Cloud gaming has come a long way and many gaming companies have joined the bandwagon. Even a shy company like Nintendo has begun to embrace this bold new technology. And now that the company is bringing games from the cloud to its current console the Nintendo Switch, does this mean that things are about to change in a big way?

Probably not. That is not at the rate they would want it to. Before diving into the ‘why,’ it’s essential to first understand what is going on and what many expect it could mean for Nintendo, cloud gaming, and its market moving forward.

Nintendo Switch and the cloud

From the moment the Nintendo Switch made its way to the market, some have speculated on if Nintendo would utilize the cloud similar to what its competitors are doing for their consoles. Admittedly, it didn’t seem like it ever will due to Nintendo’s sluggish adaptiveness to market changes. That is until Ubitus, a Taiwanese tech company stepped forward and provided the console access to a slew of cloud-friendly games.

Back in May 2018, “Resident Evil 7: Cloud Version” became available for streaming, courtesy of Ubitus’ own cloud service called GameCloud. Soon after, “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey” would follow, opening the door to cloud gaming support a little wider. And just recently, things got even more exciting when during the October edition of Nintendo Direct Mini broadcast, we learned that “Hitman 3” and “Control: Ultimate Edition”--the latter of which is currently available--are also joining the console’s library via the cloud.

So far, so good.

These moves from third parties could very well be heralding Nintendo’s impending encroachment of the cloud gaming market going forward. However, those who believe it would occur immediately and/or radically change the way the Big N does things going forward should temper these thoughts.

Nintendo could fear the cloud

To the observant, Nintendo hasn’t embraced the cloud gaming craze outright. This is most likely because the big N is concerned about the radical changes the tech could bring upon its business. Cloud gaming eliminates the need for powerful hardware and while Nintendo consoles are anything but powerful, they are still reliable enough for their current generation.

It’s still highly possible that Nintendo will allow more titles to come to the Switch via cloud streaming as opposed to traditional means. But it will be handled pretty much like it’s being handled right now: a trickling-down of releases handled strictly on third parties’ end.

However, there’s also concern that Nintendo might prevent its first-party titles from transitioning to the cloud, and it’s hard not to see why. These particular titles not only define the Nintendo product, but they also define the company. As such, the Big N is very protective of its intellectual properties; not wanting them to be distributed and/or used in any way outside of its control.

Additionally, Nintendo’s reluctance to integrate its library of first-party titles with a cloud gaming service could also stem from the fear of diminishing their value.

As ridiculous as that might sound, the company has become somewhat controversial for treating its titles as if they were priceless gems shielded behind bulletproof glass. Hence if it were to allow its own software to be streamed on other devices, it would also stand to lose its own identity.

Therefore, it’s unlikely Nintendo will ever allow its own software near the cloud unless they remain shackled to its hardware. And if a dedicated cloud gaming service does eventually launch on the Switch and/or future devices, the company will more likely be picky with the selection of titles due to its slow embrace.

Competitors don’t fear the cloud

On the other side of the river, however, Sony and Microsoft don’t share Nintendo’s reluctance towards the cloud.

PlayStation games are already available for streaming on other devices through Sony’s cloud gaming service, PS Now. Meanwhile, Microsoft is busy readying Xbox games for streaming on its upcoming xCloud service.

Both companies stand to profit more from cloud gaming in the long run--going as far as to distribute titles across various platforms besides their respective consoles. But that’s no skin off the Big N’s nose considering it’s not competing directly with these companies.


Nintendo is a traditional gaming company through and through, which is why it’s not fully open to cloud gaming. If the company does come around to this new and exciting market and develop its own service, it will most likely happen on its next-gen console. For now, Nintendo seems satisfied with just leaving third parties to foot the bill with cloud gaming.