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The Nintendo Switch Online App Is Now Available To Download

The Nintendo Switch Online app is now available to download on Android & iOS devices. While the service isn’t fully up and running just yet, you can get your smartphone ready for voice chat by downloading the app through Google Play or the App Store.

Splatoon 2, which is scheduled to be released tomorrow, July 21st will be the first true live test of the app and how well it works or doesn’t work. As you’ve probably heard, Switch doesn’t feature built-in voice chat like other systems, the app is required for that. You may have also heard about the somewhat cumbersome way you have to connect your phone to your Switch and headset to be able to listen to chat and game sounds on your headset at the same time. So it’ll be interesting to see if people actually use this or not. I have a feeling most people will use Discord or other external apps for chatting.

So while you can download the Nintendo Switch Online app for free, the service is not. But since Nintendo won’t have their online system ready until 2018, it’s free until then. Once it launches next year, you’ll have to pay $20/year to access Nintendo Switch Online. You might be wondering what games will be compatible with the service. The only one officially confirmed thus far is Splatoon 2, but others are likely to follow as we head into 2018. Splatoon 2 already has a hub available through the app called SplatNet2. This will allow you to view schedules, stats, rankings, and more. You’ll also be able to use it to make lobbies for you and your friends.

Though the app is required for voice chat, you can still play online in Splatoon 2 without the app. You just won’t have access to all of the features you would otherwise. As of right now, the app is the only official way to voice chat with others. Though as we mentioned above, there are other non-Nintendo Switch options available. We don’t know yet exactly all of the details about voice chat, but Polygon speculates that you’ll be required to be friends with anyone you wish to voice chat with. Another caveat is that you have to have to app open on your phone and your device’s screen on while playing a voice-enabled game to be able to voice chat. So basically you can’t multi-task on your phone while voice chatting with the app.

If you want to invite friends to play some Splatoon 2 with you, you’ll have to access the Online Lounge menu. This lets you make a room for many of the available game modes. Now you can send a notification to your phone. Next you have to launch the app and choose the room you created. Finally you can now invite friends or other people you’ve recently played with. When/if they accept your invitation, all of you will hang out in the Online Lounge. Here you can chat or start playing.

If you’re looking to join your friends instead of making your own room, you still need to use the game and the app. Once your friend’s room is created and they’ve invited you, a notification will appear on your phone. To join your friend(s) you must accept the invite.

Other functions of the Nintendo Switch Online app aren’t yet known. It will vary from game to game. Going by how Splatoon 2 is set up, it would appear that developers will be able to create their own hub/lobby areas for players. Though whether this is done by Nintendo itself or each developer is not yet known, but I’d speculate that the latter is more likely.

Source: Polygon

Images: Polygon & Google Play

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