An open letter – Voice chat on Switch

Nintendo, I’m here today to talk about fixing the Voice Chat for the Nintendo Switch. I rarely critique the Switch on its negative points but the Voice Chat systems in the Switch are probably it’s the biggest downfall and with Nintendo Switch Online fast approaching it’s beginning to look very concerning.

 

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Source: My Nintendo Switch

 

Why we need Voice Chat systems in the first place

So, this is actually an argument I’ve heard a lot, why would you need it in the first place? Why worry about it when alternative services such as Discord, Skype, and Teamspeak already do it, surely you can plug it into your phone and just use that?

Well, while this is a fairly valid workaround to this issue, it doesn’t resolve it. I’m actually in the crowd that uses Discord, however, I’d still prefer an all in one service. The service that currently exists for voice chat on the Switch.

The thing is (and this goes for the online lounge) not everyone wants to use another device to use voice chat.

Also, and this is important… every other console provides this service, therefore (and just like the lack of Netflix) the lack of it simply puts the Switch at a disadvantage.

 

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This is seriously a thing! (Source: Amazon)

 

Why I think we have the online lounge

The issue presented with the Switch and voice chat is that one solution doesn’t fit all. The Switch has 4 different styles of play and for the most part people switch (pun) between them often, I myself do this all the time. I’ll go from playing on my bed or the bus to wacking it into the dock and playing on the TV. Everyone always has their phone in their pocket, nearly always though, so putting the VC on there actually makes it a constant…

 

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My (a little dusty because the dock never moves) Switch

 

The App – What’s good, what’s not.

The issue the app has (still, they fixed the on launch awful parts of it) is that it simply doesn’t provide all the features you’d want. For one it’s really disorientating to use: In order to make a voice channel you have to do it from your Switch, but then you control your VC from the App. It’s a constant spend of going back and forth between devices if you could make channels from the app it’d actually be a lot simpler. But then it also just lacks features. You can’t kick people from channels, you can’t have channels outside of the one game that supports it and you can’t even change people’s volumes.

One thing the app does right, for the one game it supports is the auto lobby feature. The game will split you into appropriate lobbies if you’re in a private battle on Splatoon 2 so that you can only hear your team, you don’t need to do anything it just does it. It’s actually a really useful feature… if you could turn it off when you don’t want it.

 

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Source: My Phone

 

Embed only VC is horrible on a Console

This is a big one. The Voice service on Switch actually only works, in Splatoon 2.. if you’re doing a private battle, salmon run, league battle or Splatfest team battle. The second you close the game, you have under a minute before you’re booted out of your voice chat. Going “okay, wanna play Mario Kart now?” simply isn’t viable. Every other console lets you do this. System-level voice chat is important.

 

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Source: My Nintendo Switch

 

The Solution

So, here’s my solution to this problem. Have system level voice chat (Discord actually offered to run this for you), keep the app as a way to access it (that way the slaving feature feels less weird) but have it as an option just on the Switch. Have it so it can detect when you’re running an auto lobby compatible game, but let the lobby leader (who can kick people) be able to turn the auto lobby off. You’ve recently let people use USB headsets on the Switch, so let my wireless ones work. That way I can listen comfortably in my room and just have to plug in a dongle or make switch compatible ones (or both). You’ve done an amazing job with this console so far and fixing this broken feature is the way to keep things going Nintendo.

 

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Source: Nintendo of America

 

Thanks for listening as always.