Fortnite Switch Voice Chat Software is Now Available for Developers to Use
Vivox is allowing for other developers to utilize their software to allow for cross-platform voice chat through the headphone jack.
Since the Switch’s launch, even the most loyal of Nintendo fans have aired grievances with the way in which the company has handled online communication. While first-party games frustratingly make use of a smartphone app for voice chat, Fortnite has allowed for players to simply plug in their headphones to communicate—and now the software that makes this possible is open for use by other developers.
These tools from the company Vivox, which focuses on both voice and text chat, are what enable simple voice chat for the Switch. Not only can players speak with those on other Switch consoles, but also with players across all platforms Fortnite is available on, including PC, Xbox One, mobile, and even PS4 now.
In contrast to this, first-party Nintendo games have required more contrived and complicated set-ups. With Splatoon 2 in particular, a peripheral connected a headset to a smartphone, and that phone to the Switch’s headphone jack to siphon both chat audio and game audio to one set. It was neither the prettiest nor the most practical solution.
With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate being such an immensely popular and top-selling video game for the platform, it is frustrating that there isn’t a simpler way to communicate with friends through the console itself. While I did attempt to use the native Nintendo Switch Online app on my iPhone, I found that it disconnected occasionally. Nowadays, my peers and I flock over to Discord instead.
It is vaguely reminiscent of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl days on the Wii, which similarly did not have any obvious voice chat solutions—back in 2008, friends and I resorted to using landline telephones. The closest the Wii came to voice chat was through the Wii Speak room microphone, and the occasional third-party headset, though either way, players could only talk with registered friends.
Besides Fortnite, the Switch version of Warframe from late last year also has in-game voice chat, though last we heard, Payday 2 was waiting for approval to do something similar. Vivox also states that Paladins and Smite from High Rez Studios will be next to receive similar treatment for voice chat. Even with that headphone jack coming into play, Switch owners who have their consoles docked may still have a hard time having their headphones reach the device, as Switch controllers do not have headphone jacks of their own.
Keep doing you, Nintendo!