Cloud Gaming Should Not Be the Solution to the Nintendo Switch's Hardware Issues – GameRant

Cloud gaming is becoming increasingly prevalent on the Nintendo Switch, but that ignores a bigger issue with how Nintendo handles hardware.
The video game industry has inspired incredible innovation. Not all innovations have been so warmly accepted, however, and one of this generation's most frequent points of contention has been the prominence of Cloud gaming. While it has had growing pains, companies like PlayStation and Xbox have been able to implement Cloud gaming services that give fans a wealth of streaming options for a relatively decent price. For the Nintendo Switch, Cloud gaming has been used very differently.
There's no doubt the Nintendo Switch is a revolutionary console. It puts the power of a home console into a portable package, and it has been one of Nintendo's biggest successes thanks to a stellar line-up of first-party games. At the same time, the Nintendo Switch has a hardware problem. From day one, many fans believed the console is underpowered, and that much can be seen with how many Switch ports experience graphical downgrades or frame rate issues. This has kept many third-party games from coming to the Switch, and while Nintendo's Cloud gaming approach may be a solution, it doesn't fix the greater problem at hand.
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Nintendo has been at the top of the industry since the NES, but in the last twenty years it has become increasingly clear where the company places its priorities. One of the main draws for Nintendo is its fleet of first-party titles. Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda have pushed more Nintendo consoles than arguably anything else, and the company has largely tailored its hardware toward the production of these tentpole games. With how simple they tend to be, however, it creates an issue with other third-party developers that have more complex titles.
Nintendo's hardware priorities started to become especially clear around the Nintendo Wii era. While Xbox and PlayStation were changing the perception of how games can look with the Xbox 360 and PS3, the Wii had largely the same specs as the GameCube with the added novelty of motion controls. As a result, whenever a major third-party title would come to the Wii, it was essentially a completely different game from its Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts. This pattern has continued to the Switch, but instead of getting reworked ports, games like The Witcher 3 now run like they're on PS3-level hardware on the Switch.
In order to circumvent this hardware issue, Nintendo has introduced Cloud versions of certain third-party games on the Switch. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy will be one of the newest additions later this month, and it was recently revealed that Kingdom Hearts will be coming through the same format. This allows more taxing games to be played on Switch because they are being streamed through an Internet connection rather than being directly processed by the console's hardware. While it may seem like a decent solution, it's ignoring a key issue with Nintendo and raising its own host of problems.
One of the main issues with Cloud gaming is that it requires a strong, steady internet connection. This is something that many people simply don't have access to, and it directly conflicts with the point of the Switch as a console. Part of the console's appeal is that it's completely portable, but it's almost impossible to expect players to have a halfway decent internet connection when playing on the go. There's also the issue of input latency, and the fact that if servers for any particular game go down, players are stuck without any way to play.
Instead of forcing developers to go around Nintendo's hardware with Cloud gaming, Nintendo should show some effort to upgrade its consoles. The fact that the Switch OLED has a new ethernet port on its dock is likely a sign that Nintendo won't be changing its patterns any time soon. Now it won't just be in the hands of the developer to bring a game to the Switch through streaming, it will also be the job of the player to give their console a direct line to the internet in order to effectively stream. It's a convenient way of shifting the attention away from the Nintendo Switch's hardware shortcomings, and hopefully it won't become a long-term solution.
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