Yesterday, we reported the news that Resident Evil 7: Biohazard would be making its way to Nintendo Switch after a successful run on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC last year. However, it's coming to the system in a way that wasn't expected -- through a streaming service.
The Switch version of Biohazard is being dubbed a "Cloud Version" meaning that you can play it as much as you'd like provided you have an online connection. On top of that, the $20 purchase you make towards the game is more of a rental fee, giving you access to it for the next six months before expiring.
It's a bold move on Capcom's part and presents an interesting question. Is there a place for cloud streaming on the Nintendo Switch? Surprisingly enough, there are arguments for and against having it available...
Pro: More Powerful Games Can Now Work On the Nintendo Switch Without Jumping Through Hoops
One big thing getting in the way of major titles coming to Nintendo's platform is that it's just not as powerful as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. True, it can run killer games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. But the difficulty of getting games like Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 seems too great for some developers to bear.
With a cloud solution however, less strain is put on the hardware. The game would simply run as a "service" from one of the publisher's servers so that players could enjoy what it has to offer. It's a neat idea and could prompt devs to give the platform a try with this solution.
But then there's a downside to go with that…prevnext
Con: You Don’t Really Own the Game
Despite the fact that you have a subscription to a gaming service, that doesn't mean you own the games. Sure, you're buying the license, but there are two things with that.
Number one, you're buying the license. That means if it leaves the service for any reason, you can't get it back and finish your progress. This is kind of the case with Resident Evil 7 on Switch -- it's temporary access.
Number two, you aren't able to add the game to your actual collection. You have a cloud library, sure, but it's in the cloud. You can browse them and play them to your heart's content but you don't have it physically if you feel the need for it. This may explain why PlayStation Now isn't taking off like Sony wanted it too. Well, that and the high monthly rental price.prevnext
Pro: You Get To Save Some of Your Precious Storage Space
One big negative working against the Nintendo Switch at this point in time is that there's just not enough storage space. You could upgrade to a larger memory card, but at some point you'll need to delete some older games to make room for new ones.
By playing in the cloud you get access to the game and get to save your precious storage space for other things. You might need to install some sort of file that gives you access to the game in the cloud; but outside of that, you're all set to go with your gaming experience.
This could serve as a relief to some...although, once again, there's a negative.prevnext
Con: You Have To Be Online To Play the Game and That’s Against the Switch’s Mantra
Playing with cloud-related games comes with a very noticeable problem -- needing to be connected online. Otherwise you can't access the server and gain permission to play the game.
This kind of goes against what the Nintendo Switch is all about. Its "play anywhere" logic means you can enjoy games at home or on the go and that means car trips or riding on an airplane. But if you're not within reach of an accessible network you're up a creek without a paddle. And even if you do find a connection, what if it's not strong enough to run the game?
Twitter user Nebellion sums up the experience of being stuck with a crappy connection on the Switch with a cloud game loaded up.
First footage of Resident Evil VII Cloud Version for Switch pic.twitter.com/e3jN3Ytcaf— Nibel (@Nibellion) May 21, 2018
Con: Just Because a Game Is Online Doesn’t Mean It’s Reliable
Finally, let's say that third party publishers introduce games that utilize a cloud server for the Nintendo Switch. You purchase the license and hop in to play only to find that there are online issues.
No network is perfect out there. Xbox Live has its share of down time; and even PlayStation Network and Nintendo Switch go offline sometimes for updates. So some players may find it to be an inconvenience when they have to wait for servers to return to play some of their favorite cloud games.
Some companies may have a solution to this with stronger servers -- just look at Fortnite. But even that game goes offline on occasion. And we have no idea how Resident Evil 7 is going to fare when it launches this Thursday in Japan. In fact, Capcom might be waiting to see how it performs before they attempt to bring it to other markets, including the United States.prevnext
So here's the thing. Yes, playing games on a streaming service could be a viable solution for the Nintendo Switch. But there are also some difficulties to overcome. Being able to play a game without an online connection is a no-no; servers can be unreliable especially if they're overloaded with consumers; and the fact you don't really have the games to call your own and play at any time may not sound like a good idea.
There is room to explore, to be sure. Pricing would have to be right though. Look at Nintendo's forthcoming Online service. It's slated to go for just $20 a year and gives you access to about 20 classic games alongside playing with others online. That's not a bad deal at all, even if the service may go down from time to time.
We'll have to see what happens over the next few months. The idea could be a good one -- but the right approach is definitely needed.prev