Here’s everything you need to know about the solution.
Nintendo Switch Online?
Unlike Xbox One and PS4, the Switch doesn’t have an in-built party system for voice chat and other multiplayer features. The Switch Online App will handle most of those processes.
What’s it do?
Let’s use the upcoming Splatoon 2 as an example. While players can boot up the game on Switch and play multiplayer sessions like Turf War and Salmon Run without the Switch Online app, those who do can access its SplatNet2 hub. The Switch Online app will also let you chat with players, in-game, while you play — this cannot happen using the Switch alone. In Salmon Run, where teamwork is absolutely necessary, voice chat is a must.
How does it work?
To use voice chat in-game, you’ll need to login to the Switch Online app and leave it open and running — that is, you can’t turn it on your iPhone and then start browsing Twitter.
You’ll also need to be friends with your fellow players, either on Switch or via other social media networks like Twitter or Facebook.
To chat, you’ll need to start a Switch game, start the Switch Online app (and leave it running) and chat through your iPhone or Android’s microphone. A hands-free headset will work wonders.
As you may have noticed, the “app needs to be open” is a sticking point — your phone becomes a chat hub while you’re using it, and not your phone. If you receive a real-world phone call? The app will close and you’ll be kicked out of voice chat. Opening the Switch Online app again should reconnect you without fuss, providing the game is still ongoing. Fun, eh?
How do you invite friends to play? (Or vice versa.)
Let’s again use Splatoon 2 as an example. In-game, you’ll need to create a room inside the Online Lounge menu. You can send a notification to your phone once that’s done, and that will access the room itself. From the app, you can invite friends or those you’ve just played against to join you for more play.
On the flip side, if you’ve been invited, you can accept invitations through the app.
How much does this cost?
Right now, nothing — the Switch Online app is free, and the Online service itself is in a period of extended trial until the end of 2017.
After 1 January 2018, the service will cost Aussies $29.95 AUD and Kiwis $32.95 NZD.
Do I need anything else?
Not really — phone, Switch and a game are enough. That said, you can get the overly complicated Splatoon 2-themed chat headset if you really want.
Any more questions? Fire ’em off in the comments, below.