WiiU

Wii U Supports Third-Party Headsets, No Voice Chat Via GamePad Microphone

by Tom Malina - October 20, 2012, 2:26 pm PDT
Total comments: 22 Source: http://kotaku.com/5952858/you-can-voice+chat-on-th..., (Description), (Kotaku)

Nintendo confirms support for MadCatz and Turtle Beach headsets, plus three launch-day games that use them.

The Wii U will support online, in-game voice chat via licensed third-party headsets, but not via the GamePad's microphone and speaker, a Nintendo representative told Kotaku.

Peripheral and accessory manufacturers Mad Catz and Turtle Beach have both confirmed wired stereo headsets that will be compatible with the Wii U, by plugging them into the GamePad's headphone jack. However, contrary to a sizzle reel of the console's features shown at E3 2012, the mic and speaker on the GamePad controller will not function as an input for voice chat by default.

Launch games confirmed to include voice chat functionality through the Mad Catz and Turtle Beach headsets are Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Assassin's Creed III, and Mass Effect 3: Special Edition. 

In the case of Black Ops II, an Activision spokesperson confirmed that players using the Wii U Pro Controller would still need the GamePad handy to plug their headset into, as the Pro Controller does not have a headphone jack. The spokeperson did, however, also state that it might be possible to utilise mic-enabled headphones for voice chat on Wii U.

PDP, known for releasing the Headbanger headset on Wii, have also claimed that their Afterglow wireless headset will work on the system, although there is no confirmation as to the extent of its compatibility.

The Nintendo rep said that in-game voice chat is not integrated at a universal level and thus is not required by every game with an online multiplayer component. Rather, the option will be available on a game-by-game basis.

Talkback

SonofMrPeanutOctober 20, 2012

I personally don't have a problem with the limitation of headsets to the Gamepad (scroll down for other criticism).  At the very least, I can understand where they're coming from with that, considering how Nintendo is choosing to approach their controllers. 


From what I've seen since E3 (and especially across September), Nintendo is intent on the Gamepad being the personal controller (1-Player/Online) and the WUP (Wii U Pro) being the local-multiplayer solution.  Sure 3rd-parties might let players use the WUP online, but that's not Nintendo's purpose for it.  Since a headset would only be used for online play, it would make sense to put the headset into the online controller. 


Nintendo Logic aside, it may be possible to still have voice chat with the WUP despite the lack of a port (it's never been debunked, as far as I know).  I'm theorizing that the Gamepad would be perpetually operating in order to keep communication w/ the console (potentially giving you a way to exit Wii Mode).  As such, it could still operate as a map-screen and headset channel for WUP solo-player.  It might be too clunky for some to justify, but I'm actually okay with this setup if my theory about the Gamepad's constant communication holds true.


Two things that I can't justify are Nintendo's decisions to not make a 1st-party headset and to not make voice chat part of the system structure.  I do appreciate Nintendo's willingness to leave certain areas to those who know them better, like the streaming services and cable companies who are participating in Nintendo TVii, but this is a physical accessory that should have been more involved in their major plan.  I understand Nintendo's achievements being on a game-by-game basis, given the separate game profiles that compose Miiverse, but there's no good reason to do this with voice chat.  Voice chat is voice chat, and no game will offer a unique spin on it like it could with achievements.  It works the same between all games, so it's the kind of thing that needs to be part of the central structure.  Hopefully this is the kind of thing that can be addressed in a firmware update (it just might be the cleverest, most dickish anti-piracy move ever), but this isn't how Nintendo should be getting this system out of the gate.

BlackNMild2k1October 20, 2012

Didn't Turtle beach confirm their heads at E3, even though they didn't have any to display at the time?

SonofMrPeanutOctober 20, 2012

They sure did, and last month they confirmed a model coming by the end of the year.  http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/19/turtle-beach-producing-wii-u-headsets/

CericOctober 20, 2012

Alright, that's terrible.  It has a mic.  It has a speaker.  If you don't want them used...  LEAVE THEM OUT.

AdrockOctober 20, 2012

I understand Nintendo wanting people to use the GamePad as the main controller, but handicapping the Wii U Pro Controller is a strange (yet not surprisingly characteristic) choice. There are countless games that allow more than one person to play online from a single console which makes the headset-plugged-into-the-GamePad approach faulty at best, unacceptable at worst. The Wii U Pro Controller is already a hard sell at $50. If it had feature parity with the GamePad minus the screen (and TV button) of course, you could kind of make a case to justify its price.

Still, I don't think this will be an issue if we start hearing about wireless headsets and Nintendo introduces a universal voice chat solution. Right now, it just seems like the X or Y that Nintendo messes up on every new hardware they launch. Most recently, we saw 3DS with its lack of a built-in right circle pad and Day 1 eshop availability (and internet browser if you want to count that). Neither were necessary per se, but their absence was a bit baffling. Universal voice chat isn't a necessity for the console to function; it's just something everyone expects. The way voice chat is being handled at launch (up to 3rd parties, only with GamePad) is just the mushy, wrinkled up cherry on top.

