Microsoft is planning to bring its Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud services to the Nintendo Switch, according to a report from YouTube channel Direct Feed Games.
As noted by Game Informer senior editor Imran Khan, Direct Feed Games has a strong track record of accurately reporting on Nintendo-related rumours.
In theory, this would mean that Nintendo Switch users could take advantage of Xbox Game Pass’ 100-plus library of games, which includes every Xbox Game Studios-published title. In other words, this means that Xbox One console-exclusive games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Gears of War 4 and Crackdown 3 would be playable on the Switch, on top of, hypothetically, any future entries in those and other Xbox franchises. The service works similar to Netflix, although games are downloaded for better performance rather than streamed.
Meanwhile, Project xCloud would, in theory, allow for full game streaming on the Switch. The still-in-development service, which Microsoft unveiled last September, is designed to bring console-quality gaming experiences to most mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets.
While the Switch likely wouldn’t be able to natively run technically-demanding games like the upcoming Vancouver-made Gears 5 or Halo Infinite, Project xCloud’s streaming capabilities should allow the console-handheld hybrid to overcome these limitations. In Japan, the Switch already supports streaming of special versions of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Quebec-made Assassin’s Creed Odyssey through local servers.
It’s worth noting that Khan said he was told by his own sources that the announcement of Game Pass on Switch “could come as soon as this year.” It’s unclear when Project xCloud may be confirmed for Switch, however.
What is clear, though, is the fact that Microsoft and Nintendo have become increasingly close over the past few years. To start, the two companies have partnered on cross-play initiatives between Epic Games’ Fortnite, Psyonix’s Rocket League and Microsoft’s own Minecraft. Both companies even ran a friendly marketing campaign last June to promote cross-play in the latter game.
Microsoft also recently confirmed that it will bring its Xbox Live platform to Switch and mobile devices. More information on that venture will be revealed next month.
Xbox chief Phil Spencer has even publicly said he has no problem working with Nintendo on bringing Microsoft-owned characters to Nintendo games.
However, Microsoft hasn’t actually ever brought its high-profile Xbox exclusives to any other platform besides PC, meaning this report signifies a huge development in the gaming industry if true.