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Resident Evil 7 Offers an Interesting Clue on How Developers Can Address Switch's Power Gap

STARTING SCREEN | Will the Switch's power gap eventually make third-party ports impossible? Not necessarily.

Feature by Kat Bailey, .

The Nintendo Switch only released a year ago, but its power gap is getting wider all the time. But Capcom may have hit upon a workable solution.

Earlier today, Capcom revealed that Resident Evil 7 will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in Japan. This isn't particularly notable in itself, but its method of delivery is. Titled "Resident Evil 7: Cloud Version," it will require a mere 45MB download and a constant internet connection to play.

With this approach, Capcom is mirroring other contemporary services. GeForce Now lets you play PC games on even cheap laptops. PlayStation Now has been kicking around forever at this point. We don't quite have a true "Video Game Netflix" yet, but the steady march of technology is making the idea more feasible all the time.

Hence Capcom's novel solution to the technological constraints of the Nintendo Switch. The "Cloud Version" of Resident Evil 7 seems like a great way to deliver the experience of the PS4 and Xbox One without too many compromises. Resident Evil 7 isn't overly reliant on button inputs like, say, Street Fighter, so it will be perfectly playable.

A whole new world is being opened to the Switch.

It won't be a perfect solution, of course. The Switch's inherent hook is portability, and Capcom's strategy goes against that, effectively tethering you to your couch. The parts of the country with poor infrastructure will likely have problems—one of the key reasons Microsoft backed off their original idea of making the Xbox One always-connected. And of course, it won't support VR or any of the other bells and whistles offered by the PlayStation 4.

Still, this hasn't stopped Monster Hunter: World fans from speculating that a port of January's hit is next. It would indeed seem to be a solution to the heretofore intractable problem of the Switch's hardware limitations; and with MHW being so online-focused, its lack of portability wouldn't be the biggest drawback. Would Monster Hunter fans be willing to sacrifice the ability to play with friends over a local connection at McDonalds? Anything for Switch support of MHW, I suppose.

In the meantime, we'll see how Resident Evil 7: Cloud Version shakes out. If it proves a success, more developers will no doubt give it a shot as they try to take advantage of the Switch's large install base. It would potentially be a very interesting answer to EA's Frostbite engine problems, which have thrown up some large barriers to porting over its biggest games. It would certainly beat having to buy a whole memory card for Wolfenstein 2.

One way or another, third-party developers will have to figure out a solution to the Switch's limitations. Capcom's approach seems as good as any. But of course, a lack of power hasn't stopped the Switch so far. Indeed, if Resident Evil 7: Cloud Version proves anything, it's the lengths to which developers are willing to go just to get their game on Nintendo's smash hit console.

This Week's Notable Releases

  • Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 & 2 [May 22]: Both Mega Man Legacy Collections finally make their way to the Nintendo Switch. It's already available on a host of other platforms, but this feels like the one to own, as it matches the power of a home console with the portability of the 3DS. It'll be pretty neat to have 10 Mega Man games available to play on the go.
  • Runner3 [May 22]: The Bit.Trip series returns with this new entry on the Switch and PC. This one is a rhythm platformer in which you avoid obstacles in time to the music. Seems like a pretty solid headphone game, even if the reviews have been just okay so far.
  • State of Decay 2 [May 22]: State of Decay 2's reviews have been middling (we gave it a 3.5), but the Microsoft-published zombie survival game is apt to see a ton of sales regardless. Microsoft's successful Game Pass program gave Sea of Thieves a large boost earlier this year, and State of Decay 2 seems well-positioned to enjoy similar success. If you decide to play it, you should definitely check out our State of Decay 2 guides for help.
  • Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon [May 24]: We're still waiting on Koji Igarashi's spiritual successor to Castlevania, but Curse of the Moon—an Inti Creates joint in the style of the 8-bit games—seems like it'll scratch the itch in the meantime. In his glowing preview, USG alum Jeremy Parish went so far as to suggest that it could be the "best modern Caslevania game." Ya know, even though it's not really a Castlevania game. It looks pretty cool in any case.
  • Dark Souls Remastered [May 24]: The best game of the last 15 years is finally getting a release on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in glorious 4K. And hey, they fixed Blighttown, too! Huzzah! That should be all you need to know if you missed this classic the first time around. It's great and you should buy it. Full stop.
  • Detroit: Become Human [May 25]: Detroit: Become Human is a bit more murky. Aside from David Cage's mixed track record, Quantic Dream has been undergoing some serious scandals of late. What has been shown so far has mostly come across as cliche, but Detroit may yet betray hidden depths. Anyway, it can't be worse than Beyond: Two Souls, right?

Mike's Media Minute

So the major question going into this weekend was, "How much will Deadpool 2 hurt Avengers: Infinity War?" Having seen the results, it looks like the question should've been the other way around. Deadpool 2 finished the weekend with $125 million domestically, which misses the R-rated opening weekend record set by… Deadpool. That film opened with $132 million, so this is a slight drop, but nothing too bad.

