With Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 set for release on October 28th, I have to say that it’s probably one of my most anticipated gaming releases left for 2022. – Having played the beta last month, I was surprisingly impressed with just how solid the latest addition to the highly-popular franchise was. – With that being said, however, the beta didn’t come without its problems. And especially so in regard to a specifically PC-related issue. – Yes, cheaters were back.
Now, at the time of the beta, Activision clearly had some plans in motion as they were very ominously coy about the situation regarding cheaters. There were more than a few suggestions that their RICOCHET cheat detection was possibly deliberately deactivated in order to quickly identify those who were planning to play a dishonest game of Modern Warfare 2 when it officially came out.
Following an update to their website (link here), however, it seems that as an extra measure, Modern Warfare 2 (like seen recently with Overwatch 2) is going to require PC gamers to register their phone number before they’ll be able to access the game! – And this might create some problems for those of you on PAYG (Pay as You Go) or pre-paid contracts!
As part of a new update to their battle.net support page, Activision has categorically confirmed that PC gamers planning to check out Modern Warfare 2 will be required to have a phone number associated with their account. The statement (very bluntly) says:
“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, newly created Overwatch 2 accounts, and newly created Call of Duty: Modern Warfare accounts require a phone number.”
Now, on the whole, I actually support this move. – Although Modern Warfare 2 isn’t a free game, it will still undoubtedly have a fair number of people who will be looking to cheat right from the start. And this is, like it or not, a problem pretty much exclusive to the PC platform (hence why this requirement is apparently only limited to those people).
Why do they need to do this though? Well, the problem with the current system is predominantly twofold. RICOCHET has had some success stopping cheaters in Warzone, but it’s hardly a perfect system. As per all anti-cheat software, it nearly always seems to be one step behind those actually creating the malicious software. – Put simply, it’s never proven to be a reliable prevention method.
Secondly though, through the purchase of a new copy on a new account, a banned cheater can fairly quickly get straight back into their dishonest action (not as cheaply as for free games in this specific instance, but still…)
Associating a phone number with an account, however, does create a genuinely viable option to not necessarily stop cheaters, but make their return significantly more difficult. – It’s easy to buy a new copy of the game. It’s easy to create a new account. It is, however, significantly less easy to get a brand new phone number. And in this regard, this might lead to a pretty big problem for some people!
The one biggest issues this may represent for many people is that Activision has said that PAYG or pre-paid phones may not (in theory) qualify to act as a successful form of authentication. Now, exactly how they will determine this is unclear, but their website says:
“Adding a phone number will allow Blizzard Entertainment to send you notifications when important changes are made 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”
Now, in fairness, the quote above is certainly open to interpretation. It only specifically refers to ‘notifications’ not being allowed on PAYG/pre-paid phones rather than the outright confirmation of the account. Presuming that this does also include the latter, however, then this is clearly a pretty sharp double-edged sword.
When we said earlier that getting a new phone number isn’t easy, that’s not technically true. I can easily walk into pretty much any local shop and pick up a phone SIM card, with a new number, for less than £5. – By limiting this to contracted phone plans, however, this takes that protection even one greater step forward. Why? Well, you’re typically stuck with that phone, and number, until the contract expires which in many instances is often for a term of 1-2 years.
Yes, some are going to absolutely hate it if this is the system Activision will use to try and limit/restrict cheaters. – For me though, I consider it a mild inconvenience if it even slightly helps prevents cheaters from ruining Modern Warfare 2.
And, let’s be honest, cheating is a community (us) problem that developers are left to attempt to deal with following a game’s release. As much as we might not like it, as much as we might complain about cheaters, and as much as we might regularly kid ourselves into pretending that it isn’t so, this remains a community and not a developer problem. It is not the other way around and if this is the only way Activision can solve it, so be it!
I mean, it’s not like anyone else has found a better system yet, is it?
What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!
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