IGN staffer says Splatoon's lack of voice chat is 'cheap and lazy'

Not that long ago, we found out that Splatoon isn't going to offer any form of voice chat. If you plan on talking to friends while you play, you'll have to figure out another way to do it outside of the game/Wii U. This decision ruffled quite a few feathers, with many believing voice chat was crucial to the experience.

Shortly after that, Nintendo stepped forward to explain the decision. According to the Big N, voice chat wasn't included in the game due to the nature of how a decent-sized group of people use it. How many times have you been online with voice chat, only to be bombarded by racial slurs, cursing and other vile content? Nintendo's devs have experienced it and they didn't like it one bit. The air of negativity that online chat breeds was enough to keep Nintendo from including that feature in Splatoon.

Was it the right decision to make? There's no right or wrong answer here. Some people see where Nintendo is coming from. Others thing they should have included an option for friends to talk. Many suggested that voice chat should be age restricted/blocked via parental settings. All viable options for sure. I've even seen some people change their opinion on the lack of voice chat after playing the global testfire demo. A feature they thought was sorely needed ended up being not missed at all once the demos kicked off.

Again, all valid discussion to have, but Fran Mirabella over at IGN has taken a different approach. He believes the lack of voice chat comes down to Nintendo being "cheap and lazy". I have to say, that is one option I never considered at all. I just don't know Nintendo to operate that way, since I consider almost all their games to be representations of the company's pride and prowess. Fran goes on to say that "Nintendo's lack of online experience and fear of unknown profanity is taking priority over the gameplay." Fear of unknown profanity I'll certainly give you, but lack of online experience doesn't really make sense. If Nintendo's own lack of experience with online was enough to keep them from voice chat, then wouldn't they stay away from developing online games at all? Last time I checked, online play was arguably the focus of Splatoon!

What do you think? Is Mr. Mirabella right in calling Nintendo's decision cheap and lazy? Do you find it to be a bit of an overreaction? Shoot us a comment/tweet and let us know!

Categories: Top Stories, Consoles
Tags: eshop
Games: Splatoon


IGN is cheap and lazy and probably should worry more about things other than "should splatoon have voice chat"

and he's absolutely right. To all the people who defend this decision by saying they don't really care about voice chat, just because you don't care about voice chat doesn't make it a lazy and stupid decision. I'm sick of Nintendo treating all of their customers like vulnerable children.

It should have been optional. Easy as that.

But playing the demo I noticed it really wasn't a big issue, but it still should have been optional.

I wouldn't call it lazy, but I do agree that people should not defend the idea that they don't care. It's a bad evasion on the fact that the developer had a bad experience with voice chat and thinks it's going to be the same for everyone else. Also, that game has a lot of strategy behind it and being honest with everyone, if your team sucks because of a member and you can't speak to them to tell them we to do, it's a pointless game. 

I am so glad that Nintendo doesn't listen to these idiots. I have satellite internet, and online games are often choppy because of it. Some games don't work at all. The Splatoon demo was silky smooth all three times. I was so impressed that I pre-ordered after the first session! There is no way in hell that online would have worked that well with voice chat. Such an over rated feature anyway.  

Gosh, I am so glad that I have moved and not living with family and have real internet for myself now! I hated satellite internet! So bad!!!

I hate it too, but it's better than dial up! Lol!

I disagree with this opinion strongly and I understand the decision to keep out voice chat from a gameplay perspective. I feel the gameplay is too fast and hectic to facilitate a strong teamwork environment, and due to the randomized teams, its not really possible to develop a rapport with anyone. Additionally, the game is built to give you real time feedback on the gamepad allowing you to work individually while being mindful of your teammates movements.
Some games just don't work with voice chat, and not all games need voice chat.

Sun May 10 15 12:16pm
(Updated 1 time)

The decision of Nintendo to not stand behind the quality of random voice chat as part of their product seems to me to be clearly the right one.

