The First Switch Chat Headset Isn't Going Well

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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The First Switch Chat Headset Isn't Going Well

The Nintendo Switch is starting to show that it's got some real potential going forward to pull Nintendo out of its Wii U morass and put it back on solid ground. However, some problems are beginning to emerge, and perhaps the worst problem the Switch has seen yet has arrived in the form of its first chat headset.

More specifically, it comes from a third-party developer called Hori, who was well-known in the field for making "fighting stick" controllers. Its chat headset, meanwhile, looks like nothing so much as a catastrophe in a box, but some reports suggest that this is owing to Nintendo's design of the Switch.

The Hori system not only requires that users have the Hori headset, but also have a dongle that connects to the Switch. And a smartphone.

Yes, you read that sentence fragment correctly. The Hori headset requires a smartphone to work. This is necessary because Nintendo made the conscious decision to route all voice chat in the multiplayer games for Nintendo Switch through its smartphone app, which means users will need a smartphone to engage in live chat functions in games.

If that sounds like a level of stupidity previously only theorized to exist, well, you're not alone on that front. In fact, some are bringing up the Smartglass concept from the Xbox 360 days, which really didn't go so well either. Others bring up the concept of Nintendo's "friend code" system, which was largely a disaster from the word go.

Making voice chat in online gaming a complicated and difficult thing to work with is, for all intents and purposes, a disaster. People commonly enjoy voice chat in games, and not without reason; while some people abuse it with frantic and occasionally joyful abandon--we all know the reputation that Call of Duty players have, for example--for others, it's a vital part of an overall experience, a way to readily coordinate players to "move here," "get that," or "set up a flanking maneuver."

If Nintendo makes voice chat cumbersome, that's likely going to cost it a lot of potential multiplayer gamers. That's not an expense Nintendo can readily afford after so many losses from the Wii U generation. Nintendo needs to make some moves to simplify its voice chat systems and quickly before this becomes a problem much more serious than it ever wanted to tackle.

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