It’s been more than three years, and Nintendo Switch still reigns the world of portable consoles. It’s comfortable, has great software, has fantastic games, and can even be docked for a superior gaming experience.
However, in the modern world of text communication, everyone wants to text on whatever device they’re using. Most popular devices are capable of sending and receiving messages of some sort. But how do you send a message on the Nintendo Switch? Can you do it at all?
It’s Not a Texting Console
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t going to make you happy. There is no way to send a text message on the Nintendo Switch. You can play online games with your friends, invite them to your games and accept their invitations. But you can’t exchange text messages.
The Switch isn’t a console made with texting in mind. Nintendo wanted to deliver a classic gaming experience with a hint of modernization, and they did just that. In a way, being able to text people through the console would ruin the experience and turn it into a social media platform.
Texting isn’t an option on the Switch. But can you communicate in any other way?
Interestingly enough, voice chat is available on the Switch. And, when you think about it, it’s good that this option is the only communication option on the console. You shouldn’t text and drive because it takes away your attention from the road. Similarly, a texting option would ruin the gaming experience on the Nintendo Switch.
However, using a hands-free device to talk while driving is generally acceptable. In gaming, voice chatting has been a thing for many years.
So, yes, you can use voice chat on the Nintendo Switch if you want to talk to your teammates. And here’s how to do it.
Starting a Voice Chat on the Nintendo Switch
Although certain Switch games have their own voice chat feature, some are missing it. Plus, you may want a more robust app for the job. Well, you’re in luck, because such an app exists.
But how do you install an app on Nintendo Switch? Did they finally introduce apps on the console? No such luck. But as it turns out, you can use a phone app to voice chat using a Nintendo account. And, you always have a smartphone by your side, even when you’re playing games on the Switch.
So, search for and download an app called Nintendo Switch Online. Don’t worry; it’s an official Nintendo app. Launch it after installation, and they will prompt you to sign in to your Nintendo account. If you don’t have it, sign up. If you do have it, log in.
Start the game that you want to play on the console and turn on the voice chat support mode. Make sure that you use the same Nintendo account on your smartphone and your Switch.
Now, back to your smartphone or tablet. Tap Start when you’re ready to start the voice chat. Immediately, the app will create a lobby. Other people can join this lobby, and you can chat with them while playing online. You can find all the commands, including the kick/block functions, within the Android/iOS app.
Games with a Voice Chat Option
Some games have their own voice chat features. That means that you don’t have to use the Nintendo Switch Online app. In fact, with such games, it’s recommended that you use their native voice chat options.
At the moment, there aren’t a lot of these games, though. Fortnite and Warframe are the only two games that offer in-game voice chat on the Switch. Still, these games are pretty popular, and if you’re a fan, you should know that they have a voice chat feature.
Voice chatting in either of the two games is very straightforward. Just plug your headset into the audio jack or the USB-C port on the Switch device, and that’s it. Bear in mind that your headset needs to have a microphone.
If you need to adjust the volume, go to the game’s audio options.
The Downsides of Nintendo Switch Online
As mentioned, if a game offers a built-in voice chat option, you should use it. One reason for this is avoiding lag and bugs. However, there’s another reason. If you opt for Nintendo Switch Online for voice chatting, say goodbye to the game’s audio. That’s, unless a game has a built-in voice chat option, you will have to choose between talking to people and hearing the in-game sound.
Another problem here is that the only way to use the voice chat on Nintendo Switch Online is by launching a game. As soon as you turn it off, the session ends.
The Silver Lining
Nintendo Switch has been on the market for more than three years. Despite this, the console is still going through constant updates and improvements. Such is the case with the Nintendo Switch Online app, as well.
When it was first released, you had to keep your phone unlocked to communicate with people in a game. It was since updated, and now you can lock your phone without ending the chat.
Plus, the app is less than two years old. There is still a lot of room for improvement, and surely, the next big update will bring some neat features and options.
Communicating on Nintendo Switch
Some players are devastated that Nintendo Switch doesn’t support text messaging. However, they don’t realize that this might ruin the gaming experience.
On the other hand, the voice chat option is there, but it isn’t perfect. But the Nintendo Switch Online app will keep improving as time goes by. Who knows, we might even see a form of a text chat feature in the future.
Do you think that a text chat option would be a good one to have on Nintendo Switch? We invite you to elaborate. Feel free to hit the comment section below and add your two cents.
