Telecoms startup Vivox has an intriguing vision, and an ambitiously-named product; "Immersion" aims to add voice chat to online games, with both persistent chat for guilds and dynamic chat for instancing. The product also seems to tie together various text-based chat methods, including regular messengers such as Yahoo and AIM as well as in-game chat.

By supplying the (scalable) infrastructure for this service, Vivox hope Immersion will take the burden of providing voice chat away from game manufacturers, while making communication centralised and seamless for players. However, there are already several products that already achieve this -- many guilds have Ventrilo or TeamSpeak servers, while Xfire provides cross-game chatting. Vivox can go either way; it could corner another segment of this fragmented market, or -- if the company manage to deal directly with game developers -- it could become the one-stop-shop communication solution for gamers regardless of their MMO of choice.

It'll be interesting to see which way the company goes; voice chat is certainly billed as the next stage of interactivity with MMOs, with Xbox Live gamers testifying to the added dimensions voice can add to various game genres. A recent press release on Vivox's website points to another direction in which the technology could become useful -- adding voice and centralised communication to online dating and social sites -- but reaching saturation point is going to be a tricky ride.