Streaming has been touted as the way of the future by a number of video game industry giants. Ubisoft's CEO Yves Guillemot believes this technology will become the primary way people play games in the future. Meanwhile, EA is investing heavily in cloud-based technology with the news it has more than 1,000 staff and dozens of studios working on a new platform.
Nintendo is taking a more cautious approach when it comes to this new-found technology. During an interview with Kotaku, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said the recent streaming efforts in Japan with titles such as the cloud version of Assassin's Creed Odyssey was an exciting development for the industry, but the technical infrastructure for it to happen outside of this region simply did not exist in other countries, including the United States.
It’s specific to Japan because of the internet infrastructure that exists in that country. Very high-speed wireless capability. The ability to have a great experience in Japan is profound. The technical infrastructure doesn’t exist for that to happen currently here in the United States.
When challenged about how other companies within America were already providing video game streaming services, Reggie clarified the current technology did not meet Nintendo's requirements. He made reference to Google's Project Stream (responsible for streaming Assassin's Creed Odyssey through players' Chrome web browsers) and said how this method of play was not suitable for serious players:
If you talk to really active gamers there’s a level of dissatisfaction, because of a lag and other things that happen currently. The question is: At what point will there be the technical infrastructure for that to be a truly compelling experience.
Do you think Reggie makes a valid point? Do regions outside of Japan need better technical infrastructure before game streaming is properly embraced? What do you think about streaming games? Tell us below.
We need Physical Version or Cartridge. I don't like Cloud Version, because network is hassle. I don't buy itself, is very disappointed completely unplayable drop frame per second. Ubisoft game developer can't convert to switch game platform.
"Network is hassle."
I think that's pretty much everything which needs to be said here.
@NOELQUEZON Switch can't run that game, dawg.
The communications infrastructure in the US is way too outdated in most parts of the country to support a concept like streaming video games. Especially with the focus being on 4K gaming for next gen, it is going to be really hard to get anything to run smoothly without a massive internet infrastructure overhaul, and good luck getting that accomplished.
It is also noteworthy to mention how modern day ISP's aren't exactly making a concept like streaming video games appealing. With all the ways they are trying to impose added fees and data caps lately I doubt anyone would want be be reliant on them like that.
I'm looking forward to a future of quantum gaming where I can 100% a game on my first run.
Until we get lag-free online connection then will we discuss cloud gaming. Heck we haven't even perfected online gaming yet and we already jumping to cloud gaming, that would be the nail in the coffin if the gaming industry jump the gun that fast. It's like building and riding a brand new car without checking the road first, what if you built a really nice car and then drive it and find out the road ahead is full of cracks. That would definitely ruin the experience just like cloud gaming. Don't jump to cloud gaming until we are sure the online connection doesn't have hiccups like the road we're traveling. Those cracks are the lags.
Good to hear, honestly. Sad to learn that Super Assassin's Creed Odyssey was the sacrificial lamb chosen to tell us, but regardless, now we know that any current-gen game that gets on the Switch in Japan by streaming is automatically deconfirmed.
Here's hoping it's not what's gonna happen with the Spyro: Reignited Trilogy which, by the way, I'm currently playing on Xbox One. Hint: it's sublime.
Play the first Spyro The Dragon game. If you know what you're doing, you can get to the end without ever backtracking.
5G is coming next year, it will be more than fast enough to stream by tethering your Switch to your phone.
Good, it's not worth it anyway.
@Retupmocnin The problem with that is how a lot of places have less than idea signal strength when it comes to cell networks, I know my dads house for example is somewhat of a dead zone for cell phones where they just barely work well enough to place a voice call and send a text message. Then there is the fact that a lot of cell networks like to impose outrageous fees and highly limited data caps. That is hardly a perfect solution for the future, even if you can get around the fees and caps issue with a fantastic plan I just don't see the limited coverage going away, especially since high speed networks tend to be very limited as it is.
@Retupmocnin Yeeeaaah, the only problem then is, will our wallets have enough bandwidth for that...
Jokes aside, this is the problem I see with modern gaming trends. Everything is more, more, more. So much excess leaving us never feeling satisfied. Sigh.
Well yeah, which is why it is odd that devs are trying to run headlong into a streaming only future. I mean if they can spearhead the infrastructure and keep ISPs from making us sell organs to enjoy this well connected future I would be grateful. Until then? Yeah give me something I can download or buy physical please.
Reggie is right. Just because you have snappy fast internet access does not mean everyone in your market does. I've traveled a lot and really good internet is not as common as some people assume it is, even in developed countries, especially outside of major cities.
Reggie is probably right. However, Nintendo needs to get on the bandwagon, or the will miss the boat again.
They're talking about infrastructure. 5G is just the bit between the tower and the phone. The infrastructure is also the bit between the tower and the game server. 5G won't touch that.
