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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 prevent Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard. CoD can almost be considered a genre in itself. Naturally, the release of a new game in the series is a big deal, but as gamers excitedly tear open their physical copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, they’re in for a nasty surprise. Instead of the game, the discs only have 72 MB of data and the rest must be downloaded.

The disc versions of the game appear to be functionally identical to the digital copies. Instead of buying the license and downloading it, you buy a disc that comes with a license key. Pop it into your console and you won’t be able to play the game right away — you have to download the game just like those who bought digital codes. So manufacturing and shipping 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 the day one patch, MWII goes up to PS5’s absurd 150GB. Ignoring for a moment how stupid it is to send a disc with nothing on it, it’s unacceptable that the publishers didn’t tell people that’s what they were buying. There are good reasons why people want the disc version of the game.

Playing games via physical discs isn’t as common these days as it once was, but it provides an important option for people who don’t have enough internet bandwidth to download tens of gigabytes. Many ISPs also limit data usage, so you may not want to download huge games. In the US, which typically has higher data caps than many countries, Comcast limits home users to 1.2 TB per month. Downloading Modern Warfare II will eat up more than 10% of that allocation, even if you’ve gone out of your way to buy a disc version of the game. Also, the disc is more likely to work in the absence of online services, which publishers like to shut down to save money after the game is no longer popular. None of these advantages seem to matter to Activision.

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