Discover more from The Shortcut
Nintendo Switch isn’t ‘technically capable’ of running Call of Duty, says UK regulator
The UK's competition and market authority doesn't believe Microsoft can deliver
The CMA, the UK’s Competition and Market Authority that recently blocked Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard buyout, doesn’t believe Microsoft will be able to get Call of Duty running on Nintendo Switch.
According to the regulator’s 418-page report that outlines how it reached its decision, the regulator said that it believes the Switch is not “technically capable” of running the game in a way that resembles the experience on PS5 and Xbox Series X (thanks, WCCFTech).
“Nintendo does not currently offer CoD, and we have seen no evidence to suggest that its consoles would be technically capable of running a version of CoD similar to those in Xbox and PlayStation in terms of quality of gameplay and content,” the CMA’s findings read.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: CoD on Switch
🙅♂️ The CMA doesn’t believe Microsoft will be able to put CoD on Switch
🙈 It appears to be demanding a like-for-like port
🤔 Graphically intense games have been ported to the Switch with compromises
☁️ And some games have come via the cloud
Microsoft has signed a 10-year agreement with Nintendo to put Call of Duty on Switch, but it appears that the CMA isn’t buying it.
Microsoft president Brad Smith said that the juggernaut Call of Duty series would run “as you would expect” on the Switch, and his comments were backed up by Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer who said the company would bring “the best version” of Call of Duty to all platforms in an official Xbox On interview.
Of course, no one truly believes that Microsoft would be able to deliver a Call of Duty experience that is identical to the Xbox Series X and PS5 versions on Switch as technically that would indeed be impossible. After all, the Switch was released in 2017 and wasn’t particularly powerful even then.
However, there’s nothing to stop developer Activision Blizzard from creating an optimized version for Switch that would still allow Nintendo gamers to enjoy the series. It’s not we haven’t seen heavily compromised versions of games arrive on Switch, either. Doom (2019) and The Witcher 3 are two examples of what many call “impossible ports” for Switch, which still offer a similar experience at the cost of paired-down graphics and performance.
Cloud game streaming could also be an option, as we’ve seen many titles that are too hardware intensive for Switch coming to the platform in this guise. Games like A Plague Tale: Innocence and Hitman 3 are a couple.
Would a cloud version of Call of Duty be the ideal solution? Probably not, but Microsoft would still be delivering on its promise of putting Call of Duty on the Switch.
The last Call of Duty game that came to a Nintendo console was Call of Duty: Ghosts on the Wii U, which was released on November 5, 2013. The CMA’s opposition to giving Nintendo fans a series they don’t have access to, albeit not a perfect port, seems counterintuitive, then.
Microsoft has vowed to appeal the CMA’s decision. In response to yesterday’s ruling, Activision’s chief communications officer Lulu Cheng tweeted: “The CMA’s report today is a major setback for the UK’s ambitions to be a tech hub, and we will work with Microsoft to reverse it on appeal.
“This report is also a disservice to UK citizens, who face increasingly dire economic prospects, and we will need to reassess our growth strategy in the UK.” Ouch.
The Shortcut is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.