While PepsiCo’s Doritos chips are popular with gamers, the loud crunch they make has long been a source of frustration.
The beverage and snacking giant estimated that 85% percent of U.S. gamers have consumed Doritos in the past three months. But at the same time, nearly a third of individuals reported that other people’s crunching distracts them from playing well and impacts their performance.
To “help gamers keep the crunch to themselves,” Doritos is debuting what it calls “Doritos Silent.” Gamers download Doritos Crunch Cancellation software and when the technology is turned on, the software detects the crunching sounds and silences it while keeping the gamer's voice intact.
"The connection between Doritos fans and the gaming community is undeniable," Fernando Kahane, global marketing head at PepsiCo, said in a statement. "Both boldly and unapologetically embrace their individual flavors. 'Doritos Silent' recognizes this bond and demonstrates the brand's continued commitment to innovation and elevating the experience for gamers who choose Doritos."
The software, which took six months to develop, used artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze more than 5,000 different crunch sounds.
While much of PepsiCo’s focus is on creating snacks or beverages that resonate with fickle consumers, Doritos Silent serves to make consuming the chip and gaming more enjoyable. The hope for Doritos and PepsiCo, of course, is to remove a major source of frustration, making the chip a more attractive snacking option.
At the same time, it keeps the crunch for the person eating Doritos, which according to PepsiCo, is a major reason people enjoy it in the first place.
Gaming remains an incredibly popular activity. Roughly 213 million Americans, or 65% of the population, play at least one hour of video games each week, according to the Entertainment Software Association. DataProt estimates the $197 billion video game market has 3.25 million gamers worldwide.