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Blizzard Voice Chat is now live

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Almost exactly one year ago Blizzard revealed that it was working on a voice chat system for its Battle.net client that would enable players to talk to one another while grinding their favorite Blizzard game—or, I suppose, just hanging out in Battle.net, as one sometimes does. Testing began earlier this year, and today the studio announced that the feature, now called Blizzard Voice in accordance with the recent "no more Battle.net" edict, is available to everyone. 

Blizzard Voice doesn't allow for wide-open chat, as the system is limited to friends, and friends of friends. That may cut down on grief from trolls, but it also rather severely limits its functionality in pick-up games. It runs in the background, so you chat while you play, but it does not currently interact with Overwatch voice channels. There's some speculation in various Reddit threads (like this one, for instance) that full in-game chat functionality will be added at some point in the future, but for now you're probably going to want to hang on to your favorite stand-alone voice app. 

To try Blizzard Voice for yourself, update your Battle.net client, open your friends list, select "Create a Channel," and then invite all your pals. Alternatively, for a spot of one-on-one conversation, you can simply right-click a name in your list and select "Start a Voice Chat." 

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.