If you're unhappy with how the voice chat feature works in the Nintendo Switch Online app, you're not alone. Lots of people avoid it altogether, especially since not many games work with it. Luckily, you've got choices. If you're looking for a different way to communicate with friends (or even strangers) while playing Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch, or any game for that matter, here are the best voice chat clients around.
Note: I've included the iPhone app links to all of these servers because a smartphone is the most likely device you'd use to voice chat with friends while playing on your Switch.
Discord is the new chat client of the decade. It is only a few years old but has quickly become the VoIP of choice for gamers. It works across platforms, provides customizable public and private chat channels. You can even video chat if you want. You can create or join as many servers as you want so you don't have to switch chat clients when you switch games. Just jump into your new channel where your friends await.
Discord uses encrypted server-to-client communications to protect you from nefarious gamers that think it's funny to hack your account.
There are a lot more features, but they are designed more for computer gaming. Using Discord with Switch is my personal favorite way to voice or text chat with friends I'm playing with online.
- Free - Download now
TeamSpeak is a voice chat service that's been around for a while. It's great for established gamers that already have group servers set up. If you're the type of person that likes to adjust your game chat software to your specific needs, TeamSpeak will be your preferred method. It supports a number of features that can only be accessed at the administrative level. So if you're the leader of a group, you can do a lot of cool things that no one else can.
TeamSpeak offers a lot of functionality within the chat room, so it's a great alternative for people that have a lot of specific needs while gaming.
- $4.99 Download now
One of the standout features of Mumble's free voice chat service is positional audio. For some games, this will make or break your score. It sends audio to you based on the person talking's position in the game. So, if your buddy is to the right and behind you, you'll hear them speaking from that direction. It's a fun feature that works well in group games.
Mumble uses dedicated servers so it doesn't hog up your device's resources. I know this isn't really an issue for gaming on the Switch, but it's a great feature in general.
You can chat with friends on any one of Mumble's public servers and you can connect to remote servers using encrypted voice data transfer.
It's the perfect mix of solid features with simple access.
- Free - Download now
If you're desperate: Hangouts
Hangouts is not what I would normally recommend for groups of friends trying to play a video game together, but it's the most widely used voice chat platform and doesn't require any type of server. If you're running a quick game of Splatoon 2 with four of your friends and really don't want to bother with the Nintendo Switch Online app, but don't have a current server with any other voice chat client, Hangouts will do the trick in a bind. Just don't rely on it for too long. It works good enough but is likely to leave you stranded in your game without your friends every once in a while.
- Free - Download now
Great gear to go with your voice chatting
If you're just getting into the online gaming world in terms of chatting with others, there are two specific accessories that I highly recommend.
SteelSeries Arctis 3 with Bluetooth
This is a must-have set of headphones for the current audio setup for Switch. Why? Because it uses both 3.5mm audio connection and Bluetooth connection ... at the same time! You can plug the Arctis 3 into your Switch to hear the in-game music and sounds (because Switch doesn't fully support Bluetooth at this time), and connect your phone to the headphones using Bluetooth in order to hear your friends in one of your chat rooms at the same time.
The Arctis 3 with Bluetooth costs $129.99
Nyko Clip Grip Power for Nintendo Switch
Since you're probably going to use your phone to access your chat clients, you might as well have your phone right in front of you while you play. The Clip Grip Power has many uses. You can clip your phone right to it so it's never far from your hands. You can also store about a half-dozen game cards or microSD cards in the center compartment. Finally, it has it's own internal charging brick to power up your Joy-Cons while you play.
At only $25, you're getting a great Grip style controller with a lot of extra features.
Your voice chat fav?
Do you use a particular voice chat client when playing games on Switch (or any console for that matter)? What is your go-to voice chat client and why do you love it?
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