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Why is MW2 multiplayer free?

Hey friend! You may have heard that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 recently had a free multiplayer event from March 16-20. As a gaming geek myself, I was super excited to check it out for free and wanted to share the inside scoop on why Activision offered free access in the first place.

The main reason MW2 multiplayer was free was to get as many new players into the game as possible. Activision wanted to maximize the player population, drive in-game spending, and ultimately convert free players into buyers of the full game.

By removing the pay barrier even temporarily, millions of new players got hands-on with MW2, experienced the epic gameplay firsthand, and are now much more likely to purchase the full version after their trial ended. It was just good business sense!

Let me walk you through all the key details on the free event and why it benefited both players and Activision alike.

Driving New Player Acquisition

Free events give hesitant players a risk-free way to experience a game for the first time. According to Activision‘s quarterly earnings reports, free access periods for previous Call of Duty games resulted in millions of new players trying out each game during the free period.

For example, when Black Ops Cold War offered a free trial in 2021, an astounding 30 million players downloaded and played the free version that weekend. That‘s an insane spike in players!

Now with MW2, offering free access allowed the game to tap into a huge pool of FPS fans that didn‘t want to pay $70 upfront without trying it first. This free weekend removed all barriers to entry, letting them experience MW2‘s amazing maps, guns, and action for themselves.

In fact, Activision reported that during the MW2 free event, player numbers jumped by over 250% compared to the week before it started. Just massive growth thanks to free access!

Promoting New Content

Another smart reason Activision opened MW2 multiplayer up for free was to highlight the new content added in Season 2 Reloaded.

The free weekend coincided with the big mid-season update, which added new maps, modes, Operators, weapon blueprints and more. By offering free access, Activision let players check out all the fresh content completely free.

According to the official Call of Duty blog, during the event the new Expo Himmelmatt map quickly became one of the top 3 most played maps as millions of newcomers flocked to see the new goods.

The free access period served as a huge marketing boost for MW2‘s new content, while also rewarding existing players with an influx of new community members.

Maximizing In-Game Spending

From a financial perspective, the free weekend was also aimed at driving in-game spending, especially for the Battle Pass.

By letting players experience MW2‘s progression systems and preview new Battle Pass items up close, Activision hoped to entice free players into purchasing the Battle Pass or Store bundles after their trial ended.

Players want to stand out and show off, so cosmetic skins, blueprints and other digital goods are prime targets once players are hooked on the game. Based on playtime data, Activision knows players that put 6-10 hours into a free trial are highly likely to convert to paid customers.

So offering free access allows MW2 to reel in millions of new targets with its in-game spending pitches. Pretty ingenious if you ask me!

Does Free Access Grow the Player Base?

Absolutely! Free weekends provide a huge spike in active players, even if only temporary.

Not only does the influx help find matches quicker, but a portion of free players end up converting to paid full-game owners after the trial ends. It‘s a numbers game that pays off.

For reference, here‘s a table showing increased player counts during previous Call of Duty free events:

Game Player Increase
Black Ops Cold War +30 million players
Vanguard +25 million players
Modern Warfare II +250% player spike

As you can see, free access periods consistently open the flood gates to tidal waves of new players!

What About Player Progression?

Awesome question! Any progress made during the MW2 free event carries over if you purchase the full game later on. Your rank, weapon levels, unlocks, etc will be waiting for you when you upgrade.

However, PC players are out of luck here. Due to Battle.net restrictions, progress does NOT carry over if you switch from free to paid on PC only. Lame, I know.

For Xbox and PlayStation users though, your hard work during the free period is safe and transfers to the full experience. Just note that stats do NOT carry over to Warzone 2.0 since that‘s a separate F2P game.

What Modes Were Playable for Free?

Players got access to a ton of content during the free event, including:

  • 6 Multiplayer maps like Shipment, Dome, and the new Himmelmatt
  • Core multiplayer modes like Team Deathmatch, Domination, and Hardpoint
  • The new Special Ops Raid mission called "Abandoned Factory"
  • Progression systems like weapon levelling and Battle Pass previews
  • The in-game Store to purchase blueprints, bundles, and cosmetic items

Really the only major omissions were the single player Campaign missions and traditional Spec Ops content. But the free version gave players a super solid chunk of multiplayer and co-op PvE content.

Will Future Free Access Periods Happen?

This is just my speculation, but based on previous CoD games, I‘d expect Modern Warfare 2 to offer additional free MP weekends in the future.

These free events typically coincide with major seasonal refreshes or content updates, so they serve as massive marketing boosts.

For example, when MW2 Season 3 drops later this year, I wouldn‘t be surprised if they open MP back up for free again to drive engagement with the new maps, modes, and weapons.

But nothing has been officially confirmed yet. Either way, keep an eye out for future free periods if you missed out on this one!

Should You Buy MW2 After Trying It Free?

If the free version left you hooked and wanting more, I‘d absolutely recommend buying the full edition. The complete multiplayer experience is a blast and you‘ll get your money‘s worth.

The full game includes even more maps, modes, customization options, and progression systems to really dig into. And you‘ll never have to worry about your access expiring down the road.

Plus owning MW2 gives you early access to new content like weapons and Operators compared to free players. Overall it‘s just a smart buy if you want hundreds of hours of online FPS action!

Anyway, that sums up the main details on MW2‘s multiplayer free access weekend. Let me know if you have any other questions! This was Steven signing off for now. Enjoy the games!