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CMA refutes Microsoft's claim Nintendo Switch can run Call of Duty

Big tech.

Warzone 2.0
Image credit: Activision

The Competition and Markets Authority has refuted Microsoft's claim the Nintendo Switch is capable of running a Call of Duty game similar to those seen on Xbox and PlayStation.

In its 415-page final report detailing its shock decision to block Microsoft's proposed $68.7bn Activision Blizzard takeover, the UK regulator addressed Microsoft's insistence it could get Call of Duty in its current form up and running on Nintendo consoles should the deal be approved.

"COD is currently available on two gaming consoles - Xbox and PlayStation," reads the CMA's report.

"We found that these consoles compete closely with each other in terms of content, target audience, and console technology. We found that Nintendo's consoles compete less closely with either of Xbox or PlayStation, generally offering consoles with different technical specifications, and with its most popular titles tending to be more family and child-friendly.

"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 that is similar to those in Xbox and PlayStation in terms of quality of gameplay and content."

Newscast: Can Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal appeal succeed?Watch on YouTube

In February, Microsoft president Brad Smith outlined the company's desire to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles. Later that month, Microsoft announced it had finalised a 10-year agreement to launch Call of Duty on Nintendo platforms on "the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity".

Digital Foundry then addressed the question, is COD viable on Switch? The answer: it depends which one...

In March, Microsoft went a step further and told the CMA it was confident Activision could optimise Call of Duty to run on Switch after the regulatory body raised concerns around the console's "technical limitations".

Microsoft said at the time: "The game engine that powers Warzone is mature and has been optimised to run on a wide range of hardware devices."

Microsoft then highlighted Xbox One through to Xbox Series X as examples, alongside Call of Duty's ability to run on PC hardware "with GPU cards that were released as far back as 2015 (i.e., prior to the release of Nintendo Switch in 2017)".

The company added: "The Activision development team have a long history of optimising game performance for available hardware capabilities", and "the Parties are confident that in addition to Warzone, CoD buy-to-play titles (e.g., CoD: Modern Warfare 2) can be optimised to run on the Nintendo Switch in a timely manner using standard techniques which have been used to bring games such as Apex Legends, Doom Eternal, Fortnite and Crysis 3 to the Switch."

Clearly the CMA was unconvinced.

Microsoft is furious with the CMA for blocking the deal. What happens next? Read our explainer on Microsoft and Activision's appeal process.

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