While the app’s servers were initially offline when it first launched late Tuesday night, they’re now active ahead of its official July 21st roll out date that coincides with the release of Splatoon 2, and the title’s in-app SplatNet online functionality.
Beyond Splatoon 2’s online functionality, little is known about the Switch’s online app so far. Currently the app can be used for voice chat functionality, match results (up to 50 previous matches), matchmaking’s stage schedule and rankings in Splatoon 2.
In Splatoon 2’s SplatNet section of the app, players are able to view the game’s previous match scores and change their character’s gear, with specific articles of clothing being available exclusively through SplatNet.
Since the Nintendo Switch doesn’t support voice chat out of the box, the release of this iOS and Android companion app allows the system to be compatible with Bluetooth headphones, but only for chat via the Switch’s new smartphone app. This means that you could technically use Apple’s AirPods for in-game chat with Splatoon 2 (I haven’t tested this out yet).
It’s unclear if already released games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be patched to support the Nintendo Switch’s new online app. The Nintendo Switch online app is set to be free until Nintendo’s paid subscription service launches in 2018 for $20 USD (about $25 CAD) per year. Along with online multiplayer functionality, Nintendo’s online subscription service will include access to free retro games.