As you may have heard, Nin­ten­do has announced its new con­sole. The Switch. The Switch itself is already strange in many, many ways and this last bit of infor­ma­tion does not devi­ate from that pat­tern that we have got­ten to know as Nin­ten­do. Instead of gamers using a “Bulky Head­set”, Switch users will use their not so bulky and awk­ward to hold your face while gam­ing for hours smart phone for in game voice chat. 

Nintendo’s Reg­gie Fils-Aime said in a recent inter­view

“We are going to pro­vide an over­all online ser­vice, sub­scrip­tion-based, that not only will cap­ture the mul­ti­play­er oppor­tu­ni­ty, but also the voice chat capa­bil­i­ty that we’re going to pro­vide through a glob­al app. We think that that’s just as impor­tant as access to Vir­tu­al Con­sole con­tent.”

He con­tin­ues to explain,

The rea­son for that is, it con­tin­ues to rein­force our com­mit­ment to online, and do so in a way that will enable the con­sumer to enjoy their Nin­ten­do Switch and to still be able to play those con­nect­ed experiences—like Spla­toon, like Kart, like fill in the blank—while they’re on the go. Instead of hav­ing some sort of bulky gamer head­set, you’ll be able to do it right off your smart­phone, put in your ear­buds that you use for your stan­dard mobile device. We think that’s a pret­ty sweet solu­tion. That’s part of the over­all oppor­tu­ni­ty that we see in a sub­scrip­tion ser­vice.”

I am hav­ing a very hard time fig­ur­ing out what Nin­ten­do is try­ing to do here. Do they want to lose even more play­ers and cus­tomers? Using my phone for voice chat would be a very cool option to have but it is not a replace­ment for my top-end gam­ing head­set. How would we hear the game sound while using voice chat and not flood our own mics with the sound from our TVs? 

On top of that Nin­ten­do is charg­ing for online play, Nintendo’s offi­cial page for their sub­scrip­tion ser­vice states, 

Our new ded­i­cat­ed smart device app will con­nect to Nin­ten­do Switch and let you invite friends to play online, set play appoint­ments, and chat with friends dur­ing online match­es in com­pat­i­ble games─all from your smart device.  A free, lim­it­ed ver­sion of this app will be avail­able for down­load in sum­mer 2017.”

Looks like we will see how this cen­tral app approach works in just a few months.

Nin­ten­do Switch will be avail­able, World Wide March 3rd 2017