One of the many complaints against Overwatch 2 was that it required players to pair a phone number for Activision Blizzard's "SMS Protect" system. It's basically two-factor authentication, but it also ties the number to a player's account, making it a requirement to play the game. Worse, pre-paid plans didn't work, so the system priced out anyone who couldn't afford a cell phone plan.
Blizzard eventually walked back that requirement to be for just new Overwatch 2 players. But the same requirement was then announced for Modern Warfare 2, which drew the same backlash. A few days later, Activision Blizzard is walking back those requirements yet again, saying that Modern Warfare's SMS Protect requirements will be limited to new players on the PC platform only.
"The SMS policy for Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2.0 on Battle.net is the same as the requirement for Call of Duty: Warzone on PC, which was implemented in May 2020. A mobile phone number must be linked to your Steam Account to play Modern Warfare II on that platform," wrote Activision in yesterday's anti-cheat update. "SMS verification is critical to our anti-cheat enforcement efforts, tackling illicit account creation at its source."
Just like for Overwatch 2, existing players that have already verified their account for Call of Duty Warzone will not be required to provide another number for Modern Warfare 2 or Warzone 2. Activision said that the "illicit account market" meant additional verification steps are required to prevent more cheating in Warzone. Since most of the cheaters are on PC, it's logical to limit the SMS requirement to PC on Battle.net and Steam.
Elsewhere in the post, Activision confirmed that Ricochet Anti-Cheat will launch day one with Modern Warfare 2. Installed at the kernel level, Ricochet is said to offer "better detection capabilities, additional access to develop and deploy new mitigation techniques, and expanded freedom to update our security more frequently than ever before." We'll see about that when Modern Warfare 2 arrives on October 28.
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