Xbox Game Pass rumored to be heading to rival Switch console

Xbox Game Pass could be coming to the Nintendo Switch, and that may very well change everything.

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Microsoft and Nintendo could be coming together to allow for Xbox Game Pass titles to be played on Nintendo Switch. If the rumors are true, this could literally be a game changer.

According to Game Informer and sources reported by YouTube channel Direct Feed Games, the two companies could be coming together, specifically to publish Ori and the Blind Forest on Switch. It's currently an exclusive for Windows 10 and Xbox. Then, they could be working in tandem to bring Xbox Game Pass to Switch as early as this year. This was soon confirmed by "similar whispers" to VG247. Other games under the Microsoft umbrella aren't "out of the question," either.

Of course, it's likely that this would all be made possible by Project xCloud, Microsoft's upcoming game streaming service that first debuted during E3 2018. The streaming service would enable players to enjoy games on the Switch that it couldn't otherwise handle or deal with, since there are some particularly demanding titles on Xbox Game Pass alone. This would also require a high-powered internet connection and likely a Nintendo Switch Online account, as well as an active Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Playing Xbox One titles on Nintendo Switch would be pretty awesome.
Playing Xbox One titles on Nintendo Switch would be pretty awesome.

Seeing games like Halo and Gears of War come to the Nintendo Switch, of all places, would be an interesting experience, but it's not as if this hasn't been something Nintendo has tested in the past. Japanese gamers are able to stream Capcom's Resident Evil 7 via cloud service, so we've seen that it can and does work, though American players haven't been privy to this access just yet.

There haven't been any details confirmed on any of this just yet, of course, so we might have to wait a while to hear anything official. Still, it certainly seems as though the whispers around the industry may be on to something, at least this time around. Keep it locked to Shacknews for additional updates.

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 22, 2019 12:50 PM

    Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Xbox Game Pass rumored to be heading to rival Switch console

    • reply
      February 22, 2019 1:22 PM

      I would be in day 1 if they do this. It really seems like it would be a brilliant strategic decision by both companies.

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        February 22, 2019 3:00 PM

        Why though? Nintendo has way more to gain

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          February 22, 2019 3:15 PM

          It would further cement their focus over the last couple years of having Xbox everywhere, as well as generating monthly revenue from people like me who want to play some of the games on the Xbox but don't want to buy a new console. It is increasingly looking like they want to become the Netflix of gaming, to the point where whatever game you're playing would just seamlessly transfer from device to device.

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            February 22, 2019 3:18 PM

            Hmm I understand what you're saying. Still seems like it would cannibalize their console sales (or investments in PC's as gaming platforms)

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              February 22, 2019 3:29 PM

              There's definitely a chance it would eat into their console sales, but they would also be getting money from people like me who weren't going to buy the console in the first place. I love the brand, but I pretty much just skipped the consoles this generation. The only reason I even have a Switch is because my parents got me one for Christmas.

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              February 22, 2019 3:41 PM

              Microsoft's foundation is in software sales and subscriptions. They are still in the red on Xbox hardware after nearly two decades, so even if they aim at break-even or marginal profit on hardware in the upcoming generation their ideal goal would be to generate profit from subscriptions.

              What better way to do that then to offer subscriptions on as many platforms as possible? An Office subscription covers Windows as well as MacOS and iOS. A document I edit on an iPad carries over to a Mac laptop and Windows desktop, and Office generates more revenue than anything for them. They must see the same strategy working for Game Pass and streaming, where the same save will work across a PC, an Xbox, a Switch, and a smartphone.

              Cannibalizing console sales won't matter when they're selling subscriptions to a market beyond those who would only buy an Xbox.

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                February 22, 2019 4:32 PM

                If they actually manage to pull off the "games as a service" model it is going to completely change the entire industry. I am really intrigued to see what steps they are going to make going forward in that arena.

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              February 22, 2019 3:53 PM

              [deleted]

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                February 22, 2019 4:14 PM

                ^^^^^^^

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                February 22, 2019 4:26 PM

                Makes a lot of sense!

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                February 22, 2019 4:34 PM

                Pretty much. What benefit is it to you as a corporation if you have one more person buy hardware that you're not making money off of if you can get them to pay you to play the same games on a different device?

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                  February 22, 2019 4:38 PM

                  you just made an argument for not making a new Xbox though

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                    February 22, 2019 4:43 PM

                    Netflix didn’t need to make set top boxes when they realized streaming was good enough.

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                      February 22, 2019 5:06 PM

                      Netflix is definitely a good example. Why doesn't Netflix sell a box that offers the best Netflix experience anywhere? Because to do that by definition requires you make Netflix worse for everyone not on your hardware. Your business now has two fundamentally competing strategies and business units. That is not a good place to be.

