Ventrilo and Teamspeak are inherently two very similar applications. In their purest form, both utilize a Voice over IP technology in a client-server layout to allow gamers to communicate online. In other words, many users can install the software on their home computer (the “client”), which is organized through one central hub (the “server”) placed ideally in a well-connected data center in the local region as to minimize latency.
Teamspeak and Ventrilo are most often used with a computer headset, however both will work fine with simply a microphone and speakers. Some popular games that use these technologies include World of Warcraft, Everquest, Counterstrike, America’s Army, and virtually any other online game where gamers can utilize teamwork to accomplish the game’s objectives. Client-side applications for either voice utility have been successfully implemented for Windows, Apple OS X, and a wide variety of unix-based operating systems.
Ventrilo’s first release was let out on August 3, 2002 which replaced outdated predecessor Roger Wilco released in October of 1999. Although it has not completely overtaken the market, Ventrilo has expanded its market share heavily over the multi-user VoIP industry in recent years. Ventrilo communicates primarily over TCP, and depending on the level of active codecs, tends to be more bandwidth-intensive. Users of Ventrilo’s client interface tend to prefer its simple and light-weight display.
Teamspeak was initially released on August 29, 2003 by Ralf Ludwig and Niels Werensteijn in Germany. The current release of Teamspeak is Teamspeak 2. Teamspeak communicates its packets primarily over UDP and is a processor-intensive application due to a reliance on SQL database queries server-side. Teamspeak 2’s client interface is very feature-rich, however slightly bulkier than Ventrilo.
The Alpha release of Teamspeak 3 currently contains a number of new features such as tabbed server participation, revised instant messaging similar to IRC and AIM and is expected to be released before the end of 2007. Little has been said about the next release of Ventrilo, however a new Ventrilo release is also expected soon which should remain very competitive with TeamSpeak as well as any other entries to the voice industry in the foreseeable future.
As online voice communication evolves, one thing is for certain- with the fiercely competitive development of either application, users need not let their hopes down for the future of online gaming.