Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II requires players to register with a phone number on Battle.net to play the game, to make players accountable for their actions. The game will be released later this month on October 28.
The phone verification system, which Activision Blizzard calls SMS Protect, aims to reduce toxic behavior from players, preventing them from creating endless new accounts to evade bans or cheat. “Limiting the number of free accounts a single person can create helps hold players accountable for their actions and in turn reduces toxicity and cheating and ensures a positive community experience for all players,” the Activision Blizzard support page reads. .
“Mobile phones with prepaid plans may not work with the phone notification service”
The problem is that SMS Protect is designed for text-enabled mobile phones and doesn’t treat all phone numbers equally. A separate Battle.net support page notes that “cell phones with prepaid plans may not work with the phone notification service.” It also doesn’t work with VoIP numbers. That limits the service to players with postpaid cellular plans, which may not be affordable or easily accessible to many players around the world.
A Modern Warfare II beta player told PCGamer last month they were asked for a “postpaid phone number” to start the game, with Battle.net refusing to accept the number associated with their prepaid Cricket Wireless subscription. “It seems very wrong to require video game players to sign a contract with a telecom company before being allowed to play the game they paid for,” they said.
Requiring players to provide a phone number is not new (dota 2 and Rainbow Six Siege both require them for ranked play), but there have been no widespread reports of prepaid phone plan issues with these earlier implementations. One player we spoke to was unable to play Overwatch 2 when they entered the same number they had used to play successfully dota 2 for years.
It’s unclear whether Activision Blizzard’s phone number requirements apply equally to: Modern Warfare II players on both Battle.net and Steam, as the game is available on both PC digital stores. Some commenters on Reddit report being asked for a phone number when playing the beta via Steam, while others said it wasn’t. Overwatch 2 is currently only available through Battle.net.
In case of Overwatch 2Activision Blizzard has said it is relaxing SMS Protect requirements for anyone who has played the original overwatch and has an affiliated Battle.net account. It is unclear whether similar fees are being made for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II players. A company spokesperson did not immediately respond The edge‘s request for comment.