The Nintendo Switch smartphone app which will be used for online communication will be available on July 21, the same day that Splatoon 2 releases for the console.
Nintendo announced details of the app during a Nintendo Direct for Splatoon 2. The Nintendo Switch Online app will offer most of the services included as part of its competitor consoles’ infrastructure including private lobbies, voice chat, stat tracking. The version that will release on 21 July will be an early version of the app, with a final version set to release sometime in 2018 (alongside a full Nintendo Online service).
When the full service rolls out next year players will have to shell out almost $20 per year to access online multiplayer and use the app. The fee does also include access to a selection of classic Nintendo games on the Switch.
While it’s odd that the social functionality of the Switch is in a smart phone app instead of the console itself, Nintendo always has a reason for the oddness. Right? Right?!