Capcom is bringing Resident Evil 7 to the Nintendo Switch, but with major catches: first, this is a Japan-only release. Second, it doesn't run on the hybrid console at all.
Instead, Biohazard 7 Resident Evil Cloud Version, as it's officially called, will run via streaming directly from Capcom's servers, which is the same way cloud gaming services such as PlayStation Now and GeForce Now work.
That literally means the game may only be played while the Switch is connected to the internet, and some might think this will defeat the purpose of the console, which is to offer portable gaming experiences even without an internet connection.
Biohazard 7 Resident Evil Cloud Version For The Switch
Biohazard 7 Resident Evil Cloud Version will include all four DLC packs released on console and PC, thus making it a complete collection for the seventh iteration in the series. Players can get a 15-minute free demo of the title but will be prompted to purchase a 180-day "ticket" if they'd like to continue playing. It costs JPY 2,000 — about $18.
Oddly, this is also the first game to technically support cloud saves, something Switch owners have been vehemently pressing Nintendo to enable. Capcom states that save files tied to inactive accounts may be deleted.
Streaming Games On Nintendo Consoles
Streaming-only games on Nintendo consoles aren't exactly new, at least not in the Japanese market. Square Enix's Dragon Quest X MMO has a streaming-only version for the 3DS and smartphones, and Sega's Phantasy Star Online 2 for the Switch works the same way. Still, it's not clear why Capcom would opt for such a setup, considering it has already released Revelations titles for the console.
Whether the game will come to the West has yet to be announced, though the notion is highly unlikely considering the game doesn't offer other languages aside from Japanese, as The Verge notes, and streaming from foreign countries doesn't seem to be possible.
In any case, this could be an interesting experiment Nintendo could learn from. The company is currently readying its successor to Virtual Console, a Netflix-style classic games library users get access to with their Switch Online service. If things go well, Nintendo could expand the library to include Nintendo 64, GameCube or perhaps even Wii titles.
What do you think of streaming-only games for the Switch? Will they defeat the purpose of its portability? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!