Capcom has launched a free, browser-based, streaming demo of its 2021 hit, Resident Evil Village based mostly on licensed Stadia expertise from Google. Google has made a giant retreat from its game streaming service, rebranding to the extra anodyne “Google Immersive Stream” and licensing the expertise out to different builders and publishers as a substitute of constructing large strikes in-house.

I gave the demo a attempt to was largely impressed—it is pretty beneficiant, providing lengthy parts of the game’s village and mansion parts. The limits of streaming expertise and my dookie Comcast web had been shortly obvious, nonetheless: The visuals had been very muddy and low-res, wanting just like the Switch port of the Witcher 3 however blown up on my 27′ monitor, and I had pretty substantial efficiency hiccups culminating in a tough crash necessitating a full reboot on the group prayer scene within the village. I definitely would not wish to play the entire game this manner.

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pointing gun down baroque castle hallway

Super blurry, however it’s free! (Image credit score: Capcom)
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pointing shotgun in the face of an evil locust daughter

This had me fairly panicked at round 10 AM. (Image credit score: Capcom)
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approaching the duke

Howdy. (Image credit score: Capcom)
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running down warmly lit castle hallway

The fortress continues to be fairly even via the streaming blur. (Image credit score: Capcom)

That’s why a demo is such an excellent use of streaming expertise although—I had a suboptimal Resident Evil expertise, certain, however getting it operating was as straightforward as certifying my age within the browser, with out the trouble of putting in or uninstalling a demo. This could possibly be an effective way to check out video games earlier than shopping for them sooner or later.

To be clear, I by no means need game streaming to change into a alternative for having an area copy of a game: Performance considerations apart, I feel it could trigger a preservation nightmare for a medium that already struggles with retaining its historical past accessible and out there, and modding could be a factor of the previous if gamers did not have entry to native copies of their video games.

This Resident Evil Village demo and the latest launch of Eve Anywhere give me hope for a special future, one where game streaming dietary supplements possession fairly than supplanting it. These examples are so interesting as a result of they exist along with proudly owning full copies of their respective video games, as a substitute of as a alternative for that choice. They additionally come without charge, with Village providing a free demo and EVE Anywhere being included with a subscription to the MMO. With this type of integration, I’m cautiously optimistic that streaming could possibly be a constructive a part of PC gaming’s future as a substitute of the “Netflix of games” or no matter different terrible factor the C-suites of the trade have gotten cooked up subsequent.