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Ars: Early tests show bizarre issues with Nintendo Switch voice chat app

Zombie James

Banned
Dec 28, 2005
46,216
4
0
https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017...e-issues-with-nintendo-switch-voice-chat-app/

As Nintendo points out in the app's official FAQ, voice chat cannot run in the background while using your phone for other purposes such as "texts, social media, etc.":

"The voice chat will disconnect while you're talking on the phone or using another application, but your voice chat will restart in the same room once you open the Nintendo Switch Online application again as long as the game session is still ongoing."

What's more, early testing confirms that the app won't work if your phone goes into power-saving "sleep mode," with the screen inactive. And don't bother trying to use the app to chat with your Switch friends while away from the system, either: you can only join chat rooms with people when you're actively playing a specific, supported game with them.

This is all in sharp contrast to Sony and Microsoft, which have allowed simple party chat directly on their consoles—across games and at the system level—for years.

Practical impact aside, the design decision is simply baffling when you compare the Switch voice chat app to other phone-based chat solutions. Everything from Skype to Discord to the built-in phone app on your smartphone lets you continue talking to others while doing other things with the phone. For Nintendo to require its app to run in the foreground when other apps prove it's not necessary is just strange.

Calling this half-baked would be very, very generous.

UPDATE

It gets worse...

GameXplain said you can't even pull down the notification tray on your phone while using the app and voice chat. You immediately get cut off.

Don't have a timestamp, but the whole thing is worth listening to anyway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3Hn7_7c52Y

The notification tray comment is around the 4:50 mark.
 

Kouriozan

Member
Mar 22, 2012
28,515
1
705
France
And Nintendo still manage to continue to disappoint us with her online offering.
It's like they have no idea of what they are doing.
 
Jun 27, 2015
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Well hopefully they take these criticisms to heart and use the time between now and the actual paid launch to improve it. Significantly
 

cw_sasuke

If all DLC came tied to $13 figurines, I'd consider all DLC to be free
Sep 9, 2006
27,409
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Sounds like something that could be fixed in a quick update....unless its intentional, but even then they will need to include at least an option to support VC if the screen is off.
 

BiggNife

Member
Aug 15, 2007
9,511
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Why even release it in this state? This is embarrassing.

I have to imagine this app just wasn't ready but they needed something for Splatoon 2's launch.

For the time being I'm just going to use Discord until it allows you to use voice in sleep mode. That's just inexcusable. My non-XL Pixel's battery would get annihilated by keeping a screen on during a 2-3 hour session.
 

GhostTrick

Banned
Jan 11, 2012
16,576
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I have to imagine this app just wasn't ready but they needed something for Splatoon 2's launch.

For the time being I'm just going to use Discord until it allows you to use voice in sleep mode. That's just inexcusable. My non-XL Pixel's battery would get annihilated by keeping a screen on during a 2-3 hour session.


Yeah, they could've just implemented voice chat in the game or cross game chat on the console. Let's not pretend it'd be difficult: It wouldnt be.
 

NSESN

Member
Mar 18, 2015
5,499
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If it was half-baked but actually on the console I would be ok with. But the fact they force us to use phones and there is no benefit whatsoever is so stupid.
 

Protein

Banned
Feb 29, 2012
5,559
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Who the fuck makes and approves these decisions? Seriously. Who the fuck has been making these bad decisions in their company?
 

Rezbit

Member
Apr 1, 2007
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I love my Switch but this shit is the absolute pits. How hard is it to allow basic voice functionality with a Bluetooth headset through the system. I will even pay the shitty $20 fee. But this app is a mess.
 

bananafactory

Banned
Nov 6, 2013
26,335
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I can only assume this is it's 'beta' and some of this shit will be fixed when it becomes a paid service

In no world is anyone going to be happy to pay for this
 

Skittzo0413

Member
Jan 8, 2016
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This is embarassing...
Isnt this app supposed to be free for a limited time ?

I don't think there's been any indication that the app will ever cost money. It'll just be tied to the paid online service some time next year.

This needs to be clarified.

It's been tested, locking your phone will disconnect you from voice chat. However the app will prevent auto-lock from occurring, like the youtube app does.
 
Oct 29, 2013
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I wouldn't call this half-assed. Seems very intentional, no?

They just have no idea what to do with this confounding new thing called the internets all the kids are using.
 

NOLA_Gaffer

Banned
Jun 15, 2015
12,235
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It's like we're back at the Switch launch all over again. Everyone flipping their shit about hardware and software issues and users thanking others for beta testing across a dozen different threads.

Good times.
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
Feb 19, 2008
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So stupid.

I don't understand how Nintendo can be so incompetent with anything involving online.

It almost seems intentional, as if somebody high up in the company actively hates online play on a philosophical level and wants to make it as clunky as possible.
 

BiggNife

Member
Aug 15, 2007
9,511
3
1,180
Yeah, they could've just implemented voice chat in the game or cross game chat on the console. Let's not pretend it'd be difficult: It wouldnt be.

I mean, I'm not a developer so I have no idea if voice chat on a console is actually difficult or not. I'm not qualified to make a statement on that. But of course I think having to use a phone app for console-to-console voice chat is silly.

Having said that, I was willing to deal with the Switch phone app since I already use the Discord phone app to talk to my friends when I'm playing PS4 games and they're on PC. But this is so demonstrably worse than the Discord phone app (which has its own issues, believe me) that I'm just baffled.
 

LegendofLex

Member
Aug 21, 2013
9,104
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I assume the lock screen glitch will be fixed quickly, because yeah, that's really awful and this is basically failing at a core feature.
This is not a glitch, lol.

The fact that this app is limited to active game sessions makes it a non-starter for me. I will never use it for voice chat until that's changed.