Microsoft, Activision, and Nintendo recently made headlines by coming to a public agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms in the wake of Microsoft's intention to acquire Activision-Blizzard. Essentially, Microsoft is doing the rounds promising not to make major Activision-Blizzard IP exclusive to Microsoft platforms such that the acquisition goes through.
So, in this article, we'll explain what that means and if Call of Duty is coming to Switch anytime soon.
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Call of Duty on Switch: The Official Word
Basically, Microsoft is trying to acquire Activision-Blizzard, and the company needs to prove that this acquisition won't be unhealthy and inhibit competition in the larger market and industry, so Microsoft signed a formal legal agreement with Nintendo promising to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms.
For the next 10 years, Microsoft has committed to bringing Call of Duty to Nintendo players on "the same day as Xbox" and "with full feature and content parity" as well. The promise here is, basically, that Nintendo gamers will get the same Call of Duty experience, day one, as does Xbox.
In their agreement, though, Switch isn't directly referenced. And while some speculate that, perhaps, Call of Duty might come to Switch via game streaming such that it won't need to run natively on the console, others speculate that the Switch is going to be replaced by a new Nintendo console that will then get the promised Call of Duty support.
Either way, though, this all begs the same question: is it possible for Call of Duty to come to Switch?
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Call of Duty and Nintendo Switch
As mentioned above, of course, Call of Duty could come to Switch via streaming. However, this just isn't a great fit for a number of reasons. Put simply, Call of Duty is a fast-paced arcade shooter that relies heavily on reaction times and accuracy, and the inherent latency introduced by streaming would likely make this a not great multiplayer experience over WiFi.
So, could Call of Duty actually run on Nintendo Switch natively? The short answer is yes but the longer is no, but it depends on what you mean. Take Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II for example. This is a game that's simply too technically and graphically demanding to run on Switch with an acceptable level of performance or fidelity.
Modern Warfare II is already a game that struggles on PS4 and Xbox One, and the Switch isn't as powerful as either of those consoles. However, it could be possible to port it over if some major compromises were made. Resolution would have to be massively cut down in comparison to PS4 and Xbox One; framerates would have to be limited to 30FPS; and graphical quality would need to be meaningfully reduced.
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The problem, though, is that such an experience really doesn't make sense in the context of Microsoft promised about Call of Duty on Nintendo platforms. A version of Modern Warfare II as described above wouldn't really offer feature and content parity with Xbox or, really, any other platform, so it seems pretty unlikely that Microsoft would bother with such a port.
However, the above really only applies to the latest and greatest Call of Duty games. Say, for example, Activision decides to remaster an older Call of Duty game like the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This is something that would be significantly easier to bring to a platform like Switch. Of course, some compromises would still be necessary, but they wouldn't be anywhere near as severe as they would be with a modern CoD.
From a technical perspective, something Call of Duty: Mobile could certainly run on Switch, but when Microsoft is talking about bringing CoD with feature and content parity that launches the same day on Switch as Xbox, few people are thinking about Call of Duty: Mobile. So, while possible, it doesn't seem like that's what fans want or what Microsoft intends.
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Call of Duty and Switch 2
If Nintendo does decide to release a follow-up to the Switch, a Switch 2 or perhaps a Switch Pro, then there would be no reason at all that we couldn't expect Call of Duty to come to Switch.
Even if a Switch 2 isn't as powerful as Series X or even PS5, a modern console more powerful than something like a Steam Deck would certainly have enough horsepower to run a Call of Duty game and give players the full experience, even if some compromises would have to be made.
Some people are under the impression that games like Call of Duty don't come to Nintendo systems because they don't perform well or the audience wouldn't be interested, but the real reason comes down pretty exclusively to hardware and technical capability. This has also been the case for a long time, too.
For example, back during the time of the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii, the Wii was the most successful and popular console, but it didn't get Call of Duty games like those on PS3 and 360 precisely because it was simply just not a powerful enough machine to handle those kinds of games.
The case is very much similar today with Switch, and if a Switch 2 comes out that can reasonably run Call of Duty, it definitely will.
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