In 2008, Sony Online Entertainment announced "Station Voice" for EverQuest II and Star Wars Galaxies players. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like -- in-game voice chat for SOE's massively-multiplayer online titles.
Alright, so voice chat -- big deal, right? I'm with you, but the technology -- designed by Massachusetts-based Vivox -- is pretty impressive. Working directly with SOE, Station Voice integrates seamlessly into the gaming experience, with intuitive chat menus and high-quality sound.
But what was most impressive was a concept for future tech that we were shown at CES -- the ability to dial into in-game voice chat via your phone. The idea is that players can communicate with party and guild members while not actually being in the game. This could come in handy if you're randomly disconnected from a game, or if you simply want to communicate regarding game plans. Or, you know, if you want to use Queen Antonia Bayle of Qeynos for your "Phone a Friend" Lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
While how it will work isn't completely nailed down, it looks as if SOE and Vivox will offer local players you'll be able to call. After entering a personal pass code, you'll navigate a few menus to direct you to your destination and before you know it, you're in.
This phone-to-game functionality is scheduled to be included in SOE games that utilized Station Voice, like EverQuest II and Star Wars Galaxies some time this year.