When Nintendo first announced its online service for the Switch, the company did so without fully detailing how certain features would work. Specifically, the company remained vague about voice chat, which it said would be handled via a separate mobile app.
Now, thanks to a product unveiling from Hori, Switch owners now know how voice chat will function…and it’s not pretty. Using the Hori headset, Switch owners will use an adapter that combines audio from and plugs into the mobile device and the Switch console.
Essentially what the adapter does is combine the game sound from the Switch and the voice chat from the mobile app into a single audio feed. You plug one cord from the adapter into the Switch’s audio output port and the other cord goes into a mobile device. That’s also assuming the mobile device has an audio output port; iPhone 7 owners will have to use another adapter to change the lightning output into a standard 3.5mm audio jack. It’s a cumbersome setup to be sure, and one that is going to draw a lot of raised eyebrows from Nintendo fans.
【2017年7月21日発売予定】「ステレオヘッドセット エンペラフックHDP for Nintendo Switch」がSplatoon2と同時発売予定です！ゲーム内のギアを再現したヘッドセットで、ゲーム音とボイスチャットをミックスさせて聞くことができます！(税抜￥3480) pic.twitter.com/q1T4Oy3Sr3
— HORI /ゲーム周辺機器のホリ (@HORI__OFFICIAL) June 1, 2017
Truth be told, most should have seen something like this coming when Nintendo announced an app would handle voice chat. Seeing that setup in front of us, though, puts in perspective just how clunky it will be to play online games like Splatoon and try to chat with friends.
Obviously, there are going to be solutions that are better than this – home console users can sync a Bluetooth headset to their phone and listen to game audio via speakers – but for the player on-the-go things are going to be a bit trickier. If the Switch simply handled everything on the system, things would be much easier.
In most cases, players are going to end up sacrificing one audio experience for the other. Either they are going to focus on party chat and let the game audio come through one way or another, or they are going to focus on the game audio and let the party chat bleed through or neglect it altogether.
Neither are optimal solutions, but that’s what Switch owners are working with right now. Hopefully, the outcry is enough that Nintendo starts to consider better solutions that don’t feature a headset tethered to two different devices.