Voice chat is now standard fare in video gaming communities. Gone are the days when you had to share a couch to socialize while playing. Why bother when you can stay at home and chat over the internet instead?
However, with so many options available, you may be confused as to which one is right for you and your circle of friends. So, here are the best free voice chat apps for gaming, along with their pros and cons.
Discord is a free app that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and as a web app (which sadly isn’t as feature-rich as the desktop versions). If you’ve ever used Slack or IRC, then you’ll feel right at home on Discord. In addition to voice chat, Discord supports text chat and video chat (for up to 10 people) (for up to 10 people).
The Pros of Discord
Anyone can create a Discord server for free. Users can join up to 100 different servers, and each server is essentially its own independent community. Servers can have text channels and voice channels, and the server owner can tweak pretty much everything about it. Discord hosts the servers itself, and here’s how to find the best Discord servers to match your interests.
You and your friends can get set up and running within minutes. Servers are private and people can only join them through invite links (a “public” server is one with a permanent public invite link that anyone can use) (a “public” server is one with a permanent public invite link that anyone can use).Discord has many features beyond just the voice chat client, and is well worth checking out.
The Cons of Discord
Since all servers are hosted through Discord, an outage means all Discord servers go down and you can’t do anything about it except wait.
Furthermore, Discord servers are hosted in the following locations: the United States (East), the United States (Central), the United States (West), the United States (South), Europe, Russia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Japan, South Africa, and Australia. If you are not in one of those locations, latency may cause delays in your voice chat.
If you solely want audio communication, Discord may be a bit excessive. It’s ideal to utilize if you’re already a member of a few Discord servers, since you’ll already be using the Discord app and have nothing to lose.
Check out our Discord tips & tricks for further assistance getting started with the software.
Mumble is a free and open-source communication program that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You may utilize a third-party app on mobile, such as Plumble for Android or Mumblefy for iOS. It’s mostly used for audio chat, although it also allows basic text chat.
The Pros of Mumble
Mumble specializes in low-latency communication, making it ideal for high-octane games with plenty of quick action, particularly those involving teamwork. It can also do positional audio depending on where you are in the game environment, however this is only available in a few titles (such as most Source Engine games and Guild Wars 2).
You have complete control over everything. To host a server, just download the server version of Mumble and install it on your computer. Then everyone else downloads the Mumble software to connect to your IP address. You may arrange everything by creating channels.
You may get Mumble server hosting if you want 24/7 uptime without keeping your computer on all the time. Expect to spend about $2.50 per month for five slots, while the price per slot lowers dramatically as the number of slots increases. You may also save money by paying for numerous months at once rather than monthly.
The Cons of Mumble
You can onlyconnectto one Mumble server at a time.
The clumsy UI is perhaps its most annoying feature, followed by the steep learning curve. While Mumble is fairly simple to use after you’ve been acquainted with it, the first encounter may be rather difficult, particularly if you’re attempting to install the server software on your computer and can’t figure out why your friends aren’t able to join. You will need port forwarding (what is port forwarding?)
TeamSpeak is a free program that is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS (the mobile apps are client apps only).In terms of style and function, TeamSpeak is fairly similar to Mumble, yet it provides several unique capabilities while also falling short in key areas.
The Pros of TeamSpeak
TeamSpeak offers a simple UI and high-quality audio, although it has somewhat higher delay than Mumble. However, in most circumstances, the difference is insignificant.
TeamSpeak also features a robust permissions system that gives various users influence over different portions of the server depending on their “power level.” Permissions are also divided into groups, allowing you to give one person power over a channel while giving another control over the server. This greatly simplifies community administration.
TeamSpeak, like Mumble, may be self-hosted or paid for.
The Cons of TeamSpeak
You can only connect to one TeamSpeak server at a time.
Self-hosted TeamSpeak servers may support up to 32 concurrent users. You may increase that restriction to 512 if you seek and get a non-commercial non-profit license. Otherwise, an annual charge depending on maximum capacity will be required. This will not be a problem for private groups of friends, but it might be a deal breaker for public communities.
