Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ: ATVI) highly popular Call of Duty franchise regularly launches on three key platforms each year: Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Xbox, Sony's (NYSE: SNE), and Microsoft Windows.
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Activision Blizzard previously launched members of the Call of Duty franchise on Nintendo's (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY) platforms, with the last Nintendo-bound title in the series being 2013's Call of Duty: Ghosts, which was available on Nintendo's ill-fated Wii U platform.
Image source: Activision Blizzard.
It's likely that Activision Blizzard didn't bother to bring Call of Duty titles post-Ghosts to the platform for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that the Wii U simply didn't have the hardware horsepower to handle games designed for modern consoles (Xbox One and PlayStation 4).
According to Activision Blizzard's press release announcing Call of Duty: WW2, the company said that the game "is scheduled for release on PlayStation 4 system, Xbox One, and PC."
The press release seems to indicate that Activision Blizzard has no plans to bring Call of Duty: WW2 to the Nintendo Switch, but BadFive.com, citing an "anonymous source," claims that Activision Blizzard plans to announce a version of the game for the Nintendo Switch at the E3 trade show this summer.
BadFive tried to reconcile the statement about platforms in the press release with its rumor by noting that "historically, Call of Dutygames on Nintendo systems are announced a few months late."
Here's why I'm skeptical.
Switch is much less powerful
The Nintendo Switch has substantially lower processing power than either the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4. The Tegra X1-based chip inside of the Switch -- designed for low-power, handheld form factors -- only delivers about 500 gigaflops (that's billions of floating point operations per second) of single-precision floating point performance.
That's respectable for a mobile chip, but the graphics processors inside of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 can do 1.31 teraflops (trillion floating point operations per second) and 1.84 teraflops, respectively.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 also have more robust CPUs (important for game logic and feeding the graphics processors) than the ones found inside of the Nintendo Switch. And, on top of that, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both include eight gigabytes of system memory, while the Nintendo Switch has just four gigabytes of memory.
Activision Blizzard could, of course, scale down the graphical fidelity (as well as, perhaps, elements of the gameplay itself) of Call of Duty: WW2 to make it playable on the Nintendo Switch, but it'd be a substantially degraded experience compared to what the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and a reasonably capable personal computer will be able to deliver.
Nintendo consoles aren't shooter platforms
These days, Nintendo platforms aren't exactly the platforms of choice for gamers interested in playing first person shooter games; the Xbox, PlayStation, and Windows PC platforms are all generally much more popular with first-person shooter gamers.
To be frank, I doubt that Call of Duty: WW2 would sell all that well on a Nintendo platform like the Switch. The work required to recreate the game on the substantially less powerful Nintendo Switch (and thus development cost) would likely be significant, and unless Activision Blizzard saw the potential for significant sales on the platform (this seems unlikely), it probably wouldn't be worth the trouble.
We'll know if this rumor is true, but I seriously doubt that it'll turn out to be.
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