The Nintendo Switch can already provide one of the biggest benefits of cloud gaming: the ability to sling a game from a big TV to a portable device and carry it anywhere you go. But Nintendo isn’t pretending that capability is enough to weather what could be a sea change in how games are developed, and played. Gaming is changing in a way it never has before, graduating from dedicated hardware and dedicated spaces into a mobile and multi-platform future. While Google’s Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud and Nvidia’s GeForce Now are all coming into their own, we’ve yet to hear much from the historically innovative Nintendo. That’s about to change.
Speaking at their annual investor meeting, President Shuntaro Furukawa said Nintendo sees “a future where cloud and streaming technologies will develop more and more as a means of delivering games to consumers.” It puts the pressure on Nintendo, however, as they have smaller budgets than their competitors.
Here’s the whole quote from Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa, as translated by his own company
While we don’t expect all games to become cloud games any time soon, the technologies are definitely advancing. We see a future where cloud and streaming technologies will develop more and more as a means of delivering games to consumers. We must keep up with such changes in the environment. That being said, if these changes increase the worldwide gaming population, that will just give us more opportunities with our integrated hardware and software development approach to reach people worldwide with the unique entertainment that Nintendo can provide.
Rumors of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass running on xCloud on a new Switch have remained prevalent since February, though when asked, Nintendo executives would not confirm or deny a new model’s existence.
Investors were also curious about Nintendo’s plans regarding new technologies. Miyamoto reaffirmed Nintendo’s faith in their Labo platform despite mixed consumer feedback, particularly regarding the VR versions of Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. He said Nintendo was continuing research into VR. Regarding 5G, Director Ko Shiota said they were investigating, but that current costs were prohibitive.
While it may be an unpopular decision, Nintendo’s executives revealed that they consider a subscription-based model for each product they release. They’re yet to pull an EA however, and it would be very unlike Nintendo to go down the heavy-handed monetization path.