Matchmaking and lobbies in online Switch games will be done through a mobile app, according to Reggie Fils-Aime.
In an interview with GameSpot, the Nintendo of America executive gave some more details about how the Switch’s mobile app will integrate with the new paid-for online service. Matchmaking, lobbies and voice chat will all be done through your phone, a decision apparently made after the intense criticism Nintendo has received in recent years for their poor online services (2:55):
“The smartphone app that we’re creating, that will be part of our online service, we believe is going to be a very compelling part of the overall proposition because that’s how you voice chat, that’s how you’ll do your matchmaking and… and uh, create your lobby.
We also think it’s a very elegant solution, because if you’ve taken your Switch on the go, you’ve put yourself in a hotspot and you’re looking to get a quick match of Mario Kart in, to whip out some sort of bulky gamer headset is uh… a bit of a challenge. So we’ve think we’ve got an elegant solution.”
Later in the interview, Fils-Aime does say that further details about the online service and what it includes will be given at a later date, so there is a chance that there are more console-centric ways of doing the same things.
Despite that, this is worrying, especially for those who don’t have stable wi-fi or data plans, and for those who don’t intend to use their Switch as a portable device. I live in a deadzone for any sort of wireless signal, I’m a bit of a hermit so won’t be lugging my Switch to the nearest Starbucks, and I tend to forget my phone exists for weeks at a time and let it run out of charge. Having to fiddle around with another piece of hardware just to do basic things like matchmaking in Splatoon 2 puts me right off, personally.