The next entry in the Call of Duty franchise, Modern Warfare II, is set to release on October 28th. With it comes a controversial feature from Overwatch 2 that Blizzard has already removed.
The Overwatch 2 SMS protection was designed to help authenticate accounts in Battle.net and verify accounts for the game’s online ranked play. Other games that offer a ranked ladder offer something similar, but there were a lot of issues that Blizzard was running into. One particular case was that people with prepaid phone plans were not eligible for SMS protection, meaning they couldn’t play the game.
Even though Blizzard, which Activision owns, removed this feature for Overwatch 2, Modern Warfare II will still launch with SMS protection.
The Battle.net support page mentions the following:
“Adding a phone number will allow Blizzard Entertainment to send you notifications when important changes are made to your account. Any mobile phone in a supported country with a data plan, and that is not prepaid or a VOIP number, can be used with this service.”
PC Gamer additionally reports that people were asked for a “post-paid phone number” to be able to play in the Modern Warfare 2 beta. As was the case with Overwatch 2, people that use Cricket Wireless had issues being able to get past the SMS protection.
“This seems very wrong to require videogame players to enter into a contract with a telecom company before being allowed to play the game they paid for,” they continued. “Especially when prepaid phone plans like mine are becoming more and more common. It isn’t the gas station special of yesteryear anymore, I have an iPhone and a phone plan that works no different in practice than any other contract plan: Unlimited talk, text, data etc. Yet because I make a monthly payment I am somehow ineligible to play future Activision titles?”
It seems strange that Activision Blizzard is letting this happen after the stark backlash from the Overwatch 2 SMS protection. When Blizzard removed the requirement to allow people like Cricket Wireless users to play the game, they said the following:
“We designed Overwatch 2 to be a live service, which enables us to be responsive to a variety of player feedback. We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players. Any Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play. We are working to make this change and expect it to go live on Friday, October 7. We will update players once it is in effect.”
When Modern Warfare II launches later this month, it will bring several new features to the franchise. Third-Person mode is making a return to the series after a decade-plus absence. The game’s maps are also being developed with specific game modes in mind. Infinity Ward referenced the following playstyles:
- Rushers are the aggressive run and gunners.
- Sentinels are the campers who prefer to hold down an area or objective.
- Stalkers prefer to hang back and see how a situation unfolds before making their move.
New game modes include a 20v20 “big team battle” style match, which includes AI bots. A 6v6 game mode, similar to Counter-Strike, will also be present. Special Ops missions make a return to Call of Duty, too.
One of the big marquee features later this month is the launch of Warzone 2.0. It should be noted that the controversial SMS protection is only required for Modern Warfare II; there’s no mention of Warzone 2.0 needing any SMS protection.