Sidewinder Game Voice
Battlefield Commander + console
The Sidewinder Game Voice is a voice over net package that allows multiplayer gamers to talk to their teammates and taunt their adversaries as they play. A big part of the team based games that dominate online play now is communication. The teams that communicate better tend to beat out other teams that might have more talented players, but don't work together. Since typing in the middle of a match can be such a chore, the idea is that talking to each other would be a lot faster an easier. It's a sound theory - back in the Quake 1 days, some clans would arrange a conference phone call for the duration of important matches in order to talk to one another. That can be expensive if done on a daily basis
The Game Voice hardware
Why pay for this stuff?
Sidewinder Game Voice uses the same software technology that gamers have been using for free with Battlefield Communicator. Other similar software, like Roger Wilco, is still free, so why would anyone want to pay for Sidewinder Game Voice? Well, the answer is hardware. The package doesn't just come with a headset and microphone but also a little hockey puck shaped gadget that allows you to quickly switch channels between teammates, all players, and individual channels. The players these correspond to can easily be programmed in using the prepackaged software.
I playtested the Game Voice at the Gamestock event, using Unreal Tournament. It works great over LAN and its performance has been proven over a modem connection by the many people who've used Battlefield Commander over the years. Whether or not people will be willing to shell out the 60 or 65 dollars or so for the device, when similar software (Roger Wilco) can be had for free remains to be seen. Look for the device in September or October of this year.