'Overwatch' Switch Release Is Possible Says Jeff Kaplan, Except It's Not

8.5
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • Shooter
2016-05-24
overwatch sombra there goes my hero watch her as she goes
Overwatch's Sombra. (c) Blizzard

Is an Overwatch Switch release coming for Nintendo fans? That’s the question on Switch owners’ minds after Blizzard VP Jeff Kaplan made mention of the possibility on reddit. He was asked about the “challenge” of bringing Overwatch to the Nintendo Switch and wouldn’t rule out a release for Nintendo’s latest console. Here’s what he said re: the Overwatch Switch release:

I’m loving the Switch! My second favorite gaming platform of all-time is the 3DS. Getting OW on the Switch is very challenging for us. But we’re always open minded about exploring possible platforms.

READ: When Will ‘Overwatch’ Release Its New Character Orisa?

That’s not exactly a confirmation that an Overwatch Switch release is happening, but it does sound as though Blizzard is at least thinking about how to bring Overwatch to the Switch. However, I think the challenges lie more with Nintendo than with Blizzard and that, despite Kaplan & Co.’s best efforts, we won’t ever see an Overwatch release on the Nintendo Switch.

Why am I being a wet blanket? Well, for starters, it sounds too good to be true. A portable version of Overwatch you could play anywhere? Sign us up! But the limitations of the Switch seem to be insurmountable. Let’s start with the obvious: Nintendo has no online service yet. According to the official site a trial version of the online service is launching “in March” and a full version is slated for the fall. The trial version doesn’t feature online voice chat, a significant aspect of a team-based shooter like Overwatch .

Furthermore, the version launching in the fall mentions online chat being handled through some sort of mobile app. So if you’re trying to play Overwatch on-the-go, it sounds like you’ll need to run voice chat through your phone. It’s unclear how that affects gameplay audio and if Nintendo hasn’t been clear on it odds are the team at Blizzard is almost as in the dark as we are since it sounds like the online functionality is still a work-in-progress.

But let’s say Nintendo figures out its online service in the next few weeks and everything runs better than expected. There’s still the question of power. The Nintendo Switch is a fine machine, but it’s not in the same league as modern consoles when it comes to power. Especially undocked, when the GPU speed is less than half of Xbox One or PS4. Nintendo is making magic happen with Breath of the Wild , but that’s a first-party IP which spent years in development to specifically work on this platform. Porting Overwatch to Switch is an entirely different challenge. Blizzard can be “exploring” it all they want, they could explore getting Overwatch to run on a Super Nintendo too, doesn’t mean it can happen.

This seems like just a bunch of empty hype. I understand why Kaplan didn’t want to rule something out entirely, it’s bad for business to admit defeats. And trying to get Overwatch to work on Switch may lead to something entirely new for Blizzard, too. So while we might not get an Overwatch Switch release, the effort may lead to a Blizzard game on Switch instead.

Anyone else up for a Diablo 2 remaster on Switch? Let us know in the comments!

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