Only the 2008 Lions defense has more gaping holes than the Switch’s football library.
Why Are There No Football Games for Nintendo Switch?
Major football game franchises are absent from the Switch due to the console’s hardware limitations, potentially high development costs associated with porting the games to the Switch, and licensing issues. All this is underscored by a relative lack of demand.
This article explores these reasons in more detail and runs the rule over the handful of football options that are available on the Switch.
The Switch’s hardware is not as powerful as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, let alone the Series S/X or PS5. which makes it difficult to run detailed sims like Madden smoothly on the console.
Plenty of players have reported performance issues, like frame drops and difficulties optimizing graphics settings, when playing Madden 23 on PS5.
If that hardware juggernaut struggles, then what hope is there for the Switch?
It would also be a struggle to pack all the required data into a package small enough to fit on the Switch’s onboard storage. Case in point: The Switch port of NBA 2K23 is 53.7GB – more than double the usable storage capacity on an OG model Switch
Given the performance issues mentioned above, the only hope for Madden on the Switch would be a port with drastically reduced fidelity and features.
However, money is likely to be the main barrier to this.
The cost of porting a game varies wildly depending on many factors including how the game is built, the complexity of the features, and which platform it is being ported to.
According to one company that specializes in this sort of work, the cost of porting a multiplatform AAA title can run into the low seven figures.
Probably not worth it, then, unless you stuff the port full of egregious microtransactions (counterpoint: The Switch port of MLB The Show 23 is fully featured and pretty decent, so it can be done).
The NFL has an exclusive licensing agreement with EA Sports for Madden, while 2K has an agreement with the NFL Players Association for its own football games.
Due to EA’s exclusive rights for simulation football video games through 2026, new 2K games will be non-simulation football experiences.
It’s possible that these agreements make it difficult or impossible for these games to be released on the Switch.
Lack of demand
Let’s be honest, there isn’t a huge pool of football fanatics outside of North America which puts a pretty low cap on potential sales.
Madden games didn’t sell particularly well on the 3DS or the Wii U, so is it really worth putting the time and effort into a Switch port? Clearly, the big dogs at EA don’t think so.
They don’t even think it’s worth putting time and effort into the FIFA port, despite the market-leading soccer sim being an easy sell worldwide. Tells you all you need to know, really.
Have publishers said anything?
It doesn’t seem like anyone’s desperate to make a Switch football game…
Madden NFL series
EA has said absolutely nothing about a possible Switch port of any current or future Madden NFL games. Not a squeak.
There’s a change dot org petition with over one thousand signatures asking for a Switch version of Madden 23 but, uh…, I don’t think that’s going to do much. Sorry, Tiago.
2K Football series
2K has confirmed it has an NFL arcade game currently in development. Actually, it was slated for release in 2022 but has been delayed (without any reason being given by publishers, Take-Two).
NBA 2K23 – the popular basketball game made by the 2K team – dropped a potential teaser for football fans by including several playable NFL stars in the MyTeam Crossover series.
While there is no confirmation that the next 2K football game will come to Switch, an arcade-style game would be a much better fit for the platform than a full-on sim.
Maximum Football 2023
Maximum Football 2023 is an upcoming, unlicensed football sim that, to be honest, looks pretty awesome. It’s also the first free-to-play football sim to hit the market.
Currently, only PC, PlayStation, and Xbox versions have been announced (and cross-play will be supported).
I can’t find any information about a potential future Switch version, but it’s certainly more likely to happen than any Madden game…
The current state of football games on Nintendo Switch
You’re not totally out of luck if you’re desperate to play football on your Switch. Here are a few options:
Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition
Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition is a… unique take on football.
This game features monsters and mutants playing football in a post-apocalyptic world, with over-the-top violence and humor. Gameplay-wise, it feels like a spiritual successor to classic games like NFL Blitz.
TECMO BOWL was a groundbreaking release on the NES way back in 1987. It’s now available on the Switch’s NES emulator for all Nintendo Switch online subscribers.
While obviously not having the gameplay of modern football games, TECMO BOWL offers a gloriously nostalgic trip down memory lane for Wildcats and Bulldogs fans who miss their CRT TVs.
Arcade Archives Tecmo Bowl
The arcade version of Tecmo Bowl is also playable on the Nintendo Switch.
For just $7.99 (in the eShop), you can transport yourself back to an 80’s arcade and experience a slightly more impressive version of the original NES release.
TECMO BOWL walked so Retro Bowl could run.
It’s actually a pretty fun experience with surprising depth to the gameplay. As well as playing controlling the star quarterback, you have ‘General Manager’ level controls and can draft and trade players, amongst other things.
Arcade Archives Football Frenzy
Another classic arcade port by Hamster for the Nintendo Switch.
This is, in my opinion, the best-looking of all the retro football games available on Switch. Each of the 10 teams also has unique strengths and weaknesses to suit all styles of play, which is cool.
It’s a small-size Switch game worth adding to your library.
If you’re keen to travel even farther back in time, you can get stuck into a game of 10-Yard Fight, a 1983 arcade release that was ported to NES in 1985.
Win against the current difficulty level and you’ll advance to the next game against tougher opponents.
It’s available on the Nintendo Switch eShop.
Football Heroes Turbo
Football Heroes Turbo is an indie game on Switch you might not know about but, unlike the picks on this list of underrated Switch indies, there’s a reason for that:
It’s just not that great.
Gameplay is limited and is void of the charm that comes with the retro classics I covered above. Plus, at $14.99 on the eShop, it’s not exactly pocket-money friendly.