Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Why bringing ‘Call of Duty’ natively to the Nintendo Switch doesn’t make sense

For these hours, sony and Microsoft sparks are being drawn with the regulators over the purchase of Activision Blizzard. And this open-faced crossover is giving us some pretty curious situations. Like, for example, that those from Redmond have come out to promise that games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare 2 will be playable natively on the Nintendo Switch. A strategy with great impact in advertising, but which actually makes no sense in a real scenario.

Let’s put some context to the situation. A few days ago, Microsoft signed an agreement with Nintendo to bring call of duty to the Switch for 10 years. A play with which he won the support of the Japanese firm and which, it seems, is already giving him positive results. Let’s not forget that, thanks to this commitment and the one signed with NVIDIA to bring Xbox games to GeForce Now, the European Commission would give the green light to the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

But Phil Spencer’s still have the difficult mission of convincing two other crucial regulators to complete the transaction. We are talking about the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), of course. Both organizations have expressed a position against the agreement, considering that it could be anti-competitive, but Microsoft is pulling out all the tricks at his disposal so that the transaction for 68,700 million dollars does not stop.

In their submission to the CMA, the Americans have promised how many titles free to play as Call of Duty: Warzonesuch as those that are paid as Modern Warfare 2, could run natively on the Nintendo Switch. The statement is shocking, no doubt. But it is impossible not to feel that it is pure marketing to sweeten the ears of regulators — and players —more than a real possibility.

whatcall of duty: Warzone either MW2 running natively on the Nintendo Switch?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Microsoft’s strategy to bring current and future titles of call of duty to Switch natively It’s fantastic, to say the least.. And to say this is not to be hater, Nothing like that. But do you really believe that today it is possible to execute Modern Warfare 2 on the Nintendo console and that the experience is on par with what you get on a PS5, an Xbox Series X or a PC?

Those of Redmond hide behind two issues to try to justify their strategy. The first, that the engine Warzone it is optimized so that the game can be run on “old” hardware. The second, that Activision has experience when it comes to adapting its titles to an important variety of platforms. In fact, this is reflected in the document presented to the CMA:

The parties trust that, in addition to Warzonethe paid titles of CoD (For example, Modern Warfare 2) can be optimized to run on Nintendo Switch in a timely manner using standard techniques already used to bring games such as Apex Legends, Doom Eternal, Fortnite and crisis 3 to the Switch”.

So if according to Microsoft there are no technical impediments to bringing Call of Duty to the Switch, why do we say the strategy doesn’t make sense? Because it’s one thing to get the game to run natively, and quite another to get it to work right.. if throw Warzone either Modern Warfare 2 on the Nintendo Switch will mean that the experience is plagued with graphical issues, or that both the gameplay or cinematics are locked to no more than 20 or 30 frames per second, you’re not doing the fans any favors.

If a Switch user is given a choice between not having call of duty, or have it and it malfunctions, you’ll prefer the former. After all, the shooter by Activision They were never in the orbit of Nintendo’s portable consoleAt least until Sony’s questions began to embarrass Microsoft with regulators.

“The best version of the game on all platforms”

Microsoft promises to bring Call of Duty natively to the Nintendo Switch.Microsoft promises to bring Call of Duty natively to the Nintendo Switch.
Photo by erik mclean in Unsplash

Days ago, Phil Spencerthe CEO of Microsoft Gaming, assured that Xbox wants “the best possible version of Call of Duty on all platforms”. That is, the same content and the same gameplay for everyone, without differences in favor or detriment of anyone. But what the executive is proposing today is simply unsustainable, even due to hardware limitations.

Is it really credible that the Nintendo Switch, with its NVIDIA Tegra X1 SoC and 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, can deliver a PS5-like experience when running Warzone either Modern Warfare 2? Or to that of a PS4, even?

To contrast the scenario and so that it does not seem like a gratuitous attack on Microsoft’s strategy or on Nintendo Switch, I recommend this report of Eurogamer published in December 2022. There, they analyzed the experience of running Warzone 2.0 on previous generation consoles. Specifically, the standard PS4, PS4 Pro, and Xbox One and One X, compared to the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. And the results were overwhelming.

While is true that Warzone 2.0 is “playable” on older Sony and Microsoft consoles, the difference in the level of graphic detail, the textures or the frame rate per second is beastly. But not only that. In some cases the disparity is noticeable even in the audio.

This being the case, it is clear that games like Warzone, Modern Warfare 2 and those who join the franchise in the future are focused on taking advantage of the increasingly powerful software and hardware that comes with the latest generation consoles. Replicate the native experience of call of duty that you get on a PS5 or Xbox Series X, today it is simply impossible.

The case could be different if Microsoft raised it through Game Pass and Cloud Gaming. But the Redmonds have made a risky promise in talking of bringing call of duty natively to the Switch. And the argument that CoD It already has mobile games, and that this experience could be transferred to the Nintendo Switch, is also not valid. Because? Because would be a contradiction to what Phil Spencer said: that the best version of the game is available on all platforms.

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