But the part that confuses me about this whole discussion is the implication that everyone is reliant on a game to tell them whether they can talk to their friends. I'm not sure I've ever used an in-game (or even in-console) chat system to talk with friends. How do you even coordinate sign-ons and set up a game when you can't even talk until the game starts? What if you want to switch modes, or play a different game, maybe even on a different system? Everyone has to go dark? Using some kind of external chat will always be a superior experience (well, maybe until VR and positional sound, I guess).

And to top it off, basically everyone has a device specifically tailored for communication right in their pocket or on their desk! To think a console is necessary is ridiculous and would be a waste of resources.

I'm sorry if you don't like talking to people, or enjoy the company of good friends. I on the other hand do, and can't invest in a game with such isolation. If you want to build a team game, then let us work together as a team. 

I'm not sure what you're referring to, but as I was saying, I find in-game chat more isolating than other modern forms of communication. It honestly seems like that would be the choice of anyone looking to limit their interactions with others. (And given what it's typically used for, I think I'm correct.)

I do not personally care about Voice Chat in games, and while this SHOULD have it (as a optional thing with friends), I understand why they'd remove it.

Especially since a voice chat can easily make games laggy, especially when the game is 60fps like this one is. It SHOULD be there, but I understand why it's not, and I still Think it is made into a much bigger deal than it should be. As a whole.

The thing that kinda bothers me the most is that the developers imply that they had the ability to use voice chat, but chose not to.
Now, I can understand that they want a clean environment like Mario Kart 8. However, I would argue that there should've been options for preference and the option to turn it off.
On the plus side, the game responds well enough to work without it. Though, there are some issues.

A problem with Wii U development is similar to PS3 development, in that Voice Chat, unlike on 360, PS4 and Xbox One, isn't something they built into the OS, either because they couldn't or were ignorant of what they were trying to do.  Because of that issue, each Wii U game that has Voice Chat in it has to be developed FROM SCRATCH for each game that developers choose to put it into. This takes manpower away from other, more important things that they want to achieve with the game.  If you want to blame anyone, blame the people who created the OS, because they deserve A LOT of blame when it comes to Wii U.

Sun May 10 15 12:20pm
(Updated 1 time)

Honestly, I agree with JoshB83.  I chalk this decision up to bandwidth usage, personally.  Splatoon's main focus is online multiplayer.  Not everyone has access to powerful high-speed Internet, much less a wired setup with the LAN adapter.  A game like Splatoon needs all the bandwidth it can get to play smoothly (that goes for pretty much any online game, really).  Adding in-game voice chat would only chug more bandwidth, often more than people have.

Sure, it can have an on/off toggle for voice chat, but how long would it be until people with bad-enough connections abuse that and intentionally lag out the game for everyone?  Believe it or not, I've had someone intentionally keep a Youtube video playing in the background during Smash, because they somehow play better with lag and use that (and my inability to play with lag) against me.  Needless to say, I never played with them again after I found out about it.  It's just not fun.

If people really want to voice-chat during this game, just use Skype or whatever else people use for voice chat.  There's no need to attack Nintendo about this, when they're doing their best to make the game as accessible as possible.  And if the Testfire was anything to go by, the game works incredibly well without it.

After playing the Global Testfire, I think that, personally, voicechat when paired with random players would be useless in Splatoon. It's unnecessary. Just because Splatoon is a shooter does not mean that it's required to have that feature, as it would add virtually nothing to the gameplay. In my experience, being able to voice chat with randoms doesn't make your team any more coordinated, ever, and to me it feels like that applies doubly so to Splatoon.

That said, they should still allow voice chat with friends. I would have no use for this feature myself, because I've never seen a game do voice chat that wasn't horribly low quality and frequently delayed, so I just find superior alternatives anyway. But, some people seem to dislike that the option isn't there and I feel like not having friends-only voice chat is a little silly.

(however, those people should get skype or something. Ya'll apparently don't know what you're missing!)

