3 Free Voice Chat Programs For PC Gamers

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voicechatthumb   3 Free Voice Chat Programs For PC GamersVoice chat is an important part of the online gaming experience, yet PC gamers are left behind the consoles in this respect. It’s the one (big) disadvantage of gaming on the computer. Yes, we get to install whatever we want – but we also don’t have mandated, centralized services for things like free voice chat.

Of course, there are a number of companies that try to rectify this by offering simple, free voice chat for players. Let’s have a look at three of the best.

Vivox C3

vovixc3   3 Free Voice Chat Programs For PC Gamers

Recently I was tasked with finding a simple, client-to-client voice communication solution to use with a friend while gaming. Since it was only going to be two of us, a server-client offering seemed like overkill. But we also had no intention to participate in a larger community.

Vivox C3 is the software we settled on. A relative newcomer, it’s a very simple client-to-client offering that showcases Vivox’s voice communication technology. It’s built to use few resources while also providing excellent voice quality. From our experience, that’s exactly what it does.

Voice chat programs are not known for being easy to use. C3 isn’t as intuitive as it could be, either – but compared to the competition it looks like it was designed by Steve Jobs. The interface is attractive, navigation is quick and stability proved rock-solid. There’s also Facebook and phone integration, though it uses a separate service called Bobsled.

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Xfire

xfire   3 Free Voice Chat Programs For PC Gamers

The Xfire service started in 2003 as a gaming instant messenger and community. At the time of its introduction, gaming messengers were popular because they also served as game launchers. You could talk with friends, form groups for multi-player, then launch the game to play.

Steam and other online stores with built-in communities featured have infringed on this traditional territory, so Xfire now offers free client-to-client voice chat to keep relevant. This service is accessed using the “chat rooms” section of the messenger. Anyone can create a chat room with voice chat.

The application is quick, but it also feels a bit outdated. It looks a bit like an application designed in 2003 that has been slightly remodeled but never properly updated. The voice chat quality also seems inferior to C3, though it’s still quite usable.

Of course, the benefit of Xfire is that it’s, well, Xfire. You can launch games, you can message (with voice or without), you can find servers, you can download files and you can manage in-game screenshots. There are arguably better solutions for each individual task, but Xfire combines it all into one package.

Mumble

mumble   3 Free Voice Chat Programs For PC Gamers

Although the client-to-client model is the easiest to set up, there aren’t as many features for managing the chat and they tend to incorporate features unrelated to voice chat that you may not need. The main advantage of client-to-client is its ease of setup and use, but for larger groups of people, the server-client model makes more sense.

There are a number of client-server options available, but the one that I find the easiest to use is Mumble. It’s an open source project, and such software is often intimidating, but that’s not the case here. Installing the client and using it is easy as pie and there’s even a detailed audio setup wizard that can be used to precisely calibrate your microphone and speakers for the clearest voice communication possible.

The only disadvantage with Mumble is the same found with all server-client setups – you need a server, and the strain placed on the server can be a problem if a lot of people are connected. You’ll need a good network adapter and a connection with plenty of bandwidth if you want to host large groups. If you don’t have both you can have someone else to host the server for you – but that, of course, isn’t free.

Conclusion

Which voice chat solution is the best? There’s no easy answer.

I use C3 because I play with a few friends and we need a simple, easy to install, easy to use option. If you like to play with friends and you’d also like to have some integrated gaming related features, like a launcher, Xfire is a good option. If you want to host large groups of gamers, Mumble is ideal.

There are of course many other options, like Ventrillo, TeamSpeak and more. If you’ve used another free voice chat service that you think is a good, free alternative, let us know about it in the comments.

Image Credit: Plantronics Germany

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12 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

moh10ly

so how do these applications integrate with games? in case I have battle field and playing! how will I be able to chat? does it only support voice ? no IM ?

I think steam does a great job! as you can chat with your team and voice as well… but some games still is not supported.

Matt Smith

It’s just in the background. You can chat no matter what game you’re playing. The first two support IM, Mumble does not.

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Claudio Cruz

what about raidcall? I think is one the best voice chat you can find. include voice chat groups and IDs possible to moderate the chat controlling who can speak .

Matt Smith

Tried it. I don’t like it as much as Mumble.

Reply

Guillermo

I’d strongly recommend Dolby Axon. A few years ago, it was free with restrictions, and you could pay a premium fee for extra features. Now it’s completely free. The only downside is a bit of delay between sending and recieving messages. It works better than Teamspeak, you can make your own rooms with 3d surround and it’s sound is almost as good as skype without being such a bandwith hog

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Sam Melnick

Hi Matt,

Full transparency – I work for Vivox the creators of C3.

Thanks for the awesome review – glad that you like it.

One quick comment:

C3 is not client-to-client, it’s actually server based – we take care of the servers, so you don’t have to. Because of this, C3 is not only great for small groups (as you said), but also works just as well for large groups. You can have unlimited people in your channel and create as many channels as you want and C3 is still 100% free.

Feel free to reach out to sam@vivox.com if you have any questions or want anymore info!

Sam Melnick
Marketing Manager, Vivox
http://www.downloadc3.com

Matt Smith

Thanks for the information, Sam.

Reply

gamerx

This is probably outdated at this point but i’d be curious how each of these run on Windows 7 64-bit which most gamers are running. In general my experience is that C3 is pretty buggy but not sure about the others?? I’ll give Xfire a shot.

Matt Smith

I have no problem running any of these on Windows 7 64-Bit. C3 had some bugs with sound in private chat rooms but it was easily fixed by re-joining a chat.

Reply

hottie

talk 2 me im cool lol

Reply

hottie

tlk 2 me im cool lol

Reply

Revan

hi Matt
this is some good info you brought to light.
would like to know tho how does c3 compare with steam chat because that is what i use at the moment when i play mw3.

any input will be appriciated
thanks

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