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                        February 22, 2019 6:23 PM

                        People will still want a box cheaper than the PC to exist to game on and even having that choice acts as a hedge. Knowing there will always be an Xbox console they could get but for now they’ll be happy with just the service.

                        Netflix is still seen as something best watched on a big screen TV from the couch but you don’t need that to use it. It’s also better on a tablet than a phone. Different layers of ideal. But you can strive for it but for now you have Netflix.

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                    February 22, 2019 4:56 PM

                    Not necessarily. There is still a market for hardware even if the software is available elsewhere. The biggest change would be that a physical Xbox would be for the enthusiast market. If you want to make sure you have a rock solid 60 frames per second at 4K with HDR you're going to buy the box, whereas if you just want to play Halo with your buddies and don't care about a little degradation in image quality and some control latency you'll give them twenty bucks a month. Either way, Microsoft is making money.

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                      February 22, 2019 5:04 PM

                      Either way, Microsoft is making money.

                      It's not this simple. It costs different amounts of money to make money via each of these routes. Making that box for enthusiasts is enormously expensive and comes with huge opportunity costs even if it ends up profitable itself. How big is the enthusiast market if you carve off a bunch of the people previously in that group for a subscription instead? Does it still make sense to do the normal size Xbox R&D for the remaining group? Why not just try to make the subscription offering even better to appeal to that group (how much could you subsidize the cost of the subscription if you used some or all of the Xbox R&D budget)?

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                        February 22, 2019 5:27 PM

                        Well over half of the planet has access to cell phones, broadband is becoming increasingly accessible to billions of people, so the potential audience for their software is almost worldwide. The hardware side would, of course, be a loss leader, but it would sell people on the brand. You know that latest [Insert X] title you played on your SmartTV/Phone/Switch/etc.? Think about how much better it would look if you were playing it on Xbox OneTwoPoint0!

                        Even if they are not making a huge amount of money off of hardware, the audience will still be there. The people like us who really care about the technical specs will shell out the cash to get the best quality experience possible and the majority of people, who don't care about when their game occasionally downgrades the resolution in a particularly hectic scene, will just pay their subscription to make sure they can play the latest game.

                        Honestly, I think this would be a brilliant move by Microsoft because it would show them working with the one company in the industry who is still a gaming company. Sony and Microsoft are hardware and software conglomerates that saw an opportunity for extra cash, whereas Nintendo is gaming through and through. Teaming with Nintendo would show that MS is actually committed to gaming as a pastime, even if they were still making truckloads of cash off of Game Pass memberships. It's something I really can't see Sony corporate ever doing, much less considering.

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                    February 22, 2019 6:46 PM

                    There's been a strong case for this for like 10 years.

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                      February 22, 2019 6:54 PM

                      Given the existence of Windows there was a case since before day 1. A strategy of streaming Game Pass available cross platform makes for a different one is all.

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                February 22, 2019 4:36 PM

                It's extremely difficult to sell hardware and services like this successfully. If Game Pass is so good, why would I need a $400-500 Xbox? (or: why would it be wise to spend billions making a new Xbox for people if you can just get them to subscribe)? Meanwhile if Game Pass is better on Xbox somehow then you're hurting the larger number of Game Pass customers who aren't on Xbox hardware.

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                  February 22, 2019 4:47 PM

                  Or you plug more people into your ecosystem, thus encouraging more people to buy into it. "Halo effect" and everything.

                  Game Pass on PC can motivate a console sale for someone who wants to play those games on their big TV. Game Pass may encourage someone on Switch to buy an Xbox instead of a PS5 in order to play Cyberpunk 2077 in their living room. Even if GP doesn't convert into an Xbox console sale they're still reaping the benefits of selling to a wider market.

                  You know what's a poor strategy? The same one that lost the last console cycle, old and isolationist.

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                    February 22, 2019 5:02 PM

                    Or you plug more people into your ecosystem, thus encouraging more people to buy into it. "Halo effect" and everything.

                    It's not this simple, which was my whole point. Ask yourself why Sony doesn't sell their first party games on Xbox but with worse graphics and worse services to create a Sony halo (or likewise why Sony's PS3 game streaming isn't available on Xbox). Or why Nintendo doesn't port more of their Switch games to iOS to create a Nintendo halo. Hardware and services are fundamentally at odds with one another. Google has learned similar lessons with Android and their wider services.

                    You know what's a poor strategy? The same one that lost the last console cycle, old and isolationist.

