Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Call of Duty, a long-running franchise where players compete in historical, contemporary, and futuristic battles, is a crown jewel in Activision’s portfolio. It has earned over $30 billion in revenue. The latest version, Modern Warfare II, made over $1 billion in just 10 days.
For Nintendo, adding a violent first-person shooter game like Call of Duty to the roster of titles available to play on the Switch would be an unusual anomaly. The company has long been protecting the playful, family-friendly branding it’s developed over the decades through iconic franchises like Mario, Pokemon, and The Legend of Zelda, though it does offer some more mature games and other Nintendo devices have hosted Call of Duty.
Sony and Microsoft have often discussed a similar segment of so-called hardcore gamers, who may be more drawn to dark, story-driven games or challenging and violent fighting games.
But Nintendo has built an empire marketing lovable, candy-colored characters like soft pink Kirby and smiling dinosaur Yoshi. At the beginning of the pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a low-key game where players build virtual islands, was a huge success.
Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch, is significantly less expensive than Sony’s PlayStation 5 or Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, and differs from the more expensive, boxier consoles in that it’s small and portable so players can game on the go.
The Switch is a huge success, having sold 114 million units by the end of September. But it has less processing power than the latest Microsoft and Sony consoles, raising questions about what kind of experience playing Call of Duty would be on a Nintendo device.
“Nintendo has done a great job creating a family-friendly platform that can be successful for creators of all types,” said Mr. Spencer, adding that there was “definite work” to do to get Call of Duty running properly on the Switch.