Activision has removed restrictions on prepaid cell phones for Battle.net’s 2FA system, meaning anyone with a cell phone, no matter what, will be able to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Overwatch 2 .
Activision and Blizzard have been criticized for the 2FA system, called SMS Protect (opens in a new tab)in October, not because of the phone number requirement, than other games, including Dota 2 (opens in a new tab) and Rainbow Six Siege (opens in a new tab) also require, but because it would not accept prepaid or VOIP mobile phones. If you wanted to play two of the biggest games of the year, in other words, you had to sign up for a mobile phone contract, which many people choose not to do. (opens in a new tab) as prepaid wireless services become more flexible and competitive.
Locking out a large number of potential players was a baffling choice, but the situation escalated even further almost immediately. While many gamers have confirmed that their prepaid phones won’t work with SMS Protect, some people, including our associate editor and Overwatch 2 reviewer Tyler Colp, have said that their prepaid phones do. (opens in a new tab). So, instead of a definitive “no”, which sucks but at least leaves no doubt about what is happening, there has been confusion.
An update shared later that month clarified that the phone number requirement would not apply to console players. (opens in a new tab), and that PC players who had already verified themselves for Call of Duty: Warzone; a similar relaxation of the phone requirement was extended to Overwatch 2 players on October 7. But now everything is much simpler, because as long as you have a phone, you are all set.
Overwatch 2 was the first to announce that SMS Protect will drop the prepaid restriction, following an update that will go live tomorrow, November 18.
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The Call of Duty Twitter account followed shortly after.
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No reason for the change was given, but I’ve reached out to Activision and Blizzard to ask and will update if I get a response. In the meantime, that’s definitely good news for anyone who isn’t playing either game yet: if you want to get into it, you can now.