Hori's new design suggests Nintendo Switch headsets will get a smartphone cable

Japanese gaming accessories company Hori has shown off a brand-new design for a Nintendo Switch headset called the Air, and it looks rather typical for a pair of gaming headphones with an adjustable boom mic. However, unlike a lot of PC or other console headsets, this one still sports the chunky volume control, helping users connect it to their phone for access to the upcoming Nintendo Switch chat app.

One of the difficulties of separating in-game audio from chat audio is that you need an additional connection for it. While we don’t know exactly how Nintendo’s Switch communication application will work, Hori’s hardware suggests that plugging your phone into the headset, which also connects to the Switch, will be one way to do it.

While the new Nintendo Switch headset looks rather typical at first glance — black, angular gamer styling, flexible boom microphone and headband and earphone padding — its volume control is a little different. Alongside the usual volume dial and microphone mute switch, it also has a dedicated voice volume wheel and a separate 3.5mm port for hooking it up to your phone.

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That means an additional wire trailing away to your handset, which looks like it could be par for the course with Nintendo Switch headsets (thanks NintendoLife).

The Hori Air isn’t currently available for sale, but is listed on the Hori website for 3,542 yen, or just shy of $32.

While the Air is quite a typical-looking headset, despite its Nintendo Switch cable requirements, Hori did recently debut a much less traditional design. Set to launch alongside Splatoon 2 in Japan on July 21, the headset features green headphones, with a behind-the-head band design.

Its styling draws inspiration from the inklings from Splatoon 2, with a tentacle-shaped boom mic and a volume control/splitter box that looks like one of the game’s squids. It too isn’t quite ready for prime time just yet, but when it launches it will do so with a slightly higher price tag than the Air. Hori’s website currently has it listed at 3,758 yen, or $34.

Although much still needs to be learned about Nintendo’s strategy for online chat, the response to its forced use of a smartphone app hasn’t been particularly positive so far. It will be interesting to see whether these sorts of headsets become a requirement for multiplayer Switch gamers in the future.

We don’t know yet whether either of these designs will be sold outside of Japan, but we have reached out to Hori and will confirm as and when it replies.