Samsung's digital assistant, Bixby, is about to get less generous. The company has announced that it's shutting down gamification elements of Bixby — little incentives that bribed users with rewards in exchange for using the assistant.
My Bixby Level, as Samsung calls it, will fold Aug. 10, immediately a day after it unveils the Galaxy Note 9. The feature gives out rewards for users who play with, and learn how to use, Bixby. Rewards range from new background colors to Samsung Pay points, which can be used as discounts for Samsung products, or as contest entries for the company's occasional competitions.
My Bixby Level Is Shutting Down
As The Verge reports, the background color options will still be available to use. However, it's unclear whether or not Samsung will just make it available for everyone now that the rewards system is going away. On this front, the messaging is somewhat unclear, but it's not like background colors are anything to die for, so probably not a lot of people will care if they're removed entirely.
Samsung didn't say why it's shutting down the feature, although it's easy to imagine that a number of users got increasingly frustrated with how the company repeatedly attempted to forcefully push Bixby into the spotlight.
Another possibility could be that a sufficient number of users are now using Bixby regularly. It used to be fairly easy to earn My Bixby Level points — users got them by doing something as simple as issuing commands. But Samsung later made it much more complicated, which probably indicates the company realized a lot of people were doing simple Bixby stuff to get points, and now, it no longer needs to give out rewards just for using the assistant.
Bixby debuted via the Galaxy S8 in 2017, and the fact that Samsung made its own digital assistant — with a physical key dedicated to invoke it as well — surprised many, given that Google already has an excellent digital assistant on Android, one that can perform all of Bixby's skills and often performs them much better. It still gets a bad rap these days, largely because Samsung refuses to let customers easily remap the Bixby button for other functions.
In any case, it's hard to see Bixby ever flourishing to the degree where Google Assistant has, given that it's only available on Samsung devices, and not all users even really like using it over Google's own solution. Time, however, will tell.