We all know that Nintendo is not at the forefront with their online systems and network. Just like most of its style of games, it’s kept simplistic, and easy to access. A bonus of it so far as well is that it is free (Although this is changing in 2018 it’s only minuscule compared to the charges for Xbox and PlayStation)
However, when the Switch was announced there wasn’t really much information regarding things like party chat, then when Splatoon 2 was announced and that it was going to be the first to use party chat, there was an air of excitement that there was going to be a proper party chat system for the Switch.
Then we were shown to the mobile app connecting, wires everywhere mess that we use today… I say ‘use’ in the loosest term. I tried once and gave up, far too much messing about. There is a 3.5mm jack on the top of the system, why wasn’t an app placed on this so all you had to do was connect a headset to the jack, go into the app, create the party and voila, or connect the headset to the jack, and you can talk to people in the lobby…. Voila!
The most probable reason behind this is because of the deal that was struck by Nintendo with DeNA to make their mobile apps. Nintendo has probably thought that this was the most convenient thing to do as pretty much everyone has a smartphone or access to one for younger people with parents, but then, I must admit that if my young child came up to me and asked me to download the party chat so they could speak to people, I wouldn’t do it. Splatoon 2 is the only game at the moment that uses it, and for me it’s not needed really, only if I wanted to party up with people to talk while playing, then yeah, I would be up for it, but I’m not the most social person when playing with random people, I just like to sit back and play.
So this begs the question, because of this insane system, is this what is keeping games like Call of Duty, Battlefield 1 etc off the Switch?
People are going to say that they don’t think that those games can run on the Switch, but I beg to differ, I think that a resource hungry game like DOOM can be brought to the Switch and Wolfenstein 2 as well, why not games like CoD and Battlefield? Yeah, there is going to be downgrades and compromises, but at the end of the day, if it plays well, feels good and gives the experience that gamers are looking for why not? Well, because these types of games do rely heavily on party chat.
A lot of communication is needed, especially when it comes to playing some of the bigger modes in Battlefield such as Conquest, getting your team organised to go after whichever flag it does need you to be able to talk to your teammates. I have found that I have a better chance of winning if I have people on the team who are communicating.
In my eyes, the way that Nintendo has done the party chat may have alienated these games from coming to the system, for now at least anyway. Unless there is going to be a workaround or Nintendo decides to put a dedicated party app onto the Switch for it (when they decide to release apps) I’m not sure whether games like CoD and Battlefield will be able to implement a party chat into it.
At the end of the day, if they truly want these games on the system, then I am positive that they will find a way around it, whether it’s using Nintendo’s app, or just not including party chat. Which in this writers opinion would be a disaster for the objective based games.
More shooters are needed on the Switch and I think a Call of Duty or Battlefield game would be amazing, but I think one of the things that are putting off Activision and EA bringing their big shooters to the system is the party chat feature.
Another question to ask is, with the hardware within the Switch, would an app be all it needed? A simple update to allow for party chat, or is it now beyond the realms of possibility to get this feature direct onto the system?
I personally hope that Nintendo changes the app on mobile into a dedicated app for the system which will allow for direct connection to the 3.5mm jack and hey presto, you’re ready to go. Whether they will take on the feedback or not, as there have been a lot of grumblings from gamers about this, is yet to be seen, but we can just keep our fingers crossed.