The advent of online gaming has changed the way video games are played. From an isolated activity where one or two players participated, to multiparty online games that are bursting with interaction, community building, gamer camaraderie, and more – we have come a long way.
All this is possible with in-game chat, which has transformed the video gaming experience. For gamers, in-game chat makes gaming more enjoyable and engaging. For game developers, in game chat improves user acquisition and retention, generating higher returns.
But how exactly do video game chats do this?
In multiplayer games, in-game chat allows players to communicate with others in real time, making interactions seamless. The mode of communication can be text, voice, or video. Developers and game designers can also provide feature-rich in-game chats for their player by, for example, facilitating group chats, reaction gestures, or sound effects to make gaming even more immersive.
Game developers can either develop chat games of their own or integrate an off-the-shelf game chat API or SDK seamlessly into their platforms. While in-game chat has become increasingly popular, there is the question of third-party chat apps that offer alternate communication channels.
In-game chat began with a history of being cumbersome and featureless. During this time, many gamers turned to third-party chat apps like Discord, TeamSpeak, Mumble, and Twitch, which became increasingly popular with their diverse feature offerings.
These apps provide seamless communication among players across consoles. While most provide basic chat features like voice and text, some offer unique features like file sharing, private chats, and community building. One advantage of third-party chat apps is that they provide communication continuity outside the game, which many gamers enjoy. Gamers like to join a chat outside the game to share tricks and tips, learn about gameplay and more.
But, the hassle of hopping on to other apps outside the game is also problematic for many gamers. Chatting within a game offers noticeable ease and convenience. Moreover, third-party apps usually offer only the basic features for free, charging a subscription cost for more advanced features, which many younger gamers can’t afford. Catching onto the popularity of chatting alongside gaming, developers are now investing more time and resources on creating more exciting and sophisticated in-game chat features, deterring users away from third party chat apps.
Learn more about: Best chat apps for gamers
Each game is different, and chat takes place differently. There are various types of in-game chat features.
Text-based chat is the most basic messaging feature any game. It involves less bandwidth requirement and can have an attractive interface.
A text-based chatting solution could have a file-sharing option, quick chat functions with set phrases, a ping system for reacting through non-verbal gestures, and more.
Voice chat games are most popular among gamers. The real-time interaction with other players without stopping the play (typing distracts the player from the game) makes voice chat the best in-game chat solution. Voice chat, leaving hands free to manipulate a gaming console, provides the most immersive experience as gamers play with their buddies. The video component of in-game chat is famous among casual game genres that require multiple players. Ludo King is a good example of a video chat feature.
Not just in multiplayer games, a video chat feature with a live streaming option is popular in single-player games as well. The age of the video-game YouTuber is upon. With this new social media trends Gamers showcase their skills on third-party apps like YouTube using live-streaming with their own voice as commentary.
Aided by an in-game chat, online gaming has become a social activity where players cooperate and encourage others to work towards a common goal.
Players can coordinate with their team members or others, challenge each other and enjoy light moments during the game. Gaming discussion forums are replete with stories of how people found good friends via game chats.
Voice/video communication in real-time within a multiplayer game has increased the sense of one’s social presence. From living isolated lives, people are now connecting with others via online games.
The phenomenon was intensified during lockdown days of the 2020 pandemic, as more people worldwide began spending more time on video gaming as a source of entertainment and connection to others. In a recent global survey, respondents reported that they had increased their time playing video games by 39%. People, physically isolated and bored of the monotony of hanging out indoors, bonded over chat games like Ludo King, online casinos, and Facebook Gaming. Also, multiplayer games like Call of Duty, PUBG, and Free Fire have increased the popularity of in-game chats.
For a game developer, one cannot miss the opportunities game chats present. The cost of customer acquisition for a mobile game is increasing every year. According to research, gaming apps spent $14.5 billion in 2021 on user acquisition. The high costs demand the re-strategizing of game marketing.
In-game chat has made online gaming exciting and attractive with all its playful chatter and information sharing. It has become an essential feature that game developers need to incorporate if they wish to acquire new users. In-game chat helps to reduce customer acquisition costs for gaming production companies.
Another benefit for developers is that voice chat games help to retain users because they keep the gamers engaged. The more time a user spends playing, the more money a gaming company can earn from that player. With voice chat games, the per-user session time increases, thereby increasing the user’s long-term value (LTV) – a key metric for a gaming company.
There are other opportunities that chat games offer. Video game chats generate a wealth of data, providing opportunities for game developers. With third-party apps, data is stored in servers that developers cannot access. But an in-game chat will let the developers access the data and use it to control the user experience, create new features, and make the game more engaging.
An open chat feature has many benefits, but there are some risks, especially for young gamers, to consider. Chatting with people they do not know could lead to inappropriate or unmoderated chat.
Swearing, mean comments, or insults could hurt or bully children. Requests to chat privately and pressure to share personal information or do certain things are other problems. All these calls for moderation in video game chats.
The chatting solution should include moderation features like parental controls. While text-based chatting is easy to moderate with profanity filters, moderating voice and video chat is a challenge. The in-game chat solution could use some features like:
Video gaming has gone through many changes over the years. Yet nothing has made gaming more appealing than the in-game chat feature. It caters to the very nature of humans – ‘being social.’ The constant chatter, the excitement about reaching goals, the coordinated team strategy, and the interactions – everything is done in real-time using in-game chat. It is a big pull toward online gaming for many. At the same time, video game chats must be free from bullying and harassment. Game developers must look into the moderation abilities of game chat solutions. Once all the benefits and issues with in-game chats are considered, incorporating them into games will be the logical conclusion.
If you are interested in adding chat to your gaming app, QuickBlox can assist. Contact us to learn more about are ready built chat SDKs and APIs.