He's absolutely right. 
I had fun with the demo and I don't regret pre-ordering it. It's a ton of fun. But I'd be straight up lying if I didn't feel that voice chat wouldn't make it even better. Particularly at the start of matches, voice chat would be very useful. Too often the multiple members of the team would start running down the same path so to be able to immediately communicate which area you're going to target first would be perfect. It'd also just make it more fun with the right people and just make it feel more alive. Hopefully with the continuous updates they'll fix it. 

Sun May 10 15 12:31pm
(Updated 4 times)

Maybe Fran has a points maybe they are lazy or maybe Fran is talking out his ass and not approaching this from a logical and financial standpoint like me, So you want online modes and voice chat, well on Xbox live or PSN that's fine you can do that, however you got to pay for the privilege, you know dedicated servers and all that. Even on the PC with services like team speak isn't free, and this is one of the drawbacks with a free online service, all those extra features such as voice chat take up a certain amount of bandwidth which all needs to be regulated with extra servers to make sure everything is running smooth and God only knows a voice chats channel takes up more bandwidth then coordinate details and that costs money, so what's I do know is if you wants this functionality out of Nintendo you're probably going to have to pay a online membership fee down the road, and I think that's the only way these features will be standardized in their games, you pay to play with voice chat it's that simple, you wanted free then you don't get extras like voice chat.

I don't think Nintendo is being cheap and lazy, but they are acting a bit stubborn and narrow-minded.  They've been too slow to adopt online features; however, when they finally do, you get something amazing like Miiverse.  Maybe it's an issue of control or doing it their own way.  Not sure.  I would still like to see something more in terms of team-based communication in Splatoon.

Sun May 10 15 12:35pm
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First of all, no the game is not deep enough to require voice chat and having played the demo,it would not aid planning out a strategy significantly but it COULD help ogranize the team a bit better. Nintendo are lazy because they could have enabled it for friends only (giving random teams the disadvantage) or simply having a much heavier moderation, something they are not willing to spend money on.

The bandwidth argument is not valid because the gamer can simply have the option to mute all voice chat if using a slow connection, the ACTUAL problem is server load who Nintendo ARE CHEAP to pay for more BW. Yes there were connection problems in splatoon, there is a TON of slowdown due to lag on the BW demanding Smash bros and once again, the only game that works well is mario kart! Not the same on other consoles mind you...(ahem, SILKY SMOOTH FREE Uncharted & Last of Us 4vs4 games to name a few...)

The bandwidth argument is valid, your suggested is to turn off voice chat would help if there is an issue with infrastructure and bandwidth limitations on your end not theirs. And from some of the comments with people saying that they had no issues and you running into them might be more to do with whoever your Internet service provider is then anything on Nintendo's end.

Sun May 10 15 12:53pm
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yes let me clarify. I played the entire Gears of War campaign co-op with voice chat enabled the ENTIRE time without any lag whatsoever. I played hours of Uncharted and Last of Us no disconnections no problems AT ALL. Using a 24Mbit connection over here, I KNOW it is Nintendo's fault.

If Nintendo wanted to keep gameplay lag free for splatoon, they can simply auto kick users with high latency automatically disabling voice chat for instance. There ARE workarounds, the just dont want to pay money to solve anything.

Sun May 10 15 01:29pm
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Good for you but you proved my point you buy highlights three games that are on paid services. And assuming you're running on PSN on a PS3 you should remember your service is being subsidized by all those PSN+ and PS4 users, because they don't get free online no more, and if you go PS4 prepared to pay up.
It's that simple.
And you suggested for booting people for anythink other than cheating, is frankly a discussed attitude.

Sun May 10 15 01:39pm
(Updated 1 time)

point I was trying to make is that lag free services that are free DO exist for a while now, the fact that sony decided to use a subscription based model, it could all be down to business decisions and the fact that "they can" as I don't remember reading them losing money on their PS3 online service.

The discussion about kicking high latency users is a VERY long one, as it can directly affect the experience of other users. Grouping them together might be one solution, disabling 3 and 4 player modes in smash bros may be another (assuming nintendo are on FAST servers which I am afraid they are not) letting everyone play with anyone leading to disconnections and lags is not preferable either.

love to hear the grounds for reporting the above by the way...

