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Microsoft details how it could get Call of Duty: Warzone running on Switch

Microsoft details how it could get Call of Duty: Warzone running on Switch


In a new filing, Microsoft shared how it could bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo’s lower-powered device.

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A screenshot from Call of Duty: Warzone
Imagine this, but with Nintendo Switch graphics.
Image: Activision

In a filing (pdf) submitted to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Microsoft shared some details about how it thinks it will be able to get Call of Duty games to run on the Nintendo Switch.

Last month, Microsoft signed a binding 10-year agreement to bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo players day and date as on Xbox with “full feature and content parity” if its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard goes through. In the CMA filing, Microsoft makes two main points to argue that it’s possible to bring games like Call of Duty: Warzone and “buy-to-play” titles like Modern Warfare II to Switch:

  • Microsoft says the engine behind Warzone has been “optimized to run on a wide range of hardware devices,” including the Xbox One from 2015 and PC GPUs “released as far back as 2015,” which predate the Switch’s 2017 launch. (In a footnote, Microsoft points out that Activision offers a mobile version of Warzone that “runs natively on mobile phones which have much lower performance specifications than the Nintendo Switch.”)
  • Microsoft also says Activision has a “long history of optimizing game performance for available hardware capabilities,” and it’s “confident” that techniques that have made graphically intensive games like Apex Legends, Doom Eternal, and Fortnite work on Switch could be used for Call of Duty.
Text from a Microsoft filing.
Here’s the relevant passage from Microsoft’s filing (pdf). The text is on page four.
Screenshot: Jay Peters / The Verge

If you’ve ever played Fortnite on Switch, you probably know that it looks a lot worse than it does on newer consoles and PC hardware. But it does play generally fine; my wife and I have no troubles squadding up multiple times per week even though she’s on Switch and I’m on PS5 or Xbox. I imagine Call of Duty games would be similar, meaning they probably won’t look as good as on Xbox Series X, but you’ll at least be able to play them on a Nintendo platform. (Hopefully, Nintendo’s rumored next console has better graphics.)

Sony has been vocally opposed to the acquisition, recently laying out concerns that Microsoft will sabotage Call of Duty for the PlayStation. Microsoft has also offered Sony a 10-year deal for Call of Duty, but Sony hasn’t signed it.