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Do You Have to Pay for Modern Warfare Multiplayer on PC?

The short answer is yes, you do have to purchase Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in order to access the multiplayer portion on PC. There is no way around this – multiplayer requires the paid version and is not available for free. However, there are some important details worth covering in depth as an avid PC gamer and streaming enthusiast. Let‘s dig into everything you need to know about playing Modern Warfare 2 online.

Breaking Down the Modern Warfare 2 Purchase Options

As a fellow gamer, I know it can get confusing with all the different versions and add-ons out there. Here‘s a quick rundown of what each Modern Warfare 2 edition includes:

Standard Edition – $69.99

  • Full game – campaign, multiplayer, and spec ops
  • Early access open beta

Vault Edition – $99.99

  • Full game
  • Early campaign access
  • Battle pass + 50 tier skips
  • Red Team 141 operator pack

The Vault Edition gives you some nice bonuses like exclusive operator skins and earlier campaign access, but does not actually include anything additional for multiplayer. You still need the base Standard Edition as a minimum to play online.

Examining the Free-to-Play Offerings

There are two free Call of Duty options this year, but unfortunately neither provides access to Modern Warfare 2‘s full multiplayer:

Warzone 2.0

  • 150 player battle royale
  • New map Al Mazrah
  • Shared progression with MW2

DMZ mode

  • Extraction style PvPvE gameplay
  • Part of MW2 but separate from multiplayer

Warzone 2.0 seems awesome, especially with my favorite battle royale being free this time around. But it won‘t satisfy that classic Modern Warfare online itch. DMZ could be cool too, but is more of its own separate thing.

Weighing the Costs as a PC Gamer

I know $70 is a big ask, but from obsessively analyzing every detail as a PC enthusiast, I really think the premium multiplayer is worth it this year. Here‘s a bit of a cost/benefit breakdown:


  • Iconic MW multiplayer with new modes
  • Shared progression with Warzone 2.0
  • Huge improvements over last year‘s buggy release
  • Over 50 new weapons and maps

Cost Considerations

  • Full price is $70 – ouch!
  • Probably will go on sale eventually
  • Base Warzone 2.0 is free
  • Definitely still has some bugs

For me the pros outweigh the cons, but I totally get waiting for a discount if you‘re unsure. Keep an eye out for holiday sales later this year!

Examining Multiplayer Numbers and Engagement

Let‘s take a data-driven look at health of Modern Warfare 2‘s multiplayer community on PC so far:

Peak Concurrent Players on Steam Over 250,000
Total Hours Played (First Weekend) Over 50 million
Average Players In-Game Currently 120,000

These are extremely promising figures for launch week and suggest a lively playerbase. The shared progression with Warzone 2.0 also means more overall engagement across modes. Having plenty of active players online is key for matchmaking and player retention.

Analyzing Post-Launch Support and Anti-Cheat Efforts

Ongoing maintenence and anti-cheat technology will play a big role in keeping MW2‘s multiplayer community healthy. Here‘s what we know so far:

  • Regular patches and updates planned for bugs/optimization
  • Dedicated security team monitoring cheating
  • Ban waves rolling out – over 50,000 accounts banned already
  • Two-factor authentication highly recommended

There are still cheaters out there ruining matches unfortunately. But Activision seems to be taking it more seriously this time around. Fingers crossed they can get it under control.

The Verdict – Multiplayer Worth Buying on Day One?

At the end of the day, I think Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2‘s multiplayer on PC is worth purchasing right away if you‘re a big fan of the franchise. The gameplay improvements, maps, modes, and overall polish make it a fresh experience rather than a copy/paste job. And the player population seems strong out of the gate.

However, waiting for a discount could be wise if you‘re on the fence. And Warzone 2.0 may satisfy your needs depending on what you‘re looking for. I‘ll be playing MW2 online non-stop and can‘t wait to squad up!

Let me know if you have any other questions my friend! I‘m always happy to nerd out over PC gaming tech and data.