The upcoming generation of gaming consoles and platforms could be bringing streaming gaming to homes across the world, which is made possible by advances in cloud technology, but those expecting the Nintendo Switch to follow suit might be disappointed. The president of Nintendo has downplayed the company's participation in cloud streaming for its future games.
There are rumors that the PlayStation 5 and the successor to the Xbox One will utilize streaming in various ways in order to bolster their library of games. The upcoming Google Stadia platform is also promising to bring high-end gaming to any compatible device with an Internet connection. The feasibility of these services has yet to be truly put to the test, but if they work as promised, then they could change the face of the industry.
Nintendo recently held its annual Fiscal Year conference, where company president Shuntaro Furukawa fielded questions about the company going forward. Furukawa addressed the question of Nintendo's future prospects with cloud gaming.
Q: Amid a significantly changing external environment, including cloud gaming and 5G, what are your thoughts on the future of Nintendo's core integrated hardware and software business?
Furukawa: I don't think all games will move to the cloud right now, but the technology is steadily advancing. In the future, I expect that technologies such as the cloud and streaming will evolve further as a way to deliver games to consumers. We must keep up with such changes in the environment. On the other hand, I believe that our core value, the unique entertainment experiences that can only be achieved through the development of integrated hardware andsoftware, will further increase in value. Delivering unique entertainment that only Nintendo can create will continue to be our top priority.
Nintendo is usually the last of the major developers and publishers to adopt trends, which is why it took it so long to embrace online content for their games and why the Switch's equivalent to a VR headset is a box that makes the player feel ill. Microsoft and Sony already offer streaming services for their systems, but Nintendo seems to be in no rush to follow suit. There are some streaming games available for the Switch in Japan (such as Resident Evil 7), but they have been few and far between.
When the Nintendo Switch Online service was first announced, there were many fans who predicted that it could become a Netflix-style service for games, as the old Nintendo games are so small in size that they could easily be streamed to the Switch. The actual content of the Nintendo Switch Online service turned out to be very different and the idea of the Virtual Console being replaced with a streaming service turned out to be a pipe dream.
The fact that the Nintendo Switch is a hybrid home/portable system is also likely a factor in Nintendo's lack of interest in pursuing streaming services, as the player would be required to stay in a location with a good Internet connection in order to use the service. It seems that the Switch will be sticking with cartridges for the time being.