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Will Outriders Ever Release For The Nintendo Switch?

Despite being jam-packed with heart-stopping action and brutally addictive gameplay, Square Enix's "Outriders" has had trouble living up to its own hype after a rocky launch riddled with technical issues. Even with full crossplay support across every platform it released for — PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series X, and PC — the third-person shooter suffered an 80% reduction of its initial playerbase within the first month after launch (per Steam Charts). The drop in active players amounted to an average of 46 thousand to 9 thousand players, a loss that the game hasn't been able to recuperate since. 

The update in November 2021 was able to bring back a few players with new content, but the game failed to keep up the momentum as the number of average users dwindled back down to the 500-700 range over the course of four months. With the upcoming release of "Outriders: Worldslayer," there's sure to be another boom in players.

While it's too early to tell if "Outriders" will go the way of the unfortunate "Anthem" series or make a miracle comeback in the style of "Final Fantasy 14," it's clear that the game needs a new plan for long-term survivability, and fast. Given that it hasn't released on the Nintendo Switch, tapping into the as-of-yet unexplored market of 26 million Nintendo Online users sounds like a solid start. The question is — how possible is it on the technical side, and how likely is it on the corporate side?

Not as unlikely as you'd think

At first, the answer seems obvious: with an install size of 100GB (per its Steam store page), "Outriders" joins a plethora of other online games that are simply too big for the Switch. The diminutive console only has 32GB of internal storage (64GB with the OLED edition). Despite having proven itself as a major console, the Switch is still a handheld machine; it would be unreasonable to expect it to run current-gen, spec-heavy online games like "Outriders" or "Destiny 2" at a whim.

At least it would be, if not for the power of real-time streaming. In February 2022, Business Insider reported that the Google Stadia team has been demoted within the company, and its resources in cloud gaming will be dedicated to supporting other projects (per The Verge). Bungie is purportedly one of the companies interested in exploring Google Stream's capabilities — which, as The Verge reporter Tom Warren pointed out, could mean the possibility of bringing "Destiny 2" to the Nintendo Switch is now non-zero, despite the game's 105GB install size

Sounds familiar, right? While it's not a guarantee that Square Enix will dip into cloud gaming as well, it's hard to imagine that "Outriders" wouldn't follow "Destiny 2" into a potential Switch port given their similarities in size, requirements, gameplay, and genre. All that's left is to wait and see if the publisher is willing to explore streaming options — if they're not too busy getting deep into NFTs, of course.