There's a question of if Infinity War perhaps drew away some of the box office available to Deadpool 2, as the first film launched in February by itself for the most part. The sequel has to contend with Infinity War preceding it and Solo coming the weekend after. Marvel's tentpole film only dropped 52 percent week-to-week, and it'll easily cross $600 million domestic.

If it hits $600-700 million worldwide, Deadpool 2 will be seen as a success. The first is the best performing X-Men franchise film at Fox ($363 million domestic, $783 million worldwide), despite being R-rated. Better than the first would be great, but Deadpool was a very leggy film and the second might not see the same given its positioning.

This Week's News and Notes

  • As noted above, a surprisingly busy week awaits with multiple releases, including the Xbox One exclusive State of Decay 2, the PlayStation 4 exclusive Detroit: Become Human, and the updated classic Dark Souls Remastered. That should more than enough to tide over the college students who are just now finishing up finals and emerging into the warm sun for the first time in a month. Of course, most Americans will be off at barbeques this weekend, or heading to the beach, so David Cage's meditations on artificial intelligence may have to wait.
  • You may have seen the various Pokemon Switch leaks floating around the Internet, which seem to suggest that a remake called Pokemon Let's Go will shortly be announced. This appears to give lie to my assertion from earlier this month that Pokemon Switch isn't happening in 2018. But wait! Pokemon Let's Go! appears to be less of a proper RPG release than a spinoff, with a new generational update waiting further down the line. We'll see how much crow I ultimately have to eat on this one, but one way or another, a Pokemon game for Switch appears inevitable in 2018.
  • Nothing like being teased mercilessly. Final Fantasy Tactics 2? Be still my heart.
  • While Bloodstained fans wait patiently for their Kickstarter investment to bear fruit, La-Mulana 2 fans are likewise waiting for a sequel to their favorite game. It's been a long development process, but it looks like Nigoro is finally ready to reward everyone's patience. And hey, it might be on console, too. Jeremy Parish has the full report.
  • Treyarch isn't planning on putting Black Ops 4 on Switch, though. And really, are you surprised? Maybe they can take a page from Capcom and make it streamable.
  • Speaking of first-person shooters, Battlefield 5 is set to be unveiled later this week. Rumor has it that it'll be returning to World War II, much as Call of Duty did last year. As always, we'll have all the coverage when it's finally unveiled.
  • And in case you missed it, Mike got to finally play Kingdom Hearts 3 last week. Much like Final Fantasy XV, I seriously can't believe that game is actually coming out.
  • Random Monday Musing: Ever bring a bunch of games with you on a trip intending on playing them all, only to get sucked into some completely banal mobile game? That was me and Football Manager Mobile on my most recent trip. I only just now finally put it down after roughly five seasons of investment. Meanwhile, Bayonetta and Night in the Woods remain sadly untouched. I feel deeply guilty.
  • Axe of the Blood God: Nadia and I use my first full episode back to talk about Mike's Kingdom Hearts 3 hands-on, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, and the ongoing Pokemon leaks. Subscribe here!

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Comments 12

  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #1 SuperShinobi 4 months ago
    I don't think you can even call RE 7 cloud version a port, as it's not really on the Switch itself. It'll just be playable and available for rental for some time from the cloud, but will vanish eventually.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #2 riderkicker 4 months ago
    Sony really tried to make game streaming a thing on their systems, but it really requires uses to be hardwired to their tv/monitors. Nintendo has apparently chased that dream of wireless gameplay since the Game Boy, and before the Wii U was unveiled, I remember Fils-Aime talk about wanting to change the "console experience". And I guess the Wii U game pad succeeded in what it wanted to do as you could play Smash Bros. to Darksiders on it (though Tokyo Mirage Sessions is still a TV only game). Combine it with broadband advances especially in other countries, the Switch Streaming Video Games could be pretty interesting.

    Kat is right about how countries like Sweden, Japan, and South Korea have decades-ahead wireless broadband access, something the American telecoms is not willing to invest in as it would cut into their profits. The dream is to be able to play Monster Hunter World on the Switch instead of Generations, but as Western Developers have shown with their ports and Nintendo's refusal to build a dock with HDD support or release the 64GB Game Cards, powerful games with powerful needs will have to sit in the backburner for a bit. Resident Evil 7 is a seemingly more less complicated game, and it will be interesting to see how buyers experience it.

    A non-streaming Monster Hunter World on the Switch? I'm still holding out hope that Capcom will devote resources into building yet another more efficient version of the game, that streamlines what was done on the PS4/Xbox One.

    That Shazam poster looks interesting.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #3 NiceGuyNeon 4 months ago
    Dark Souls is one of the five best games available to play right now. With the release of the Remastered version it will become two of the five best games available to play right now.

    Of the varieties of people out there right now there are five:

    1. Those who played Dark Souls and love it. These people are correct and can make society a more just place. Bless them.

    2. The people who played Dark Souls and hated it. These people never actually played Dark Souls so feel free to ignore them. They're just the resident loonies tbh.

