Start throwing away those weird Nintendo Switch Online headphone splitters, because Vivox is bringing normal voice chat to the Nintendo Switch. The voice service that powers Fortnite's online chat system is releasing a new software development kit for all Nintendo Switch developers that allows them to implement plug-and-chat online voice communication in their games.
Nintendo's solution to voice chat for the Switch is, well, bizarre. Instead of a normal plug-and-chat system like most consoles where all anyone needs is a headphone with a microphone, Nintendo tried to get users to use voice chat via a dedicated smartphone app. This led to even weirder products like Hori's headphone splitter for games like Splatoon 2. It's not a great system, but it could be on its way out thanks to Vivox.
A new SDK for Nintendo Switch developers will let game makers implement Vivox's voice chat into their games. It's already a proven tool as Epic Games uses Vivox for Fortnite. Fortnite on the Switch is one of the only games on the console that utilizes a standard online voice chat. Vivox also says its system is cross-platform as well, which will be good news for Nintendo Switch games that utilize cross-platform play with other consoles.
Other studios are already on board. Hi-Rez Studios says it will update Smite and Paladins with Vivox's SDK soon, and Vivox says the Switch SDK is available now from its website. There's no word from Nintendo on whether it will begin implementing Vivox into its own games however, so Splatoon 2 players will still need to use the smartphone app for the time being. But hopefully this signals the start of a new, voice chat-filled future for online Switch games.
Thanks, The Verge.