Ever since the launch of the Switch, we’ve been told that the hybrid console would be getting voice chat support. Since then, details have come in drips. At one point we heard that a smartphone would be required to use voice chat, which left many people stunned and confused. We have been told that Splatoon 2, would be the first game to use the voice chat and last night, Hori, the Japanese company who’s been working with Nintendo on official accessories reveal their headset which will launch along side Splatoon 2.
As you can see above in the header, this setup is a lot more cumbersome than either Microsoft or Sony’s efforts. First, all users will have to download an App (currently not available), and then plug that into an adapter, which in this case looks like a squid. Then from that adaptor, you’ll have to plug into the Switch and also the headset. So basically you have three cords, using an adapter to get simple voice chat.
Do what now?!?
How does Nintendo think this is a good idea? Don’t get me wrong, I’m on board the Switch train, I love ours, but this is NOT a good concept. First, it’s a lot of connecting. Two, it’s cumbersome. Three, well this is three and three and half. What if you don’t have a smartphone? I know what you’re thinking, who doesn’t have a smartphone today? I’ll tell you, my son. He’s 12. He doesn’t have, nor does he need, a smartphone. However, he does play the Switch and will undoubtable want to play Splatoon 2 with his friends from school. So how will he do that, well, if my wife had her way, she’d say, “He doesn’t need to talk, just play the damn game.” But let’s be real. He’s going to come to me and ask to use my phone while he’s playing. This will be the method and decision by all kids who don’t have their own smartphone. Nintendo is opening themselves up to a major problem and tons of phone calls from parents of kids who have a Switch, who are going to complain to Nintendo, that their kids are driving them nuts asking for their phone. This is just stupid and poorly thought out. The only thing I can possibly see as a reason for this, is that it is forcing kids to ask for a phone, thus allowing parents to say yes or no, as to prevent them from speaking online to strangers, which is something that Nintendo wants to do, protect kids online. I get it, but this is just stupid. Simply have a passcode that parents can access to prevent or allow kids to speak online. Done.
The other problem is that iPhone 7 users, or users with certain Android devices, who don’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack will have to have an adapter to use the adapter. I just chuckled to myself there. I know people who have this problem, I personally use bluetooth headphones, but many people keep that adapter Apple (or other OEMs) include, with their primary headphones or in their car for AUX input. Which means that Switch owners who need that adapter will either have to keep it with them, taking it around to their car, in their room or in the living room (or wherever they play games) or the other option, purchase another adapter. Do you see the problem here, it’s costly, it’s complicated and it’s going to cause a lot of frustration with customers. Just look at that header, if you were planning an online service with voice chat and saw the competition, that has been doing this for years, would this seem like the best way to move forward?
At least Nintendo did backstep on one bad idea, with their online service launches in early ’18 (yeah, it’s been delayed), the service will cost just $20 a year, or cheaper monthly prices, but previously, Nintendo said customers would have access to one classic game per month. Now they say users will have access to all the classic games on the service (I’m sure the list will grow over time), no limits and can play as many and much as they want as long as they have an active subscription.