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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