Tech by VICE

It's 2017 and This Is How Nintendo Is Doing Voice Chat?

I can't wait to play Splatoon 2 but damn.

by Emanuel Maiberg
Jun 1 2017, 1:30pm

Overall, I am loving the heck out of the Switch, Nintendo's home console and portable hybrid. I put over 100 hours into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (120 shrines, 271 koroks), and bought Snake Pass from its online store even though it's available on other platforms, just because I wanted an excuse to keep using the Switch.

It feels so new and convenient, but it seems that in some ways Nintendo is still going to Nintendo. The company, which has had a notoriously hard time catching up with best practices for online play, expects Splatoon 2 players to use this baffling setup in order to speak to their teammates. What was once the cleanest, easiest console to set up and play, now looks like a set of instructions for defusing a bomb.

Nintendo has said since before the launch of the Switch that it was going to rely on a smartphone app for social and voice chat purposes. That doesn't seem like the worst idea on the face of it. My smartphone is next to me when I play, and offloading contacts management and voice chat to a different device that doesn't interrupt whatever I'm doing with the Switch could have benefits. But this...doesn't seem ideal.

What you're looking at here is a headset made by game accessory company Hori. According to the diagram above, it plugs into a splitter which connects to both the Switch and your smartphone. It's possible that this setup is specific to Splatoon 2 or even just this Hori headset—the information comes directly from the official, Japanese Splatoon Twitter account, though Nintendo has yet to say if this is how voice chat will work with every game.

I've reached out to Nintendo for clarification and will update this post if I hear back.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still going to play the heck out of Splatoon 2 (I loved the first game!), but I might not talk to other players if it means I have to sit in a big spaghetti bowl of cords.

Splatoon 2
voice chat