Modern Warfare 2’s open beta demonstrates Activision’s accessibility negligence

Not fast-paced gunplay, but a game without commitment. Rather than knowing I have to devote hundreds of hours to the experience, I can fit in sessions across a range of timeframes thanks to multiplayer matches lasting around 15 minutes and frequent checkpoints in the campaign.

It’s disappointing then that in three years between Modern Warfare entries, accessibility doesn’t appear to have progressed. Admittedly, what we’ve seen during the last two weekends has been restricted to multiplayer, but the settings available informs what we’re likely to see in the full release.

That the beta immediately dropped the player into a marketing screen, with no instruction of how to exit, wasn’t ideal. More than once I tried to back out and was booted back to the connection screen.

An example thrown up in my discussions is Swamp. An audio first-person shooter that showcases how, with the right focus, accessibility – in particular, auditory accessibility – can be deployed even in a competitive FPS environment. Yes, I’m somewhat dubious about some of the accessibility that could be added to Call of Duty’s multiplayer, but games like this show that accessible, competitive multiplayer is possible. Beyond that features like slowdown, single-stick modes, many of the accessibility options mentioned above – and more – should be standard in PvE modes in 2022. That they’re not is, frankly, unacceptable.

I envy those who can look at Modern Warfare 2’s open beta and complain about minimap changes ruining their chances of upsetting inexperienced players. For me, and many others, the open beta was a signal of Activision’s continued apathy towards meaningful accessibility.

I’m sure Infinity Ward, despite Activision’s apparent apathy towards accessibility, is sincere about appealing to more players. But the open beta suggests an ignorance about who those players are, and a maintenance of the fact that Call of Duty is still not for everyone. Even though it, and all gaming, should be.

We asked Activision’s representatives whether the beta’s accessibility settings were representative of the final game and have not yet had a response.


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