In a surprise announcement yesterday, Nintendo staggered fans worldwide. After four long year, the Nintendo Switch will finally support Bluetooth audio. Consider that this console turned heads back in 2017 with its two, detachable controllers. Guess how they connect to the console? You got it, Bluetooth. So why did we have to wait so long for what seems an obvious, and easy enhancement?
Well it seems that whilst welcome, the feature is not without its limitations. First off, actually using a Bluetooth headset will limit your use of controllers to just two. Nintendo have also confirmed that the capability will not extend to microphone support either. Not a big surprise here. In game chat isn’t even support without the help of a third party app.
Nintendo reveals a feature that has no business coming so long after launch in surprise tweet
Of course, so close to the launch of the Switch Pro many thought Nintendo would save this feature for the upcoming premium device. Naturally a number of particularly industrious gamers have circumvented the shortfall. Use of Bluetooth audio adapters is one cunning way to tackle the problem. And some headphones, like a number of Steel Series entrants come with their own dongle. This can, and had been used to take advantage of the Swith’s support for USB wireless headphones.
None of these methods are now required. This is even better considering the Switch Pro controller doesn’t have a native headphone jack. Although Nintendo confirms that it can save up to ten paired devices. And unlike the PS5 you’re not limited to specific devices deemed worthy enough to pair with your console.
Whilst reports do seem relatively favourable regarding the functionality of this update, there is one further, concerning issue. It seems that whilst you may be able to hear your game wirelessly, you might encounter a slight delay. Reports are coming in that tests with Google Pixel Buds, and Surface Headphones demonstrated noticeable delays. Not great exactly, when game audio plays such an integral part of the experience.
Still, other devices seemed to have faired better. Apple AirPods seem to deliver a decent experience with minimal lag. Ultimately it’s a welcome, if long overdue update from Nintendo. It’s also true to say that this is a known problem for Bluetooth period, and we hope that given time some of the finer bugs will have been worked out. Perhaps in another 4 years.
“Video games are great. I should know, I’ve played some.”
Olly S, July 2020