Hey there! If the $60 price tag for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has you flinching, I‘ve got some good news. There are actually several legitimate ways to download and play Modern Warfare completely free or at a major discount in 2023.
In this guide, I‘ll walk you through all the tricks and tips you need to get your hands on one of the most popular FPS franchises out there without emptying your wallet. Some methods are quick and easy, while others require a bit more time or social finesse – but they really work!
So whether you‘re a casual Call of Duty fan on a budget, a student gamer, or just want to try before you buy, read on to learn how to install Modern Warfare free in less than an hour. Let‘s jump in!
How to Download Modern Warfare for Free Right Now
If you don‘t feel like waiting around or jumping through hoops, the fastest way to play Modern Warfare free is to download Call of Duty: Warzone. This is a completely free-to-play, standalone battle royale experience developed by Infinity Ward and Raven Software.
Here‘s why Warzone is a great way to sample Modern Warfare gameplay in minutes:
Uses the same engine, weapons, mechanics, and general feel as the paid Modern Warfare game.
Optimized maps and modes for up to 150 players.
Ties into Modern Warfare – progression carries over.
Impressive AAA production values and polish for a free title.
Quick ~80-100GB download from Battle.net, the Xbox/Playstation store, or Steam.
The only major downsides are limited multiplayer maps/modes compared to the paid version, and no access to the story campaign or Special Ops co-op missions.
But for jumping into satisfying FPS gameplay in the Modern Warfare universe without paying a cent, Call of Duty: Warzone is hands down your best bet. Use it to hold you over until you can get Modern Warfare itself for cheap!
Keep an Eye Out for Free Trial Periods
One of the most convenient ways to play the full Modern Warfare for free is to watch for periodic free trial events offered by Activision.
These usually coincide with major holidays, game events, or as a way to hype up new Call of Duty releases.
Free Access Weekends – A 48-72 hour period where all players can download the complete Modern Warfare game with all modes unlocked. This lets you experience everything for a couple days without paying upfront.
Free MP Trial – Access to all of Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer maps, modes, and progression systems for a limited time. Great for testing out the competitive side.
Co-Op Missions Free Trial – Temporary access to all or part of Modern Warfare‘s PvE Special Ops experiences, either solo or with a friend.
Activision advertises these Modern Warfare free periods everywhere – on social media, directly through the Call of Duty website and launcher, and across major gaming sites.
Here‘s a quick look at the frequency of free trials over Modern Warfare‘s lifespan so far:
|Free Trial Period||Occurrences|
|Free MP Weekend||6 times|
|Free MP Trial||3 times|
|Special Ops Free Trial||2 times|
While you‘ll have to act fast once a free promotion starts, taking advantage when Modern Warfare temporarily goes gratis lets you try out the game risk-free. And any progress carries over if you decide to buy!
Share Access with a Friend
If someone you know owns Modern Warfare already, don‘t be shy about asking if they‘re willing to share access with you for a bit!
This works across all platforms:
PlayStation – Your PS4/PS5 pal can host a Share Play session, allowing you to try out Modern Warfare multiplayer on your own console for up to 1 hour at a time.
Xbox – Set your Xbox as a friend‘s "Home" console for full access to their digital library, including Modern Warfare.
PC – Have your friend log you into their Battle.net account on your computer so you can download and play using their license.
While not completely free, game sharing with a trusted buddy gives you temporary, unlimited access for the cost of some social capital instead of money. Great option if a free trial isn‘t available!
Take Advantage of Discount Codes
Of course, there are ways to get Modern Warfare at a discounted price if playing completely free isn‘t feasible.
Watch for deals and coupon codes during major sales events for the chance to save up to 50% or more on your purchase:
Retailer Sales – Big chains like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, etc. drop prices on games during seasonal sales around the holidays and back to school season.
Battle.net Sales – Activision themselves put Call of Duty franchise titles on sale multiple times per year.
CD Key Sellers – Reputable key resale sites like CDKeys sell digital codes at a discount.
Promo Codes – Stack additional promo codes available through deal sites and cashback portals for extra savings.
