When the Kingdom Hearts games were announced for the Nintendo Switch, the cheering quickly subsided when people realized they would be available as Cloud versions. The cloud version of a video game, in essence, provides a means to stream content without the standard CPU processing power required if it was run in the system itself. We already see this in Microsoft’s xCloud as well as Google Stadia, but because of the Switch’s modest technological power, the ability to offer games that were meant for Xbox or PlayStation is striking. Streaming bypasses the hardware requirements that an otherwise elaborate game would’ve made it impossible to play on less powerful machines.
Many people have vocalized numerous complains surrounding Cloud gaming. One that floats to the top of the list is the fact that access could be stopped or shut down at any time–so even though you paid money, you don’t really “own” the game for life. Servers can go down or chug to a halt if at capacity. And perhaps the most obvious complaint is that it requires internet access, and when looking at the Switch–a system that is meant to be taken on the go–it can cause many to scratch their heads.
If a gamer has several consoles, sure, it would be ideal to chose the system where you can own the game physically or digitally; however, should we be so negative for Cloud gaming as an alternative? The Nintendo Switch is innovative and one of the hottest selling consoles out there, but everyone knows that it isn’t the most powerful system. Cloud gaming has been able to deliver several amazing titles, where it would likely be impossible to run on the Switch otherwise (This is not an all-inclusive list):
- Control: Ultimate Edition
- Hitman 3
- A Plague Tale: Innocence
- The Forgotten City
- Witcher 3
There are more Cloud games on the horizon: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Dying Light 2, A Plague Tale: Requiem, and of course, the Kingdom Hearts games.
Have you ever bought a Cloud game on the Switch? How do you think it impacts the concept of game preservation? Let us know your thoughts on the Boss Rush Discord.