Vivox announced today that it’s releasing a software development kit (SDK) to add text and voice chat to Nintendo Switch games. This will enable third-party developers to use this tech for their multiplayer games, which is helpful because Nintendo’s own online architecture doesn’t include online voice chat. Epic Games’ Fortnite is one of a number of games that use Vivox on Switch for multiplayer chat, and this tech also offers cross-platform play support (where you play on one platform against those on another).
This announcement comes on the heels of Unity Technologies’ acquisition of Vivox on January 29. I asked if the timing of the announcement had anything to do with last week’s Unity acquisition.
“It was a happy coincidence, but we had been in the working with Nintendo to bring this to all Switch developers for a few months,” a Vivox spokesperson said.
Earlier last year, Vivox made its SDK free for small studios and indie developers. The Switch has been a hotbed for indie development — one example of this success comes from Monster Boy, which sold eight times more on Nintendo’s console than it did on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One combined.
“We are always trying to expand our services to more developers, and the Nintendo Switch has clearly become a solid online gaming platform for users and developers,” the spokesperson said. “We wanted to make sure we would have a product that would deliver the best possible voice chat experience to Switch users, and that was what we’ve been focused on.”
Hi-Rez Studio will also use Vivox for voice chat for Paladins (a team arena shooter) and Smite (a multiplayer online battle arena strategy game) in future updates.
Crossplatform play (or crossplay) is becoming more important, as people want the walled gardens of console holders to come down so they can play with their friends regardless of device. Vivox supports crossplay, making it an attractive option for those publishers and development studios with multiplayer games on PC, Xbox, and now Switch.
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