One of the more puzzling and odd announcements from Nintendo about the Switch is that voice chat will be handled through a smartphone app, not via the console itself. Speaking to Kotaku, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime talked about why the company chose this approach and discussed why he thinks it’s in the best interest of Nintendo gamers.
“We actually think that the phone is going to deliver a better, more robust execution,” Fils-Aime explained. “In terms of the APIs that we can build into an app, the fact that phones are ubiquitous, the fact that it allows us to do much more rapid improvements and updates to the service, that’s why we think a phone execution–and specifically a mobile app execution–is going to be better for the consumer.”
The interviewer suggested that using a smartphone for voice chat could feel cumbersome, but Fils-Aime said what we’ve seen so far is just one example of how voice chat will work. “What you’ve seen is the execution by one particular supplier,” he said. “That is not going to be the only solution.”
In every case, you will need a smartphone to use voice chat on Nintendo Switch, Fils-Aime confirmed. “It’s going to require a mobile device and be delivered by an app,” he said.
The Kotaku interview touches on a number of other interesting topics–read it here.
The one smartphone-enabled voice chat solution for Switch that we’ve seen is for Splatoon 2–and it looks clunky. Here is what that looks like:
— Splatoon（スプラトゥーン） (@SplatoonJP) June 1, 2017
Online play for the Switch is currently free–but that is going to change in 2018. You can find out more about Nintendo’s membership plans and pricing here.