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I am the parent of a child with a Nintendo Switch. I would like someone to help me understand more about the Friends system on the Switch. When you are friends with someone, what does that mean you can do? Does it just mean that you can see if they are online and invite them to play, or is there more to it than that?

I have disabled communication in the Parental Controls, but does being friends allow any form of communication? What can a player see about friends?

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Currently, you can only friend people, see what they have played recently, and get online notifications and currently playing game notifications. Most games don't even let you invite friends, but some do. In Splatoon, you can voice chat with teammates using the Switch Online app.

As of early January 2018, the friend system is very bare bones. As I edit this at the end of 2018, nothing has changed in this regard.

  • I've seen the voice chat option you need a phone app for, does Splatoon have voice (or non-voice) chat in the game? I have disabled "communication" in parental controls. Blocking communication with strangers is one of my main objectives as the parent of a young gamer. – Victor Jan 5 '18 at 17:36
  • Removed some speculation and included the fact that you do need the app for voice chat. – Shawndroid Oct 24 '18 at 12:12
  • You could also remove all of the speculation about the Online services. It's out now, and requires a subscription. It didn't really seem to impact the friend system very much. – Ellesedil Oct 24 '18 at 23:09
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When you are friends with someone on the Nintendo Switch it just means you can see when they're on and what game they're playing. It really just helps to play online together. Only a few games allow you to invite friends. If you have communication off, then of course they can't, but there are a few games, like Splatoon 2 that allow to talk to your teammates if you're doing a local battle.

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