Activision learned last year that the Nintendo Switch successor would have PS4-like performance


The big picture: Recent reports have offered an increasingly clear picture of Nintendo’s upcoming successor to the Switch. The company has briefed several third-party studios on the next-generation hardware. Activision has become more interested in it amid its impending merger with Microsoft.

Recently unsealed emails from Microsoft’s legal battle with the FTC revealed Activision and Nintendo met in December 2022 to discuss the as-of-yet-unannounced follow-up to the Switch. Activision’s comments suggest that the new portable system will feature graphics and performance on par with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

As Microsoft has struggled against US and UK regulators to secure its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it has repeatedly pledged to make Activision’s massively successful Call of Duty franchise available on non-Microsoft platforms. Most of the conversation surrounding the issue has centered on continuing support for PlayStation systems, but Microsoft and Activision also mentioned bringing the series to Nintendo.

Very few Call of Duty titles have supported Nintendo platforms over the franchise’s 20-year history, usually because the company’s hardware typically isn’t up to the task. This dynamic may change with the emergence of the successor to the Nintendo Switch, which rumors indicate may launch in the second half of 2024.

After the Activision-Nintendo meeting on December 15, 2022, internal Activision emails said the “NG Switch” (NG likely meaning “next-generation”) features performance closely aligned with the PS4 and Xbox One, which would be a significant improvement over the current iteration released in 2017. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick testified in the FTC v. Microsoft hearing that he wanted to support Nintendo depending on its future hardware.

The revelations come after Nintendo reportedly demoed the next-generation Switch to developers behind closed doors at Gamescom. Sources say that the company showcased The Matrix Awakens on hardware with specs similar to the new system, exhibiting graphics “comparable” to the PlayStation 5 and Series X.

The word “comparable” could mean many things, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee horsepower similar to Sony’s and Microsoft’s current-generation consoles. Nintendo’s demonstration allegedly included Nvidia’s DLSS upsampling technology, which could allow a new Switch to punch above its weight. Furthermore, it’s unclear what other architectural modernizations the system could include that were unavailable when the PS4 and Xbox One were designed.


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