VoIP (Voice-over-Internet Protocol) is becoming increasingly popular within the gaming community, largely because this option allows gamers to bypass the traditional phone network, boosting reliability and decreasing the risk of interruptions to communication or the service. Many users find chatting over the internet with other gamers while playing makes virtual spaces feel more social and is a much more natural way of interacting.
But there are some important considerations to take into account before installing and using VoIP software, as there are significant differences in the features and tools that are included in each package. We take a closer look at each of the elements below to help you make the most informed decision possible.
Check the Cost
While many VoIP software options can be installed free of charge, check the details of this carefully before signing up. Some providers offer free access, but only for a limited period, while some may have peripheral costs attached, such as those associated with server maintenance. For example, you will probably be charged based on the number of user slots you need, in terms of the server – as an example, fifteen slots a year could cost you in the region of $50 annually, with the cost increasing in line with the number of slots required.
VoIP software allows for free PC to PC calls, and some packages will also enable users to make PC to phone calls. You may also want to look for options that include caller ID and call logging as well as call holding, transfer, or pick-up features; some of the software available enables users to interact with up to ten other people at a time via video voice calls, and text messages.
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The inclusion of this feature in a VoIP software package may be very important to you as a gamer: it allows you to see who is talking or listening during gameplay. Therefore, check carefully not only that the software you’re considering includes this, but how it works. For example, does the feature operate by requiring you to switch between tabs to view and reply to messages, or can everything be seen on the same screen? Is the overlay compatible with your operating system? Is the overlay always present, or does it need to be activated at points throughout the game? Think about the gaming experience you’d like when making a choice.
Before installing VoIP gaming software, it may be important for you to consider the customization options available. Some software features fully customizable desktop interfaces, allowing the user to tailor elements such as the language settings, color, and layout to their exact requirements.
Think, too, about whether you would like the option to customize your notifications: if you would prefer, you can decide on when the tool uses your OS notification and whether to use text to speech sounds rather than standard alerts. You may also like to use software that allows you to create a gaming avatar, which will appear when another player hovers over your name, or to have the facility to have a short bio displayed alongside your gaming tag. All of these are examples of features that are provided by some software packages – but they are not universally included, so consider carefully which would help you get the most from your gaming life.
Transfer of Files
Some gamers like to have the facility to transfer files to other players while playing – not all VoIP software includes this function, so if it’s something you’d prefer to have, shop around to find a package that offers this feature. Check, too, whether the software will allow you to transfer files to the server, to other players, or both.
When installing any new software, security considerations are paramount. While all VoIP packages should provide encryption, some options on the market allow users to disable this encryption, which you may decide is too risky a proposition. When choosing gaming software, it’s also a good idea to ascertain whether the option you’re looking at provides encryption of both voice data and controls messages for maximum security.
Before making your mind up on which VoIP gaming software to go for, ask yourself whether you’re going to want to access a gaming platform from a mobile device so that you can check which packages will enable you to do this. Typically, such a feature enables users to issue commands directly from their phones.
Some software features mobile apps for both iOS and Android, although others would require you to use a third-party client to connect to the latter.
Managing Player Contacts
If you would like a feature that lets you manage contact and team details, and keep track of your gaming friends, then have a look to see if this is included before signing up. Some software options don’t include any contact management tools, while others have a comprehensive range of extras on this score, giving gamers the ability to categorize their contacts and even to give each contact different permission level access.
As well as the above features, other things to take into consideration are whether or not positional audio (key to making games seem more realistic) is included and whether the platform auto-syncs to the cloud, which means you will have remote access to your data, as well as a backup copy. You may also wish to base your choice on which platforms allow for text chats, which are the ability to send teammates private messages, or which offer advanced permission controls, enabling you to grant or deny access to different permission levels in regards to other players.
Customer Service Provision
Finally, be sure to factor in the nature and quality of the customer service and support provided when making your choice of VoIP gaming software. Some options only offer customer support via email, while customers can reach out to others using live chat, telephone or email if they experience a problem with the platform. Further, some software will give subscribers access to community support forums and guides and online FAQ pages.