Overwatch 2 has been a subject of many controversy from its inception. The main one was the requirement to register a mobile phone number for a player to play a game. Prepaid phones are not eligible. As many rightfully pointed out, this was creating a barrier to playing the game for people who couldn’t afford a phone plan or teenagers who might just not have one for various reasons (the game is rated T after all). Blizzard did at least partially remove the Overwatch requirement.
“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.”
Well, while Acti-Blizz has softened their stance on Overwatch 2, they’re seemingly still sticking to the plan for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. According to a Battle.net support page, all players will need to provide a phone number to access MW2…
“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, newly created Overwatch 2 accounts, and newly created Call of Duty: Modern Warfare accounts require a phone number. […] By adding a phone number, Blizzard Entertainment will send you notifications when there are important changes 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.”
The Steam page for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 also backs this up, with fine print noting that players “must” have a cell number linked to their Steam account to play.
It seems rather baffling that Activision would attempt to push this through after the Overwatch 2 backtrack, but perhaps they’re betting on the fact that CoD is an M-rated game with an older fanbase who perhaps won’t have as much trouble getting access to a phone to register with.
Activision Blizzard has faced a series of lawsuits and other legal action on the heels of a suit filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) alleging widespread gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment at the Call of Duty publisher. You can read more about the unfolding story here.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is now available for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PS4 on October 28.