So...let me get this straight. You're bitching about laggy connections and dropouts during a SERVER STRESS TEST? Something that is inherently designed to locate and squash out those problems.  Seriously?
Dude, grow up and do your homework next time before posting nonsense.

No I am bitching about dropouts and lags on Nintendo games like smash bros (wii sports is another off the top of my head) which is unacceptable due to Nintendo being cheap and I bitch on connection problems on a stress test because once again, Nintendo underdelievered (E3's direct anyone?) so I got enough reason to call their online service inadequate. Try to pay attention please.

You also need to make sure you understand before commenting on what any user ha said and especially YOU need to mind the language.

Sun May 10 15 02:20pm
(Updated 3 times)

The report thing was an accident so sorry about that.
Now the latency issue is a serious one you propose to kick people who do not have control of the traffic in the geographical location. To boot them would effectively corroborate a two-tier system where people who live in large hubs such as cities like London who have access to an variety of good ISP providers would get preferential treatments over individuals who live in more rural areas say such as the late district where broadband shaky at best.
This is frankly anticonsumer, and it's a shame that another consumer would advocate's such behavior.
Now for Sony about losing money on PSN, I can say for an absolute fact that it would be near impossible to find out if money was lost or not. What I can tell you and this is public information is that they did selloff  SOE. And if that's doesn't ring some bells that they were losing money in their online business I don't know what would.  http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2015/02/02/sony-sells-off-sony-online-entertainment-will-develop-multi-platform-games.aspx

Regardless of the above discussion the simple truth at the end of the day if you want a better more robust more function rich service from Nintendo at some point in the future we are all going to have to pay a subscription for that.

Sun May 10 15 02:56pm
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which reminds me dear Gonintendo, please reconsider hiding the reported post immediately once it is reported (even by one user). People may accidentally press it and others even may abuse it in the future.
Now the kicking argument, there have been instances where companies have put a lower limit to the connection you need to have to go online. This is NOT anti consumer, advocating that people running below 1Mbit for instance can have a more limited experience without affecting the rest if possible. I am not sure of the exact details on US telecommunications, but the US is behind the times compared to Europe and until subletting the land lines is freely allowed, online service providers need to think of their strategies. I bring this forward to be discussed, I am not here to tell you what is right, just have some food for thought.

The SOE thing, not related, they just could not make money off MMO games and that is understandable since everyone played WoW and I disagree with not being able to have a sustainable free online model, I believe the PS3 was successful after a certain userbase was reached (ie online passes-in game purchases ranging from DLC level packs to very very expensive and nearly useless accessories) with Sony's choice being made purely for profit reasons (seeing that people saw value to xbox live gold and wanted a share as well)

Lastly, the "we will remove you and your garbage" at the end of the page is nearly insulting. What I am doing right now can be considered trolling by some people yet the KEY difference is that I NEVER directly respond to any individual making it personal replying on the content ONLY. You DO need people disagreeing, you do NOT want people calling other users posts as nonsense (like the one guy above) a very thin line distinguishing plain chaos to democracy to "totalitarianism" in my opinion.

The SOE thing is important it's, it underlines certain business strategies that do not work for the company as a whole, they needed to get rid of its and that is also a similar issue with the PlayStation division during the PlayStation 3 era, Contrary to popular belief it's was not profitable.... And a free PSN only contributed to that. Hence it is now a paid service on PS4. 
This is an older article but it illustrates my point. http://www.vg247.com/2013/01/07/xbox-360-and-ps3-losses-total-8-billion-ex-sony-employee-paints-grim-future/
And as for a minimum bandwidth requirements for online play (per user end agreement), it could be argued it's not anticonsumer as it's in the contract you sign up for but it doesn't make it any less shady, and it also doesn't excuse your solution about people being auto kicked post join a game if there is lag, just for the convenience of people in a better geographical location or access to a better ISP, because in most cases this is beyond their control, and  I cannot repeat myself enough that would lead to a two-tier system which is frankly unfair. 

