Once upon a time, buying and playing a video game was quite easy. You bought the disc or cart, inserted it into the console and pressed play. Not so much anymore† Example: the not-so-great cloud-streaming-only versions of Kingdom Hearts released on Switch earlier this year recently got an update and now includes a warning to let you know if it’s not a good time to play the single-player games you’ve already purchased. Welcome to the future. It sucks.
Released yesterday, update 1.03 for all kingdom heart games on Switch mainly seem to add two features. In Kingdom Hearts 3, players can now choose between two performance options: “Prioritize performance” and “Prioritize graphics quality”. These settings can be selected before you start playing and allow the game to focus on a more stable frame rate or higher resolution graphics, an option many games offer these days.
However, the patch’s other new feature is mostly unique to the Switch’s controversial cloud-streamed Kingdom Hearts spell. utilities, new messages on the game selection screen alert you of any “server congestion” the titles may experience. If a game you want to play is currently dealing with busy servers, you can still try it, but it probably won’t be a great experience.
While it’s nice to know before you play if a game will work well, it’s also appalling that this had to be added at all and a great example of why so many people aren’t sold on streaming games through services like stadiums or Amazon Luna. That’s not to say it isn’t useful or powerful technology; I think what Xbox is doing with its cloud streaming and Game Pass is great so you play fun games like Gears 5 on a phone. However, Microsoft also lets you install all of its games, so if the servers are slow or you don’t want to have any lag, you can just play a native version of the game on your local computer. (This is also very important for wildlife conservation!)
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The problem is, unlike Microsoft’s Game Pass streaming, Square Enix only uses cloud-streamed versions of the Kingdom Hearts games on the Switch. There is currently no way to download and install them on your actual console. and considering these versions are not great even if you can play them, and also charge a premium price, it seems like a bad deal everywhere. And now maybe Square Enix is telling you not to even play the games you’ve already bought? That’s just something from 2022, isn’t it?
I’m looking forward to Square Enix Comes Up With A Way To Cram NFTs And Blockchain Technology in future cloud releases, just to make this whole experience that much worse. In the meantime you just have to buy Kingdom Hearts games on PS4 or Xbox if you want to play whenever you want with a consistent level of quality without worrying if the servers are “overloaded”.