I played Control on Nintendo Switch today and it felt surprisingly good. Control was first released on PS4 and was previously thought impossible to port to the lower-powered Switch. But game streaming technology makes it possible.
The unique thing about a cloud game is that it requires an Internet connection to play and the gamer doesn’t own the game outright. Similar to the way that Spotify subscription users don’t own the music on Spotify.
Currently, Nintendo is working with a third-party company – Ubitus, a Taiwan cloud technology company to provide the cloud gaming solution. This is very different to Playstation and Xbox which both have gone down the path of developing their 1P cloud solution.
This could be a good thing for Nintendo as it allows Switch players to access AAA games which were previously unavailable on Switch. I wonder if the next Switch upgrade will come with 5G and introduce the possibilities of cloud gaming anywhere!
On the other hand, it also revealed the weakness in Nintendo’s cloud gaming strategy. They need to develop a proper company-wide strategy to adapt to the gaming era. I suspect at some point, they need to decide if they want to develop a cloud solution for Switch platform. The risk with a third party solution is that gamers would lose access to Control if Ubitus for whatever reason decide not to stream it any more.
With Xbox fully embracing the clouding game and cross-device future, the competitive pressure is heating up. It is possible that 5G smartphones + streaming could commoditise Switch’s superior gaming experience.
My next research project is to closely follow the technological evolution of cloud gaming.