Splatoon 2‘s official headset adapter is inexplicably convoluted, providing further indication that despite the Switch’s many successes following its launch, Nintendo still doesn’t understand online multiplayer.
The headset, developed by Hori and officially licensed by Nintendo, will allow players to communicate with one another via voice chat in Splatoon 2 using the game’s official app. However, with the Switch not featuring a port for a gaming headset, Hori have instead created an awkward workaround that requires the headset to be plugged into an adapter, which then connects to the Switch and a smartphone using another two cables.
Suffice to say, the end result is a mess:
But while the headset makes voice chat unnecessarily complicated, it also contradicts Nintendo’s own guidelines for preventing wireless interference with its Joy-Con controllers. The company’s troubleshooting page suggests that users should “check for possible sources of interference and turn them off,” which include “cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.” The guide continues: “In most cases it will be enough to move these devices three to four feet away from the Nintendo Switch console and/or Joy-Con controllers.”
With the adapter forcing both the cell phone and the Switch display to remain in close proximity with one another, it seems that along with being a cumbersome setup, the headset actively requires the player to use the Switch in a manner that Nintendo itself advises against. If this wasn’t bad enough, the cable itself is only 20 inches long, meaning that unless you want to play real close to your TV you’re likely going to only use the headset in handheld or tabletop mode, though according to Nintendo’s own guidance the latter option will see you running the risk of interfering with the Switch’s wireless signal.
Considering that Splatoon 2 is Nintendo’s next major online multiplayer game following Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which had its own slew of multiplayer problems that pointed towards Nintendo’s inability to get their heads around online multiplayer, it’s unfortunate that the Switch is going to struggle when it comes to allowing players to communicate with one another. The Wii U had a built-in microphone that, while in no way a great solution, at least ensured that players didn’t need to connect a headset to both a phone and the console in order to talk with their friends. It’s a crying shame because the Switch is built from the ground up to be a social console, but once again Nintendo is completely overlooking its online component.