Setting up voice chat on the Nintendo Switch looks like a mess

1 min read

The Nintendo Switch is a really great piece of hardware that is selling like hotcakes, and shows a real understanding from Nintendo to both recognise where gaming is now and attempt to stretch those boundaries. It’s also an example oh how backwards the company can be at times, especially when it comes to the design around audio and online chat. Take this setup for example, which shows the ridiculous number of wires you’ll need just to chat to your team during a match of Splatoon 2.

The image below comes from HORI’s official Twitter account, after the Nintendo partnered company showed off some Splatoon 2 branded headphones launching with the Switch exclusive. The headphones themselves look fine (if you like that back of the head style), but the setup is just atrocious. Because Nintendo wants to put voice chat on a smartphone app instead of on the Switch itself, you need a way to connect the console to both your phone and headset. And it’s not pretty.

Breaking that down. you’ll need a central unit that helps the headset connect to your console and smartphone. That then leads out to a splitter, with two cables going to each device (that’s to the console. There’s no wireless controller connection here). You then need to keep both your phone close and connected to the app (which will likely take it out of any other commission), just so you can hear someone telling you how badly you’re playing a game about squid kids.

It’s ridiculous that this is how Nintendo envisions multiplayer sessions, when Microsoft and Sony have integrated everything in the image above into a single connection on the controller itself. This is just decades behind, and shows that while the Switch is an impressive mobile device it still lacks some core sensibilities. Like Bluetooth audio, for example, which also needs its own workaround.

I love my Switch, but I really wish this wasn’t something everyone would have to put up with.

Last Updated: June 1, 2017

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