You can stop holding your breath. FIFA 18 is, in fact, coming to Nintendo Switch later this year.
GameReactor chatted with Peter Moore, EA's chief competition officer, and asked him about the FIFA franchise's role on the #Nintendo console. It turns out EA is bringing FIFA 18 to the console, but there's a twist: the Nintendo Switch is getting its very own version of the title.
"Well, as we have said, we are custom-building a FIFA version for the Nintendo Switch. It will be FIFA 18, and it will obviously be later this year when FIFA 18 comes out."
- Peter Moore, EA
Fans originally worried that the Nintendo Switch version of FIFA would be a standalone title, but it seems FIFA 18 will be coming to the console after all.
When pressed, Moore said the Nintendo Switch version would be developed from the FIFA team in Vancouver. So no outside ports are in play for the Switch; the original development team will be handling the Switch version as well. Which means Nintendo Switch fans can certainly look forward to FIFA 18 arriving on Nintendo Switch as it was intended to be played by the developers themselves.
But Moore's response does raise questions. Why is Nintendo Switch's FIFA 18 being "custom-built" for the console?
The most obvious answer is the Nintendo Switch's dual capabilities. FIFA 18 would have to be programmed to function with both the TV and handheld version of the console in mind. UI and gameplay tweaks might be necessary for the game's controller, screen, and battery life. Plus, EA might make use of the HD rumble feature, which would make FIFA 18 multiplayer more immersive than ever.
On a less optimistic note, a custom version could be necessary due to the Nintendo Switch's graphical limits. GamesBeat confirmed with two anonymous sources that the Nintendo Switch "won't be more powerful than Sony's three-year old PlayStation 4," as the Nintendo Switch's visual capabilities are still limited to the Nvidia Maxwell processing hardware from last generation. While the Switch can definitely handle games such as Skyrim and Yooka-Laylee, it's an open question whether EA is confident in the Nintendo Switch's processing powers.
In other words, the custom version of FIFA 18 may have tweaked graphics, depending on how powerful the Switch's hardware is compared to other console releases of FIFA 18. This, combined with some of the unique features of the Nintendo Switch's on-the-go and stay-at-home features, may have convinced EA to develop a unique version alongside the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases.
FIFA 18's success on the Switch could spell a lot for EA's future relationship with the console. High sales could mean further titles on the Switch. And while BioWare and Respawn have both given "no's" when asked about Mass Effect Andromeda and Titanfall 2 arriving on the Switch, it's still an open possibility if EA will embrace the console later in the year.
Of course, EA is playing their cards close to their chest. If FIFA 18 doesn't sell well, the publisher has no other games planned for Switch. FIFA 18 is the test balloon for more sales. And if the game does sell well, then EA could look to the console as a brand new opportunity for increased profit.
A lot depends on the next few months for both Nintendo and EA. The FIFA franchise is one of the company's most popular; by January 2018, the gaming industry will know for certain if the third-party publisher is down with Nintendo's on-the-go console alternative.
Are you looking forward to FIFA 18 on Nintendo Switch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.