As internet service gets better and more people get the freedom to go online, new options and avenues open up to us. We get the ability to enjoy our hobbies in new ways. This means that gamers have the ability to rely on various streaming services, like PlayStation Now, the Xbox Games Pass, and Google Stadia, to delve into a huge library of games. But, this hints at another potential future. One with even more choices and opportunities.
We are seeing now, more than ever, the walls break down in gaming. Thanks to streaming services, exclusives are appearing on new platforms. Those same streaming services that already offer us a wide library of games are doing even more to give back. We have already reached an era where console complications have been transcended to result in a better gaming experience for everyone, and each new streaming option somehow makes the world a better place.
Let’s start with PlayStation Now. It is primarily a service with PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games. What makes it special is that it is not just a PlayStation 4 service. It also works with PCs. This means first-party games like God of War: Ascension, Uncharted, and inFamous could be played on a non-Sony platform for the first time. It also gives more people access to console exclusives like Red Dead Redemption. This is absolutely huge. Over 650 games are all easily accessible. You can even download some of them!
Even more huge is how Nintendo stepped into this ring. In China, the Nvidia Shield will have Nintendo games on it. It seems these will be playable using the Nvidia Shield Geforce Now streaming service, which allows people to stream games that originally appeared on other platforms, like the PC, through the device. People could play New Super Mario Bros. Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Punch-Out!!, and soon Super Mario Galaxy, all for about $10 USD. That’s in 1080p HD. This is huge, considering how protective Nintendo is of its properties, and gives people who maybe missed out on past systems hope that such titles could appear via streaming services in other countries. On the Nintendo Switch in Japan, Capcom experimented with streaming by releasing Resident Evil 7 on the system. It suggests a future in which Nintendo consoles could offer streaming or the company might allow others to stream its games.
Couple that with the freeing nature of streaming, and games could become an even more freeing experience. After all, having the ability to stream any game from anywhere would give us access to huge libraries. It would all happen without the need to have physical cartridges or discs. (Though, it would eventually limit library sizes, should games become unavailable due to licensing issues or companies go out of business.) But a service like the Xbox Games Pass already gives us a streaming option that acts like a lending library with downloads for when internet access is not readily available. While Google Stadia experienced a troubled launch in 2019, the potential to stream games on anything with a Chrome browser is huged.
It really feels like game streaming could be one way in which barriers come toppling down. Having the ability to stream older games on other platforms does not damage current systems. It preserves the status of those exclusives that companies use to push people to purchase their particular console. At the same time, it opens up people to a whole new world. Those who take a chance on these older games via streaming services learn about series they may never have played before. Companies get money for older games in some sort of royalties. And maybe, if a series is good enough, it will inspire future full purchases.