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The Rub on the Nintendo Switch Mobile App

/ Jul 26th, 2017 No Comments

Nintendo Switch App

Splatoon 2 recently released to much fanfare. Along with it, Nintendo’s mobile app for the Switch launched, and the feedback has not been nearly as great. The Nintendo Switch mobile app is mainly used for voice chat and is meant to be integrated with Nintendo’s full online service coming sometime in 2018.

In addition to voice chat, the app will be used to party up with friends and check on various in-game features (for games that support the app). However, the voice chat feature is overly complicated, and this could be a problem for Nintendo when it attempts to sell its online service.

Sorry, No Entry. Private Party

The biggest problem with the Switch app is how it is used to connect to voice chat. Players can join a match with friends easily through the Switch menu, but players then also have to join the voice chat through the smartphone app. Using the phone for voice chat creates a number of issues.

For instance, the app only allows players to create a private lobby, and leaving the lobby exits the chat outright. Thus, private matches are just that; private fights between only those in the lobby. Two friends playing together would just constantly battle one another. If you open another app on your phone, you will be disconnected from the voice chat.

Ultimately, I opted to create my own solution. I simply called my friend using the magic of the phone app on my smartphone and talked to him on speaker while we played matches together. We were able to play against other people online and still chat using our cellphones, but not how Nintendo expects you to do so.
 

Splatoon 2

If only there was some way to communicate with them; tell them about group chat…

That being said, the voice chat sounds astoundingly good through the app, more than likely because it’s essentially functioning as Nintendo Switch Skype sans a video feed. Headsets can be used for greater mobility and clarity, but are entirely unnecessary because voice chat works similar to calling someone.

For voice chat to be successful, Nintendo needs to find a way to allow the Nintendo Switch app to create party-specific chatrooms that are not tethered to any specific game in the same way Xbox and PlayStation’s chats are separate from software.

Splat-app

While voice chat has room to improve, the software interaction on the Switch mobile app is well done. Players are able to view various stats for Splatoon 2, including lifetime scores, stats from recent battles, upcoming map rotations and weapon stats with the option to share on social media. It’s not game changing, but it’s a nice hub of information for serious Splatoon 2 players.
 

Nintendo Switch App

One of the features of Splatnet 2: previewing upcoming stages!

There is plenty of room to grow this interaction. Using Splatoon 2 as an example, players could be able to fully customize their character’s loadouts from the app. The app already allows players to make gear purchases, so this would serve as the next logical step for interaction with Splatnet 2.

What’s App Next?

The Nintendo Switch mobile app has a lot of room to grow. and it most likely will. Since Nintendo’s online service isn’t in its final form quite yet, it’s best to think of the app as a beta test in its current form. Voice chat desperately needs to be improved so players aren’t tethered to a specific game with their chat channel, but the app shows potential.

For now, the app is entirely free, but when Nintendo’s online service opens up and becomes a paid service in 2018, players will have to spend some money in order to use the app’s features. If Nintendo doesn’t improve its voice chat, it may have a hard time convincing Switch players to pony up dough for online services. It’s been a rough start for the app, but it has so many possibilities.

The Nintendo Switch mobile app is available on both iOS and Android devices, and is used in conjunction with the Nintendo Switch console.

 

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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