The upcoming Call of Duty installment has an annoying phone number verification requirement

The upcoming Call of Duty installment has an annoying phone number verification requirement

In order to hold players accountable for their actions, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II will require players to register with a phone number on The game will be released on October 28th, later this month.

It’s a recurrence of the practice that caused problems for Overwatch 2 players last week, according to PCGamer. The upcoming Call of Duty shooter is listed as one of three games that “require you to add a phone number to your account” to play, alongside Overwatch 2 and 2019’s Modern Warfare.

The phone verification system, known as SMS Protect by Activision Blizzard, is intended to reduce toxic behavior among players by preventing them from creating an infinite number of new accounts in order to avoid bans or cheating. According to Activision Blizzard’s support page, “limiting the number of free accounts that a single person can create helps keep players accountable for their actions, which in turn reduces toxicity and cheating and ensures a positive community experience for all players.”

The issue is that SMS Protect is only compatible with text-enabled mobile phones and does not treat all phone numbers equally. According to a separate support page, “prepaid phones may not work with the phone notification service.” It is also incompatible with VoIP numbers. This limits the service to players with postpaid cellular plans, which may be out of reach for many players around the world.

Requiring players to provide a phone number isn’t a new concept (Dota 2 and Rainbow Six Siege both require it for ranked play), but there haven’t been widespread reports of issues with prepaid phone plans with previous implementations. One player we spoke with was barred from playing Overwatch 2 after entering the same number they’d used for years to successfully play Dota 2.

Given that Modern Warfare II is available on both PC digital stores, it’s unclear whether Activision Blizzard’s phone number requirements will apply equally to players on both and Steam. Some Reddit users claim they were asked for a phone number when attempting to access the beta via Steam, while others claim they were not. Overwatch 2 is currently available only on

In the case of Overwatch 2, Activision Blizzard has stated that it is relaxing its SMS Protect requirements for anyone who has previously played Overwatch and has a account. It’s unclear whether similar accommodations will be made for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II players.