Nintendo Switch fans will get their first look at the console's new mobile companion app starting July 21, the company revealed on Thursday.
During a Nintendo Direct livestream held to further detail Splatoon 2's launch features, the company also said its Nintendo Switch Online mobile app will premiere concomitant with the quirky, cooperative ink-based shooter's release. Through the app, Splatoon players will be able to send multiplayer invites to friends over social media, check online battle stats, view gear and — crucially and for the first time on the platform — use voice chat in battles.
The goal of the app, per Nintendo's website, is to enhance the online experience for compatible Switch games. The version of the app launching on July 21 will have limited features, and at this point only appears to support Splatoon 2 (it's even dubbed "SplatNet 2"), though expanded functionality and game compatibility down the road are implicit.
Nintendo's paid online service is still listed as launching in 2018, though the company has yet to divulge feature specifics. It's only said the service will allow subscribers to download classic Nintendo titles and access special eShop discounts.
The basic service, which includes online gameplay and voice chat (for designated games), will remain free until the paid version debuts next year. Nintendo will charge $3.99 for a one-month membership, $7.99 for three months and $19.99 for a year subscription.
The companion app is among Nintendo's first smartphone releases, following the launch of the Switch's parental control app and mobile games such as Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes.