For several reasons the hyped Wii Speak was bit by bit dropped from use and fewer video games use it. On the positive side of this is the launch of games having the new added voice chat technology. Just about all upcoming games will be employing this new service instead of the obsolete Wii Speak. This means that Nintendo has encouraged the creation of a totally new Wii Headset to function with the new chat technology. In the following paragraphs we’re going to take a look at several of the good and bad points relating to the new chat headset.
Slowly Does It: From Modest Beginnings:
So far there are only three games that support the new design, but they are all major titles. Two Call of duty titles and Conduit 2 have mounted the offensive on the live chat front and more publishers should be adding their games to the lineup in the future. Still, even without the addition of extra titles the voice chat is worth it just for the Call of Duty games.
Why Voice Chat At All?
First person shooters are really made for game chat and playing them without it is only getting half of the experience. The thrill of strategizing with your team-mates and some light-hearted smack talk really makes these games what they are. The chat functionality on multiplayer is a big part of why Call of Duty is so popular on the other console systems too.
Nintendo Opens Up!
Currently the only commonly available Wii Chat Headsets come from third party developer, Performance Designed Products (PDP). PDP, despite being a third party developer has been licensed by Nintendo, and the headset has been endorsed by the games Giant. The move to allow and endorse third party development of peripherals is a positive step for the normally tightly controlled Nintendo market.
PDP’s Wii headset is known as the Headbanger and was originally released paired with Call of Duty: Black Ops, in a limited, branded edition. Since then it has also come out in the more generic Nintendo white. The PDP Headbanger is compatible with all current and future voice chat titles but it is not compatible with previous Wii Speak titles, which are being phased out. If you are looking for chat capability on Wii Speak titles you are going to have to purchase the original Wii Speak mic system.
The Headbanger headset is corded with a USB 2.0 cable which is a nice 10 feet (3 metres) long. The cable should be able to extend across most rooms easily with plenty of room to move around. While a wireless version would be nice, the cable is long enough and lightweight enough to be fairly comfortable. The headset is quite small itself and fits over your ear comfortably.
The PDP Headbanger has a highly functional design in it’s controls in addition to it’s 10 foot cable. The volume is controlled by an easy to use twist knob while it can be muted with the press of a button. There is a blue light that shows it is operational and a red light that shows when it is muted. In addition to the hard mute on the headset most games also allow you to mute individual players that you don’t want to hear or talk to.
Depending on the popularity of this Wii headset there may be a bright future for chat on the Wii and on future Nintendo consoles. The reality is that even though Nintendo isn’t historically a fan of voice chat technology on their devices, some games require it for the full experience. Since first person shooters and other multiplayer games are being released on the Wii the need for a good voice chat system is abundantly clear.