For Nintendo Switch players looking for something more convenient than running a mobile app for voice chat, PDP is bringing a wired gamepad with an audio jack and controls, integrating chat with a controller on the Switch for the first time. But there’s a catch.
PDP’s Faceoff Deluxe+ “features support for Vivox’s integrated in-game chat,” according to a news release, which is shorthand for saying the 3.5 mm audio jack and audio controls will only work for games whose multiplayer chat runs on that technology. Fortnite is one of them. The controller will cost $24.99 and pre-orders will begin in May, with the unit hitting shelves in June.
It resembles a Switch Pro Controller, except it adds two additional programmable buttons. There’s a red camo model and a purple camo version, and the unit can accept faceplates from elsewhere in PDP’s Faceoff line.
PDP calls it “the best Nintendo Switch controller for serious gamers,” and they have a point. Switch owners have to go through a mobile app, which itself packs in all kinds of conditions. In September 2017, at least, two of the most onerous requirements were relieved, allowing chat to continue if the user switched to another app, or if their mobile device’s screen went dark. Still, multiplayer chat on the Switch is a feature tolerated more than it is enjoyed.
PDP partnered with Vivox, which developed the in-game chat for Fortnite on Nintendo Switch, to develop the integrated chat controller. PDP’s company blog has more.
Update: An earlier version of this post missed the condition that the controller’s chat support was limited to Vivox-supported games. It has been revised throughout.
Update, April 6: We reached out to a PDP representative to ask for clarification on whether this controller would support all chat-enabled Nintendo Switch games or only those using Vivox protocols. Here is the response.
“The Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controller was developed with Vivox in mind and we’re excited to be working with them. Potentially, our hardware could work with any chat protocol built into the game software.”