Contrary to popular belief, gaming can be an incredibly social experience. The very nature of multi-player games begets the need for effective communication before, during, and after gameplay.
•Published: Nov 30, 2021
Whether you’re strategizing a plan of attack with your teammates or simply looking to catch up with old pals over a game, a user-friendly communications tool can exponentially improve your favorite pastime and be the perfect alternative to in-game chat. In this article, we’ll cover the top ten best gaming chat apps that’ll help you overcome communication obstacles during PC, console, and mobile gameplay.
Best Gaming Chat Apps for Groups
Like the workplace messaging app Slack, Discord provides an easy way for gamers to communicate with friends over voice, text, and video chat. It’s a multi-platform gaming chat app accessible via web browser or free download on Windows, macOS, Linux, and the iOS and Google Play stores. Like Slack, Discord hosts server text channels where gamers can connect socially outside of strict gameplay.
While there’s no cost to use Discord, users have the option to upgrade their experience by subscribing to Discord Nitro. For around $10/month or $100/year, gamers gain access to advanced features like bigger file uploads, better streaming quality, and animated emojis.
2. Epic Game Store
Epic Games Store (EGS) is a digital video game storefront that is free to download for Microsoft Windows and macOS. EGS does not offer a mobile app experience. This past year EGS has transformed itself from a marketplace into a social space for gamers. EGS users can connect with friends over this gaming messaging app during live, multi-platform gameplay, have the option to toggle in-game chat windows on and off, and effortlessly jump into parties with voice and text-based chat.
The social panel’s Party System features voice and text comms that enable gamers to share screenshots and small video captures of play sessions with each other. Chat channels have no sole owners, allowing gamers to drop in or out of a party experience while sharing controls, like inviting other players and “locking” a party channel. The EGS social panel includes player cards that allow gamers to manage their contact lists and invite friends to play and chat.
- Party Window
- Drop-In/Drop Out Parties
- In-Game Parties
- Player Cards
- User-Friendly Player Search
- Do Not Disturb
Guilded is one of the up-and-coming free gaming chat solutions on the market. Its extensive list of features, like voice chat, live streaming, video chat, event scheduling functionality, and threaded conversations create the perfect environment for community-minded gamers to play. Sometimes called a “knock-off” Discord, Guilded’s voice chat capabilities are actually superior, with audio bitrates of up to 256 kilobytes per second (kbps), whereas Discord only has 96kbps. Not only is the audio quality better, but Guilded also allows users to “whisper” to a specific player, making it so that only that other person can hear them. This feature, along with priority speaking, streamlines many events for gamers. The only downside to Guilded is that gamers might run into the occasional lag or bug, simply due to the smaller nature of the company.
- Whisper Chat
- Live Streaming
- Chat Threads
- Calendar and Events
- Group Chat
Band is primarily a group chat tool that is free for gamers but also acts as a social network of sorts. Users can create chat groups, invite their friends, and leverage the integrated calendar to plan game nights. Band also hosts a robust catalog of advanced features, like file sharing, live streaming, in-chat polls, special privacy settings for younger users, custom profiles, and more for gamers to enjoy.
- Group Chat
- Live Streaming
- Custom Privacy Settings
Best Gaming Chat Apps for Mobile
5. Steam Chat
Like Epic Game Store, Steam has historically been a marketplace for PC games, but they’ve doubled down on the platform’s social aspects with the Steam Chat messaging app for Android and iOS. Users have managed their accounts and sent messages from Steam Mobile for years, but Steam Chat is now its own dedicated messaging app available to download for Android and iOS.
The two main functions of Steam Chat are text and voice chat between individuals and groups. Text-based messages can be enriched with higher fidelity links, GIFs, videos, Steam emojis, and notifications customized based on specific channels or users. Gamers can message each other individually or create group chats with multiple text channels to organize conversations about different topics. These group exchanges can also be made over voice chat so gamers can remain in the moment of gameplay while staying connected.
- Friends List
- Rich Chat
- Invite Links
- Customizable Notifications
- Group Chats
TeamSpeak3 (TS3) is the perfect option for gamers who want to retain complete control over TS3’s hierarchical permission system, decide who can talk, and join channels. While the platform’s interface is ultra simplistic, TS3 was designed with privacy at the top of mind. The app cannot access user voice or text chat data and integrates with military-grade security standard AES encryption.
On-the-go gamers will enjoy the TS3 mobile apps for Android and iOS, while PC gamers can download the app directly onto their Windows or macOS systems. The TS3 chat app is highly customizable and offers hundreds of ready-made plugins, sound packs, icon packs, and themes for users and the option for them to create their own.
- AES Encryption
- In-Game Overlay
- Decentralized Infrastructure
- Surround Sound
- Advanced Permissions System
- Powerful File Transfer
7. Blizzard Battle.net
Blizzard Battle.net is a pared-down version of Blizzard’s existing online gaming platform where players can install and patch games, voice chat, text message, and live stream for iOS and Android. The mobile format is much more conducive to a social environment where gamers can customize their profiles and avatars, send gifts to one another, coordinate game times, strategize, and stay in touch. They can also form group chats with multiple text and voice chat channels. Group administrators have a variety of tools to help manage membership and send out invitation links. Chat even works when offline, meaning offline players can read any messages they might have missed upon coming back online. With Blizzard, players can also see a history of their chats, allowing them to pick up where they left off in conversation.
- Chat Groups
- Chat History
- Offline Chat
- Player Gifting
- Custom Profiles
Best Gaming Chat Apps for Voice and Video
8. Mumble (Mumla)
Mumble is a more security-minded online gaming voice chat app with encryption support that guarantees data protection across multiple servers. It is a free and open-source platform for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS that delivers communication with surprisingly low latency. There is a server-based version of Mumble available for $7.50/month. It emphasizes middleware and enables additional features that enhance the voice chat gaming capabilities.
- Low Latency
- Public/Private Key Authentication
- Recognize Friends Across Servers
- In-Game Overlay
- Positional Audio
Pinch is a voice chat app for gamers to talk with their closest friends while playing mobile games. It is available for free downloads on both Android and iOS app stores. Pinch works in the background while users are in gameplay so they can stay connected and communicate easily in real-time. Even when a gamer is offline, Pinch enables them to see if their friends are playing and even get notifications when specific friends are online.
- Party Calls
- Voice Chat
- Mobile Gaming Chat
Element is a free gamer chat app that offers fully encrypted messages and specializes in voice and video chat. Unlike some of the other solutions we’ve covered, you must self-host Element, so it might not be a realistic option for novices. You can create servers, invite friends, and chat as needed. And while Element might require a little more time and effort to implement, the default end-to-end encryption ensures that your conversations stay private.
Cross-signed device verification and decentralization features also contribute to heightened security and let the user choose where their data lives. For an added layer of privacy, games can even create an account without a phone number and don’t require personal contact information to be shared with other users.
- Self-Hosted Platform
- Voice Chat
- Video Chat
- End-to-End Encryption
- Cross-Signed Device Verification
Final Thoughts on Gaming Chat Programs
The ten video game chat apps above are considered the best of the best by gamers because of their user-friendliness, reliability, levels of security, and feature-rich messaging capabilities. Gamers can stay connected and build communities within these gaming chat clients thanks to functionalities like group chat, mobile messaging, live streams, voice and video chat, and more. Efficient communication is essential for multi-player games, and with so many great online gaming chat options to choose from, there’s no way your team can lose.