                    The strategy that's the same that Sony and Nintendo use and likely using in their competing next gen machines? The one that lead to a massive success in the 360 generation? Seems like the strategy is just fine. The execution this generation was just incredibly bad. Should we expect Playstation Now to be available on Xbox vNext? Why is that a bad strategy for Sony but a good one for Microsoft? And whatever that delta is why isn't MS better off investing in that gap than a strategy largely at odds with hardware and exclusive software?

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                      February 22, 2019 5:58 PM

                      "Ask yourself why Sony doesn't sell their first party games on Xbox but with worse graphics and worse services to create a Sony halo (or likewise why Sony's PS3 game streaming isn't available on Xbox)."

                      I think its because they're incapable of it, even with the Gakai acquisition. Sony doesn't have the foundation to run their games natively on other platforms while games can run better on a Windows 10 machine than an Xbox One X if the hardware is powerful enough. Xbox One having Windows as its foundation is a huge advantage in terms of expanding the reach of that platform. Throw all the work they've done with backwards compatibility into the mix and you're looking at a massive library going back to 2001 available on Windows 10 for a monthly fee.

                      "Google has learned similar lessons with Android and their wider services."

                      Google opening their platform to other vendors so they can do as they please while collecting little in return is the issue there. The model you should be looking at is what Microsoft has been doing with Office. Xbox serves as an option for the living room but it isn't the only option if you prefer playing elsewhere or straight up don't want to invest in more hardware.

                      "The strategy that's the same that Sony and Nintendo use and likely using in their competing next gen machines?"

                      Nintendo has a path to portability, cross-platform, and cross-functionality that Sony doesn't. Sony's path as we know it is strictly limited to a set-top box and a limited streaming platform with no way to play their games natively except on that console hardware.

                      "The one that lead to a massive success in the 360 generation?"

                      Old and outdated.

                      "Why is that a bad strategy for Sony but a good one for Microsoft?"

                      I think Game Pass or something like it would be a terrific strategy for Sony, I just think they're incapable of it. Microsoft has this bizarre advantage since every Windows 10 machine is also an Xbox. Game Pass on PC is already terrific and they've already stated that they want parity between Win10 and Xbox.

                      "And whatever that delta is why isn't MS better off investing in that gap than a strategy largely at odds with hardware and exclusive software?"

                      As I said, I think the Xbox consoles are the option for people who want to have high end console gaming in the living room. This doesn't come at the expense of PC, smartphone, or Nintendo hardware, because all of those devices do entirely different things. And again, if someone doesn't ever intend on getting an Xbox it provides an avenue into that ecosystem that otherwise wouldn't exist.

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                        February 22, 2019 6:11 PM

                        I think its because they're incapable of it, even with the Gakai acquisition.

                        They could absolutely port their PS4 exclusives to Xbox One in some lower quality fashion to incentivize people to buy a PS4Pro/PS5 so that the next Uncharted/etc they get to play is at the highest possible fidelity. Xbox One and Windows both sharing an architecture isn't going to make it meaningfully easier to port some Xbox One game to Switch compared to a PS4 game. The reality is most of them will be streaming anyway which Sony has via PS Now courtesy of Gakai.

                        The point of the question was to ask, if this is a good strategy for MS then why isn't it an equally good strategy for Sony and Nintendo to pursue? Or why shouldn't we be knocking Sony and Nintendo's leadership for failing to pursue this strategy?

                        The model you should be looking at is what Microsoft has been doing with Office.

                        Office is in fact a useful example but I don't think in the way you meant. Office didn't move to iOS quickly (and even then it began with intentionally neutered versions) precisely because MS wanted to use it to drive Windows' value in the early iOS years. Essentially the goals of the PC hardware/software ecosystem was at odds with Offices' as an application/service that was hardware/software agnostic. A decision had to be made whether to hurt Office for Windows' sake or vice versa. Balmer made the decision to hurt Office to try to bolster Windows and eventually the opposite choice was made for the company by virtue of iOS and Android winning the war. This is exactly the danger I'm talking about about having a hardware box and an app/service on it that have competing interests.

                        Old and outdated.

                        Will you be talking about this when the PS5 and Switch v2 release without streaming platforms that play their exclusives on any platform? I'm the guy who's been constantly lambasting Nintendo for failing to fully leverage other platforms user base.

                        And again, if someone doesn't ever intend on getting an Xbox it provides an avenue into that ecosystem that otherwise wouldn't exist.

                        I fully understand the value of going broad with Game Pass which has a wider audience than Xbox hardware ever can. I'm just noting the nature of how these two strategies create incentives within the business that are counter to one another.

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                          February 22, 2019 6:57 PM

                          I think the notion of portability is an important one, and Sony is the only company that doesn't have an announced or implicit path towards that.

                          Xbox - Game Pass gives the same games on Xbox and Windows 10. Xbox exists as an option for people who want that library in the living room, otherwise there are options elsewhere. Microsoft game publishing is an interesting case, but in the case of Nintendo it makes sense since it provides a hardware option for games like Ori or Cuphead (and potentially older games like Halo and Gears) that Microsoft just doesn't have. In the case of Minecraft it gave them a runaway hit in Japan, a territory they've repeatedly failed in. Either way they're making money.

                          Nintendo - The Switch gives a continuous and uninterrupted experience wherever you decide to play it. Wherever you are its all the same thing with no transition. They're still dedicated to with smartphones with Dr Mario and Mario Kart coming this year. We'll see how they do but they're still plugging away at expanding beyond their own hardware.

                          Netflix/Hulu/HBO/Crunchyroll/Showtime/iTunes/whatever - A video I leave off from somewhere can be resumed anywhere else (Smart TV, AppleTV, Roku, desktop, smartphone, tablet, fridge, whatever).

                          Office/Adobe - The document I edit carries through whichever platform I'm on, be it desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

                          Nintendo has portability nailed through hardware while Microsoft has portability nailed through infrastructure and platform. Sony only has a streaming option with PS Now for PC, that's it. From a platform perspective they have a disadvantage that nobody else does.

                          This isn't the only factor of course. If Sony nails a set of games that are must-haves then that will drive sales, software is the most important thing. Price is another factor, whoever doesn't have a baseline model at $400 or below is automatically dead in the water.

                          Barring all of these unknown factors, Sony currently has the most limited platform in terms of portability and flexibility. It may not even matter if games and price overcome that factor, but until they announce plans that surprise us then they're behind Microsoft and Nintendo in that regard. I'd hope they don't bungle that but we'll see.

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                            February 22, 2019 7:24 PM

                            I don't think portability is quite the right lens. It's more like meeting users where they are and not imposing huge additional costs. I'm not likely to be playing Halo on an iPad with a bluetooth controller on the bus even if it's technically possible, that's not really the purpose of the service. But I might very well play it at home that way sans Xbox where I wouldn't have played it at all if it required a $400 box. In that sense the Switch is accomplishing something similar but very different by still requiring I pay the $300 entry fee. Sony is doing quite well by ignoring portability at the moment and it's not clear they have any reason to care about it next gen (obviously Sony's specific attempts at portability didn't work either).

                            I think any argument about why this is a good idea begs the question of why a platform owner wouldn't also port all their exclusives to other platforms in a way that incentivizes users to eventually buy their hardware (especially if you can port a particular game to iOS/Android where the reach is orders of magnitude higher). If the answer is just 'the costs of per title ports vs streaming is way too much' then that'd be fine (hard to check the math but fine in theory). But I don't think that's historically ever been the argument for why platform holders keep exclusives fully exclusive. Or like I'd expect a general agreement that say porting remasters of old exclusives to the current gen is a smart play to incentivize Xbox owners to try Uncharted 1 and hopefully get interested in Uncharted 5 exclusively on PS5 or whatever.

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                              February 22, 2019 7:39 PM

                              "I don't think portability is quite the right lens. It's more like meeting users where they are and not imposing huge additional costs."

                              This is what I mean. I don't mean "portability" in a literal sense where you carry things around, its in a much broader sense where your content is always with you. Its why I brought things like Office and video services as examples. Its all about having content available in as many places as possible with very little friction.

                              As for answering "why does Microsoft even need hardware if they also sell subscriptions and publish", fact of the matter is that Microsoft needs a box in the living room that plays games that's also cheaper than a PC. Without an Xbox then the only option for a plug-in-wall console is a Playstation, and it is irresponsible to bet that Sony would allow Game Pass on their hardware in the first place.

                              Making hardware still makes sense even if another goal is to sell subscriptions and software that can be used on other platforms. A new Xbox doesn't even qualify as a hedge even with Game Pass in the equation, its a necessity.

                              The other platforms Microsoft would be selling for are either more expensive and not in many living rooms (Windows 10 PCs) or aren't powerful enough to play flagship titles natively (Switch, tablets, smartphones). We'll see how things shake out but I don't think that expanding their addressable market is at the expense of hardware in the living room. If Game Pass expands to Playstation then we can revisit all of this, at that point "why make an Xbox?" becomes relevant.

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                                February 22, 2019 7:46 PM

                                fact of the matter is that Microsoft needs a box in the living room that plays games that's also cheaper than a PC.

                                The question become whether this needs to be a multi-billion dollar R&D expense that costs users $400 or whether it can be a $50-100 streaming box.

