Nintendo has unexpectedly announced the release of a software update for Switch consoles that will allow you to listen to in-game audio using Bluetooth headphones. The corresponding function, despite all the obvious need for its integration, has been absent from the console since its premiere in 2107. However, there were some restrictions.
According to Nintendo, connecting a Bluetooth headset will not be able to use two wireless game controllers at the same time. In addition, the console does not support Bluetooth microphones, which is not surprising – Nintendo’s voice chat system relies on an app installed on the user’s smartphone. For gamers playing projects with integrated voice chat, this makes a big difference.
Previously, people had to resort to all sorts of tricks to connect wireless audio to the Switch – even special accessories were sold that acted as Bluetooth audio adapters, and the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless headset comes with a USB dongle that allows you to connect wireless headphones using a wired interface.
Considering that even the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles do not have Bluetooth audio support out of the box, the update for Switch is very significant. Nintendo says the console will store data for up to 10 devices, and the software will work with both a regular Switch and Switch Lite, and a Bluetooth Audio section has appeared in the settings menu.
During tests with AirPods Pro running on the console game WarioWare: Get It Together, according to The Verge, no noticeable delays were recorded, and after a cold boot, the connection to the headphones occurred almost immediately.
But the Switch of the second generation could not find and connect to any Bluetooth devices, even after several reboots and lengthy attempts to connect the detected electronics to the Switch – perhaps the new technology still needs to be improved.
The update will additionally make the wired Internet connection “more useful”. The Switch will be able to keep the connection even in sleep mode with a direct wired connection or using a Nintendo docking station. According to the developers, this will allow the console to load content even in an inactive state, and the function will be available by default. In addition, it will be possible to update the docking station firmware via the built-in LAN port.