GIF: Rainway via YouTube
Here’s the appearance of PUBG on a Switch. But not because it’s being officially ported – it’s supposedly possible thanks to a new service that lets you stream games from a PC to any phone or console, including the Switch.
The program, which was first announced last year, is called Rainway. A web client will launch on January 20 (internationally), with native apps planned for all platforms down the road.
The idea, according to the official site, is to stream all your games to any device you choose. It’ll also work on “all modern hardware”, with AMD, NVIDIA and Intel chips supported at launch. Users won’t have to fuss around with port forwarding, and there’ll be controls to customise bitrate, resolution and frame rate, as well as the option to upscale or downscale gameplay.
One advantage Rainway has over, say, a Steam Link or existing streaming services is the ability to detect and stream games outside of specific platforms. In a post on the official dev blog, the creators wrote that their game analysis engine (called Mist) could detect current-day titles “but also ROMs dating all the way to the 70s”.
Mist’s streamlined heuristics engine can locate known game installations quickly and piggyback on those results to find even more games. Once a game has been found, we extract metadata on it to help us identify it in our systems, which allows us to do everything from metadata populating to game optimizations. We can do this because our analysis engine is capable of identifying which DRM is applied to the game, what game engine suite was used to create the title and even apply patches to the game to help skip intros and force things to start faster.
The engine did supposedly run into problems with expansions, like StarCraft 2, and the standalone Far Cry: Blood Dragon, although the team modified the search process as a result.
While the beta won’t kick off until next weekend Australian time, the official Twitter account also published a video of the setup process. It shows users being given a simple prompt to select their streaming quality, followed by logging into their Steam account through a pop-up.
Simple to use. Pain free setup. Game streaming as it should be.
— Rainway ???? (@RainwayApp) January 10, 2018
A key drawcard, of course, will be whether Rainway can stream PC games to the Switch. The developers last year talked about bringing a native app to Nintendo’s platform, although it would be accessible via the browser whenever Nintendo makes one available.
That said, the technology appears to work. The official account already has still shots of Cuphead on the Switch:
Here is a demo of the Rainway remote co-op feature on the Nintendo Switch, playing everyone's favorite game, Cuphead. We swear @Andrewmd5 is not bad at video games, he just has his hands full. pic.twitter.com/5nnnNH1sSM
— Rainway ???? (@RainwayApp) November 21, 2017
As well as Civilization 6:
— Andrew Sampson (@Andrewmd5) September 22, 2017
And Half-Life 2:
— Andrew Sampson (@Andrewmd5) August 5, 2017
And Dark Souls 3 running through a web browser:
— Andrew Sampson (@Andrewmd5) August 6, 2017
Of course, it’s all for naught if the streaming tech turns to mush in the real world. For now, the plan is to target mobile platforms shortly after the web launch, followed by the Xbox One, and everything else afterwards.