It's hoped by many that Wii U will finally take Nintendo onto a more level playing field in online gaming, though news that Call of Duty Elite isn't coming to Wii U at launch is undoubtedly disappointing. According to a report today from Kotaku, meanwhile, it seems that in-game chat will neglect to use the GamePad microphone, which arguably defeats a major purpose of it being there.
Apparently a Nintendo representative has stated that in-game voice chat will be supported in a number of major launch window releases, including Assassin's Creed III and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, but they'll require a licensed third-party headset such as those from Turtle Beach or Mad Catz. These are both wired, and can only be used when plugged into the GamePad headphone jack, with no wireless equivalent apparently on the way any time soon; the Nintendo representative also stated that it might be possible for other wired headphones with built-in microphones to be used, but this hasn't been officially confirmed. Perhaps the signal between the console and GamePad is disruptive to wireless headsets, or it's possible that Nintendo hasn't yet organised the means for manufacturers to produce Bluetooth devices using a USB port.
The downside to this is that even those playing these games with the Wii U Pro Controller will also need to plug their headset into the GamePad, even though they're not using it. This is due to the rather obvious fact that this controller doesn't have its own headphone jack. While we're sure there are good reasons behind this, it's a surprising scenario in light of the fact that, for example, Heroes of Ruin on 3DS allows online voice chat using the handheld's built in microphone, while Wii U necessitates plugging an external device into the GamePad whether you're playing on it or not.
Although it may be a slight exaggeration, this is a little like putting the screen on the GamePad and deciding that, actually, it won't be used for games. With a built-in microphone on the GamePad, it would make sense for gamers to have the option to use it and avoid paying out for a headset, with alternative options for those using the Pro Controller. If it is the case that only headsets will do, it seems like a missed opportunity.
What do you think? Are you annoyed about having to use a headset for in-game chat, or do you think this solution makes sense? Let us know in the comments below.