What’s Going On With Splatoon 2’s Social Elements?

Splatoon 2 is finally making its debut on the Nintendo Switch on July 21, but you’ve probably had a taste of what to expect here and there during the several Global Splatfests and other demo sessions that have played host to eager gamers over the last few weeks. One thing you’ve probably noticed a distinct lack of, however, are social features like voice chat and interactions between other players. Are they coming to the game in some capacity or are you doomed to comb the ocean depths alone? Why are they not available right now to test out?

The answer is yes, you will be able to do all these things and more, although this time around things are a little less simple than with the case of other multiplayer games. As with titles like Destiny 2 or Call of Duty or any of the other non-Nintendo multiplayer titles you can hop online and play, there will be voice chat between players, but you’ve got to jump through additional hoops to do so. There’s also a special app you’ll want to download, and it won’t be releasing until Splatoon 2 is out on the market. We’ve got all the answers here for you.

What kind of social elements will Splatoon 2 feature?

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The game will include voice chat and multiplayer lobbies as well as the ability to keep track of your wins and losses, all via mobile app, which you’ll need to have some sort of mobile device for. A phone or a tablet will suffice, depending on what you think is more accessible. You’ll be able to create private lobbies with friends as well, just in case you’re not feeling random matchmaking for your Turf Wars, Salmon Run games, or Ranked Battles. Essentially, you’ll be able to do pretty much what you’re able to do in other games, just in a more roundabout manner.

What kind of app do I need to use for Splatoon 2?

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You’ll need to download the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app if you want to chat with friends, create private lobbies, and engage in any of the multiplayer social elements the game has touted. You’ll only be able to chat with friends, Nintendo has confirmed, but using the application SplatNet 2, which can be launched inside of Nintendo Switch Online, you can have access to a ton of important things.

For instance, aside from inviting friends to private lobbies and allowing you to chat, you can track your stage schedules, stats, ranking details, and even how much ink you’ve spilled onto the stages over the entire time you’ve owned the game. It’s like a full-fledged online service, but it takes place outside the realm of the actual game. It may seem weird (it totally is) but it’s meant to be a self-contained kind of service.

What is Nintendo Switch Online?

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It’s the mobile app you need to download to get access to SplatNet 2. It will launch with SplatNet 2 on July 21, when Splatoon 2 debuts to the world, and it will be free to use until 2018 when the “full” suite of online options for Nintendo Switch launches. At that time, it will cost you $19.99 to use annually. So when Splatoon 2 launches, you’ll be able to get your first taste of the app, which will be a sort of “hub” for other games going forward that offers the same sort of features.

How can I use voice chat with my mobile device?

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It’s kind of strange. Accessory manufacturer Hori is selling an officially licensed Splatoon 2 headset that comes with a dongle that you connect with one end to your Nintendo Switch, and the other to your mobile device. Then you plug your headset into the top of said dongle, which looks like a squid (or an arrow) and all should be gravy. There aren’t currently many details out there about why you need to use this headset other than what the dongle offers (perhaps you can get the dongle separately at some point?) but from what we’ve been able to ascertain so far, that’s the situation at present.

So if you’re concerned about not having seen any of the social features like chat and multiplayer lobbies with friends just yet, don’t panic. They’re coming, but they were delayed for the launch of the Nintendo Switch Online app, and SplatNet 2 will likely be your first window into checking it all out. That’s only a few days away, so don’t get cooked! Stay Off the Hook!