Xbox and PC players of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 were given a rude awakening today in regards to crossplay.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is playable on PC via Steam and Activision Blizzard’s own client, as well as Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. PlayStation players have an option to disable crossplay so that they can only play with other PlayStation players. Xbox and PC owners just found out they don’t have that option for their own platforms.
This doesn’t exactly put PlayStation players at an advantage, but it’s an issue because of the lack of options. Most players do find it easier to play using a mouse and keyboard, compared to using a console controller like the DualSense or Xbox Series controller. The control setup most Call of Duty players have on their computers is, of course, mouse and keyboard.
However, it should be pointed out that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 actually has mouse and keyboard support for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S already built in. If players wanted to, they could also use an adapter to use a mouse and keyboard setup on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but these aren’t common given the extra cost.
Although console players can use mouse and keyboard controls for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 themselves, they will have to buy specific keyboards and mice that were licensed to work on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles for this every purpose. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is also set up in such a way that they will give other players a notification if you are on console, but using this setup.
Practically speaking, most players do stick to the default control system they have on their given platform, which means PC players are expected to have the advantage every time they go into crossplay.
Only, PC players do also have to contend with the fact that console players have aim assist automatically enabled for them. If you use a mouse and keyboard for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, whatever the platform, the game will definitely disable that aim assist. Aim assist is supposed to level the playing field for console players, but some PC players may also not want to have to deal with that from their opponents as well.
In general, the ideal arrangement for an even playing field would be to have the option to disable crossplay, so that everyone has the same controller setup. PlayStation players have that option, but both Xbox and PC players do not.
It isn’t clear for now if this was a simple mistake on Infinity Ward’s part, or a deliberate decision that they may not have realized would be hugely unpopular. After all, they are selling a disc for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 that doesn’t even have the game on it.
Interestingly enough, this situation bolsters the case for just how much of an advantage PlayStation has thanks to their marketing and exclusivity deal with Activision Blizzard and the Call of Duty franchise. Microsoft can’t even add Call of Duty to Game Pass if they finalize their acquisition because of that deal. With that in mind, it will certainly be interesting if this comes up in the UK CMA investigation of the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard.