Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
To the chagrin of some gamers, the rumors that Xbox Game Pass-Microsoft’s “Netflix of gaming”-might land on Nintendo Switch, temporarily dashed at least in August. “We currently have no plans to bring it to any other types of closed platforms, mainly because those closed platforms don’t want things like Game Pass,” Xbox head Phil Spencer recently told Gaming radarThere are also signs that Nintendo may have rejected an offer-but even if it rejects it, we believe that Game Pass may be a great fit for Switch for a variety of reasons.
Why we want to see Xbox Game Pass on Nintendo Switch
The obvious benefit for Switch buyers is the ability to play dozens of games at low prices. The basic Game Pass subscription costs $10 per month, and players can download from a rotating selection of more than 100 games. Many of these are great, from third-party distributions to large releases from Microsoft’s own studios-see recent additions, such as Hades or Psychonauts 2, respectively. Nintendo does not have a similar service, which means that if you want to try something, you have to cross your fingers for a demonstration, or pay anything between $15 and $60 per game. In contrast, the Xbox Game Pass on Switch at $120 per year is simply excellent value for money.
The game pass also means a larger and more diverse range of games. On this generation of consoles, Nintendo has done a better job of attracting third parties and providing more “mature” games (such as Mortal Kombat 11, Doom, and even Dark Souls), but the truth is that many large Switch versions are still First party and suitable for family use, such as “Super Mario Odyssey” or “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”. You will not find traditional blockbusters like Destiny 2 or Call of Duty in the eShop, even if they can be played almost anywhere else.
You can also take a look: The best Switch eShop games you should buy today
Of course, games are often lacking due to technical limitations. When the Switch was launched in March 2017, it was already underpowered next to PS4 Pro, let alone PS5 or Xbox Series X/S. Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate program can provide a simple solution through cloud streaming-Nintendo has tried this method in games such as Control, but it has not yet reached the level that Xbox Cloud Gaming can provide. $15 a month is still reasonable, Ultimate may make Switch a viable destination for the latest blockbuster.
This may be especially important once Valve’s Steam Deck ships in December. The handheld computer will be able to play any game that can be run on the PC, and has some expertise that can include Game Pass games. However, it has been sold out in 2022, and the owner will have to wander around to load any storefronts that are not Steam. Therefore, assuming that the Xbox application is a simple eShop download, and enough customers have the bandwidth for streaming media, then the Switch may become a better portable option. It will be described in detail later.
Why it makes sense
It is in Microsoft’s interest to have Game Pass on as many platforms as possible, so Xbox Game Pass on Switch makes sense. Microsoft may have exquisite hardware on Xbox Series X and Series S, but its long-term strategy is to make as many people as possible fascinated by its content subscription model. This is not just the original subscription revenue-on the Switch, Game Pass subscribers may be curious about Xbox and PC hardware, which will push more Windows and Series X/S units offline. It can also save Microsoft the trouble of building its own handheld computer, even though executives have repeatedly rejected the idea.
For Nintendo, the benefit will be a more attractive selection of games, from which it can earn subscription income, as well as those purchased after the game leaves the service. The company will also avoid the hassle of expanding its subscription products-given its track record, this may be the best. Nintendo has never been particularly good at online platforms.
The past is not without some crossovers. Once Xbox exclusive games such as Cuphead and Ori and Blind Forest have appeared on Switch, although Microsoft has since vowed to focus more on its own platform, there has been a reignitable relationship between the two.
Why it might not happen
The specifications of the Switch are a serious limitation. Although some Game Pass games may be able to run locally (or already run on the eShop), other games must switch to streaming, although all its benefits may exclude a large number of users. Bandwidth for high-quality cloud games can be expensive or insufficient, and even if you have it, network conditions can sometimes cause unbearable delays. It’s one thing to play Civilization VI with input delay-it’s another to play an action game like Halo. The Switch user base can easily become fragmented.
The bigger obstacle is almost certainly business. The idea of only allowing competitors to provide services on the Switch may make Nintendo nervous, especially since it has no parallel products available on the Xbox. The company is also notorious for controlling the way people interact online, and may not want to bridge infrastructure for fear of losing control or receiving complaints from angry parents. Say what you think about Nintendo’s policies, but things like friend codes will make it harder for kids to encounter problems.
Specifications are an issue, but the bigger obstacle is almost certainly business.
Revenue sharing will be the hardest struggle. Microsoft is not used to sharing Game Pass funds with anyone other than developers and publishers, so it may insist on keeping it as much as possible. Nintendo will indeed ask for at least a small reduction, because it will serve subscribers and endanger eShop sales. Given the ugly battles occurring elsewhere in the tech industry, getting a substantial deal from the jump is crucial. In the ongoing Epic v. Apple dispute, Apple recently compared the transfer of in-app transaction fees to shoplifting.
We haven’t even touched on the transactions that game creators must make to support Game Pass. Are they obligated to spend resources on the new port? Will Microsoft or Nintendo help? Or will Switch subscribers be restricted to eShop titles that happen to cross?
Nintendo may also want to make room for its subscription service, but this is unlikely. Apart from its unwillingness to appear in the online space, there are no rumors at all. The company seems to be satisfied with Switch Online, which mainly supports multiplayer games, but also includes free games such as Tetris 99 and a series of NES and SNES classic games. It is also very cheap-up to $20 for 12 months. For gamers and Nintendo, this is a low-risk adventure.
related: The best free Nintendo Switch games
Something like Game Pass may be seen as more dangerous than its value. Nintendo’s performance in traditional sales is quite good, especially because the permanent exclusivity of many games means it can charge full prices for many years. Only three $60 games match the revenue of the Game Pass Ultimate subscription, not to mention any indie games or DLC that someone might buy.
What is the chance of Nintendo signing Game Pass?
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
In 2021, it may be very small.Sounds like nintendo Indeed rejected the offerIn this case, it is difficult to imagine what will change by the end of December. Microsoft will need to improve its deal or wait for Nintendo to be in a weaker negotiating position. The latter is unlikely because the Switch continues to be removed.
2022 or 2023 is another matter. Nintendo is believed to be developing a “Switch Pro”. If it is based on Nvidia’s rumored Lovelace architecture, it may be powerful enough to run most current (and some future) Game Pass games. This of course will remove technical barriers, and Nintendo may even be eager to prove that it can play with big boys. The ultimate decision maker will be whether the partnership can generate the profits that both parties want.