The Power of Voice--Vivox Interview with Monty Sharma

Date: 07-22-2008 Views:
KeyWord: Vivox, interview, in-world voice
Summary:When I first talked with Vivox, they were an early player; now they are number one in the in-game and in-world voice sector, whose partners now bring voice to over one million subscribers in 180 countries. Now let Monty Sharma, Founder and Vice President Product Management & Marketing, give us more details about the Vivox.

MMOSite have done an interview with Vivox in November 2006. Since last interview, Vivox has announced in-world voice communications partnerships with many game developers such as NCsoft, SOE, Linden Labs, CCP Games and K2 Network. Vivox also has partnerships with virtual world platform leaders BigWorld, Icarus Studios, and Multiverse. So, when I first talked with Vivox, they were an early player; now they are number one in the in-game and in-world voice sector, whose partners now bring voice to over one million subscribers in 180 countries. Now let Monty Sharma, Founder and Vice President Product Management & Marketing, give us more details about the Vivox.

MMOsite: I really appreciate that you give me this chance to do an "update" interview with you. Vivox has definitely made some incredible progress over the last year. Could you briefly talk about what has changed or advanced since our last interview?

Monty Sharma: Sure, I would be happy to. Since we last spoke, back in 2006, Vivox has signed more games and virtual worlds developers and publishers including SOE, NCsoft, K2 Network, and Wizards of the Coast to name a few. In addition, we have launched several successful integrations in Second Life and are just about to launch Everquest II and Star Wars Galaxies with SOE. So we have been a little busy on that side of things. In the meantime we have also been digging deeper into our premium features such as voice fonts, SMS and PSTN calling. Every integration has given us additional opportunities as we hear more from the community. We take what we hear and go back and improve our operations and build on our feature set. The last two years have been a lot of fun for us.

MMOsite: Give us a brief view of Vivox. What kind of technology does it mainly involve, and what are the hardware and Internet connection requirements?

Monty Sharma: With our technology we handle the bandwidth and voice mixing on our servers.  This way communications does not go through the game servers and does not create lag on the game. This was critical to us when developing the technology. Our communications could not and do not lag the game.  This is the best way to deliver high quality voice with all of the features that our customers love.

On the player side, the hardware required is your PC and a broadband internet connection. If your system is running the game, it will run the Vivox voice communications. A stereo headset is recommended for optimal experience and to minimize ambient noise that general mic and speakers generate. We did not want players to have to invest in fancy equipment to enjoy the benefits of voice chat--they shouldn#DY#t have to.

 

MMOsite: Why should users choose Vivox rather than other VOIP software like Teamspeak in the market? What are the major features it offers?Particularly what advantages does it have in terms of technology?

Monty Sharma: I need to put my kids through college. But really, we have approached the market from a unique perspective. We are interested in the game community and helping build its strength.  To do that the first thing is to make it simple, make voice work with the game UI and policies so users do not have to invest major effort just to play the game.  Secondly, make it scale so any player of a game should be able to talk to any other player without negotiating how they will talk to each other.  Finally, enhance the game experience with advanced features, like spatial voice so it sounds like the other player on my right is on my right; voice fonts to change the sound of a voice to match an avatar and increase immersion; and presence indicators and tracking so I have the ability to find my guild mates even if they are not in the game. All of this makes playing better.  The service and features need to be delivered with the kinds of scale and reliability that a gaming company can base its business on.  One thing we know and hold close is the value of the community to a game.  All of our customers focus immense efforts on building and supporting a strong community (regardless of what the forum trolls think) and our focus is to help them do that.


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