Nintendo Switch Online app launches July 21

Nintendo Switch Online
For better or worse, the Nintendo Switch Online app is coming on July 21 to smartphones everywhere. Nintendo’s app will act as the hub for online games through which players receive invites and other notifications. As everyone feared, the app is also going to handle voice chat. At least, it seems that way with Splatoon 2 (which releases on the same date).

According to the official website, “With the app, you can send online play invitations to players on your Nintendo Switch system’s friend list. The app also lets you quickly send invites via social networks and messaging services. When you’re invited to a game, you’ll get notified right away via a push notification on your smart device.”

The last sentence reveals bad news on Switch voice chat.

“Once players are connected, you can use voice chat openly with friends while in the online lobby and during online play (depending on the game).”

Nintendo’s statement should make things clear on whether voice chat runs through the app. Furthermore, clicking on the link leading to Splatoon 2 online information gives the same confirmation.

“Use the app to chat with friends who also have the app during Private Battles, League Battles, Splatfest Battles, and Salmon Run.”

“While you’re in the lobby before or after a match, chat is open to everyone. During battle, the app will automatically switch to team voice chat, so you can coordinate your strategy without the other team listening in.”

So is lobby chat open to everyone, or everyone who is on the player’s friend list?

The entire gaming world knows Nintendo for making it difficult to communicate with strangers online. Part of the decision process to buy consoles like the Switch and 3DS involves accepting this fact. But Nintendo can reverse course.

Online play is free through the end of the year. The delay in subscription fees gives the House of Mario more time to see how the smartphone app initially plays out. Hopefully, Nintendo can listen and ease up on the app requirement.

Regardless, Nintendo continues to bring out a steady stream of strong first-party titles. As for the third-party front, the situation is slowly improving even though a few developers still seem hesitant to get on board. Time remains.

Also, Nintendo is going to make their presence felt at San Diego Comic-Con this week. Be sure to check them out over there while downloading the smartphone app on Friday.

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