Call of Duty: Modern Warfare console players are turning off crossplay to try to escape PC cheaters.
Cheating is an increasing issue for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare across both traditional multiplayer and Warzone, but it feels pronounced in the battle royale mode. This week, developer Infinity Ward said it had issued over 70,000 bans worldwide to protect Warzone from cheaters. “We are watching. We have zero tolerance for cheaters,” the studio tweeted.
However, players continue to complain about cheaters who are able to automatically hit enemy heads, shoot through walls and play without recoil, among other prohibited abilities. The various Call of Duty subreddits are packed with clips of cheaters exposed via Modern Warfare’s killcam and Warzone’s spectate mode.
Traditionally, competitive multiplayer cheating is more of a PC problem than it is a console problem, due to the difficulty in running console games with cheats enabled. But console players are running up against PC cheaters because of Modern Warfare’s crossplay feature.
Crossplay is of course wonderful for any multiplayer game, Call of Duty included, because it means friends can play together across platforms, and larger player pools mean quick matchmaking, full lobbies and low latency matches.
However, a negative side effect of crossplay in Call of Duty is console players are exposed to PC cheaters – and as a temporary fix, console players are turning off crossplay to stamp it out.
This is far from ideal for friends who want to play together across platforms, and Modern Warfare itself doesn’t want players to disable crossplay, either. On PlayStation 4, if you try to search for a Warzone lobby with crossplay disabled, an in-game message pops up encouraging you to enable crossplay.
If you continue to search for a Warzone lobby with crossplay disabled, the game may struggle to find you a game, in which case you get another message strongly advising you enable crossplay.
Continue to search without crossplay and the game will widen its ping parameters to find you a game. In my PS4 tests today, I was able to get into a Warzone lobby with crossplay disabled after three minutes of matchmaking. With crossplay enabled it takes about 30 seconds.
The situation on Xbox One is less clear cut. While Warzone prevents you from finding a lobby if you have crossplay disabled via the in-game settings, some have found success brute-forcing disabled crossplay via system settings. Modern Warfare on PC, meanwhile, entirely prevents players from searching for a Warzone lobby with crossplay disabled.
Call of Duty fans who have run up against cheaters are calling on Infinity Ward to disable crossplay entirely as it works to shore up its anti-cheat systems, which have come under fire in recent weeks. As YouTuber JackFrags suggests in his video, below, Warzone cheaters who are banned feel confident they can simply play the free-to-play battle royale on a new account.
Most Call of Duty players are of course legitimate players, but it only takes one cheater to spoil a game session. It can be incredibly frustrating to die to a Warzone hacker after spending 45 minutes soldiering towards the final circle.
What else could Activision do to prevent Call of Duty hacking? Some have called on the company to require PC players link their account to a phone number (Counter-Strike offers this as a free option for prime matchmaking), thus putting off cheaters. Some console players have called for console-only crossplay, allowing PS4 and Xbox One players to play together without PC players.
No game can eradicate cheating, of course, but fans clearly want Activision to do more. For now, if you’re playing Warzone on console, you may want to disable crossplay.