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Kevin Smith

Wanna Gamble? Speak Up!

19 February 2001

WENR Corporation didn’t set out to develop a revolutionary suite of voice command and control casino games.

While trying to keep users coming back to their voice command software, the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Screenfriends developed add-ons for its software. It was believed then that the add-ons, such as games, would entice users back to the product.

As soon as the product was demonstrated to company officials, they realized they had something special on their hands.

"We were just blown away by it," said WERN spokesperson Dan Green.

The company has already developed two casino games, blackjack and poker, and has begun adding to its bundle of voice command and control software designed to simplify computer and web navigation.

Green said that while initially the offerings will encompass just the two games, expanding the options would be an easy task.

"We are not looking to rewrite everyone’s programs," he said. "But we can license it to any developer so they can make their games voice activated. Almost all games out there can become voice activated."

During the early phase of testing, Green said the games were nearly flawless. He said playing a game of blackjack without ever touching the mouse was something to see.

"I could sit there and say, ‘hit,’ ‘double-down,’ ‘increase bet or decrease bet,’ ‘stick’ or any other command for the game," he said. "You look at craps, roulette or any other casino game and it can be done, even slots."

Green said the technology could even be applied to other computer games that are popular right now.

"You have these games now, and you could be saying ‘fire,’ ‘turn left,’ ‘turn right,’ instead of using a joystick or control pad," he said.

Despite sitting on cutting edge technology that could change the gaming industry, Green insists his company is not changing its focus.

"We are not getting into the games business," Green said. "We are talking to some game companies, but that is way down the line."

What WENR does offer through its voice activated software is a very strategic one-on-one marketing agreement. The ScreenFriends Personal Inter(Face)(TM) product is a patent-pending software combining voice recognition, animated characters and computer response technologies. ScreenFriends characters are interchangeable and can be customized to promote any corporate sponsor online or offline 24/7.

"We can brand the games with a company’s logos and other information," he said. "We can bundle that with other promotions and items that will give the company great feedback on who their customers are."

For computer users, the software requires no training to receive rich media and dynamic promotional content over the web. ScreenFriends will open and close programs, surf the Web, read e-mail, and deliver stock quotes, news, movie reviews, weather reports, etc. Companies are using ScreenFriends to increase website traffic, deliver electronic coupons, increase brand awareness and offer special promotions direct to their desired demographic.

ScreenFriends Corp. was founded in 1998 and acquired by WENR Corp. in October of 2000. WENR is a holding company that began implementing an Internet/marketing focus earlier in the year with the acquisition of Global Image Technologies.

Americans purchased more than 215 million video and computer games in 1999 as game software sales revenues hit an all-time high of $6.1 billion, according to figures released by the Interactive Digital Software Association.

Wanna Gamble? Speak Up! is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith