Unlike the PS4 or Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t make voice chatting easy. This is probably not something you want to hear if you want to talk trash with your friends while settling the score in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
That’s not to say that voice chat isn’t possible; it’s just much more limited, and the process differs depending on the multiplayer game that you want to play. WhatsApp and Discord are simple apps to use if you want to remove the uncertainty of being able to corral your friends, but not everyone wants to rely on outside apps or services.
What follows is a catalog of the games that allow voice chat as well as the accessories that make it easier. We’ll be monitoring Nintendo’s progress in building out voice chat support for the Switch and will add new products as they appear.
Games that offer voice chat via Nintendo’s mobile app
If you’re playing a multiplayer game made by Nintendo, like Smash Bros. Ultimate or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’ll be able to chat with friends by using Nintendo’s Switch Online app on your iOS or Android device. There are a few games made by other developers that are included in the mix, too. To play online multiplayer and voice chat using the app, you’ll need a paid membership to Nintendo Switch Online.
Here’s the current list of games that allow voice chat via the app:
- Dragon Quest Builders 2
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Mario Tennis Aces
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered
- Saints Row: The Third (full package)
- Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition
- Splatoon 2
- Stardew Valley
- Super Mario Party
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- TT Isle of Man
- The entire NES / Nintendo Switch Online game library supports voice chat using the Nintendo Switch Online app.
Initiating voice chat isn’t as simple as booting up one of these games. In my experience, the feature is usually restricted to specific game modes, and it will only be available to use during the match. Frustratingly, voice chat will sometimes end without warning if you exit the match.
Other consoles can maintain voice chat sessions throughout various menus or other game components, so the fact that Nintendo’s app can’t handle this is disappointing. What makes the situation worse is that voice chatting through the Switch Online app will drain your phone’s battery, and the audio quality isn’t great.
If you only want to pop into voice chat during a multiplayer round and leave once it’s over, Nintendo’s app might be just enough to help you get your voice chat fix. But there’s a good chance that you’ll be looking for alternatives.
Thankfully, this isn’t the only option that Switch players have to voice chat. A similarly small group of Switch games allow for native voice chat, meaning you don’t need any extra software or hardware other than the headphones you likely already own. So check out the section below to see if your current favorite game is included.
Games that offer native voice chat
Nintendo now allows multiplayer games to ship with native support for voice chat, even if they aren’t included on Nintendo’s Switch Online app. This is thanks to Vivox, the maker of a cross-platform voice and text chat SDK that’s embedded in many of the most popular multiplayer games, including PUBG and Rainbow Six: Siege. Just plug in a set of headphones that include an in-line mic, and you can start chatting with friends — in most cases, it works even if they’re playing on other consoles.
Fortnite was the first Nintendo Switch game to ship with Vivox voice chat. Since its launch in 2018, Nintendo has allowed Vivox’s SDK to be used by any Switch developer. So there’s a good reason to assume that we’ll see more multiplayer games that support the feature in the future.
Dave Verratti, the president of Vivox, told The Verge that the company’s voice and text chat tech will be coming to future Switch games from over 15 studios. Verratti also shared that, while Vivox aims to bring all platforms and communities together with its Switch SDK, some games don’t currently offer cross-platform support. In those cases, you’ll just be chatting with other Switch users.
Here’s the current list of games that natively support voice chat on the Switch:
- DC Universe Online
- Friday the 13th (no cross-platform chat)
- Killer Queen
If you want to chat while your Switch is docked near the TV, the $25 Faceoff Deluxe+ wired Switch controller by PDP featuring a 3.5mm headphone jack could be useful. It connects via one of the USB-A ports on the side of the Switch dock, and it lets you enjoy gaming on the big screen. With this controller and any set of mic-equipped headphones, you can participate in chatter from friends and opponents in the games listed above that natively support voice chat.
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