Recent updates to online store and support pages suggested that all Modern Warfare II players would have to register a unique, text-capable phone number with their account to play the game. In a blog post this week, though, the team behind the game’s Ricochet anti-cheat system suggests that the requirement will only apply to PC players.
That’s a significant difference from Blizzard’s policy regarding Overwatch 2, which initially required all players across PC and consoles to register a phone number for its “SMS Protect” system. Blizzard later partially rolled back that policy to exempt players that used a Battle.net account to play the original Overwatch.
Activision’s SMS security requirement will also extend to PC players of the free-to-play Warzone 2.0, Team Ricochet writes. Players who accessed the original Warzone on PC have needed to link a phone number since May 2020, and will not be exempt from that requirement for the sequel.
The 2019 reboot of Modern Warfare—which includes access to Warzone—added a similar SMS phone requirement in August 2022. That’s because the anti-cheat team “started seeing more cheaters attempt to access Warzone from Modern Warfare to bypass the SMS policy, so the security team recommended the update to further combat the illicit account market.”
Similar reasoning seems to apply to the security requirements for this month’s launch of Modern Warfare 2 and the associated Warzone 2.0. “SMS verification is critical to our anti-cheat enforcement efforts, tackling illicit account creation at its source,” Team Ricochet writes. “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.”
Modern Warfare 2 will also be the first franchise game to require PC players to use Ricochet’s kernel-level anti-cheat drivers at launch. Those drivers are also being updated to “provide more information to our security teams in the event of cheaters getting into the game, feeding data to our detection and mitigation systems,” the developers write.
While the Ricochet system was partially in place for the game’s open beta earlier this year (and led to more than 20,000 account bans), the team says it will be rolling out “all existing [cheat] mitigation systems” for the game’s full launch on October 28. That includes measures that can strike cheaters blind, remove their weapons, shield their opponents from damage, and more cheater-frustrating effects.