Nintendo Switch Online app
The logo for Nintendo Switch's online app.Nintendo

Yesterday (19 July) Nintendo released the companion app for its Nintendo Switch online service on iOS and Android devices. The app allows players to sample the private lobby and voice chat features that the company will start to charge players to use from 2018.

The app has been released to coincide with the release of Nintendo's multiplayer-focused Switch exclusive Splatoon 2 tomorrow (21 July), and this is when most players will be able to try out the online features.

They'll find however, that there is a sizeable and frustrating drawback to voice chat. One that further confuses Nintendo's already confusing online strategy.

If you wish to use voice chat with the app, players will need to leave the app open and the screen of their mobile device on the entire time they wish to do so.

If they want to have a quick look at Twitter, or another app, any voice chat channels will be closed.

This will be a huge drain on phone batteries and continues to make what should be basic online functionality off-putting and convoluted.

Here's how the rest of the app works:

In the game (Splatoon 2 is the only title supported for now) players need to set up an Online Lounge from the game's lobby. They can then create a room or view invites they've sent or received.

If they create a room, they'll then be able to use their smart device to invite friends using Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other services. Once invites have been accepted, players are free to chat through the app and play through the game in private battles.

Basically, use Discord for voice chat instead.

Nintendo could certainly update the app, and they should, but there's been no official comment to this effect quite yet.

Nintendo's Switch online service will cost €/$3.99 a month, €/$7.99 for three months and €/$19.99 for 12 months when it starts charging next year. Subscribing will be the only way to play games online, and will include a library of classic titles players will be able to access for the duration they are subscribed.