Switch Online is here, but Nintendo have really dropped the ball with their Voice Chat App. Here’s why…
C1: Hey guys, welcome to P Myth Gaming, Splatoon 2 has finally arrived, and with it, the Nintendo Switch Online app. There was a lot of trepidation about this app when it was first announced, not least from myself, but I and many others, had started to warm to the idea a little.
C2: Even with the ridiculous set-up needed for voice chat and in game audio.
C1: In some regards, Nintendo have actually exceeded expectations. The game specific features
C2: Although only Splatoon is getting any lovin’ right now
C1: are actually pretty cool.
VO: Being able to log on and check my recent game stats, order new gear, check which stages are currently in rotation or when Salmon Run is going to be live, is actually really handy. The fact the gear available through Splatnet has different abilities to those found in game, also makes it worthwhile to keep checking back.
C1: So Splatnet is pretty cool, and the app in general runs really well and is easy enough to navigate around. But the voice chat set-up is absolutely dire.
Shifting voice chat to a separate app instead of having it operate natively on the console is a controversial move, but with the portable nature of the Switch and concerns over battery life etc, is understandable.
What isn’t understandable, is then forcing people to create lobbies on the game, to ping notifications to the app, in order to talk.
C2: If you want voice chat on the app, let us do it on the app!
C1: The inability to create lobbies or just invite people to chat, or even send messages, on the app itself, practically defeats the entire purporse of it, and eliminates the one advantage of having a separate device for voice chat.
What’s more, is this ‘invite your friends in the game to talk on the app’ set-up means it’s utterly useless for anything but Splatoon right now. I can’t gloat about my victory in ARMS or trash talk in Bomberman,
C2: Or hurl abuse at my friends in Mario Kart
C1: Even on Splatoon I’m totally limited to private matches. So if, for example, a friend and I are just playing some casual Turf War but we don’t have enough people to fill a lobby, we can’t talk to each other.
Tying lobbies to specific games, and not letting us do it in the app itself, also means that the app’s usefulness will be limited entirely to games that are supported by the app. Nintendo may very well activate all of their games for use with it
C2: And one hopes they’ll retroactively add support for Mario Kart and Arms and so on
C1: But what about third parties? Do Capcom now need to go back and patch Street Fighter in order to support the voice chat app? And Psyonix have now got more work, across two platforms, Switch and mobile, to have voice chat for Rocket League when that drops later this year.
Nintendo are trying to repair their third party problem this generation, and are making some real progress in doing so, but the ridiculous approach they’re taking on this risks alienating some third parties, or at the very least, causing them to drop features like voice chat from Switch versions of their games
C2: Which again results in watered down ports, that nobody buys, and thus third parties start dropping support for the system.
C1: When this was first announced, I thought Nintendo were just being Nintendo and trying to do something a little bit different.
C2: Their crazy toy maker approach
C1: But this has been so badly thought through that I’m starting to believe that they just don’t really know what they’re doing, or worse, still don’t understand how important these features are in 2017.
VO: The one glimmer of hope is that there is a menu within the app to provide feedback. If enough of us provide them with some constructive criticism, maybe they’ll correct course and, before they start charging for it, change the app so it acts more like a Discord set-up.
C2: Or better yet, scrap it entirely and put it natively on the Switch.
C1: Thanks very much for watching everyone, don’t forget to do the usual like, subscribe, comment, share, tell your friends, graffiti the channel on toilet doors, tattoo the logo on your arse and so on and so on, and I shall catch you all next Sunday!