Nintendo's new console will have the ability to chat online with other gamers, but it's kind of a muddled process. According to newly revealed details, players will need to have a third-party headset if they want to chat with other players during an online game.
That isn't especially troublesome but it is odd since the Wii U Gamepad controller has a microphone built-in, which could have easily acted as an online chat tool.
Instead, players will need to plug in their headset into the Gamepad. So it's a missed opportunity, but whatever. The other problem is that there is no ability to plug a headset into the more conventional "Pro" controller, and there are no wireless headsets available.
So if you're playing a game that uses the Pro controller, and you want to chat in-game, you'll need to have your Gamepad controller sitting next to you so you can plug your headset into it, even though you'll never actually need the Gamepad to play the game.
The Wii had the technical capability of allowing voice chat, but very few games took advantage of it. Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft have had very robust in-game chat systems since the days of the Xbox and PS2.
This is another sign that, even though it's launching more than a half decade after its competitors, the Wii U still might not strongly stand up against the PS3 and the Xbox 360.