    3. The people who have not played Dark Souls yet but want to. We should all encourage them to embrace their best selves and pick up this remaster, because deep down they are good hearted and beautiful on the inside.

    4. The people who have not played Dark Souls because they think it's too hard. These people have been misled. Yes, Dark Souls is challenging but it's not the hardest thing ever and they are just frightening themselves for no good reason, often based on stupid comments about any game having any semblance of challenge being compared to "oh this is the Dark Souls of *insert series/genre*". We need to help these people discover the ultimate potential within themselves by overcoming their misguided phobia.

    5. The people who have not played Dark Souls because it isn't their "kind of" game. These people have no taste. In fact they have so little taste that they OWE THE WORLD FOR MAKING THE WORLD A LESS TASTEFUL PLACE TO LIVE. They have no business being a part of any sort of civilized discourse because they can only detract from the conversation on account of their complete and utter garbage taste in entertainment. THESE PEOPLE ARE THE WORST!

    Anyway, May 25th is the big day people. I HOPE EVERYONE IS PROPERLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS.
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #4 Nuclear-Vomit 4 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon Yes. I am excited for May 25 and Detroit: Become Human.
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  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #5 chaoticBeat 4 months ago
    Praise it!

    \[+]/

    My body is ready. I wish it could be Reggie too.
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  • Avatar for docexe #6 docexe 4 months ago
    Paraphrasing what I said in another article: From a conceptual point of view I think it's an interesting method to bring games to the Switch that it wouldn't be able to run otherwise. From a practical point view, the fact that it hampers portability (the major appeal of the Switch) makes me wonder how successful it actually will be.

    I presume that's the reason why Capcom is only releasing this version of REVII on Japan right now: In order to gauge whether or not there is demand for streaming games on Switch.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #7 VotesForCows 4 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon Good analysis, sums up the situation nicely. Sadly I'm waiting for the Switch port cos my PS4 is on its last legs.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #8 NiceGuyNeon 4 months ago
    @Nuclear-Vomit Oh yeah, that movie about androids and child abuse by that kinda problematic auteur figure right? Yeah, I heard some people were looking forward to watching that too. Good times.

    But if you were gonna spend money on a movie I'd have picked Solo. At least that one looks fun.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #9 NiceGuyNeon 4 months ago
    @VotesForCows I'm torn between buying it on Steam or waiting for the Switch port myself. I figure on the one hand, Steam version will give me all of the perks. On the other hand I really love the Switch so.... Tough call.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #10 Fourfoldroot 4 months ago
    OK, firstly beyond two souls is an amazing game, and detroit looks great too. No need for the snark or irrelevant commentary provided.

    So, now that's off my chest, I'd just like to say that streaming tech can have uses on limited non lag restricted games if you stay home and have good Internet, and may even be a good option for Switch in running games that would not be possible otherwise; however, the pricing policy for this really should have been mentioned. $20 for a rental (of an unecassarily long duration true) is simply too much. The competition offer this at around the same price, to keep, without lag, with other options like VR, and the ability to sell on (making it even cheaper). $10 and it would be acceptable.
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  • Avatar for Kochambra #11 Kochambra 4 months ago
    I think Kat's piece fails to address one important aspect of this "Cloud version": What it means to consumer rights. Sure, in this era when most high budget games keep getting patched and updated for months or even years after their release, the concept of "owning" a game may be at its most tenuous. Even so, I feel that I can count on being able to play most if not all of the single player games that I "own", long after whatever company decides to shut down its servers because they're not making enough money anymore.
    Sure, my Switch had to download a few GBs for my "physical" copy of Doom, but as long as I keep them and the hardware in good condition, I should be able to play the game whenever I want. And I know that I will have to download quite a few more for Wolfenstein 2. It's not something I'm comfortable with, but it sure beats being at the mercy of Capcom's whims.

    I would be OK with this if it was merely an option for people who have good Internet service, don't take their Switch out, don't replay games and/or are particularly sensitive to "visual downgrades". But as the only option to play RE7 on Switch -as far as we know right now- it feels like another low effort cash-in from Capcom, the company who gifted Switch users with the nth reheated release of Street Fighter 2 for $40.

    This could set a terrible precedent for big companies making no effort to port their games to Switch or any other system, when they can just sell us streaming rights for a limited time again and again.
    With HD remasters or rereleases of previous generation games, I have the choice. I can decide whether to buy the Switch version of Hyrule Warriors, or just keep playing my copy of the Wii U version. I can buy Okami HD or just go back to the Wii version that I already own.
    If Capcom's scheme succeeds, I won't have that choice anymore. I won't be able to go back to RE7 on Switch because it will only "exist" as long as Capcom wants it to.

    Maybe I'm being too wary, but I think this "Cloud version" spells bad news for gamers.
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #12 SIGGYZtar 3 months ago
    I too would be okay if RE7 Cloud was an option. But we are reminded that many video games are spur of the moment events, especially with MMOs and AAA games from other publishers.
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