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Wii U's Baffling Voice Chat Solution Revealed
🤬 gamers will have to work a bit harder for a very basic feature.
Will Wii U support online voice chat? Until today, that was one of the many questions still outstanding as Nintendo's new console approached its launch. Many have wondered how the publisher plans to approach online play, and a big element of that is how gamers will be able to communicate with each other. The answer to voice chat, it turns out, is 'yes' - but with some very strange choices being made along the way.
Wii U will support voice chat, but not as a universal, system-based feature. Nintendo has instead opted to allow developers to include the feature on a game-by-game basis. In a strange move, however, the GamePad's built-in mic will apparently not be the default source for voice chat.The publisher revealed that gamers will likely have to turn to third-party options to find headsets with built-in mics, and then plug those accessories into the Pad itself. Here is the company's statement:
"Wii U will have in-game chat functionality for select games, including, but not limited to, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Assassin’s Creed III and Mass Effect 3. This feature will be supported by licensed stereo headsets that plug directly into the headphone port of the Game Pad. Licensed headsets are available from Turtle Beach and TRITTON."
Things get more confusing from here. Though the GamePad has a plug to support headsets, the Pro controller does not. That immediately cuts off the option of plugging in a headset for voice chat. It appears gamers wishing to use voice chat with the Pro controller will need to plug their third party hardware into the GamePad while playing a game supporting the voice feature.
There are still some outstanding questions about Wii U's communication capabilities, however. In its various E3 2012 briefings, Nintendo did reveal video chat functionality, which uses the GamePad's mic to communicate. Though this seemed to be implemented through Miiverse in a fashion that paused a game, it doesn't seem to be out of the realm of possibility to allow the GamePad to directly support voice chat, or video chat, during play, though how that might impact the system's performance is anyone's guess. Likewise, while Wii U currently has no announced wireless headsets, future hardware support from third parties might greatly alleviate this convoluted situation. Nintendo had not announced any official headset accessories.
We'll keep you posted of any developments in this strange scenario. Long story short - it seems as though core gamers are going to have a couple extra steps to get their voice chat working if they opt to use the more familiar Pro controller.
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