The latest Nintendo Switch update finally allows players to connect Bluetooth audio devices to their console. Honestly, it does feel like this feature should have been enabled ages ago. While the update does let you use audio devices via Bluetooth, there’s still a sizeable caveat: microphones still don’t work.
Nintendo’s support page sheds some additional light on the new feature. The Switch’s System Settings has a new named Bluetooth Audio – where users will be allowed to pair their audio devices with the console. Even here, there are a couple more restrictions. The Nintendo Switch cannot be paired with more than one audio device at a time. Furthermore, Bluetooth can only be used if there are two or fewer controllers connected to the console.
The latest #NintendoSwitch update is now available, including the ability to pair Bluetooth devices for audio output.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 15, 2021
Nintendo Switch Bluetooth Audio: A Late Step Forward
While the caveats are a little frustrating, it’s still a step forward for the successful console – even if it’s a feature long overdue. Back in 2017, another Nintendo Switch update had enabled wireless headset support via USB. Users could benefit from wireless audio devices, as long as a USB transmitter was plugged into the Switch dock. It wasn’t really a feature that benefited those that primarily played undocked, however.
We haven’t had enough time to test the reliability of the Bluetooth feature. While it does work as intended for now, only longer play sessions will be able to allow any lag-related issues to surface – if there are going to be any at all.
While the feature is a welcome one, let’s not forget that voice chat on the Nintendo Switch remains a tedious affair. Bluetooth microphones are still incompatible, which means players will need to rely on third-party apps. Vivox, the company behind Fortnite’s voice chat system on the Switch, remains the primary savior for now.
Maybe we’ll get Discord support on the Nintendo Switch, in the future? Who knows.