How do I integrate a chat channels in my game?

Title is self explanatory.

I’m interested into having in the game menu chat channels (ala Dota or Warcraft 3 or League of Legends).

I would like to have general chat rooms and chat rooms created by players for their team/friends with the ability to have them password protected if the users want to.

I would actually like the idea of connecting the game to an irc server.

The chat has to work regardless of the fact the player is playing or not.

I think this might be actually quite complex so I would be actually inclined to hire somebody to set it up, but I’d rather learn or have some ideas as I don’t have the budget to pay somebody to mantain and troubleshoot this aspect of the game all of the time.

nobody has an idea?

I know Unity supports in game irc chat.