Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, is a handy helper. She can answer our questions, control our smart homes, tell us the news and weather, set alarms and timers, play music and control our Fire TVs.
And Alexa can be fun! Ask her to tell you a joke, say, “Good morning” to her to find out a fun fact about the date, and play games with her.
What makes games even more fun is Echo Buttons. These accessories were launched by Amazon last month and pair with Echo smart speakers to work with games.
About Echo Buttons
Players can hit the Buttons to answer questions that Alexa asks in fun games. Alexa has game skills that work with Buttons so players can compete against each other. The Buttons can act as buzzers in multiple player games, or may be part of the game itself as players tap a Button to choose an answer.
Echo Buttons cost $10 each and are sold in pairs by Amazon. Up to four Echo Buttons can pair with an Echo so a game can have up to four players vying for the win. Some games can be played with one player, others require two or more players.
Echo Buttons are compatible with Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus and Echo Spot.
Each Echo Button is powered by batteries, which are included in the box. The Buttons are shaped like a hockey puck and light up. They light up in different colors, depending on the games that are being played.
This video from Amazon shows how Echo Buttons work:
Pairing Echo Buttons
Each Button, up to four, must be paired to an Echo for it to work. Pairing is simple, just ask Echo to “pair an Echo Button.” She will ask you to press the Button for about 10 seconds, then it will flash a color showing that it has been paired. Repeat to pair all of your Buttons.
Note that Amazon has other ways for you to pair Echo Buttons, but asking Alexa to do it is by far the easiest way to pair.
You can pair up to four Echo Buttons to an Echo. You can only pair an Echo Button to one Echo at a time. If you want to pair a Button with a different Echo device, just ask Alexa to unpair the Echo Button, then pair it with a different Echo.
After you pair your Buttons, you’re ready to play!
Echo Button Games
What can you play with Echo Buttons? For now, you can play compatible games.
You can ask Alexa, “What games can I play with Echo Buttons?” She will list the games you can play.
You can also check out the Echo Buttons Skills Page to see a list of games you can play using Echo Buttons.
As of this writing, Alexa only has nine games that work with Echo Buttons. But the good news is that so far all of these games are free.
One of the most popular games to play with Echo Buttons is Trivial Pursuit. This game can be played with 2-4 players and involves answering questions in six different categories. The Buttons glow the color of the category before a question is asked.
Players must answer a question correctly in all six categories, then answer a final question to win the game.
Testing Echo Buttons
I gave four Echo Buttons to my three daughters and their cousin for Christmas. The quickly paired the Buttons to our Echo Show and began playing Trivial Pursuit. I didn’t have to persuade them to continue using the Buttons, they played for hours and the giggles were plentiful.
They were able to play other games as well, and didn’t encounter any hitches or problems playing. A fun time was had by all.
The Future of Echo Buttons
For now, Echo Buttons are limited to nine compatible games, but that is an increase from only four games when the Buttons launched in December. Also Tech Crunch is reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week that Amazon will be increasing the number of games.
Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa, told Tech Crunch, “I think you’ll see a lot more games come out this year that take advantage of the buttons.” Amazon may even expand the use of Echo Buttons beyond gaming.
Do you like the idea of Amazon’s Echo Buttons? Would you like to be able to play games with Alexa? What uses would you like to see for Echo Buttons beyond gaming?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!