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Fonix joins Sony middleware program

Voice recognition specialist heralds "great opportunity".

Implementing control systems which use voice recognition in PlayStation 2 games is set to become easier, with voice recognition systems developer Fonix announcing that it has signed up to Sony's Tools and Middleware program.

Up until now the use of voice recognition in games has been fairly limited, although Fonix' own software has been used in the likes of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 and SWAT: Global Strike Team on the Xbox.

On the PS2, only the innovative Operator's Side (due for launch in the USA as LifeLine), in which the player interacts with the game entirely by speaking to the lead character through a voice headset, and Zipper Interactive's first-party SOCOM titles, stand out as examples of voice controlled gameplay.

However, this should hopefully change when Fonix brings its technology to PS2 developers early this year, with the company hopeful that new games will be able to implement the technology as early as summer.

"Participating in SCEI's Tools and Middleware program is a great opportunity for Fonix," according to Fonix vice president Tim K. Hong. "The Fonix solution allows game developers to implement voice commands without requiring large amounts of memory."

Sony is keen to experiment with alternative control systems following the massive success of the EyeToy camera peripheral, and the company is known to be considering building a next-generation version of EyeToy - which also incorporates a microphone - into the PlayStation 3 specification.