“The ability to have a great experience in Japan is profound”
Reggie Fils-Aime - Head of the Japan Tourism Agency
Not the catchiest slogan, but it does the job.
In some ways I’m glad that gaming may go digital and/or streaming only. I’ll never do either, so I’ll finally start making inroads into my backlog which spans two decades!
@Wanjia I think you are confusing local network device sharing with online streaming. The kind of streaming that you are talking about is the type like they have with the Vita and PS4, where you are using one device to stream on another device, it requires you to have a separate device with the game downloaded and/or installed already on your network in order to use it. Try doing that somewhere very far away from your local network and you will probably experience some issues. This is the problem with online streaming as it requires data centers that more or less act like that device, but there is a good chance that they will be very far away from most people.
I think there can and needs to be an option. Reggie intentionally exaggerates the needs of a good connection for streaming games.
So does Sony, that's why PS Now hasn't officially launched in Russia, yet I've thoroughly enjoyed completing The Last of Us, Uncharted 1-3, Beyond, Heavy Rain and more. With the closest server being about 2000 km away in Germany. "Japan only", ha-ha.
Yes, the experience is not perfect, but it doesn't have to be. It is great for experiencing a game once, and boy if I didn't enjoy those PS Now gems.
Sorry to the people who are complaining about this not happening but to me this is BRILLIANT NEWS.
I'm sure most people know I hate digital only games, but cloud server games to me is even worse.
Cloud servers in general to me are evil as you don't even own the data that are on them
@Wanjia You got it wrong. I am sorry to upset you but almost the whole planet you live on and it's called Earth, apart from 2-3 countries, do not have the speed that is needed for a perfect cloud gaming experience.
What about the UK then? We have pretty decent fibre in cities here so maybe you can release it here? Most of Europe has better connections too so what about those?
Sounds more like an excuse from Nintendo here to be honest stating "it's everyone else's hardware that's at fault, not us!"
Too bad, this would surely make me take out a Nintendo online subscription where as nes games from almost 30 years ago are not quite enough
They can easily use the Nvidia GeForce Now infrastructure I would say, since it's basically a ShieldTV anyway.
"Do regions outside of Japan need better technical infrastructure before game streaming is properly embraced?"
actually playstation now works really well here
Ok what Reggie said is laughable and disappointing. I'm currently testing Assassin's Creed Odyssey for Google's Project Stream and I can say that streaming to a tablet is just as reliable as streaming to a desktop. BTW, even though I'm streaming to a Windows tablet, my Switch is arguably more powerful than my Windows tab with twice the RAM, a proper 64 bit OS and a befier
GPU (at last glance). Nintendo simply does not want to invest in game streaming in the States or is holding the streaming card close to their chest in hopes of some silly surprise announcement.
I have some friends who live out in the "wilderness" in Michigan where their household internet is more expensive and provides less data per month my my cellular plan here in Japan. And that's the best internet they can get in their location. With the only other option being dial-up. Some areas really just don't have the infrastructure, even in the US.
Even in Japan really. But people here have a strong tendency to ignore anyone living in the real remote mountain villages. Those people live in a bubble in time.
I'll never play video games on remote hardware until the time from user input to screen reaction is close to 10ms. Also, if the video feed has Netflix- or YouTube-level of compression, then no thanks!
I'm curious, how long is the delay from user input until screen reaction?
"I've been streaming Assassin's Creed to a chrome browser for the past few weeks!"
I live in a rural state and work at a electric coop that has just created subsidiary. The subsidiary is a fiber optics company that will actually go out to Tim Roadkiller that is 50 miles into the backwoods.
I just can't see the US getting their crap together though, there is too much money in restricted internet here.
@Heavyarms55 The fact is, those niche people don't significantly monetarily contribute all that much to companies like Sony any more; Sony doesn't really care about those people. Shock! A major corporation doesn't care about niche segments of its audience and realistically only sees its audience as $ signs, lol.
The facts show that there over 80 million monthly active users on PSN; over 34 million of their 80+ million selling PS4 subscribe to PS Plus; PlayStation Now is the most popular game streaming service. Also the number of users buying digitally is rising at such a rate that it's pretty much a forgone conclusion that PS6 will be all-digital and not include a physical media drive.
All of this paints a picture that doesn't bode well for niche segments of the video game playing world, living in areas with poor Internet.
@manu0 PS Now works will if you live in the right place with the right connection plugged into the right backbone with the right hops to the server at the right distance. In other words, it only works in limited areas. Which is why they opened PSNow to download games locally on a Playstation (except PS3 that PS4 can't emulate.)
