What are Microsoft and Nintendo up to? Redacted court documents tease a big secret

Xbox Project xCloud games
Xbox Project xCloud games (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Epic Games v. Apple has unearthed lots of tidbits about Microsoft's business operations.
  • One such tidbit has ruffled Nintendo, which claims sensitive information has been revealed.
  • Given that it's unclear what the sensitive information is, speculation abounds.

Just when it was starting to look like all the exciting discussion topics from Epic Games v. Apple had come and gone, one more nugget arrives at the forefront. This time, it's Nintendo inadvertently drawing attention to info it deems as sensitive. The question on everyone's minds is: Why is the info sensitive?

Axios' Stephen Totilo raised awareness of the situation over on Twitter. He said that Nintendo has reacted to a Microsoft executive's deposition with the statement that it reflects competitively sensitive information about negotiations going on between the two companies.

As many Twitter tweeters noted in response to Totilo's initial post, this reeks of secrets — specifically, xCloud and Game Pass-scented secrets. After all, there has been a long history of rumors concerning Game Pass coming to Switch in some form.

Just earlier this year, speculation kicked up around a cloud-based version of Game Pass that could potentially land on Nintendo's console. Given how the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has been careful to avoid mentioning "Game Pass-supported platforms" as being Xbox, cloud, and PC only, it sure seems like he knows expansion is coming. Heck, the man has a Nintendo Switch on his shelf, right where everyone can see it.

Plus, Spencer has blatantly said that Microsoft isn't done trying to get Game Pass on other consoles via cloud streaming. And why should Microsoft give up? If there's one console on the market that seems like a good fit for Game Pass, it's the Switch.

Think about it: Nintendo's major strength is its first-party IPs. Virtually nothing on Game Pass, be it Microsoft's IPs or third-party content, overlaps enough to cannibalize Nintendo's core consumer bases for franchises such as Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing, and Pokemon. In fact, Game Pass would perfectly complement Nintendo's existing stable and remedy its perpetually lacking third-party lineup, effectively making the Switch a far more well-rounded console than it currently is.

Minecraft Nintendo Switch

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

And it's not like Nintendo isn't familiar with the idea of having games too strong for its Switch hardware still appearing on the console via streaming. Look at Control, Remedy's latest action-thriller game. That title exists on the Switch via the cloud, highlighting a model that Game Pass could use to hop aboard the system.

This brings us back to Nintendo's unhappiness with "sensitive info" slipping out concerning Microsoft's xCloud mentions. There's no reason for Nintendo to care about that service and its various associations with companies unless they're one of the said companies it's associated with. So with that in mind: Did Nintendo just inadvertently shine a spotlight on the future? Sound off in the comments with what you think this all means.

And if you want to learn more about Epic Games v. Apple, including Nintendo's peculiar involvement in it, be sure to check our content on the trial, which continues to expand as the court case rages on.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.