Five technology-driven VoIP services to enhance your online gaming experiences
Interested in getting into online gaming and want some good communication alternatives beyond Skype? Moving away and want to stay in touch with friends while you play? Or maybe you’re just looking for a new service to compare to your existing VOIP of choice that has better technology-driven features for the best experience while online? Either way, it’s good to know a little more about the competition.
If you’re new to VOIP, have a friend that owns a server, or are looking to get your feet wet in an easy-to-use software, then Ventrilo isn’t a bad way to go. With decent sound quality and relatively low memory usage, Ventrilo is less resource-intensive than Skype, especially if you have a server to use. As a client, there’s little to fear when using Ventrilo’s features.
If you need a server, there are plenty of low-cost options to choose from - most start at hosting 10 people for under $5.00 a month. Public servers also exist if you’re not looking to pay a dime, but come with a lack of privacy, as anyone looking for a place to roam could potentially enter your group.
Mumble sits on the slightly fancier side of the table for VOIP, boasting some very cool features if all your friends are in on the fun. Positional Audio is supported by a wide range of titles and helps add an extra layer of realism to co-op FPS games. Mumble also has an in-game overlay to display who is talking, although regular game updates can occasionally make this feature incompatible.
One downside to Mumble is its above-average bandwidth use compared to other VOIP services, but Mumble still stands out as less resource-intensive than other peer-to-peer VOIP services. Much like Ventrilo, you’ll also need to pay for servers, which have various price ranges depending on how many players you’re looking to accommodate.
A relative newcomer to VOIP, Curse Voice is missing a few key features that set it apart from other services. Unlike other programs Curse Voice does not have open lobbies, but instead connects calls through a secure server. A friends list feature helps to minimize some of the inconvenience, but it still means you’ll need to set up a chat session before starting any game.
That said, Curse Voice has its perks. Unlike Mumble and Ventrilo, Curse Voice is a free to use program for all users. It’s also far less intensive on resources than other VOIP services and offers other handy features like noise suppression and limited in-game overlay. The program is also capable of matching you with other players encountered randomly, should playing open parties in games like League of Legends be your fancy.
For gamers looking to dive into a more complex VOIP, Teamspeak may be just up your alley. Player lobbies and a fairly in-depth permissions system allow server owners to create their own channels that can easily give limited access to outsiders. While elements of Teamspeak’s lobbies are shared across other VOIPs, a solid latency and minimal bandwidth usage make it a good choice for large groups (or very social) friends.
Teamspeak servers come in all sizes and can be rented at costs competitive with Ventrilo and Mumble. File sharing through Teamspeak is also quite popular, as servers can be used to store data in addition to connecting users.
Fast, reliable, and free, Raidcall offers the convenience of player lobbies and a consistent ‘hub’ to meet up in without the price tag of a monthly server. A good mix of features from competing VOIPs, its downside comes at the quality.
Any stickler for call quality won’t be too pleased with what Raidcall has to offer, and topped off with higher-than-normal bandwidth use, Raidcall may disappoint anyone looking for top-notch performance. But considering the low-low price of nothing, it certainly isn’t a bad way to go if you’re just looking to get a clan of friends up and running sooner than later.