Nintendo has a really awkward solution for online voice chat on the Switch – players need to install an app on their smartphone, and connect both the smartphone and Switch to a headset like the one shown above to chat with other players online.
The solution was so messy that many people hated using it, and everyone thought the Nintendo Switch wasn’t powerful enough to support voice chat on its own.
There’s now new evidence that the Switch hardware is actually capable of supporting voice chat without the need of another smartphone app.
A user on NeoGAF reported that they tried playing Splatoon 2 via LAN mode with other players, and the moment they switched to the LAN lobby, they heard a very loud voice over their speakers. That’s when they realized someone’s headset, which has a microphone, was connected to their Nintendo Switch. And voice chat was working perfectly on it.
Currently the only mode that allows voice chat on the Switch itself is LAN mode. You can try LAN mode with your friends too, as long as everyone’s Nintendo Switch is connected to the same Wi-Fi router. Instructions can be found here.
So what does this all mean? The Switch hardware is definitely powerful enough to support voice chat on its own two feet, but for reasons unknown, Nintendo decided the best way to do things is by using some weird app on your smartphone. This may all change in the future, since many users are very unhappy about it.