Sun May 10 15 05:07pm
(Updated 1 time)

check this out http://www.pcworld.com/article/196214/article.html

none of the links above mention online maintenance costs, it is the R&D and selling at a loss that raise some very high initial (fixed) costs. Yes there is no concrete evidence to support either side, I maintain that sony just wanted to tap the market microsoft tapped with the subscription (resulting in a very peculiar "renting" model - ironically copied by microsoft with the One - that's right unlike the 360 you are not allowed to keep playing the downloaded games for gold games once the subscription ends) it REALLY sounds like they try to maximise profits based on what the other company is doing, maintenance costs have little to do with it (IMHO yes)

Having (the US) fought a very peculiar net anti neutrality bill I can understand why my arguments sound familiar to a two way system, it has nothing to do with it though. Limiting access to low BW has been done for a very long time now, with all consoles 1 gen back "refusing" to work with dual up connections. Broabdand market penetration made it possible indeed, yet there are games where maybe low BB is not enough and instead of ruining everyone's games, certain solutions may be required. The fact that rarely did I experience issues with the 360 or the PS3 means that maybe they have it sorted out somehow. Maybe...

...or Nintendo are VERY cheap.

Sun May 10 15 05:49pm
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None of the links would contain server maintenance costs as that would be a part of the respected division overall finances, and not somethink separately published, same likewise for R&D marketing, manufacture, distribution and software development, this is why it's difficult to gauge which subdivision is making profit or a loss. What it shows is that overall there game divisions hardware and software have ultimately lost money for them.

And as for PSN I'm very sure it's was marketed to consumers on the basis that it offers everything that Xbox live has but free. Now if you want to think that there just following Microsoft and a paid subscription is a marketable point of sale that's on you, but the numbers don't lie and it's quite clear their requirements to offset losses would mean that ultimately a move to a paid subscription model was inevitable and necessary.
Although I do have to admire the use of the Netflix model and it is the Netflix model they use for PS+, it certainly gives an extra elements of value to the package. 

As for Nintendo being cheap that's one way of looking at it, another would be that there being financially prudent, and if you really want these features like voice chat in the future then you're gonna have to pay for it.

Voice chat has never mattered to me at all, so its absence doesnt affect me. But i definitely understand where the frustration comes from, and i think nintendo could have handled it by landing more in the middle ground rather then outright getting rid of it. Like many have said chat between friends could have satiated that need, and also calmed the fears by nintendo of random rudeness, since it would really all be on the friends playing and their attitude towards each other. 
Its not ideal right now, but with DLC it could be possible to re integrate it if people made a big enough stink about it.

I'm pretty sure we won't get voice chat as DLC either...the producer made it pretty clear that it will NEVER feature voice chat because he got called a piece of crap once online.

Sun May 10 15 12:43pm
(Updated 3 times)

>I have to say, that is one option I never considered at all

To be frank, that's actually a brutally obvious conclusion if we're talking Nintendo here. If bad experience with voice chat or worries about "negativity" is their reasoning for cutting it completely, then it's their job/chance to fix it by thinking of a way to implement it while protecting those players they wish to protect. The Nintendo I know and most love is and should be the one who goes "This kinda sucks, but how can WE make this work?" the Miyamoto-way, instead of taking the "Let's not do this." way out.
An opt-in model wouldn't be rocket science and the why-not-both?.jpg solution, instead of going "Nah, we dun like it." and flat-out excluding one party. If people translate this form of patronizing to laziness, I don't see that being particularly farfetched. Or at least as something Nintendo should expect.

Quoting seems to work a little wonky with the new system, huh. 
Copy&pasting from the article seems to result in mini-fonts. 

Sun May 10 15 12:47pm
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While I generally prefer the option, considering nintendo was trying to make this family friendly, I understand why the decided to not implement it. During the test fire the number of times I spit expletives was quite surprising for such a cute and happy game.
I must have said "b**ch" "motherf***er" "cheeky c**t" and the classic "g#$d#@$%f&$kface" at least a dozen times. It doesnt mean nintendo couldnt have included voice chat, but simply locked it behind their parental controls. Though honestly I didnt really see a need for it, and I think the only time its going to bother anyone might be in the friends v friends mode.