4. Steam Voice Chat
Despite being one of the world’s most popular gaming platforms, Steam did not have an integrated voice chat feature until 2018. This is quite surprising considering the massive sums of money invested on the platform, the 100 million users, and the astonishing selection of games offered.
In fact, the absence of an integrated Steam Voice Chat feature has aided several of the alternatives on this list in growing into a superior alternative, with their own devoted communities.
The Pros of Steam Voice Chat
You don’t need to use a third-party voice chat program if you’re already playing a game on Steam. Everyone you play with is using the same game launcher and is playing the same game, so you can all communicate using the same app.
Steam Voice Chat works well, as one would expect from a Steam product. You may easily share multiple media kinds, such as a GIF or audio clip, by dragging them into the Steam Voice Chat. Furthermore, the chat center simplifies the management of your Steam Voice Chat.
Another advantage of Steam Voice Chat is its worldwide server coverage. You’re never far from a Steam server location, no matter where you are. That closeness reduces latency, making your voice more clear.
Check out the top gaming routers if you want to improve your connection even further.
The Cons of Steam Voice Chat
There are few disadvantages to utilizing Steam Voice Chat. The voice calling quality is sometimes bad, however this is often explained by other internet difficulties.
If you use Steam Voice Chat to connect with particular friends or players, you will be unable to contact them if the Steam network fails. Some people choose to use a different voice chat software because it prevents one business from monopolizing the market (even further).
Steam Voice Chat is limited when it comes to communicating with other individuals or various players. You’re most likely to use Steam Voice Chat to communicate with your pals. Other solutions, such as Discord, allow you to join multiple servers and talk with different individuals.
Tox differs differently from the other voice chat choices on this list. Tox, unlike the rivals, places a major emphasis on user privacy, using end-to-end encryption to safeguard your data. It also employs a peer-to-peer connection approach to further protect your privacy when talking and playing games.
Tox is a protocol that has many implementations depending on your operating system. Tox protocol voice chat software is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, as well as a web-based alternative.
The Pros of Tox
For gamers, the Tox protocol provides a secure voice chat alternative. Privacy is vital, and many voice chat services fail to address this critical problem. Furthermore, since the Tox source code is open source, you can ensure that nothing nefarious is happening with your data.
Tox apps are available for practically any current operating system, which means cross-platform communication is a possibility. Furthermore, since Tox is cross-platform, developers will be inventing around the protocol and adding capabilities to their chat clients wherever feasible.
The Cons of Tox
Because Tox is peer-to-peer, speech quality may decrease as a result. Your relationship to one another determines the quality. Messages cannot be sent if the other user is not connected to the Tox messenger. Some applications may display the message as sent while it is really waiting for transmission to finish.
Furthermore, since the Tox protocol is open-source, developers come and go. At the time of writing, there are at least seven separate abandoned instant messaging systems. This figure might rise if a service fails to attract enough customers or if the development team loses interest in the project.
The solutions listed above are among the top voice chat applications for gamers. Almost every gamer develops a favorite among them. If you don’t like any of them for any reason, you have two alternative options for audio chat: Google Hangouts and Skype. But be warned: they contain some significant problems.
Google Hangouts allows you to make free phone conversations to other Hangouts users as well as video conferences with up to ten people. It’s good for hanging out with other gamers, but it’s not ideal for gaming since the quality isn’t tuned for it, there aren’t any choices for push-to-talk, and there’s no persistence between conversations.
Skype is a better match for gaming since it allows for ongoing group conversations in between voice chats, but the Skype program itself is lacking. It’s buggy and prone to mistakes, and the voice quality is typically poor, with a definite tinniness to it.
These Voice Chat Apps Will Keep You Gaming
We’ve compiled a collection of free voice chat applications for gamers in this post. All of which we wholeheartedly endorse. If we had to choose only one, we would go with Discord.
Check out this list of free applications for PC gamers for additional free apps for gamers. If you want to get the most out of your gaming machine, here’s how to optimize your PC for gaming.
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