It’s estimated that more than 1.4 billion people play computer games, with about 750 million of them participating in online gaming. That’s a colossal market for Linux to tap. The design of online games is diverse, ranging from simple text-based environments to the incorporation of complex graphics and immersive virtual worlds.
Although gamers rely on their keyboards, communicating with fellow players with the keyboard is often arduous, and an unnecessary distraction when in-game. While shortcut keys can streamline communicating, nothing compares to the convenience of being able to talk into a headset, and share messages in real time.
Playing online games while communicating with other people also lifts the enjoyment of gaming and adds a social component. It offers the opportunity to make new friends and join online communities. At the same time, it can enhance the multiplayer gaming experience. Just as important, it provides a competitive advantage by allowing players to keep their hands on the controls, and at the same time coordinate their gameplay and work as a team. Online gaming undeniably becomes more fun, enjoyable, and engaging when chatting to fellow players. Given that online gaming is truly international, it can even improve your non-native language skills. The language booster is probably a tough sell to any parent.
Even when a game allows players to communicate in-game, the functionality offered is usually quite rudimentary. Step forward dedicated VoIP chat clients. VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol. There are many VoIP tools available, but some are designed with gamers foremost in the developers’ minds. VoIP applications differ in their functionality and their inherent latency. Our winner of the best VoIP for gamers is Discord.
|Discord is our recommended all-in-one voice and text chat for gamers. It sports an exquisitely designed interface, offers a full feature set, and there's no charge for the client or to create your own Discord-hosted server. With competent browser support, frugal CPU usage, IP & DDos protection, there's much to recommend here. It has more than 80 million users. Shame it's released under a closed license, and lacks a plugin system.
License: Proprietary, freeware
|Mumble is an open source, low-latency, high quality voice chat software with in-game overlay, positional audio, and highly customizable. If proprietary software crosses a red line, this is our only recommended open source solution. Now you'll have to convince your fellow gamers to move to this platform.
License: Open source, New BSD license
|TeamSpeak remains a hugely popular VoIP for gamers. It offers excellent voice quality, fine-grained administration options, echo supression, and a customizable, but outdated interface. The server can be used without charge for up to 32 simultaneous users, but any more will require a license. It's also closed source. Come on guys!
License: Proprietary, freeware
We’ve compiled dedicated pages for Discord, Mumble, and TeamSpeak jam packed with all the essential information you need to know about these gaming VoIP software. While the selection of gaming chat software is often dictated by other parties e.g. a community (such as a clan leader) or by friends, hopefully, the information in the dedicated pages might convince them to use your preferred software.
|Best Free Voice Chat Software for Gaming|
|Discord||All-in-one voice and text chat for gamers that works on the desktop and phone|
|Mumble||Voice chat application for groups|
|TeamSpeak||A mature and popular gaming tool|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.