The launch of Overwatch 2 was met with controversy after it became necessary to link a phone number with a Blizzard account. It couldn’t be any phone number however, as they had to come from non-prepaid phone plans, which made it impossible for many using prepaid phone numbers to play the game. As spotted by VGC, an updated article on Blizzard’s website suggests Activision-Blizzard will be adopting this strategy for the remade Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

The shift to requiring phone numbers to play online games is part of Activision-Blizzard’s campaign to remove malicious behaviour in-game, including abusive language and cheating. The move was first announced as part of Overwatch 2‘s Defense Matrix Initiative, and has been received poorly by gamers since its rollout. Whilst Overwatch 2 is free-to-play, Modern Warfare 2 is a full-priced title, and could end up preventing players accessing the game they paid for.

Overwatch 2 Defense Matrix Initiative
Blizzard’s Defense Matrix Initiative aims to combat player misbehaviour, and makes phone number linking mandatory for new players.

After the backlash for Overwatch 2‘s mobile verification, Blizzard removed the requirement for those who have been signed up to Battle.net for over a year. It isn’t yet known if the same rules as Overwatch 2 will apply to Modern Warfare 2, but an article on Blizzard’s website does state “mobile phones with prepaid plans may not work with the phone notification service”.

Whilst Blizzard is infamously known for assuming people have phones, prepaid phone numbers are a preferred solution for many gamers who don’t have the ability to pay into a contract phone. The exclusion of these types of phone numbers by Blizzard’s verification services is troublesome, especially if players are to pay into a fully-priced game like Modern Warfare 2.

How do you feel about the industry’s shift toward phone requirements? Let us know in the comments below, and keep your eyes on GameLuster for more gaming news.

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