Back when the Nintendo Switch was originally revealed, it was announced that chat functionality for online games would be done through a smartphone app. However, what was not explained was how the app would function. Today, Hori, a video game accessory company, revealed the first look at how this setup would work with a Splatoon 2 headset. Nintendo has always done things a little bit different, but if this turns out to be the best way to get, it is an over complication of something that other consoles have made extremely user-friendly.
This is what the setup will entail. Both the Switch and smartphone will connect into a junction unit on one end, with a headset connecting to it on the other. Since the setup is designed for Splatoon 2 players, the junction unit was given a squid shape. Once all this is connected, both game and chat audio will be heard in the headset. There are several things that seem problematic about this setup. Party chat on Xbox and PlayStation is done through the console itself, with headsets either connecting into the controller or wirelessly via bluetooth. There isn’t a jumble of cables to keep track of. More importantly, if the Switch is docked, how close will players have to be to it so everything reaches? If someone is playing on a couch, they would need a cable long enough to run from the dock to the junction unit (assuming they kept their phone close to them) or two long cables from the phone and headset into the unit if it was left close to the dock.
Hopefully, more clarity will given at E3 about how not only Switch chat will work, but also more information on online interaction overall. Until then, this is all we have to go on. On its face, this would appear to be Nintendo being different yet again, only not in a good way this time.