How voice chat works on the Wii U

Like on PSN and Live, online games on Wii U will support voice chat... with a few caveats.


It's fair to say Nintendo's online efforts have been a bit behind-the-times. While Wii did support a number of online-connected games, Nintendo didn't offer much in terms of an integrated platform a la Xbox Live or PlayStation Network.

Wii U will be different, however. Already, a number of online-enabled games have been announced for the platform, including Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The experience will be held together through the (still oddly mysterious) Nintendo Network. And like on PSN and Live, online games on Wii U will support voice chat... with a few caveats.

Whereas Xbox Live allows cross-game party chat, Nintendo Network will not. According to Kotaku, support for in-game voice chat will be enabled for "select games" only, meaning developers will have to enable the feature. (This is not unlike how it works on PS3.)

Oddly, although the Wii U GamePad has a microphone built into it, you will not be able to use it for voice chat during games. Instead, you'll have to pick up an officially licensed third-party headset from either Turtle Beach or Mad Catz (Nintendo does not appear to be working on an official first-party solution). These start at around $40. This means voice chat will be a pricier affair on Wii U; Xbox 360 includes a headset with the console, while PS3 is compatible with any Bluetooth headset.

You won't be able to use a Wii U headset with the Pro Controller either, as that peripheral does not include the necessary headphone jack to plug into. Instead, you'll need to plug the headset into the unused GamePad controller whilst playing with the Pro Controller. Cumbersome? Perhaps. But, dedicated Wii fans should be used to having all sorts of peripherals lying around when playing games.

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  • reply
    October 19, 2012 10:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, How voice chat works on the Wii U.

    Like on PSN and Live, online games on Wii U will support voice chat... with a few caveats.

    • reply
      October 19, 2012 11:00 AM

      I must have missed that part in the article where it said the Wii U doesn't do cross game chat.....oh wait, that wasn't in the article. Cross game chat is an OS feature, it isn't something built into a game - which is what the article was about.

      Please stop writing posts based on vague and misleading statements made by a Nintendo rep rather than waiting for the official word from Nintendo. That same article states that the Wii U has bluetooth capabilities and Turtle Beach has said they plan to release a wireless headset, but couldn't get it out in time for launch. This puts it at least on par with PS3, and since the Wii U box and the pre-E3 video showed video and voice chat outside of games, clearly we are missing some information.

      • reply
        October 19, 2012 11:05 AM

        This is literally the first two bullet points in the Kotaku article:

        No universal support for in-game voice chat

        Game-by-game support for in-game chat

        • reply
          October 19, 2012 11:12 AM

          It really isn't....

          Universal support for in-game chat means that every game without question has a chat function. Neither the PS3 or 360 has that feature. Play Journey on the PS3 or Dark Souls on 360 to understand what I mean. The only chat is through the OS not through the game itself.

          You are confusing OS chat functions with in-game chat functions.

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            October 19, 2012 11:26 AM

            You can chat with anyone regardless of the game being played on the 360. That is the definition of cross-game chat. The article states this is not possible on the Nintendo Wii-U. It would be up to the developers to implement chat between different games. Do you think that will be implemented?

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              October 19, 2012 11:39 AM

              Just going by the Kotaku article:
              "Among the games supported will be Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty Black Ops II and Mass Effect 3, all games with significant online multiplayer modes and all which support in-game voice chat on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3."

              The fact that they specifically mention games that have "in-game" voice chat (such as talking to your teammates in a Halo team deathmatch, vs an OS Xbox party) is probably the reason he's being picky. It also turns the "no universal in-game chat" point at the bottom a little ambiguous when it normally would mean exactly what you said.

              Either way, Nintendo really needs to just answer a yes/no question about OS chat, and that'll be the end of this discussion.

          • reply
            October 19, 2012 11:29 AM

            >> Universal support for in-game chat means that every game without question has a chat function.

            Why would it mean that? Surely it means that there is OS level API support for using voice chat in a game. Instead of it being up to the developer to figure it out on their own.

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              October 19, 2012 12:16 PM

              After the article was initially posted it has already been updated to include a statement from PDP to say it will have a wireless headset and may support any mic-enabled headphones. Yesterday, people were strangely concluding it wouldn't have wireless headsets at all just because of this very article. It's been a single day and new information came out saying there are more options than originally assumed!

              Also, this is a quote from a Nintendo rep - NOT an official word from Nintendo about anything. Wait until the presentation on the Miiverse before jumping to conclusions about how chat will work with your friends (which is what party chat is).

              I mean seriously, the article says:

              "That rep believes that gamers might be able to use a standard set of headphones that contain a mic (iPhone headphones, for example) with the GamePad, but that's not something I've been able to clarify yet with Nintendo."

              Does this sound like the rep has all the facts? Why would he need clarification if things were clear? Considering how guarded they've been about their online Miiverse plans, do you think the rep has any idea on how that works?

    • reply
      October 20, 2012 7:39 AM

      Why do so many people not give Nintendo more abuse for their terrible systems and user procedures!!

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      October 22, 2012 8:57 AM

      So... it might as well not support voice chat. There are good reasons why microsoft made it so easy to get a headset for your 360. If more people have it, then more people are likely to use it and convince others to use it.

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        October 22, 2012 9:02 AM

        In other words, $40 for a wii-u headset is money I'd rather spend a billion other ways. I'LL NEVER use a wii-u headset unless it comes with my damn console. I actually don't like the idea of cross-game-os chat because it means that even when a guy with a mic does join your game, he might be chatting with someone else instead. He should be talking to you because you're on a team trying to coordinate.

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