Tech mistake |Amazon has announced a new Alexa Skills Challenge with €50,000 of prize money up for grabs. The focus this time is games and what makes it novel is that it is limited to Europe. In order to be eligible, developers must submit their game in German or English to the Alexa Skills Store on amazon.de or amazon.co.uk by October 17, 2018. You must be a resident of Austria, Germany, Ireland or the United Kingdom to participate. (If you are in the U.S. and want to participate in a contest, Amazon is also running Tech for Good Alexa skill challenge. Learn more here.)

All participants will receive an Alexa Skills Challenge hoodie and ten finalists will receive €2,500 each. The top winners in the UK and Germany will each receive another €10,000. There are also bonus prizes for Best Game Skill for Echo Show & Echo Spot, Best Voice Adaptation of a Game, Customer’s Choice for the game with the highest number of users during the judging period, Best Game Skill for Kids and Best Localized Game. Each winner in the bonus categories will receive €2,500 and an Echo Spot. Prizes will be split among team members. Judges will be:

  • Markus Schwerdtel, Co-chief editor of game magazine GameStar
  • Liam Sorta, Technical Evangelist at Unity Technologies
  • Tim Kahle, CEO of 169 Labs
  • Fabrice Rousseau, General Manager Europe Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service

ALEXA SKILLS CHALLENGE BOOSTS PARTICIPATION AND DISCOVERY

Amazon has run a number of contests that offer cash prizes for new Alexa skills in the U.S. Previous categories have included making life more enjoyable, life hacks and kids skills. The strategy is pretty simple. Offer cash prizes as an incentive for developers to invest in building out a creative skill that includes a lot of value. Knowing that it will be judged and only the best skills will have a chance to win provides added incentive to deliver high quality. So, Amazon gets a quick influx of new skills for users to try and many tend to be high quality.

The added benefit is the presence of a contest creates an opportunity for skill promotion and discovery. Many media outlets will cover the winners as news and provide wider exposure for the Alexa skills among consumers. This is good for skill developers because it drives discovery beyond traditional marketing channels and good for Amazon because it keeps Alexa in the news around the types of skills the company would like to highlight. In addition, developers that win are likely to get a lot of additional user sessions which in turn are likely to help them qualify for developer rewards. It’s a win all around.

To my knowledge, Google has only had one of these contests. Given the lower number of Google Actions compared to Alexa skills, it is a strategy to revisit to boost interest in the voice assistant among developers. You can read more about the latest Alexa Skills Challenge for Europe and sign up here.

The article was originally published here.