How to Write a Letter to Nintendo
If you play Nintendo games and have a question or a comment, you may want to write a letter to Nintendo. Nintendo introduced its first product, the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1985, and the company's most recent device is the Wii, a motion-sensitive, Wi-Fi-enabled game console. Before you write a letter to Nintendo, consult the company's Frequently Asked Questions page at Nintendo.com/corp/FAQ.jsp to see if your question has already been addressed.
Go to the Nintendo website's "Contact" page at Nintendo.com/corp/contact.jsp.
Click the "Email Us" link. An email form appears.
Type your email address in the "Email Address" box.
Type your email address once more in the "Confirm Email Address" box.
Click the "Choose Your Topic" pull-down menu, and then click an option, such as "Wii" or "Corporate Questions."
Type your letter in the message box.
Click the "Submit" button to send your letter to Nintendo.
Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.
Nintendo Switch Online
The Nintendo Switch Online app enhances your online gameplay experience on your Nintendo Switch™ system. You can use voice chat while playing compatible games—and check game-specific services even when you're not playing with your Nintendo Switch.
◆ Use voice chat during online play
A number of games support voice chat!
You can enjoy voice chat in different ways depending on the type of game you're playing. Chat with everyone in your room, or split voice chat into teams and have it out head-to-head!
Note: To use these services, you will need Nintendo Switch software that is compatible with this app. You can check the current list of software that's compatible with voice chat from within the app.
◆ Access game-specific services
You can use these services to view helpful information related to the supported software! You will also have access to a variety of features that will help take your online gameplay experience to the next level.
・ Software with game-specific services:
・ Animal Crossing™: New Horizons
・ Send custom designs made in Animal Crossing
titles for the Nintendo 3DS™ family of systems to
Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
・ Use your smartphone to input chat messages
for in-game communication.
・ Check whether your Best Friends are online.
・ Super Smash Bros.™ Ultimate
・ View posted videos and images
・ Queue up user-created stages for download to your game
・ View notifications about upcoming events
・ Splatoon™ 2
・ Check rankings and stage schedules
・ View detailed results from battles or Salmon Run
● Nintendo Account age 13+ required to access some online features, including voice chat.
● Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) required to use certain features.
● Nintendo Switch system and compatible Nintendo Switch software required to use voice chat and other features.
● Compatible smartphone required.
● Persistent Internet connection required.
● Data charges may apply.
● May include advertising.
Nintendo Switch Online is not available in all countries. Terms apply. Visit www.nintendo.com/switch-online for more information.
List of messaging applications for Nintendo game consoles
Wikipedia list article
Ever since the introduction of the Nintendo DS in 2004, which is Nintendo's first gaming console to have wireless communication as a standard, Nintendo has introduced a variety of instant messaging applications to suit each gaming console they have released ever since. The following is a list of the messaging applications which were developed for Nintendo's consoles.
PictoChat (ピクトチャット, PikutoChatto) is a communication utility that comes pre-installed on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite and Nintendo DSi consoles. Up to sixteen people can paint and/or text chat with each other using it, connected wirelessly through a LAN-only, system-to-system wireless connection. It allows for simple input of keyboard text and written text/drawings. PictoChat received an Excellence Prize for Entertainment at the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival.
The Nintendo DS touch screen is used to type in letters with an on-screen keyboard or to draw and send pictures. Text can also be manually placed on the screen, if the user drags the selected character onto the message area. Messages sent from the DS or DS Lite appear in black, while DSi systems feature an additional "rainbow" pen. The pen tool offers small and large sizes. The keyboard provides enough Latin and kana glyphs to write in all languages supported by the system: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, plus Hungarian, Finnish, Portuguese and Dutch. The PictoChat system can only send messages in a radius of 10 metres (33 ft).
PictoChat displays the name and message managed in System Settings to all the users in the same chat room.
Four chat rooms (A, B, C & D) are available at one time, each with a capacity of sixteen people, for a maximum of sixty-four people in total of all the chat rooms.
PictoChat is preloaded onto all Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi, and Nintendo DSi XL units worldwide.
On the DSi versions of PictoChat, a rainbow pen can be used by tapping on the pen icon again once it has been selected. Content created using the rainbow pen can be read by PictoChat users on Nintendo DS Lite and original Nintendo DS systems. Additionally, the DS and DS Lite play a special sound when receiving a message written by a DSi user. The console plays a special sound and displays a special message when a user joins on their birthday.
