When Nintendo first revealed their recently released video games console, the Switch, they promised that alongside their own line-up of signature first-party releases, it would also offer releases from third-party publishers. As undeniably one of the biggest third-party offerings on the market right now, many fans naturally wondered if Blizzard’s Overwatch would release on the Switch.
Now, one month following the Nintendo Switch’s release, Overwatch for the new console looks unlikely. However, Blizzard isn’t ruling it out.
— Nintendo Switch (@NinSwitchNews) April 8, 2017
According to Gamespot, new comments from Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan appear to suggest that porting the popular shooter to the Nintendo Switch would be difficult, thanks to its limited hardware capabilities. While the Nintendo Switch is undeniably the newest piece of gaming hardware on the block, it’s also considerably underpowered in comparison to its competitors: the PlayStation 4 from Sony and the Xbox One from Microsoft, which were both first available in 2013.
“Getting Overwatch on the Switch is very challenging for us, but we’re always open-minded about exploring possible platforms,” he said. “I think the problem is we’ve really targeted our min spec in a way that we would have to revisit performance and how to get on that platform.”
— PVP Live (@PVPLive) March 18, 2017
While Blizzard was keen not to rule out a possible release for Overwatch on the Switch, it’s easy to see how it would be technically difficult. According to Ars Technica, Blizzard requires that PC players have an Intel Core i3 processor and GTX 460 or better at a minimum. The Nintendo Switch is powered by an Nvidia Tegra X1-based system-on-a-chip, which while being capable of running titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, isn’t able to provide the level of performance needed for a modern console game like Overwatch.
At the same time, Kaplan left the door open for a potential Overwatch release on the Nintendo Switch in the future, saying that he “always like[s] to tell people we’re very open-minded about what platforms we could be on. Just because we’re not on a platform right now, it doesn’t mean we won’t reconsider it in the future, so we stay aware of all these things.”
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Nintendo launched the Switch worldwide on March 3. The company’s seventh major console follows the Wii U, which was largely considered to be a failure. With that in mind, there was a good deal of concern that Nintendo would struggle to attract the support it needed in order to not repeat the same mistakes it made with the Wii U. However, at the time of writing, the console remains sold out at most major retailers, with Nintendo promising to increase production of the Switch in order to fulfill back orders.
According to Eurogamer, at launch, the Switch sold a total of 80,000 units in the United Kingdom. That’s double the amount of units its predecessor the Wii U shifted at launch, but far from the PlayStation 4, which sold an incredible 250,000 units in the country during its launch week and went on to become one of the best-selling consoles of all time.
Meanwhile, a recent video leak showed off the upcoming Insurrection update for Overwatch. The upcoming update will add a cooperative, four-versus-AI (PvE) game mode, plus new character skins and sprays. The update is expected to be available for Overwatch players on PlayStstion 4, Xbox One, and PC later today.
As for a Nintendo Switch version of Overwatch, it looks unlikely at current, but Blizzard is refusing to rule it out.
[Featured Image by Blizzard]