StogiOctober 20, 2012

NiinFUMMMBBBLLEEEEEEE!!!!

Pixelated PixiesOctober 21, 2012

'an Activision spokesperson confirmed that players using the Wii U Pro Controller would still need the GamePad handy to plug their headset into, as the Pro Controller does not have a headphone jack.'

Oh, Nintendo! You're so wacky (and by wacky I mean incompetent.).

joshnickersonOctober 21, 2012

So the video chat Nintendo showed off at E3... is that something that's basically OS based (meaning, to use it, you'd have to suspend the game you are currently playing and open it up from the main menu, sort of like how the web browser is used on the 3DS)?

ymeegodOctober 21, 2012

You could just use an blue tooth wireless headset ;0.  PDP-Afterglow 2.0 is one but I believe older sets will works just as well.  "although there is no confirmation as to the extent of its compatibility."  It's written on the box :) . 

It uses an usb transmitter for mic support (still has 3/4 jack for MS though) so I'm taking a wild leap and say that most older "wireless" headsets that work with the PS3 should work as well.

PodingsOctober 21, 2012

Alright, no offense guys, but every site on the web has run with this story without doing a minimum of thinking for themselves. Same goes for many many commenters.


The speakers and mic on the GamePad are, beside being a little on the crappy side, built into a device that has lots of buttons and sticks with tactile and slightly audible feedback.


Using them for voice chat in a Call of Duty match would be "Hey guCLACK CLICKITY you TAPPATAPPA for CLACK CLONKem?".


If Nintendo had decided to allow this, they would NOT hear the end about how crappy and cheap their system was.


This is, I suspect, part of why the young guy in the pre E3 video was shown talking to the elderly gent without touching the device.


Not including a headphone jack in the pro controller has to do with price and battery life. They KNOW someone using the pro controller also has a GamePad. Just keep it nearby and plug the headset into that. Not ideal, I guess, but saves on parts and manufacturing complexity, and as I hear it, people are already complaining the pro controller is expensive.

AdrockOctober 21, 2012

Quote from: Podings

Not including a headphone jack in the pro controller has to do with price and battery life. They KNOW someone using the pro controller also has a GamePad. Just keep it nearby and plug the headset into that. Not ideal, I guess, but saves on parts and manufacturing complexity, and as I hear it, people are already complaining the pro controller is expensive.

The Pro Controller is expensive because Nintendo is pushing profit margins (and parity with PS3/360). It has nothing to do with the parts and manufacturing which at this point are worth about a much as a few jelly beans and maybe a handful of random Legos. Really, a headphone jack is not an expensive part. It likely would have added cents to manufacturing, not dollars. Nintendo could have added everything that's in a Wii Remote into the Pro Controller and still made a crazy profit on it.

I expect Nintendo to still hear how "crappy and cheap" their system is considering it can't do something right out of the box that 360 did ages ago. I'm not saying I agree with that sentiment, but that opinion holds some water.

PodingsOctober 21, 2012

Quote:

The Pro Controller is expensive because Nintendo is pushing profit margins .... I expect Nintendo to still hear how "crappy and cheap" their system is considering it can't do something right out of the box that 360 did ages ago. I'm not saying I agree with that sentiment, but that opinion holds some water.

Cost IS a factor. Deciding early on they don't want a headphone jack on the pro controller means, aside from parts, a lot of considerations around layout, wireless transmission, battery life and assembly never have to be made. As you said yourself, Nintendo wants a profit on this thing, so they can sell the base system cheaper.
And please don't pretend the bits inside the Wiimote just come for free now.


It's true that they're probably gonna hear about how cheap their system is anyway. If the 360 is the comparison though, the Wii did a lot of things out the box that the 360 didn't, like WIFI and motion control, and an actual web browser. Likewise, the Wii U is not pretending to be the 360, and people can't both complain about how much the pro controller, a seperately sold peripheral, looks like the 360 controller, and then also complain about what it does differently.

In general I think people quite often confuse the two seperate issues of sound financial decisions and costomer appeal. Just because something doesn't ring quite true with the consumer doesn't mean there wasn't a good reason to do it.

FjurbanskiOctober 21, 2012

It might suck, but at the same time I can understand the logic behind it.


You don't want to use the built in gamepad mic while playing, because you'll get sounds from your voice, the clicking of the buttons, other people's voices, and maybe even your tv. It would probably work fine for out of game voice/video chat, just like skype or something, but in game it would just be a nuisance.


