A review of Microsoftís SideWinder Game Voice

By Joe Mraz

Komputer Enthusiasts of Greater Seattle


OK, before we begin, here is an explanation of this hardware (and its associated software) directly from Microsoftís WEB page.




SideWinder Game Voice is the complete hardware and software solution that brings the power of voice to games, whether you're online, on a LAN, or offline. Learn more about the competitive advantage Game Voice offers with its integrated software and hardware features.


Iím not going to repeat everything thatís on the WEB just to make this review longer so hereís the site address:http://www.gamevoice.com/gamevoice.asp

Feel free to go there and be amazed.


Let me start by saying that Iím the last person to be doing a review on this type of a device because I am NOT an avid gamer.The product came to me because of a mix-up at Microsoft Mindshare.I asked for a Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 joystick and they sent me SideWinder Game Voice.


While the product is interesting and offers some benefits in gaming and sound system controls, its use is very focused and isn't what I'd typically add to my system configuration.Because of my inability to find anyone else using this product and the type of games I play, it was impossible to test it out in an Internet gaming situation.


Setup-up was a bit confusing because this device is not defined by the computer as a gaming device.And I actually had to call for assistance to finally get it up and running.


As I said before, the most convenient feature for me was the Hardware Control of the sound system.The ability to put on the headset, easily switch off the speakers and not annoy everyone in the house while I was gaming is great.If youíve got a 5 channel sound system you donít get full control: Only the front Left & Right channels go through the SideWinder Game Voice controller.


When used with Flight Simulator it really added to the feeling that you were in the cockpit of an aircraft.When I activated the Voice Commands feature it really became interesting trying to talk the aircraft into a takeoff.It even let me program in some rather questionable words to activate certain features (Swearing at youíre computer can really be fun).However, the lack of reality and the systems inability to always recognize the appropriate command soon forced me to ignore that feature.


Not being able to try out Multi-channel Chat or the Broadcast feature leaves a lot untested but thereís not a lot of people out there with this device.


The quality of the Plantronics Headset is without question.Itís probably the most comfortable headset Iíve ever used and Iíll happily continue to use it.


I wish that I could be more positive but, except for a special facility designed for multi-user game playing or an avid gamers group, I donít feel that this produce is justifiable for the typical user at its current cost.


Well, maybeÖ Excuse me.My aircraft engine is warmed-up and the tower is telling me that I have clearance to take off.Iíve got to go buzz the Microsoft Campus.


Hey, if youíre using one of these things and need to test the network, contact me.


Joe Mraz



Komputer Enthusiasts of Greater Seattle (KEGS)