Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 won’t have Overwatch 2’s messy SMS requirement

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 soldiers in building
(Image credit: Activision)

You’ll only need to go through the SMS verification process that frustrated Overwatch 2 fans if you're playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on PC and, importantly, haven’t verified your Warzone account already. 

Activision Blizzard explains in its blog that the SMS policy for the both Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 on remains unchanged from what was implemented for Warzone back in May 2020. You will, however, need to ensure your Steam Account has a phone number attached if you fancy playing through Valve’s platform. 

“SMS verification is critical to our anti-cheat enforcement efforts, tackling illicit account creation at its source,” the developer explains. “This helps our security team to maintain account and game security in order to provide a safe, fair, and fun gaming experience for all our players.” 

The developer goes on to explain that the SMS policy was updated back in August for new Modern Warefare players as the anti-cheat team “started seeing more cheaters attempt to access Warzone from Modern Warfare to bypass the SMS policy”. As such, the update was recommended to “further combat the illicit account market”. 

If you’ve been out of the loop, Blizzard drew the ire of Overwatch 2 fans as some of them couldn’t play depending on their phone plan. Initially, the developer required them to attach a phone number to their accounts to play the game. That’s fine, but players soon ran into issues with the new 2FA system, called SMS Protect, as number types like “prepaid and VOIP” weren’t accepted. 

Blizzard soon walked the requirement back, though the phone notifications page on’s support site sparked confusion among fans as it implied Modern Warfare 2 would require the same thing. 

Elsewhere in Activision’s latest blog, we also see how the anti-cheat system fared in the recent Modern Warfare 2 beta. Prior to the event, 60,000 illicit accounts were denied entry with another 20,000 bans being issued throughout the beta. 

“Examining the data, we found that 72% of players detected to be cheating were actioned on before they ever played a single match,” the developer says. “For those that were able to play normally (assuming every match they played included the use of cheats), our systems were able to detect and remove them from our ecosystem – on average – within five matches played.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 launches on October 28, 2022. 

Check out our Warzone Ricochet anti-cheat system explainer to get caught up.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.