"Toying with Alexa: Playing Music Games with Virtual Assistants"

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In August 2022, Gameloft and FreshPlanet issued a press release announcing that their music quiz game SongPop was now available for Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. SongPop was initially released as a social game for smartphones and Facebook in 2012 and shares mechanics with “Name That Tune,” a radio and television programme from the 1950s. By 2015, the game had been downloaded 100 million times and continues to maintain its popularity via newer iterations and a growing number of playlists and platforms on which the game can be played.

Because a variety of “smart home” devices are Alexa-enabled, as are many headphones, speakers, watches, phones, speakers, and even cars, the press release boasts that “this means players are never far from some music trivia!” While this may be a selling point to some, it is disconcerting to others. Aside from long-standing concerns about privacy and corporate surveillance of users of virtual assistants (such as Alexa and Siri), SongPop itself has faced recent criticism related to the possible use of AI opponents (or bots) that encourage players to make in-game purchases in order to increase their chances of winning. In addition to addressing these issues, this paper will also discuss how this voice-forward game also raises additional issues related to accessibility as players negotiate the positive and negative aspects of this gamified sonic technology.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2023
EventLudo2023: Twelfth Annual Conference on Video Game Music and Sound - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Mar 202325 Mar 2023


ConferenceLudo2023: Twelfth Annual Conference on Video Game Music and Sound
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Alexa
  • smart home device
  • Internet of Things
  • music games
  • video games
  • artificial intelligence
  • algorithmic bias


Dive into the research topics of '"Toying with Alexa: Playing Music Games with Virtual Assistants"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this