Another week, another remaster. This time around, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is back in all its late ’90s, early 2000s glory, soundtrack and all. While older remasters tend to make their way onto Nintendo Switch, Tony Hawk has opted to skip Nintendo’s platform. This is yet another blow to Switch players who enjoy Activision’s output. Technical limitations could well be a factor, but Activision should really put more stock in Nintendo Switch. Here’s why.
Call of Duty: Warzone has been a massive hit on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The free-to-play battle royale hit 50 million players in its first month. It certainly helped the $956 million the company made on microtransactions in 2020’s first quarter too. Now, these numbers may satisfy most companies, but Activision strives to top itself each year. With that in mind, you’d think they’d want to explore every platform possible.
The Switch has a growing library of free-to-play titles, including Fortnite and Warface, and Warzone could make a huge splash on the platform. Third-party output on Switch has been great compared to in recent years, but Warzone could help further round out its FPS library. The install base is certainly there for Activision to tap into.
However, Warzone is massive and runs on relatively new tech for Call of Duty. Player counts are huge, and while aspects could be cut back for Switch, that could turn it into an entirely different product. Activision did port Overwatch to Switch, but its 30 FPS cap and general sluggish feel meant it fell below par. For better or worse, the same publisher managed to get severely stripped-down versions of Call of Duty running on Wii, a platform much less technologically suited to first-person shooters of that era.
With all of that in mind, and the likes of The Witcher 3 running on Switch, it seems plausible that Call of Duty could run on Nintendo’s hybrid system in some form. It’s just a question of if it would be worth the effort in Warzone‘s unique case — if Activision could deliver an acceptable version of the game and if it believes it would generate enough revenue on Switch to justify all the investment.
All the same, it’s possible Activision may still have the third-party mindset of old, where games aimed at a mature audience aren’t worth a Nintendo release. However, as the Switch surges north of 50 million units sold, it might be worth it for Activision to reevaluate its output on the platform.
Outside of COD, Activision doesn’t release much these days. The majority of Activision’s owned studios now work on Call of Duty, in some form or another. We have seen a few Crash and Spyro remasters, which did make it to Switch. More from those IPs may well be coming in the future too. In 2019, the company also published FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Dark Souls Remastered released on Switch the year prior, so a port of FromSoftware’s latest seems feasible. However, Dark Souls isn’t published by Activision, with Bandai Namco putting in the legwork to see Dark Souls’ debut on a Nintendo platform in 2018.
As next-generation PlayStation and Xbox consoles loom, the tech gap grows larger. Companies may move away from Switch due to technical limitations, as seen in generations prior. This time around though, Switch’s huge install base and varied library provide the pull companies need. Currently, I don’t foresee Switch ports going away, especially in the cross-generation period. (Virtuos has already committed to port next-gen titles to Switch.) Therefore, Activision should start putting more stock in the platform. Warzone on Switch (or something COD-related) would be huge, and Tony Hawk certainly has potential on the platform. A port of the 2019 game of the year in Sekiro wouldn’t be a bad shout either, and Activision’s Switch slate could look very appealing.
Only Activision truly knows how well its Switch efforts have done so far financially. Ports of both Spyro Reignited Trilogy and Crash Team Racing mean that the older Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy must have done well enough. Brand new entries for Crash and Spyro seem imminent, with Switch versions probably likely. But I’d still like to see Activision start broadening its Nintendo portfolio with more IP.