The rise of the audio-only video game

Exploring the rise of audio-only games, their accessibility benefits, and future innovations.

: The article discusses the growing trend of audio-only video games, highlighting their significance in offering immersive gaming experiences without visuals. David Pierce talks with Paul Bennun about the history and future of these games, emphasizing their accessibility for visually impaired players. Innovations like spatial audio and advances in technology are making audio games more popular and feasible.

The world of video games is witnessing an intriguing evolution with the rise of audio-only games, a niche yet rapidly growing segment within the gaming industry. David Pierce, on The Vergecast, delves into this phenomenon through a discussion with Paul Bennun, a pioneer in the field of audio games. Bennun, with his extensive experience, shares insights into how audio-only games like Papa Sangre were developed and the unique gameplay experiences they offer. He underscores the technological advancements, such as the iPhone 4, which played a crucial role in making these games accessible and enjoyable by leveraging high-quality sound and spatial audio capabilities.

Bennun further argues that the present time, despite the dominance of visually-intensive games, is ripe for the renaissance of audio games. This is largely due to technological strides in spatial audio headphones, devices like the Vision Pro, and enhanced multiplayer and location-tracking features. Such developments open new avenues for audio games to create deeply immersive environments solely through sound, making them more appealing and accessible to a wider audience including those with visual impairments. The conversation also hints at new projects in the pipeline, suggesting ongoing innovation and interest in expanding the audio game genre.

The significance of audio-only games extends beyond entertainment, reaching into the realm of accessibility, where they serve as an inclusive medium for gamers who are visually impaired. This article not only sheds light on the past and present of audio games but also sparks curiosity about their future potential. By emphasizing the importance of sound in crafting immersive experiences and the technological advancements that facilitate this, the discussion points towards a promising horizon for audio-only video games. This underscores a broader movement within the gaming industry towards inclusivity and innovation, making games accessible and enjoyable for all.