(Bloomberg) -- Activision Blizzard Inc. executives were briefed on a next-generation console from Nintendo Co. as early as 2022, according to an internal email revealed as part of the US Federal Trade Commission’s probe into Microsoft Corp.’s bid to purchase Activision.

In a December 2022 email between Activision executives, Chief Financial Officer Armin Zerza shares an executive briefing for a call with Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa. The email includes an attachment titled “NG Switch Draft.pdf” — referring to a “next-generation” device. The heavily redacted document includes a paragraph comparing a next-generation Switch to current gaming consoles. 

“Given the closer alignment to gen8 platforms in terms of performance and our previous offerings on PS4 / XboxOne, it is reasonable to assume that we could make something compelling for NG Switch as well,” the document says. “It would be helpful to secure early access to development hardware prototypes and prove that out nice and early.”

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Nintendo’s Switch was released in 2017 and has sold more than 129 million units. Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony Group Corp.’s PlayStation have each released next-generation consoles since, leaving some in the industry to expect that Nintendo is close to releasing a sequel to its popular handheld console.

Earlier this month, Eurogamer reported that Nintendo showed the Switch 2 to developers behind closed doors at Gamescom in Cologne. Neither Nintendo nor Activision immediately responded to requests for comment.

Nintendo has come up before in the FTC’s case against Microsoft. Activision Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick said during a questioning that he’d like to be able to release the studio’s popular Call of Duty first-person shooter game onto Nintendo’s next device, pending its technical specifications. In the new email, Activision executives imply a next-generation Switch may be better at handling a technically demanding game.

“There are not many third-party developers out there as big as Activision. It’s clear Nintendo wants to make sure that Call Of Duty, for example, appears on their new hardware this time around,” said analyst Serkan Toto of Kantan Games. 

The email was first reported by The Verge.

--With assistance from Jessica Nix.

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