Character.AI just made talking to an avatar feel more real

Three examples of Character Calls on phones.

Character.AI, the hugely popular digital avatar startup, announced Thursday that users will now be able to hold real-time conversations with one of the company’s multitude of AI agents by placing a free, fictionalized Character Call on the app.

The company has been building intelligent chatbots designed to engage users in interactive conversations since the company’s founding in 2021. Initially, users could only interact with these characters as one would any other chatbot like Gemini or Claude, doing so via text. That changed in March 2024, when the company unveiled Character Voice, a suite of free tools including a library of more than a million AI-generated vocals built both by the team and its user community, which allowed users to speak with their selected avatars in one-on-one conversations.

Introducing Character Calls: Character.AI's latest Voice Feature

Thursday’s announcement streamlines the process of initiating a conversation. Using the Character.AI app, users simply place a call to their preferred avatar. While Character Voice was initially only available in English, avatars on Character Call can speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, “and many more” languages, according to the company. Character.AI envisions people using this feature for a variety of tasks (non-explicit, of course), from practicing a foreign language to getting their spiel down for an upcoming job interview to gaining confidence for a stressful social interaction — even adding an AI-generated party member to their next D&D campaign.

Unfortunately, we won’t likely see a return of the party lines that were popular in the 1970s, as the company recently removed its group chat room feature from the web-based version. There is, however, a simple workaround if you’d still like to try it for yourself.