back and consider your choice at a level of remove from the story and in the context of all the other choices you’ve made. In this pilot, you’re actively playing a part in the story, using your own voice – we wanted to make it feel like you’re having a genuine, direct interaction with the other characters in the piece.”

The story engine which makes The Inspection Chamber work can adapt to be accessible on different voice devices. Originally they plan to release it on Amazon Echo and Google Home. However, there’s some talk of it coming to Apple’s upcoming HomePod too!

The pilot of the series will be released on BBC Taster by the end of the year!

It certainly looks like something to look out for!

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