@Retupmocnin 5G isn't a panacea despite the marketing. Yes, it's "really really fast" if you're standing next to a tower. And your data caps will make it useless for anything but pre-approved content. Most phone plans with "unlimited" mean "unlimited" on the phone, but limited to ISDN speeds if tethered. That won't change for some time.
The problem with 5G is it's using bandwidth in the UHF spectrum which is extremely high frequency which means very poor transmission distance and exceedingly poor penetration through any solid objects. In a desert it would work. In forested areas the range will be horrendous. Snow annihilates signal with reflection. And even under ideal conditions it would need a tower density that is not ever going to exist. They'd need to line every neighborhood street with towers, and that isn't going to happen in most of the US. The system will fail over to lower frequency 4G (even 3G) still. Where there are holes now there will be holes then, and possibly worse. Performance will not be suitable for gaming. For watching buffered movies and uploading spreadsheets? Sure it'll be fine enough (most places.) But betting gaming on "it works in places it works and not everywhere else" isn't going to fly.
5G is the return of WiMAX in a Chinese-market-approved retrofit. A wonderful idea that can't be implemented like traditional cell grids, but the companies try anyway. In dense areas it's fine, but most of the US isn't NYC.
@yuwarite Most of the US is "areas with poor internet" and with the carriers moving to 5G it will get worse before it gets better. Alienating such market segments is foolheardy as it still represents significant market. While it may not be the most profitable market segment, effectively handing that entire market to a competitor is a foolish move, and Nintendo is more than poised to take that position. And publishers would be more inclined to reach that market through Nintendo if they represented a market they can't reach elsewhere.
Reggie is basically saying what I (and apparently a lot of this comment section) have been saying for a while: video game streaming in most countries just isn't viable at this point in time. There are quite a few differences between streaming games and streaming shows/movies/music.
I mean I've been saying this for years and everyone just says we'll I have fast enough internet.
As though they are the only person that exists.
@Yorumi Distance fiber isn't fast enough to compare against local, definitely, some games, Smash for example, just would be absolutely impossible streamed. But most games would be possible if absolutely everyone were on fiber, with fiber through every step of the chain, with uncongested relays, and uncongested backbones, and the physics of light were the only limitation. Sure Smash, competitive COD etc would be a problem. 90+% of games would be fine that way. But that's all theoretical since we aren't even within plausibly believable "best case scenario" dreaming of that being the only limitation, with most people on copper, partial copper, the cable companies still using bus topology most places, and the relays and backbones clogged anyway.
And that's without factoring in doing most of it over long distance radio........ Ask a Navy radioman how reliable radio waves are
@NEStalgia It's like when Microsoft said: 'we have Xbox 360 for those with poor Internet'. Well, what happens when both Sony and Microsoft are saying 'we have our old or classic consoles for people with poor Internet'?
You're right, at that point, there's basically no one but Nintendo left to capitilise on such a comment, but realistically, Nintendo are never going to compete with Sony/MS in tech spec parity, especially when portable hybrids will likely be their forseeable future. So Sony/MS have nothing to worry about in terms of competition. Sony will always have its stable array of multi-million selling exclusives to keep them afloat.
Also, last quarter, 43% of PS4 software sales were digital, and the number is rising quickly, and destined to overtake physical sales within the next 5 or so years. So while catering to people with poor Internet is probably still going to be a priority for PS5 and the next Xbox, it most likely will not be for the generation beyond that. The future of consoles is all-digital, whether segments of the video game playing world like it or not.
@yuwarite if skimming only the top most profitable markets is what they were interested in, none of these countries would be doing business in East Europe, Latin America, or the middle East. They're interested in maximum market reach and endless growth potential. Restricting products to premium markets only is the last thing growth obsessed investors would want to hear. Let alone permanently giving market and growth opportunity to competitors.
I guess the hardware investments needed or business revenues predicted are not looking good, because otherwise there's no meaning locking out the rest of the world with good Internet speeds. Disappointing, really really want to play some of those games on Switch and we have great Internet speeds in most of Sweden. (At home 250MBit, at office 1Tbit!)
@NEStalgia But there really is no competition for Sony and MS, beside Nintendo, who most likely will eventually go all-digital in the near future as well.
I don't know if you're talking only about streaming or digital, I specifically am talking about digital, which admittedly isn't what this article is about. But my point is that the world is moving toward an all-digital future and streaming is intrinsically apart of that.
I don't think Sony (and I keep mentioning Sony, because they're the market leader and their digital statistics are the most significant of the console manufacturers) really cares about outlier areas or developing countries countries with poor Internet. Those areas don't contribute much, monetarily, at the moment, even in physical sales, so I don't think investors are all that bothered, either. Sony will care about developing areas like that when their Internet infrastructures also develop. And again, Sony's solution to those areas could be to simply promote their old or classic consoles for those markets.
The second streaming becomes mandatory to play a video game I’m done being a gamer.
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