Physical Copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Don’t Have the Game on the Disc

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Call of Duty is one of the most popular video game franchises in history — Sony has pointed out, as it tries to keep Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard. CoD could almost be considered a genre all by itself. Naturally, the release of a new game in the series is a big deal, but as gamers excitedly tear into their physical copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, they’re finding a nasty surprise. Instead of the game, discs have just 72MB of data and the rest must be downloaded.

The disc versions of the game appear to be functionally identical to digital copies. Instead of buying the license and downloading it, you purchase a disc that ships to you with a license key. Pop that in your console, and you don’t get to play the game right away — you have to download the game just like those who bought digital codes. So, the production and shipping of these discs is a complete waste of time and resources.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is a roughly 35GB game, which is small enough to fit on modern Blu-Ray game discs. However, with the addition of a day-one patch, MWII balloons to a ridiculous 150GB on the PS5. Ignoring for a moment how silly it is to ship a disc with nothing on it, it’s unacceptable that the publishers didn’t tell people this is what they were buying. There are good reasons people might want the disc version of a game.

Playing games via physical discs isn’t as common these days as it used to be, but it provides an important option for people who don’t have enough internet bandwidth to download dozens of gigabytes. Many ISPs also cap data usage, so you may not want to download enormous games. In the US, which generally has higher data caps than many countries, Comcast caps residential users to 1.2TB per month. Downloading Modern Warfare II would eat up more than 10% of that allotment, even if you went out of your way to buy a disc version of the game. Plus, a disc is more likely to work in the absence of online services, which publishers like to shut down to save money once a game is no longer popular. It appears none of those advantages matter to Activision.

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