Leave a Comment
Blizzard Entertainment has been getting peppered with questions about the Nintendo Switch lately. It makes sense given how wildly popular Nintendo's new console is. After asking about Overwatch possibly coming to the Switch, Blizzard was recently asked if Hearthstone would come to the portable console.
I personally haven't talked about it (Hearthstone on Switch) but I'm more focused on card design. Hearthstone is available on iPads and phones, so it's a good discussion worth having.
Unfortunately, nothing concrete could be gleaned from the interview, but it did at least verify that the Nintendo Switch could be something on their radar.
Additionally, Hearthstone was built on the Unity 3D game engine, as noted over on the official Unity website. This means that game is already designed with the built-in pipeline tools to make it easy to adjust the controls and playability for the Nintendo Switch, since Unity is one of the game engine software companies supporting the Switch. What's more is that for version 5.6 of the Unity 3D game engine they've included improved port and build support for the Nintendo Switch platform, as outlined in a recent blog post.
Technically, everything they need to make a port of Hearthstone on the Nintendo Switch is already right there available at their fingertips. The only thing they have to do is pull the trigger once the higher-ups at Blizzard give the go-ahead... assuming they give the go-ahead.
What's weird about this situation is that there seems to be a lot of reticence, apprehension, and reluctance on the part of third-party developers and publishers jumping into the fray to support the Nintendo Switch. Perhaps they're worried it could end up being like the Nintendo Wii U? Or maybe they just don't feel the investment is worth it right now.
Whatever the case, the longer they wait the harder it will be to stand out once the system reaches peak saturation. Nintendo is already expecting to move 20 million units in 2017 alone, and they got off to an excellent start by moving 1.5 million SKUs globally within the first week.
According to the reports that have been circulating, attachment rates for high-end games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are almost 1:1 and other supporting software has been fairly high when it comes to attachment rates as well. Having a game like Hearthstone on the Switch before a bunch of other low-quality clones make their way to the system would give Blizzard both a leg-up on the competition and a completely fresh market demographic to garner revenue from.
On the upside, at least the Hearthstone developers mentioned that they would discuss the possibility instead of shooting it down. Whether or not anything comes out of it remains to be seen, but fans definitely seem eager to get their hands on Blizzard's games on the Nintendo Switch. Blizzard just has to turn that fan desire into a reality.