Also, Nintendo probably wants people to use the gamepad as the primary controller, while the pro is for local multiplayer, since you can't have 4 gamepads. So not including a headset plug-in on the pro would make sense to nintendo that way, even if it doesn't make sense to us. The problem is that a lot of people are vehemently against using anything other than the pro controller (especially for multiplayer games like CoD). Lots of people want the pro controller to be their main controller (even though it isn't supposed to be), so obviously they'll be very annoyed with the lack of features it has. (personally I'll be using the gamepad as much as possible, so it's no big deal to me).


Oh well. Hopefully for everyone's sake we'll be able to use wireless usb headsets. Then all the problems will go away.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterOctober 21, 2012

When I play Pokemon online with voice chat on 3ds or ds I do hear a lot of clicking and clacking from the buttons. I suppose a head set while playing games is best. Still I'll get one wired head set and eventually wireless ones so I don't have to worry about anything. PS3 users don't have a way to plug them into their controllers right?

AdrockOctober 21, 2012

Quote from: Podings

Cost IS a factor. Deciding early on they don't want a headphone jack on the pro controller means a lot of considerations around layout, wireless transmission, battery life and assembly never have to be made.

How do you figure they decided that early? All hardware including and especially peripherals go through several phases and prototypes. Nintendo likely made all of those considerations. Did Nintendo have good reasons to go with X and not Y? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on who you're asking.

I admit I'm skeptical. Microsoft made it work 7 years ago and technology only gets better. The Pro Controller reportedly touts an 80 hour battery life. If something like battery life was such a concern for the Pro Controller, it should be even more so for the GamePad which Nintendo themselves estimate at 3-5 hours.

Quote:

And please don't pretend the bits inside the Wiimote just come for free now.

Never said "free." I'm not gullible enough to believe those parts cost anywhere near as much as they did a few years ago.

Quote from: Caterkiller

PS3 users don't have a way to plug them into their controllers right?

Not their controllers. It would have been nice if they could though. PS3 mainly uses Bluetooth earpieces (I'm not a fan of them). Sony has a wired USB headset that plugs into the console itself. It's about $20. They also have the pricey but really nice Pulse headsets that are wireless via a USB dongle. I think that's the route Nintendo will go for Wii U once they announce wireless headsets. I'm not too worried about the headset part. It's odd that the Pro Controller doesn't have a jack, but I think that will eventually work itself out once wireless comes into play. The lack of universal chat is a bigger issue and one I hope Nintendo addresses as soon as possible.

The GamePad has a jack mainly for people to listen to the audio when playing a game entirely on it. I think that, and the fact that the GamePad is supposed to be the standard controller for single player, are why the Pro controller doesn't have one.

Xero!October 22, 2012

Okey dokey. That settles it. Imma get the 3DS Power A headset if I ever decide I want a voice chat enabled game. Was just waiting to find out if headsets of that sort in general work.

PlugabugzOctober 22, 2012

Provide bluetooth in the system (in addition to the USB ports) so we can use wired or wireless headsets. Then enable a variety of voice platforms like skype and google talk to handle voice chat.

It is handing off the problem entirely to another network, but we at least know skype works how it should do.

ejamerOctober 22, 2012

I'm totally ok with requiring headsets - especially after putting the Wii Speak accessory to use in several games. Headsets just plain work better.


I'm totally ok with no input on the Pro Controller. It won't be long before there are wireless headsets, so it really won't matter that much.


But it's disappointing to hear that chat is game dependent and not being supported as a system-level feature. Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't that one of the key complaints with PS3 online functionality? Something that 360 has done for a long time? Why couldn't Nintendo get this right out of the gate?  (Oh right... this is Nintendo.)

Nintendo is obviously taking a fairly hands-off approach to how developers use online features on Wii U. Contrast their stance with Microsoft's - they have gradually refined their list of TCRs (Technical Certification Requirements) over the life cycle of the Xbox 360, so that all developers must comply with certain rules and put certain features in their games before they can be certified e.g. they must have this many achievements worth this much gamerscore etc. Contrast their stance with Sony's - they demand that anyone who wants to release a game on PlayStation Vita has to make it downloadable from PSN as well.

As we've learnt from comments about Miiverse and the Wii U eShop, Nintendo clearly feels differently about these issues. They're probably afraid of alienating devs by forcing them to integrate online systems into their game, even though it is conceivable that these studios - even small ones - can work around this.

Who knows? This news isn't exactly all that bad. I'm glad that there will be headsets available and ready on day one, regardless of where they are coming from. And if a development team feels their game would benefit from voice chat, they're probably going to implement it.

And remember, with the amount of resources being reserved for the OS, Nintendo could always add system-level voice chat later on if they wanted to.

BlackNMild2k1October 24, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

And remember, with the amount of resources being reserved for the OS, Nintendo could always add system-level voice chat later on if they wanted to.

Yes, with a Universal OS and a Metric TON of RAM for a console OS, Nintendo has not painted themselves into a corner with future functionality this time around.

Give them time. This is their first swim in the deep waters without floaters.
Who knows, they may surprise us with some extra functionality down the line.

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