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                  February 22, 2019 5:38 PM

                  [deleted]

                • Zek
                  reply
                  February 22, 2019 6:02 PM

                  People want a box that plays games in their living room that's more affordable than a PC. That's why MS still needs the XBox - if they didn't make one, people looking for that product would buy a Playstation instead. And Sony will probably never support GamePass. So making hardware still makes sense even if we suppose that MS' true priority is GamePass subscriptions (or game sales), rather than specifically selling their hardware.

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              February 22, 2019 4:27 PM

              Thanks guys, I get it now!

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          February 22, 2019 3:23 PM

          Xbox has been a brand more than a box for several years. Phil Spencer knows the software is more important than the hardware. And, yeah, Xbox consoles got outsold this gen. It’s a smart move.

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            February 22, 2019 3:44 PM

            Xbox as a band is very evidence in the reason they renamed MS Studios to "Xbox Game Studios"

        • Zek
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          February 22, 2019 3:30 PM

          Nintendo gains hardware sales, but Microsoft gains an ongoing monthly subscription. I think MS wins out here, but it is mutually beneficial.

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            February 22, 2019 3:49 PM

            Nintendo also gets their cut for being on the platform as well as Ori, Cuphead, if Halo or Gears get ported, etc.

            Mutually beneficial for sure, it makes so much sense for Microsoft to go full Borg via services since that that's their core competency.

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      February 22, 2019 3:52 PM

      Streaming games is butt. Even on a good wired connection ps now is bad. I don't see the switch streaming off an Xbox server somewhere any better

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        February 22, 2019 3:56 PM

        [deleted]

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          February 22, 2019 4:36 PM

          I'm actually really impressed that a game like Dark Souls performed that well. I totally understand the criticisms people have as far as latency when it comes to streaming games, but having beat through Assassin's Creed 2 on OnLive years ago without the latency ever really diminishing the experience, I can only imagine the experience is a hundred times better now.

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            February 22, 2019 5:32 PM

            [deleted]

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              February 22, 2019 6:15 PM

              Another thing is that people will be more then happy in sacrificing quality over convenience. I will for sure if it allows me to play on a switch.

              This is the biggest takeaway from this whole story. All of us here live in a bubble where we obsess about things like resolution, frame rate, and having zero lag at all times.

              That is not the majority of the gaming market.

              I'm an audiophile as a result of all of you guys giving me good AV equipment recommendations over the years. I love having theater quality sound when I watch a movie at home. That said, I still rent movies from online services all the time even though I know the quality is nowhere near as good, but it's good enough. For the vast majority of gamers, that "good enough" is going to be all that matters.

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              February 23, 2019 1:09 AM

              yeah I played Teamfortress2 with a dell monitor that had 50ms latency and I didnt know for a while. I definitely could tell if I concentrated and focused on sniping but otherwise it wasnt a big deal. the ps3 gta4 had 100+ms input lag if I remember right too. so within that range I think its possible to play games casually. it would be pretty crazy to get xbox one x level graphics on the switch in bed

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            February 22, 2019 5:35 PM

            If you have a ps4 you can try ps now for free for a week. Streaming still has enough latency from pushing a button in my house to traveling out to a server somewhere then back to my house that any action game feels like you are playing through mud. Maybe Google stream thing on PC is better

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              February 22, 2019 5:41 PM

              I'll have to talk to my brother this week and see if he'll let me borrow his PS4 for a couple days. He has the PlayStation Now subscription and I have a pretty good internet connection, so it would be interesting to see how well it works in practice.

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                February 22, 2019 6:01 PM

                I've tried Nvidia streaming a couple times, it works surprisingly well. Its nothing I'd use since I have those games locally on good hardware but I can totally see someone on slower machines or on a laptop really finding good use out of it.

                I'm really curious to see how Google's solution is

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                  February 22, 2019 6:25 PM

                  I was very impressed with ACO during the testing period and it was so novel to play basically console quality through a browser.

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      February 22, 2019 7:58 PM

      Would this mean Xbox Live chat and friends list work on Switch because that would be huge for both of them since Nintendo is run by a bunch of people who hate online gaming

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        February 23, 2019 1:32 AM

        Online voice chat divorced from NSO works in other Switch games, it should work fine with XBL

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      February 23, 2019 12:46 AM

      wii60 is still alive!

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      February 23, 2019 1:00 AM

      They want to copy the Netflix model, but they aren’t putting out quality entertainment at the same level as them. 95% of the Xbox exclusives this gen have been ass or completely forgettable. I don’t care how cheap gamepass is, give me a reason to want to sub to it besides that.