As part of a filing seeking to persuade the United Kingdom’s Competition and Market Authority regulator to approve the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft summarizes how it’d bring Call of Duty to the Nintendo Switch. Call of Duty has a relatively brief history on Nintendo hardware and bringing modern games to Nintendo Switch would be no simple act. But Microsoft, if its Activision Blizzard acquisition goes through, would have to make it happen through the next 10 years.
It’s been around 10 years since the last Call of Duty game came to a Nintendo platform. Call of Duty: Ghosts was ported to the Wii U in 2013, and Activision Blizzard hasn’t committed to a Nintendo platform since. In order to persuade international regulators to approve its acquisition, however, Microsoft signed a legally-binding agreement to bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo platforms going 10 years into the future.
To persuade the CMA that it’s dedicated to following through with the agreement, a Microsoft filing features a summary of its plans to bring Call of Duty to the Nintendo Switch. First, Microsoft says up front that Call of Duty comes in two forms, its free-to-play Warzone releases and its buy-to-play Call of Duty releases. With that in mind Microsoft notes that Call of Duty: Warzone engine is optimized to run across a “wide range of hardware devices,” including diverse PC hardware. As such, it’s more than flexible enough to work on Switch
Given Activision’s extensive history of optimizing and porting games to multiple different consoles with varying levels of power, Microsoft says that it’s confident that buy-to-play Call of Duty releases will also be within the company’s power to port to Nintendo Switch, too. It references games from other publishers that have been ported to Switch, like Apex Legends and Fortnite, to show that the Switch is more than capable of running high-performance online multiplayer games.
There are many reasons why Activision chose to stop putting out Call of Duty games on Nintendo hardware. But the inability to port Call of Duty to Nintendo hardware is not one of those reasons. Activision is more than capable, but it would take Microsoft’s determination to make it do so.
One issue left unaddressed is why bringing Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles is important. In some regulatory reporting, Nintendo wasn’t even considered equal competition to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. As such, bringing Call of Duty to Nintendo wouldn’t necessarily improve competition, at least in the way regulators would want to see to approve the acquisition. How impactful Microsoft’s agreement with Nintendo for Call of Duty will be to the UK’s CMA remains to be seen.
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Source: Microsoft Response to CMA (via The Verge)