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Filed under: Editorial

The Switch’s Voice Chat is Embarrassingly Bad

Note: This is an opinion piece. It represents the opinion of PushDustIn, and not the opinion of all of Source Gaming.

Oh Nintendo.

Obviously, I love the company. I’ve written about the company for over three years, but sometimes I need to shake my head is disappointment. The latest news is that Nintendo’s voice chat solution for the Switch is somehow even worse than we previously thought. So I’m here to call on all my fellow Nintendo fanboys, and talk about something that we all know deep down — Nintendo messed up. It’s time to stop making excuses and to tell Nintendo to make a solution. Fix the voice chat.

Now I’ve read a lot of comments from ‘Defenders of Nintendo’ (DoN) who claim that:

…voice chat is not such a big deal. I don’t use it. Why would you want to use it? I’m glad that Splatoon won’t have voice chat so I won’t have to deal with annoying kids! Everyone has a smartphone these days. Nintendo requiring you to download an application isn’t such a big deal. It doesn’t matter that you need to keep that app open all times — when I play games, I’m focused on the experience. It’s free right now…

Stop. If you are one of these people, stop. Nintendo is not going to sleep with you. You do not need to defend Nintendo all the time. In fact, if you love a company so much, criticize it. Don’t accept half thought solutions and pay for it. Expect greatness all the time or else you become complacent with mediocrity.  

problem with Nintendo’s voice chat solution: it’s not simple. In order to access the voice chat consumers will need a smartphone or at least a tablet with iOS/ Android. So if the consumer is part of the population that doesn’t have a smartphone — or if they have a Windows smartphone then they are automatically locked out of the experience. They won’t can’t access the voice chat in any way, shape or form. These aren’t just random people either. Two of those people work on this site! If you travel abroad, and don’t have a smartphone — you won’t be able to use the voice chat! If a phone breaks, then the Switch loses some functionality.  It just boggles my mind how Nintendo thought this was a practical solution. Have they ever used voice chat before?

The fundamental idea that a Switch experience is behind a phone makes it complicated for some customers to get their full enjoyment out of the Switch. If you are one of the DoNs — please realize that not everyone plays games the way you do. Some people like talking with their friends via their gaming consoles. Personally, I don’t. But I’ll defend everyone’s ability to do it on a modern console. Sony and Microsoft are not locking people behind a complicated set up — and they’ve had this figured out years before Nintendo even really attempted it. All Nintendo had to do was look at what anyone else has done for the past ten years and copy it.

It gets worse. Nintendo’s voice chat requires the app to be open at all times. This means that I cannot use my phone in any other way while waiting for the next game — or if I lose and I’m waiting for the next round. Essentially, I cannot check my Twitter, emails, Reddit, whatever. Essentially I’m locked out of my phone while using this app. Not only that, but having the phone on constantly will drain the battery! That means for some people, they will need to charge their phone while playing a game. I can have video chats with my girlfriend and can still have another app opened at the same time — it’s great for looking up something, or if I want to check an email real quick. Why can’t Nintendo and DeNa make a halfway decent modern app?

You are going to have to buy something that can connect to your phone and Switch to mix audio in one headset.

First impressions matter…and they matter a lot. Nintendo has simply fumbled its’ way through announcing its’ online services for the Switch, and has left a lot to our imaginations. However, with more and more information coming out — I expected not a whole lot, and I’m disappointed.   
So basically this is how voice chat on the Switch will work:  Switch docked (and plugged in), with an AUX cable coming out of the TV and phone into a pair of headphones while charging the phone…what the heck. To all of the ‘Defenders of Nintendo’: I wish you good luck not tripping over all of these wires or the logic to defend such a terrible decision.

  1. I love how you’re so intent on pushing your criticisms that you invented a new epithet to use against your fellow fans. Do I really need to explain what an ad hominem attack is? I have no particular interest in “defending” the app, but this isn’t the reasonable tone I expect from this site. “And anyone who defends this is a *insert pejorative here” is on the rhetorical level of an unruly message board. Source Gaming is better than this. There was no need to use that angle when there were so many practical issues worth discussing.

    If I hear anything about “Defenders of Nintendo” again, I’m abandoning this site. There’s enough demagoguery in the world without fandoms driving wedges between themselves.

    Igiulaw on July 19 |
    • It is silly to deny the fact there are people who defend Nintendo even when they are in the wrong. These type of people exist in every type of fandom. The fact is that the App shouldn’t have been released in the state that it is in, especially for one so vital to the system.

      Fangzthewolf on July 19 |
  2. “Expect greatness all the time or else you become complacent with mediocrity.”

    On the other hand, expecting greatness all the time leads you to have high blood pressure, jaded mindset, and otherwise looking like an ass-

    Otherwise, good piece.

    ALSJ on July 19 |
  3. I agree that the ad hominem was unnecessary. It’s something that a lesser news site would use. I’m not trying to be harsh, but it sounds like you wrote this while you were still angry about the issue.

    I agree that the voice chat system is needlessly complicated. And from what I’ve heard, just using Skype while playing could slow down the internet on your game. A Nintendo app sounds like a good idea on paper. A way to keep up with your friends and schedule play times. But, just use what everyone else is using. I’ll mute the annoying little shits and just use voice chat with people I trust.

    Anthony Acquilano on July 20 |
  4. Totally agreed, Nintendo’s approach to voice chat is atrocious. For crying out loud, the Xbox can attach a headset via a wireless controller! And what does Nintendo produce? Some jank extra perirferal that operates like it was made in the 1990s. And it’s not like the Switch’s hardware can’t handle it, it’s that they wanted to rush Splatoon 2’s release and adding native voice chat would have delayed it. That’s really a low move that benefits no one and is just a cash grab. I hope Nintendo learns their lesson with this and doesn’t repeat the same mistake in the future.

    Kirby on July 25 |