Top gaming chat apps for every type of gamer in 2023
Despite the stereotypes around gamers being anti-social, the reality is that gamers belong to many thriving communities. Whether it’s a long-distance session of tabletop Dungeons & Dragons, a PC-based MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) like World of Warcraft, a console-based battle royale shooter like Call of Duty: Warzone, or a casual mobile game like Pokémon GO, players are flocking to gaming chat apps to strategize and hang out.
While early gamers were limited to text-only instant messengers like IRC (Internet Relay Chat), today’s players can use in-app and third-party gaming chat apps for text, voice, and video communications with other players almost anywhere in the world. The rise of live streaming on platforms like Twitch has helped expand the role of gaming chat apps from in-game communications to community building and even content monetization. Let’s take a closer look.
6 gaming chat apps for different types of gamers
If you’re new to gaming or just new to a certain game, finding the right gaming chat app can help you immerse yourself in the community and find teammates for the next raid or match. Let’s look at some of the best gaming chat apps for different types of gamers.
(1) Discord: Best all-around option
Price: Free / Up to $9.99 monthly
There’s a reason that Discord has 150 million active monthly users: it’s a free, powerful and easy-to-use platform that includes text, voice and video chat. Gamers can create or join servers, which often have different topic-based channels that will feel familiar to Slack users. While some Discord servers — like the Fortnite server — have hundreds of thousands of people in them, 90% of servers have fewer than 15 members.
Discord is incredibly popular among PC gamers and streamers, but since it’s available for iOS, Android, Linux, and some gaming consoles, it’s a great option for anyone. If you want to coordinate with your team over voice chat and talk casually in group or private chats when you’re not playing, Discord is a feature-rich option that’s still easy to use.
(2) TeamSpeak 3: For smaller teams and tech-savvy gamers
Price: Free / Up to $500 per year
Gamers have relied on TeamSpeak for over 20 years. While gaming has changed dramatically in that time, gamers have been consistently using TeamSpeak’s excellent audio chat to plan late-night raids and high-stakes missions. While options like Discord can host thousands in each server, the free version of TeamSpeak is limited to 32 participants (or up to 1,024 on paid versions).
The granddaddy of audio gaming chat apps, TeamSpeak requires more technical knowledge to get started. While a more modern gaming chat app like Discord lets you get started with a few clicks, TeamSpeak requires users to have more technical knowledge to begin, like finding a host server. If you have a small band of fellow gamers you want to talk with while you play, TeamSpeak is a fantastic option and is compatible with Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS and Android.
In-app live streaming made easy.
(3) Steam Chat: For long-time Steam users
Millions of PC gamers have relied on Steam, a digital video game distribution service, for nearly 20 years to access popular titles like Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike. In that time, they’ve accumulated many friends and probably joined a clan or two. Steam Chat, released in 2018 for desktop operating systems and for iOS and Android in 2019, gives players an option for integrated text and audio chat. This option offers the benefit of not having to find a third-party platform to connect with an already-established community.
Steam Chat works directly within the Steam client and provides rich, multimedia chat options or clear audio calls with players around the world. It can also be accessed via a browser or mobile app, though with less functionality. Steam Chat is a convenient option for players invested in the ecosystem, but other options offer more features and have better mobile app experiences.
(4) Mumble: Desktop gamers who want low-latency, high-quality audio chat
Mumble is an open-source, VoIP alternative to Discord and TeamSpeak. While it requires more technical acumen than Discord when it comes to hosting and administration, Mumble continues to thrive thanks to its focus on privacy and high-quality audio. The number of users depends on the host server’s resources, with some MMORPG groups featuring over 100 concurrent audio participants.
Gamers will appreciate that Mumble doesn’t collect any personal data, making it an ideal choice for the privacy minded. It also allows gamers to create high-quality recordings of their audio chats, which is helpful for streamers and YouTubers. The tradeoff is that Mumble doesn’t have video chat and struggles with text chat. While there are mobile apps, they’re unmaintained and haven’t been updated in years—making it difficult to recommend using them.
(5) Guilded: For the team leader who’s a drill sergeant
Guilded is an up-and-coming alternative to Discord that offers many similar features while providing some unique features that will appeal to hardcore multiplayer gamers and streamers. The interface is reminiscent of Discord (some would say too reminiscent), but it offers tools like a calendar and scheduling to keep the entire team organized.
When compared to the free tier of Discord, Guilded provides higher video and audio streaming quality. On top of that, Guilded also makes it easy for gamers and creators to monetize their servers with subscriptions. But, in the gaming world where community is key, Guilded’s smaller user base means you’re less likely to find like-minded gamers already there or you’ll have to convince your friends to switch away from Discord.
(6) WhatsApp (or Line, Viber, etc.): For casual mobile gamers connecting with a global player base
Mobile games account for 60% of the gaming market, and many of these games are designed for casual gamers who might not need streaming capabilities or high-fidelity audio chat. For many mobile gamers, popular communication apps like WhatsApp, Line or Viber are a great option even though they’re not designed with gamers in mind.
Connect with your gaming friends via private or group chat, on audio calls or in video chats. While these options don’t offer the same gaming integrations or functionality as Discord or Guilded, this option does mean you can use an app you’re likely already familiar with. Mobile gaming apps connect users worldwide, but some chat apps might not function everywhere: WhatsApp, for example, is blocked in many Middle Eastern countries.
Gaming chat apps show the future of community engagement
With so many options for gaming chat apps, finding the right one will largely depend on the games you’re playing and who you’re playing them with. The rise of gaming, gaming communities and gaming chat apps shows how important it is to build user-friendly ways to connect like-minded people through text, audio, and video chat.
Build your own gaming chat with Sendbird
If you think your app could follow in the steps of many gaming chat apps by combining live streaming with text and audio chats, then you should check out Sendbird Live, which turns your app into a streaming platform augmented by private and group chats. Take your community building to the next level and stop relying on third-party applications.
Learn more about Sendbird Live here.