Wii U voice chat issue may spoil hardcore sessions

By Alan Ng - Oct 22, 2012

The Nintendo Wii U is considered by many to be the answer to proper ‘hardcore’ gaming on a Nintendo console, after the original Wii failed to deliver. Hardcore gaming is going to be possible thanks to the additional Pro Controller, but one key component of the package may be missing after details have emerged regarding the Wii U’s voice chat capabilities.

Nintendo has pulled off something of a coup by managing to get Activision to provide Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on the system along with current home consoles and PC. As seasoned COD pros will know though, one main area of successful online play resides in the ability to participate in smooth in-game voice chat with your clan members.

While this is no problem on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, Nintendo may be guilty of not being clear enough with fans on how the Wii U console will handle voice chat itself. It’s now been confirmed that voice-chat will not be possible using the Pro Controller accessory, with only select titles on a game-by-game basis having built-in voice chat support.

Black Ops 2 is one of these titles along with Assassin’s Creed 3 and Mass Effect 3, but it looks like you’ll be forced to use the GamePad to make use of Wii U voice chat, even if you are not using the GamePad as your primary controller. Even then, you won’t be able to use the built-in microphone on the GamePad, as Nintendo has said that consumers will have to purchase a third-party headset from the likes of Turtle Beach, which will plug into the 3.5mm jack on the GamePad – a jack which is not present on the Pro Controller.

Having said that, we’ve since learned that some headsets will still work using the USB port on the controller, but you have to say that the whole issue could have been made a lot simpler from the start. The average person is probably very likely to use the Pro Controller when playing FPS games on the Wii U, and it is going to be ridiculous to have to move the GamePad close to you, in order to successfully connect a headset.

With the addition of a proper online marketplace for the Wii U like the PS3, and Xbox 360, it’s clear that Nintendo really want to close the gap in the online stakes with the Wii U. Has the company possibly shot themselves in the foot though over the confusions surrounding voice chat? Let us know how this affects you if you are / were planning to buy the console next month.

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  • Jimmy James

    In my opinion the wii u, was the best console ever designed. Better than my sega gensis, better than my ds collection, better Than my game cube, my pcs, and nes, and so forth the problem…. Is management what a blunder, everything from eshop, to party chat, is backwards and an aweful exxperience. Even mii verse is cool when it comes to picture time but who wants to be a mii? Id sooner be a dinosaur

  • david

    it doesn’t affect me in any way.. just pre ordered 2 of them…

  • mabye i would but it if they made a good star fox game. its only been like 12 years since the last decent, non rehash release

  • Nintendo for me, since I was younger, used to be that special company that made games like Donkey Kong, Zelda, Mario and Pokemon come alive. Now their going for a new market, is cool, but I don’t feel it, I mean if I were to buy a WiiU it ain’t for CoD or MassEffect3(wtf), but for traditional gaming. Gaming in groups like on Super Smash Bros. or just alone in a imaginary world as Zelda. I hope one day Nintendo will understand, that it isn’t because Microsoft or Sony make money on titles like CoD that it is a must have, they could just improve on something else, like imagine a new Pokemon game on the WiiU that would playable like the ones on Nintendo DS, it would be wonderfull.

    • Paul Phillips

      I get this point but want to support the 3rd party efforts too and will purchase games I would have bought for other systems like CoD or Mass Effect, I’m totally off playing on my XBOX online at the min and would like to give the Wii U community a chance before I switch off online gaming all together. But the wait between Zelda, Mario and DK games is probably going to be bigger than ever before with the added grunt Nintendo can play with in their games, hopefully the 3rd party devs will step up with a few classics between now and the next Zelda eg: I hope we get a new pandora’s tower or a Dark Souls port/sequel

  • Paul Phillips

    I think a lot of people seemed to think the Pro controller was for CoD as there was that silly story that Activision forced them to make it just before E3. I think in actual fact the pro controller was created to play VC games like their Pro Controller on Wii was just an upgrade of the VC controller and some dev’s used it. I think more often than not, having paid for a system that comes with a tablet controller as it’s hook, most people will be playing games on the tablet and until turtle beach make the official bluetooth headset the pro controller will be used for VC games which dont support chat? Please tell me it’s not just me who feels this way.

  • TheQuinn

    Im incredibly dissapointed with this. The thing that makes the Xbox good is party chat, where you can talk to your mates even if they’re playing different games a la conference calling. Making the wii u have in game only chat massively reduces its ability to become a social platform, and the next iterations of the xbox/ps3 will no doubt dominate the next gen.

    • jimmy

      they wont touch nintendo this time around. they simply dont have the inspiration, resouces or knowledge base to compete.

      • Yeah okay jimmy keep dreaming And then you woke up The Nintendo Wii u won’t even Support call of duty elite or Dlc And now the voice chat is all screwed up This system is less than a month away And you don’t even know what the online is going to be like i doubt it’s going to be like the PS3 or the Xbox 360 I pre-ordered one and change my mind real quick after I Heard the news Some people are going to be disappointed Maybe not diehard Nintendo fans Because you can give them anything that Nintendo makes and They’ll love it Regardless

  • Anton Obyedkov

    If you guys blamed on Nintendo about voice chat (They should make all Library of voice chat supported), I’ll blame at the Sony and Microsoft because Of two reasons why. One: Sony is the greedy Company so that nobody will care about PS3 anymore. Two: Microsoft (New Atari), It maybe a good company but they share Missteps. I don’t say I hate Nintendo because of missteps, I only say that I’m going to make a group on the website so that people will support Nintendo Wii U so that Wii U will once again will win like what they did to the Wii few years back.

  • Nintendo is leaving everything to the devs. How they use the tech is up to them. It’s already been confirmed that the game makers determine weather the voice chat is done USB or 3.5 mm jack (or both would be the best bet) This is just another reason to put Nintendo down. But noone seems to considers the options or reviews the facts.