I used to play online games on my 360 all the time, and I barely remember running into anyone that would actually talk. Considering just about every 360 was bundled with a headset, that's saying something.

On my PS3, I remember playing the beta for MAG, which is a multiplayer shooter with an insane number of players. Not only was chat nearly nonexistent there as well, but the one guy I remember who actually did try to chat and organize strategies was largely ignored.

I won't say that the lack of voice chat in Splatoon should be ignored, as options are nice, but if anyone determines their purchase or a reviewer docks points because of it, I will be very disappointed. Having played the demo, I honestly don't think voice chat would have added or taken anything away from this particular experience.

Sun May 10 15 12:50pm
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Calling people that work overtime for months lazy is criminal. But it comes from a video game "journalist", which means a person that barely finished school and has no actual journalism education, so I can't complain much.

Imo voice chat should be part of the OS, not part of the games. You should be able to have a voice chat open with your friends, no matter what game you play. But yeah, since the OS lacks such a feature it should be part of the game for the ones that want to use it.

Voice chat doesn't work for all games.  This is one of those cases that voice chat won't add anything and would break the game's "alternate reality".
It's that simple.

I'm actually really happy that there's no voice chat. I'd hate for the game to run slow, and I'd hate it even more if Splatoon had to suffer from the same community image that every other shooter gets. I'd rather not have to listen to a bunch of 10- to 12-year-olds curse me out and call me other terms that I won't acknowledge just because I don't play the way they want me to. Splatoon is perfectly good without voice chat, but it's not gonna stop IGN from giving the game a crap rating because of that. -_-

Sun May 10 15 01:06pm
(Updated 1 time)

Why do I get the feeling this guy is just bitter that he can't act like a trashtalking prick online? Most didn't even care about the lack of voice chat during the Testfire and the game proved it doesn't need it. Your loadout pretty much tells you your role and you figure out the situation just by looking at the screen. So, players are missing NOTHING with the lack of voice chat aside from not having to put up with insecure douchebags' insufferable attitudes. If you want to blame the lack of voice chat on anything, I say blame the toxic reputation of online gaming.

let me interject a quote from wikipedia
" Word Select acts as a limited phrasebook, allowing sentences to be constructed through a hierarchy of menus. Once complete, a sentence is automatically translated into the configured language of other nearby players, thus bridging the language gap encountered in cross-cultural multiplayer games"

Phantasy Star Online. ON dial up. FIFTEEN years ago. You don't want voice chat Nintendo, fine. Selecting one from a bunch of 15-20 phrases before the game begins like MK8 is not going to cut it this time...

agree with IGN. splatoon should have an option for voice chat.! if you are going to use it fine, if not well turn it off and you are set. 
to be honest the Wii U needs a cross game chat or party chat feature! this will solve almost all the problems! 

I get people want to chat with friends during gameplay, but having played this, the actual game does not need voice chat, and it certainly doesn't need something like PSO's Word Select.

And not having it is certainly not 'cheap and lazy'. In fact, calling it that and trying to get some clicks by adressing something that's super old news is 'cheap and lazy' of IGN/this writer.

I haven't used game chat in forever. Anytime I want to use voice chat I only chat with my friends. This has lead me to use Skype since it is better. Back when I was avidly playing games on Xbox Live, I'd be using the party chat feature.
I can understand why Nintendo didn't include voice chat. To be fair, the way people harass and bully online is just awful. For games like Call of Duty and Halo it's not as big of a deal, considering those are m rated titles meant for adults. However, a game like Splatoon is trying to grab a wider audience. They want kids to have in on the fun too. So I can understand why they wouldn't want kids to be made fun of or harassed by awful adults.
However, I do wish Nintendo had some sort of cross-game party chat function so that you can still voice chat with your friends. Splatoon could have a mode where it could not allow party chat to prevent cheaters too, if people really wanted that. I believe some Call of Duty games had that.

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