Call of Duty

Modern Warfare 2's SMS Requirement is Different from Overwatch 2's

"The SMS requirement for game access is used for security purposes only. Call of Duty does not use SMS verification data for marketing purposes."
"The SMS requirement for game access is used for security purposes only. Call of Duty does not use SMS verification data for marketing purposes." / Activision

The text-enabled mobile phone number requirement to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II will only be in effect on PC (via Battle.net and Steam), Activision announced Thursday.

Warzone players on PC that have previously verified their accounts will not be required to provide any additional information to access Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.0.

As seen with the launch of Overwatch 2 by its sister company, Blizzard, Activision has received some stern criticism from the Call of Duty community in recent days as news broke that the phone notifications help page on Battle.net was updated so that players must provide a phone number to play Modern Warfare 2.

Blizzard initially described its SMS Protect feature as an "industry-proven solution in combating both cheating and disruptive behavior." Activision has now officially rebuffed that sentiment, stating SMS verification helps to tackle "illicit account creation at its source."

Of course, however, this requirement became one of OW2's most controversial topics at launch as a significant amount of players were locked out when using a single phone number for more than one account, or when using a prepaid phone number when activating their SMS protection.

Ultimately, Blizzard opted to remove the requirement for a majority of existing Overwatch 2 players, making it so that those who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number in order to play.

Now, it appears Activision is taking a similar stance, but one that's not dependent on legacy, but on platform instead.

Per Activision, its decision to enforce an SMS policy for Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.0 on PC — regardless of when accounts were created — is the same as the requirement that's already been in place for Warzone on PC, which was implemented in May 2020.

The company's main concern, again, appears to be disruptive players making new accounts and returning to COD lobbies after being banned or suspended.

"In August 2022," Activision's blog post reads, "we updated the SMS policy for new players of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), requiring a text-enabled mobile phone number to play the game. Prior to this change, new accounts in Modern Warfare could access Warzone without a SMS security check. As the illicit account market adjusted to our security enforcement, #TeamRICOCHET started seeing more cheaters attempt to access Warzone from Modern Warfare to bypass the SMS policy, so the security team recommended the update to further combat the illicit account market."

Activision has an ongoing lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of the most prominent cheat providers in gaming.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is set to release worldwide on Oct. 28.

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Additionally, feel free to check out our timeline on the history of the Call of Duty franchise!