Call of Duty is the game that’s been everywhere and done everything. The franchise will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. The team and programmers behind it could scarcely have imagined what a global success it would become when the first Call of Duty game was released for Microsoft Windows, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2003. Back then, it was just another war-themed first-person shooter launched into a gaming scene where there were already hundreds of such games. Something about Call of Duty caught the attention of players, though, and since then, it’s gone on to become one of the biggest entertainment properties in the world. At least one new Call of Duty game is launched every year, and each incarnation of the franchise sells millions of copies.
The success of Call of Duty has been so absolute that it’s transcended video gaming. The long-planned Call of Duty movie hasn’t happened yet, but it’s still in the pipeline. Even online casinos have got in on the call of duty action. An official Call of Duty 4 online slots game was released several years ago, and while it’s getting a little long in the tooth, it still does good business for the handful of online casinos that still host it. Sistersite.co.uk , which is a website that posts reviews of casinos, indicates that casinos that have the Call of Duty slots game available to players tend to do better than those that don’t in much the same way that video gaming platforms that have Call of Duty games available tend to do better than those that don’t. Historically, that’s always been bad news for the Nintendo Switch. That’s not to say that the hybrid console hasn’t been a success for Nintendo – it very much has – but the absence of any Call of Duty games has always been noticeable on the platform. That might be about to change in the very near future.
Before anybody gets too excited, Activision has not yet officially announced the planned release of a Call of Duty game for Nintendo Switch, but it might have accidentally indicated that there’s one on the way. An interesting update on the Activision support website a few days ago temporarily showed that the Nintendo Switch server for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was online. The game doesn’t currently exist on the platform, so the server theoretically shouldn’t exist either. Nevertheless, it was listed as online alongside the established platforms for the game like the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Eagle-eyed gamers spotted the apparent error and quickly posted images of it to Twitter. Activision must have noticed its mistake at that point because the Nintendo Switch server listing was immediately removed.
It would be easy to write this off as a mistake or a glitch, but we don’t think that’s the case. Only last month, Microsoft’s company president Brad Smith said in an interview that he’d be very interested in bringing the Call of Duty series to Nintendo devices. That’s not the kind of comment that a person in Smith’s position makes unless he has reason to make it. Between Smith’s tiny hint and Activision’s technical slip-up, it seems more likely than not that there’s something brewing behind the scenes where it pertains to the Nintendo Switch console and the Call of Duty series.
The biggest issue with adapting Call of Duty for the Nintendo Switch is the Nintendo machine’s lack of processing power. It’s probably significant that the game being linked to the console is Black Ops 4 because this is an older game that’s likely to be easier to port across to the Switch than one of the more recent entries in the franchise. The whole point of Call of Duty is that – zombies aside – it’s a hyper-realistic depiction of war with ground-breaking graphics and sound. The games are immersive and bring the visceral experience of war to players without any of the associated dangers. It would be impossible to achieve this degree of realism with a Nintendo Switch game – the hardware simply isn’t capable of delivering the level of performance that would be required. Any version of Call of Duty released for the Switch would probably have to take a more arcade-like approach to its subject matter. For many fans, that’s not what Call of Duty is about.
Until we get a formal announcement from Activision on the matter, all of this is mere speculation. The fact that the news appears to have leaked thanks to that error with the support website might force Activision’s hand and prompt them to make the announcement sooner rather than later. If the rumours are true and a full release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for the Nintendo Switch is planned, it will represent the franchise moving into its final frontier. When the latest mobile version of Call of Duty was released last year, it became such an enormous success that it forced the Washington Post to sit up and take notice. At the time, they said that the game was now “everywhere.” That wasn’t quite true. It had conquered mobiles, PC, and successive versions of the Xbox and PlayStation consoles, but it had never made it to Nintendo users. Once it’s done that, the Washington Post’s description will be accurate, and Call of Duty will be bigger than ever before.
In more broad and general Call of Duty news, the next major release in the pipeline is a sequel to the 2019 version of Modern Warfare. We know that it’s going to be released later in 2023, but we don’t yet have a release date (or even a hint of one) from Activision. This will be the first version of the game to launch after Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is all but complete as of the time of writing. It will be interesting to see what – if anything – Microsoft does to put its stamp on the series, but it’s likely that any changes will be minimal at first so as not to alarm the franchise’s loyal players. As and when there’s new information to report on all things Call of Duty-related, we’ll endeavour to bring them to you here.