The next console generation is almost here and it's starting to feel as if streaming will be one of the major deciding factors on who sells the most systems. There are now rumors circulating that Nintendo will be entering a partnership with Microsoft in order to secure streaming services for their games.
We recently reported that Microsoft and Sony have announced a partnership to collaborate on technologies for their streaming services going forward. The exact details of their agreement and what it entails for the future of both companies is still unclear, but it seems as if Microsoft will be handling the technical aspect of both companies' game streaming services, which will involve the use of Microsoft Azure.
It seems that Nintendo might also be looking to partner with Microsoft in order to enter the streaming gaming market. According to industry insider David Gibson, Nintendo is seeking a similar partnership with Microsoft for a streaming gaming service in specific regions.
But also Nintendo itself is looking also to work with MSFT (Azure) to offer its own streaming service in limited regions (JP, US etc).— David Gibson (@gibbogame) May 17, 2019
The idea of Microsoft and Nintendo working together is less of a shock than the announcement of the Microsoft/Sony partnership. There have been rumors of a Microsoft & Nintendo partnership for a while now, with both companies supporting cross-play on titles like Minecraft, as well as the porting of Cuphead to the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa downplayed the company's desire to pursue streaming games on the Nintendo Switch during a recent financial report. There are a few stream-only games for the Nintendo Switch in Japan (such as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard), but the portable nature of the system means that streaming games would only be useful under specific circumstances.
It's possible that the announcement of Google's Stadia platform has rattled the big three companies in the console market and they have decided to form an alliance to squeeze the new guy out of their turf. The popularity of services like Netflix has led to speculation that the future of the video game industry will follow a similar trajectory, with games being sold as part of a package in a streaming service. Nintendo has usually been the last company to follow a technological trend, but it's possible that they are seeing big money in a streaming service for their games in the future and they might be relying on Microsoft to handle the technical heavy lifting in order to make it happen.