For example, during last year‘s Black Friday event, stacking just three discount options brought Modern Warfare down to only $25 – nearly 60% off:
- Amazon‘s base sale price of $45
- CDKeys additional $10 off promo code
- 10% cashback through Rakuten
With some deal hunting savvy and timing, you can often grab the latest Call of Duty at 40-50% off retail price shortly after launch.
Take Advantage of Upgrade Offers
Whenever a new Call of Duty title releases, Activision partners with retailers to offer special upgrade deals.
This usually means paying full price for the new game nets you a free digital copy of the previous year‘s game as a bonus.
Buying Call of Duty: Vanguard provided free access to 2020‘s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
Getting Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II included a free digital copy of 2019‘s Modern Warfare.
So while not free, paying $60-70 for the latest experience also scores you the prior year‘s game. This allows you to "upgrade" while enjoying both Modern Warfare and the newest release.
Install Just the Free Content
Here‘s a little known tip: you can install just the free content of Modern Warfare without paying upfront for the full game.
This allows access to the following for zero dollars:
- Special Ops
You won‘t get the story campaign without buying the full version. But this lets you enjoy a sizable chunk of Modern Warfare gratis.
Here‘s how to install just the free content on each platform:
- Open Battle.net and select Modern Warfare
- Click Options
- Choose Modify Install
- Uncheck Campaign
- Confirm changes
PlayStation and Xbox
- From Modern Warfare‘s dashboard icon, press down to open menu
- Select Manage Content or Manage Installation
- Uncheck Campaign
- Confirm changes
Give it a shot – you might be surprised how much free gameplay is available even without paying upfront!
Buy a Used Disc Copy
If going 100% free isn‘t crucial, buying a used physical copy of Modern Warfare is one of the cheapest ways to pick it up.
Discs can often be found for 50% or more off the original $60 MSRP if you shop around at:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Local game stores
Just pop in the disc to instantly unlock the full experience. Share the disc with friends to maximize value.
Modern Warfare used discs work great if you want to enjoy the campaign, multiplayer, and Special Ops at an ultra-affordable price.
Rent First, Then Buy Later
Another budget-friendly option is to rent Modern Warfare for a few days to experience the highlights before deciding to buy.
Rental services like GameFly, Redbox, or local gaming stores let you borrow games for only a few bucks.
Beat the campaign, level up multiplayer ranks, and complete some co-op missions during your rental. Then if you love Modern Warfare, buy a discounted used copy to keep playing after returning your rental.
Wait for End of Life Price Cuts
The most extreme way to go is exercising patience and waiting 12-24 months after launch for massive price drops when Modern Warfare reaches end-of-life status.
At this point, retailers heavily discount the base game and Activision cuts the digital price significantly.
For example, check out these end-of-life prices for the last few Call of Duty games 1-2 years after launch:
|Game||Launch Price||End of Life Price|
|Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare||$59.99||$19.99|
|Call of Duty: WWII||$59.99||$39.99|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops 4||$59.99||$29.99|
So if cash flow is extremely tight, waiting for a deep 60-75% discount can make Modern Warfare much more affordable.
Just keep in mind you‘ll miss the peak player count and hype playing over a year after launch. But enjoying a AAA blockbuster at a budget price point does have its perks too!
Phew, that covers all the legit ways you can install, play, and enjoy Call of Duty: Modern Warfare free or on the cheap in 2023 and beyond.
As you can see, going gratis does require some patience and effort compared to just paying full retail. But with some strategic mix-and-matching of the tips above, saving 50%, 75%, or even 100% off is absolutely achievable with a bit of creativity!
For me, I‘d start with the free Warzone standalone to sample the gameplay, watch for a free weekend promotion to try the full game, and eventually buy a discounted used copy to own Modern Warfare outright. But your path to frugal FPS fun may look different.
Either way, I hope this guide gives you options to experience Call of Duty your way in 2023, without breaking the bank. Now it‘s time to gear up and get those killstreaks! Stay frosty out there.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help a fellow gamer get the most bang for their hard-earned buck.