Super Smash Bros. appearances
A stage based on PictoChat appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Another stage called "PictoChat 2" appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and is exclusive to the portable variant. An HD version of "PictoChat 2" returns in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Although not an official function, but still mentioned in the manual, is the use of PictoChat to create short animations by drawing individual pictures on the Nintendo DS's touch screen and sending them frame by frame to the message board on the top screen. By pressing and holding down the left shoulder button and right shoulder button respectively to scroll through the pictures, it shows them at a frame rate of 7.5 frames per second, creating the illusion of animation. Several online galleries are dedicated to sharing PictoChat animations.
Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten
The Nintendo DS kanji-English-Japanese dictionary 'Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten' (漢字そのまま楽引辞典) contains an extension to PictoChat that allows users to input kanji characters in addition to the standard character set. This version of PictoChat also vocalized roman characters and kana when they are input. This software is only available in Japan and is the only type of PictoChat that can be used on Nintendo 3DS consoles without modification.
Wii Message Board
The Wii Message Board allows users to leave messages for friends, family members, or other users on a calendar-based message board. Users could also use WiiConnect24 to trade messages and pictures with other Wii owners, conventional email accounts (email pictures to console, but not pictures to email), and mobile phones (through text messages). Each Wii has an individual wii.com email account containing the Wii Number. Prior to trading messages it is necessary to add and approve contacts in the address book, although the person added will not get an automatic notification of the request, and must be notified by other means. The service also alerts all users of incoming game-related information.
The Wii Message Board was available for users to post messages that are available to other Wii users by usage of Wii Numbers with WiiConnect24. In addition to writing text, players could also include images from an SD card in the body of messages, as well as attaching a Mii to the message. Announcements of software updates and video game news was posted by Nintendo. The Message Board can be used for posting memos for oneself or for family members without going online. These messages could then be put on any day of the calendar. The Wii Message Board could also be updated automatically by a real-time game like Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Wii Sports, Wii Play, Mario Kart Wii, Wii Speak Channel, Wii Sports Resort, Super Mario Galaxy & Super Mario Galaxy 2 use the Message Board to update the player on any new high scores or gameplay advancements, such as medal placements in the former two titles, completions of races including a photo, audio messages, and letters from the Mailtoad via the Wii message board. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros Brawl, Elebits, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Dewy's Adventure and the Virtual Console game Pokémon Snap allow players to take screenshots and post them to the Message Board to edit later or send to friends via messages. Except for Nintendo GameCube games, the Message Board also records the play history in the form of "Today's Accomplishments". This feature automatically records details of what games or applications were played and for how long. It cannot be deleted or hidden without formatting the console itself.
Subsequent system updates added a number of minor features to the Message Board, including minor aesthetic changes, USB keyboard support and the ability to receive Internet links from friends, which can be launched in the Internet Channel.
The Wii Message Board is partially supported on Wii U via Wii Mode. Players can still receive internal messages from various Wii games that support this feature. Since the Wii U neither supports WiiConnect24, nor has its own Wii Friend Code, it cannot receive messages from or send messages to other sources or players. Consequently, the Wii U's Wii Message Board lacks an Address Book. Additionally, the WiiConnect24 service has no longer available as of June 28, 2013, completely ceasing data exchange functionality of the Wii Message Board for all Wii consoles themselves, whether as messages or game data.
The Wii Message Board is partially succeeded by the Notifications app on both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, albeit the app does not support sending messages. It is also partially succeeded by the Activity Log app on the same consoles in terms of recording and saving historic data based on the user's activity and game play.
Wii Speak Channel
Main article: Wii Speak § Wii Speak Channel
Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box
Main article: Swapnote
Main article: Swapdoodle
On November 17, 2016, without any prior announcements, Nintendo released a Nintendo 3DS app, via Nintendo eShop in North America, Europe, and Australia, called Swapdoodle, a spiritual successor to 2011's Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box. It was eventually released in Japan on November 22, 2016, under the name Irasuto Kōkan Nikki (イラスト交換日記, lit. "Illustration Exchange Diary").
