The good news is that Capcom is porting Resident Evil 7 to Switch, at least in Japan. The bad news is…everything else about it.
“Biohazard 7 Cloud Edition” is its native name, and it solves the issue of this graphics-intensive game appearing on Nintendo’s underpowered hardware by loading the game from somewhere else. Capcom’s servers render the game and stream the visual data to your Switch, which just displays it on the monitor. Remember when “cloud computing” was a buzzword? You might wonder why we haven’t seen it used in more games. It remains an issue for several reasons.
The biggest problem with cloud-based games is the same problem with video streams that buffer or websites that lag. Everything depends on the strength of your connection. Lag is ten times more unacceptable in a video game, and can make the difference between escaping a monster or having to replay the last ten minutes. Then there’s the oxymoron of Switch being a portable system, yet this being a game you will only be able to play at home.
One other issue: since Resident Evil 7 Cloud Edition doesn’t physically exist on your Switch, this means you’re not really buying the game — just renting it. The day Capcom shuts down the server that hosts this game, that’s it. No more RE7 on Switch for you. The price has been reduced to $20, but I’d rather just buy a solid version on some other system for more money.
Capcom has not confirmed a Stateside release for Resident Evil 7 Cloud Edition, but the Japanese version is coming out extremely quick — like three days from when they announced it, which was today. It releases May 24.