This social client merges IRC-like channels with Skype-like VoIP communication, creating a unique hybrid that may be valuable to gamers.
RaidCall said on Wednesday that is has reached more than 10 million registered users worldwide. Don't know what RaidCall is? Neither did we, but the company's PR firm said that the VoIP/IM chat service is highly popular overseas, and is now looking to battle Skype and Ventrillo here in the United States. Its biggest selling point? The ability to handle 20,000 simultaneous callers – with no loss in audio – without the need to rent or host a server.
"With a simple installation process, lightweight system requirements and minimal memory usage, RaidCall keeps group conversations fluid and clear, with little to no impact on other concurrently running programs," the San Jose, Calif. company said on Wednesday.
RaidCall offers both VoIP communication and instant messaging. It's also equipped with social features like the ability to share and watch live streams all in the same chat window. There's even a growing community filled with chat groups offering similar interests and activities.
The RaidCall website states that the client has a low CPU usage and minimum memory footprint, allowing for smooth, uninterrupted communication. The group communication aspect consists of support for up to 20,000 users in a single group, HD voice chat for anywhere in the world, a flexible group management system, and additional features like voice recording, polls, announcements, activity logs and more. It also comes packed with "fancy features" too, offering special speaking modes fit for every occasion, optional reverbs for music effects, a moderator system, and the ability to process your voice by way of a sound card or through software media players.
After playing around with the client for a bit, it's similar to IRC in appearance and function. The main screen is broken into three sections: Groups, Contacts and Games. On the Groups page, users can search for a specific group, or browse through the groups listed under specific themes like Games, Entertainment, Educational Groups and more. There are even options to create your own group, head back to those labeled favorite, ones that you're a member of, and some that you've frequently trolled.
For instance, click on the Entertainment section, and the category is broken down to Karaoke, Music/Radio, Hobbies/Interests and Make New Friends. In the Hobbies/Interests sub-category, only one group resides: Anime Online. After clicking on the link and waiting for a moment, an IRC-like window opens. The difference is that there are channels listed over to the right along with current visitors.
That said, there's a lot to explore with RaidCall. In this particular group, the client ventured into the Radio AOS channel automatically, immediately pumping J-Pop through the speakers. There are also other channels within this group such as the main Lounge, AOS Mix, Karaoke Room, User Radio AOS, Anime Today and loads more. Users can manually type messages as with IMs and IRC, or hit the F2 button to actually talk in real-time – this is where the VoIP aspect comes in.
Want to create a group? That's easy. Simply click the button on the Groups page, and it loads up a second screen, saying that "once a group has been created, it cannot be deleted or transferred to another user. Apparently users can only create two groups in their lifetime, so choose wisely.
Currently you won't find very many groups based on this region, but there's a potential for this service to become quite popular. Again, it feels like a second-generation IRC, only the server aspect is now tossed out and users merely choose or create a group with a specific theme. Eventually you'll come across someone interesting and add them to your contact list for instant messaging – strangers who IM you will appear under "strangers," and the list will even show who you've chosen to ignore.
"RaidCall has quickly become the premier free group communication software for work, online gaming and staying in touch with friends and family," said RaidCall Marketing Manager, Aviva Woo. "Our ambition is to grow RaidCall into the de facto standard for powering community interaction, whether in a work environment or around popular forms of entertainment. With over 10 million users worldwide, we’re confident that we’ll quickly scale to new heights based on our free, high-quality software that requires little processing power, which is currently unmatched by any other provider in the industry."
How this chat client will be a Skype killer is unknown at this point, but the PR department is putting an emphasis on this service being highly valuable to gamers. There are already groups listed for World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, League of Legends and a few more – for games like EVE Online that do massive State of the Union addresses, this is quite valuable, the contact told Tom's.
In addition to what's been mentioned above, the RaidCall client will connect to Facebook. Thus, even if you currently have no friends on RaidCall, it will show your Facebook friends currently online in a separate list, making it easy to chat real-time and invite them onto the service. Given that RaidCall is somehwat new here in the States, it's too early to fell how this integration will be effective in getting new users.
For more information about this interesting new social tool, head here. Stay tuned – we may need to revisit this one as it gains additional North American support.