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Nintendo Switch’s lobby system and voice chat handled by smartphone app – What?!?

by Joey Davidson | January 19, 2017January 19, 2017 3:00 pm PST

Nintendo Switch App

When Nintendo took the wraps off of the Nintendo Switch last week, they dropped a lot of information about the future of the console and its services. A lot of it was very vague. Take, for instance, how the Switch’s online system works with smartphones. That was mentioned in passing, but it demands more discussion.

Gamespot posted a lengthy video interview with Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. In that interview, they asked him how online play on the Switch will “tie into” smartphones. Here’s Fils-Aime’s response, as transcribed by Nintendo Today.

The smart phone app that we’re creating, that will be part of our online service, we believe is going to be a very compelling part of the overall proposition because that’s how you’ll voice chat, that’s how you’ll do your matchmaking, and create your lobby. We also think it’s a very elegant solution because if you’ve taken your switch on the go, you’ve put yourself in a hotspot, you’re looking at get a quick match of Mario Kart in, to whip out some sort of bulky, gamer headset is a bit of a challenge.

So we think we’ve got an elegant solution. That’s a very specific answer to your question.

Right off the bat, this seems really weird

I’m trying to reserve judgement for the actual product, but that’s sort of failing for me right now. This notion that I’ll voice chat and find matches with my phone while I play online? I sort of get where Fils-Aime’s coming from when he talks about the need for a solution in regards to portable play. This, though?

What about game audio? So, I’m playing Splatoon 2 in portable mode over Wi-Fi, right? I want to use voice chat. So, whip out my phone (which maybe had to be out in order to matchmake) and plug in my headphones. Do I hear the game’s actual audio? Just voice chat? If it’s both, what about lag?

I have a lot of questions, and Fils-Aime’s “very specific answer” just isn’t helping. What is going on here?

Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...