Wii U Voice Chat: Great Feature, Bad Set Up

Essel Pratt On October 19, 2012 19.10.2012 with 12 Comments

All of us are anxious to find out more about the Wii U online gaming community.  Some feel that Nintendo’s lack of information points to a less than stellar experience, others feel that Nintendo won’t let us down.  Regardless, we all have to wait and see.

A small clue to the online gaming experience comes in the form of voice chat.  The Wii U will allow players to speak with one another, via a headset, much like Sony and Microsoft’s online community.  For me, this alone makes the online experience more robust than we have previously had.

Although I am excited to correspond with my teammates, and foes, in online battles, I am a bit worried about the set up.  Currently, the Wii U Pro controller does not have a headphone jack.  This means that, in order to use the headset, you must connect it to the Wii U game pad (the one with the screen).  Note, the gamepad does have a mic, but the mic is not compatible with online game play (at least at this time, but hopefully in the future).

Another downside is that there are only two officially licensed headsets currently available, from MadCatz and Turtle Beach  and neither of them are wireless, so as you play, with the Pro controller in hand, the head phones must be tethered to the Wii U game pad at your side.  It also appears as though voice chat will only work with the officially licensed controllers, although I am sure we will see third party’s creating their own versions (hopefully wireless) soon .  It is unclear whether any wired headset will work, so it is possible that it will use a proprietary connector (this has not been confirmed).  Another hope is that a future version of the pro controller will have a headphone jack.

Finally, it does not appear as though all multi-player games will even support the voice chat feature.  Most of the big titles, such as Assassin’s Creed III, will support the feature.  However, don’t expect to have an all day gaming marathon with friends while planning your next move in Black Ops.  The Pro controller will allow you to easily play for around 80 hours (rumored) on one battery charge, but the Wii U game pad only has an approximate 3-5 hour battery life.  So, you might need to take a break while the batteries recharge or sit quietly in the background.

I have faith that we will see a bluetooth headset soon, but until then, I am just happy to see that Nintendo has given us a more robust online experience by adding the voice chat.  Now, if only they will share more information about the online experience!

What are your thoughts

Essel Pratt

Essel Pratt

Essel Pratt has spent his life exploring his imagination and dreams. As a Husband and a Father, he doesn't have as much time to write as he would like. However, his mind is always plotting out his next story. Someday he hopes to quit the 9-5 grind and focus on writing full time. Currently, Essel has three published short stories and is working on a handful of novels. Essel focuses his writings on mostly Horror/Sci-Fi, however is known to add a dash of other genres into his writings as well. In his spare time, he can be found playing one of the 40+ video game consoles in his collection, especially his Wii U (NNID: EsselPratt). Click the links below to follow Essel's exploits in the writing world, and be sure to follow his blog at http://esselpratt.blogspot.com/ as well as his articles on Nerdzy.com.

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12 Responses to “Wii U Voice Chat: Great Feature, Bad Set Up”

  1. Schroedus says:

    I don’t know if I’ll even buy the Wii U Pro Controller (WUPC) due to me spending so much on games and the extra cost of the Wii U Deluxe.

  2. If they’re ONLY allowing the official headsets (Aside from third party one’s working on some in the future for the Wii U) for voice chat then that’s just stupid. I could’ve easily used my own wireless headphones for this but if Nintendo’s going to be that anal then I feel they still have alot to learn..

  3. EdEn says:

    Not a problem for me since I don’t do much online gaming. Also, this is a console launch. The Wii U has bluetooth which means that wireless headsets could be released later, but that for now accesory makers are manufacturing wired models.

  4. Lord Lemmy says:

    Call me weird, but it sort of bugged me seeing “Game Pad Pro” throughout the article, since only the controller with the screen is called the Game Pad, where as the one you are calling “Game Pad Pro” is actually called the “Wii U Pro Controller”. Seriously, I must be weird for THAT to bug me enough that it sorta distracted me from the main point of the article.

  5. Hitokiri_Ace says:

    Whelp, looks like it’s time to go under the radar again. All the over analytical articles that attempt to read into little bits of info are coming out… I mean.. I expect this from Kotaku, maybe even from the older days of Blake’s Infendo… but not now.. :/

    The original excerpt from Nintendo says those 2 wired headsets will work with the Game Pad. They also mention not every game will have chat support. ? Does that matter? I don’t need to chat to people while playing games that aren’t multi-player online games…

    I think everyone is just flipping out, wondering why on earth the new WiiU online system isn’t a clone of Live. Geez. For one thing it’s FREE… but apparently that doesn’t matter.

    (annoyed today. lol)

  6. wakko1337 says:

    First off, just to clear some stuff up and add to my pal Essel’s discussion.
    (It looks like Essel spilled some coffee on his keyboard again in some parts of this :P )

    You can voice chat with your friends OUTSIDE of the games just in the WiiU itself through a party chat just fine without headsets, as there is a mic on the GamePad.

    Second, it’s not really Nintendo’s decision whether or not third-party games get voice chat if you think about it…I’m sure all of THEIR online games will, but whatever Activision, EA, CAPCOM, and so on decide to do with their online base is their call don’t you think? I mean, yeah Nintendo wants a more streamlined online community, but it’s not like they’re making every game and setting all the rules here.

    Third, I’m pretty sure they also said you can use any headset, but the Turtle Beach and MadCatz ones are the only ones LICENSED by Nintendo and thus the only ones Nintendo will profit from if you purchase.

    Fourth, and this one is a maybe, but does anyone think that it’s a possibility that Nintendo will make a revised Pro Controller with a mic port? I mean it’s too late now, they’ve all been made, but I’m sure they might even have some on the assembly now and we’re just not being made aware? Just food for thought, since I highly doubt Nintendo would be so foolish.

    Finally, what the hell is the Game Pad Pro? You mean the Pro Controller? When I first read that I thought to myself “DANG am I really losing that much power with only my basic WiiU GamePad since it’ll only have 5 hours of life but the black one gets 80?” I get what you’re saying, and I’m sure everyone else does too, but clarity would be nice.

    Cheers!

  7. wakko1337 says:

    One more thing I want to add; I’m not worried about voice chat and stuff like that, the one thing I want Nintendo to clear up is if Basic owners will have the opportunity to purchase into the Elite thing they have going on with the Pro bundle that gives you points towards digital purchases and stuff.

  8. Cory says:

    “others feel that Nintendo won’t let us down” Who the hell thinks that? (in regards to online)

  9. The Adza says:

    Some launch games won’t have it. Partly due to Nintendo not giving them the info on how it all works, but mainly because launch games will be fairly rushed to make it to the launch date. It probably won’t be a standard thing on all online multi games for a while. Should it be there from day 1? Yes. Is it a deal breaker? No.

  10. Lord Lemmy says:

    @Cory
    Hey, I honestly think that Nintendo’s online quality won’t let us down this time around. Main reason is because every other time Nintendo had online connectivity, all it was was just an added experience, and never a main concern to Nintendo. I recall Nintendo actually making online playability a higher priority for Wii U than they’ve done before. In fact, the whole Miiverse thing suggests that it’s a very staple part of the console. Online playability was never planned as a staple part to any of their consoles prior to Wii U. So to me, it makes sense why their online sucked before, and I highly doubt it will fail us this time.

  11. EdEN says:

    @Wakko: Reggie said that the only way to get that is buying a Deluxe, and it is good for two years.

  12. wakko1337 says:

    I know he said it was good for two years when he announced it, but when did he say it was ONLY for Deluxe? I know it’s listed as a perk that only Deluxe users get free at launch, but last time I checked, it was a possibility that hadn’t been fully explained.

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