A new device called the Stream Card, for Nintendo Switch owners, was showcased at the Tokyo Game Show. Created by a firm called Tassei, the SD card slot-housed device facilitates PC game streaming over Wi-Fi onto your Switch screen. The device was shown with the surprise hit game Stray in action in a video demo.
Nintendo’s Switch console has an excellent games library, but it isn’t the most powerful handheld around. Therefore, games that look great on PC can pale a little on the small screen. Then there is the question of game availability and pricing – Tom’s Hardware readers know the PC platform is the king of choice and value. Lastly, though some cloud versions of PC AAA games are available on the Switch (notably from Ubisoft and Capcom), there isn’t any competitor product or service that opens up your PC game library to Nintendo’s handheld hybrid – until now.
From the images and video shared by the source, there was an interesting gaming setup on display at the Tokyo Game Show. Inside the display case were what looked like an Intel NUC 11 Phantom Canyon with Intel Tiger Lake CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, a 15-inch portable monitor, and a Nintendo Switch with a Tassei Stream Card protruding in a fragile-looking manner. Outside the case, you can see the videographer playing Stray using a Nintendo Pro controller.
The report from the show floor from 4Gamer suggests the Stream Card isn’t ready for mass consumption. In addition to the bare circuit board design ethic, which adds a brittle protrusion to the refined Switch design, responsiveness leaves room for improvement. Watching the video, you can perceive a lag between the NUC attached monitor game display and the Switch display. The show report says there is a bit of lag when playing, which isn’t going to be ideal for fast-paced competitive multiplayer but could probably be tolerated in other genres.
Looking closer at the hardware, we can see that the attached SD-slot device relies on an ESP8266 for Wi-Fi connectivity. This chip is limited to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, which could explain some of the lagginess. Also Tassei says the streaming system isn’t as simple as a straight Wi-Fi attached display device; it also requires an SoC for ‘processing.’
Tassei’s product information card at Tokyo Game Show says it is looking for a partner to commercialize this device. With an improved compact form factor and tweaks to the Wi-Fi solution and SoC, it has the potential to be appealing, but as it stands, we can’t say it could be raised to the necessary level of refinement/performance to satisfy PC gamers wishing to stream to it.
In summary, this is an interesting product in its early stages, and we will update you if it gets refined and commercialized down the line.