Swapdoodle is largely similar to Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box in many aspects, including the latter's discontinued online ability to share stereoscopic 3D handwritten or drawn messages with anyone listed on the Nintendo 3DS friends list, as well as receive special messages from Nintendo. Swapdoodle also features an online store where users can download mostly paid DLC, which include additional pen effects, message space, stationery, and simple drawing lessons of various Nintendo characters. The app itself is free to download.
Unlike Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box, Swapdoodle only allows the exchange of native in-game screenshots, but not generic picture and audio files. Additionally, Swapdoodle does not support StreetPass or any ability for wireless LAN exchange of messages.
Wii U Chat
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2012)
Wii U Chat (Wii U チャット, Wī Yū Chatto) was Wii U's online chat solution, powered by the Nintendo Network. The service allowed users to use the Wii U GamePad's front-facing camera to video chat with registered friends. While video chatting, only the Wii U GamePad is needed, since on the TV, the same picture as in the GamePad's is shown. Users could have also drawn on the GamePad during a chat session.
If there is a game or another application already running, the Wii U GamePad's HOME button ring will flash indicating that there is an incoming call. The idea of the feature was originally seen in the introduction trailer of the Wii U in E3 2011. However, users won't also be able to use the service as a multitasking application, therefore not having the ability to make video calls without interrupting game play.
Wii U Chat arrived in a "day one" update on the same day the Wii U launched. On August 29, 2017, Nintendo announced the worldwide discontinuation of the Wii U Chat service on November 8, 2017, at 3:00 pm JST, the same date Miiverse was discontinued.
A DS game called Ping Pals is based on PictoChat, featuring an advanced range of options and capabilities. However, both users must own the game, making it less useful and widespread than PictoChat. Due to PictoChat being built into the system, Ping Pals received very negative reviews.
Clubhouse Games (42-All Time Classics in Europe) has a chat function similar to PictoChat, with added colors and extra features.
The game LOL has a similar interface to PictoChat but the gameplay itself is different.
A voice and text chat messenger app known as Chat-A-Lot, known in Japan as Minna no Oshaberi Chat (みんなのおしゃべりチャット, lit. "Everyone's talking chat"), was originally released in Japan on July 24, 2013, for the Nintendo 3DS eShop, and was later released in North America on November 20, 2014, and in Europe on February 19, 2015. The app features many attributes from both PictoChat and Swapnote. It was developed by Japan-based WaiS Co. Ltd. and published by The Location Inc. in Japan and Teyon in North America and Europe, and costs ¥1000/$7.99/€7.99/£7.19 to download. Despite its features and use of emojis, the app was poorly received due to consistent lag time for a paid app. Chat-A-Lot was delisted off the Nintendo eShop in Japan on December 1, 2019, under authority of its developer, and has been subsequently delisted in North America and Europe, and the online service was discontinued worldwide on February 29, 2020.
Animal Crossing titles since Wild World has featured some form of online messaging service. For example, in either New Leaf or New Horizons, if two players are online at the same time and are registered as best friends within each other's system, they can send messages to each other, even if they are not in the same town/island.
Some titles released for the Nintendo DS also included some PictoChat integration. For example, True Swing Golf's User Manual describes on page 27 (US release) that the interface featured a PictoChat Search button that allows players to see if anyone around them is using PictoChat. Curiously, the game also has its own messaging feature that allowed handwritten messages to be sent to other DS systems.
- ^"PictoChat Instruction Booklet"(PDF). Nintendo Australia.
- ^Crecente, Brian (2005-03-30). "Oddities: Animated DS Pictochat Drawings". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- ^"Reasoning Behind the Wii". Nintendo. September 14, 2006. Archived from the original on December 9, 2006. Retrieved September 14, 2006.
- ^Wii U Chat Application Spotted On PackagingArchived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Pure Nintendo. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- ^http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/videos/waruwaruplazza-&-Wii-U-Chat[permanent dead link]
- ^"Nintendo TVii, Wii U Chat & Miiverse Will Be Ending On November 8th". My Nintendo News. August 29, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- ^Whitehead, Thomas (2013-07-17). "New 3DS eShop App Brings Voice and Text Chat to Japan". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
- ^Halloran, Karen (2014-11-17). "Teyon Games Adds Text and Voice Chat to 3DS eShop Mix With Chat-A-Lot". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2014-11-17.
- ^Whitehead, Thomas (2015-02-16). "Nintendo Download: 19th February (Europe)". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
- ^"Chat-A-Lot Being Removed". Japanese Nintendo blog. November 29, 2019. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
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