Ending the long tradition of Nintendo consoles that don't do online gaming very well, Wii U is about to offer 'proper' multiplayer gaming, complete with voice chat. But of course it isn't quite as simple as that. According to Kotaku (opens in new tab), voice chat will not be available in every game (although it will be offered in Assassin's Creed III (opens in new tab), Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (opens in new tab) and Mass Effect 3 (opens in new tab)) and there's a slight issue if you want to use the Xbox 360-style 'Pro' Controller.
The problem? Said controller doesn't have a headphone socket on it. And seeing as the only options for Voice Chat come from officially-licensed headsets from MadCatz (opens in new tab) and Turtle Beach (opens in new tab), that's a bit of a problem. Those headsets only offer wired solutions. Look:
Above: Turtle Beach's officially-licensed Wii U Headsets, which are wired-only
So what do you need to do if you insist on playing Call of Duty with a traditional-styled Pro Controller? You have to plug your headset into the Wii U GamePad (the one with the screen) and leave that beside you on the sofa. You know, like you currently use a Wii Classic Controller connected to an otherwise redundant Wii Remote.
And don't forget, the GamePad's battery is expected to last 3-5 hours (opens in new tab), unlike the Pro Controller's rumoured 80-hour run-time, so you'd better make sure it's charged before you sit down for your mammoth CoD session (with the recommended breaks, of course).
To add to the confusion, it's worth noting that the Wii U does support Bluetooth, so there's potential there for wireless headsets in the future, but none of the licensed headset manufacturers are using that right now. And while the GamePad itself does feature voice chat outside of games with the built in-microphone and speaker, that's not something that will be supported in multiplayer games. Glad that's all as clear as mud, then.