Nintendo has asked Microsoft to help bring a new all-you-can-eat game streaming service to its hugely-popular Nintendo Switch console, according to Astris Advisory Japan analyst David Gibson. The partnership would be very unusual as Nintendo and Microsoft are usually fierce rivals when it comes to video games, with the Switch and the Xbox One S competing on shelves in the high street stores.
However, Microsoft has already announced a deal with rival Sony to use its Azure cloud infrastructure to bring game streaming to its PlayStation console. As such, it adds more weight to the latest report around Nintendo and Microsoft.
According to analyst David Gibson, Nintendo isn't looking to roll-out its streaming service worldwide but only a select number of regions. Gibson says Japan and the United States will get access, but hasn't revealed whether this is the complete list.
Console manufacturers are scrambling to build video game streaming services in the wake of new competition from the likes of Google Stadia, which enables players to access console-quality blockbuster titles on their tablet, smartphone, or Chromecast HDMI dongle since all of the heavy lifting is handled in remote server farms.
Game progress and other save data is all transferred between devices as players move between their smartphone, tablet, laptop or TV. Google Stadia will be able to stream games in 4K resolutions up to 60 frames-per-second. It also supports HDR image quality. Google says the platform is scaleable, and will eventually support 8K resolutions at 120 frames-per-second in the future.
It's very unlikely that Nintendo will be looking to reach this level of quality, especially since the Switch itself cannot output more than 1080p to your TV and 720p on the built-in touchscreen when you're on the move. However, it's possible Nintendo will offer a catalogue of titles that can be accessed for a flat subscription fee. Similarly, Google Stadia will offer a rotating selection of free titles, starting with Destiny 2: The Collection for £8.99 a month.
The paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription already offers all-you-can-eat access to a selection of retro Nintendo Entertainment System titles, like The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros, Pro Wrestling, River City Ransom, and Super Mario Bros. 3 to name a few.
To attract new customers to a streaming service for the Switch, Nintendo will likely have to offer a more up-to-date selection of games – it's hard to see how a number of NES games will be able to compete with the likes of Google Stadia, as well as next-generation streaming services of AAA titles coming to the Sony PS5 and Microsoft's Project Scarlett.
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