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Nintendo Overcomplicates Gaming Voice Chat

While most other gaming platforms let users simply plug in a headset and easily chat to others online, Nintendo’s solution for its Switch console involves multiple cables and your smartphone as well.

Nintendo revealed earlier in the year that online voice chat between players would require a smartphone app, and a new product has now revealed how this will work:

The officially licensed headset, which is set to launch alongside Nintendo’s multiplayer shooter game Splatoon 2 next month, requires a dongle and three cables to be fully functional. One 3.5mm cable connects the headset to a dongle, and two additional cables connect the dongle to the Switch for game audio and a smartphone for voice chat.

Owners of smartphones without a standard headphone jack will have an even more complicated setup with the addition of an accessory to convert Lightning or USB-C to a 3.5mm jack.

All of the cables are also reportedly 1.2 metres long, meaning the Switch, smartphone and headset will all need to stay relatively close together.

Following in the footsteps of Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo has said it will soon start charging a subscription fee to play games with others online and use voice chat.

The company’s online subscription service and accompanying smartphone app will cost US$20 a year in the US and will be introduced sometime in 2018. Alongside online multiplayer and voice chat, subscribers will also gain access to a library of classic games on the Switch.

Based on existing price differences, the cost would be about $30 a year in Australia, less than half the price of Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, the (somewhat) equivalent competing services.

In the meantime, Nintendo will launch a limited version of its app featuring free voice chat in the coming months.

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