Hey friend! I know you‘re eager to jump into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer. But before loading up matches, you probably want to know – is it free?
The short answer is: unfortunately, no. Modern Warfare multiplayer is not free on Xbox consoles. You need an Xbox Live Gold subscription or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to play online.
But don‘t worry! In this guide, I‘ll explain the Xbox Live requirements, free trial options, and tips to access multiplayer. Arm yourself with knowledge before deploying into combat.
Xbox Live Gold or Game Pass Ultimate – The Price of Online Play
Let‘s start with the subscription requirements for Call of Duty multiplayer on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S consoles:
Xbox Live Gold – Starts at $9.99 per month. Gives you online multiplayer gaming access along with free games each month. You need to maintain an active paid subscription to play online.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – Starts at $14.99 per month. Includes all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold along with access to over 100 games. This premium plan lets you download and play various Xbox Game Pass titles.
Without an active Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you can only play Modern Warfare‘s singleplayer campaign and local co-op modes. Trying to access online multiplayer will show you a lock icon and pop-up telling you to sign up for Xbox Live.
These subscription requirements apply to all recent Call of Duty releases including:
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (2020)
- Call of Duty: Vanguard (2021)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022)
You need an active subscription specifically for the online multiplayer components. Playing the single player campaign and local co-op is free.
Free Limited Trials – A Brief Taste of Multiplayer
Now, Xbox does occasionally provide limited-time free access to Modern Warfare multiplayer for non-owners.
These free trial events last between 3 to 5 days. They give you a brief glimpse into the multiplayer maps, modes, and progression system.
For example, in March 2023 there was a free Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer event from March 16 to March 20. Even players who didn‘t own the full game could access 6v6 maps and modes during this promotional period.
However, once the free access event concludes, non-owners will be locked out again until they purchase the game or an Xbox Live subscription.
The purpose of these short free periods is to give players a teaser of the latest Call of Duty multiplayer. It‘s meant to entice you into purchasing the full experience.
While nice, it‘s important to understand these are limited-time promotions. Don‘t expect unlimited ongoing free access.
The Free-to-Play Route
There are a few free-to-play Call of Duty games with unrestricted multiplayer access, no Xbox Live required:
Call of Duty: Warzone – Standalone Call of Duty battle royale experience with 150 player matches. Totally free.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 – The sequel to Warzone featuring an all-new map and mechanics. Also completely free.
Call of Duty: Mobile – iOS and Android version of COD with multiplayer maps and modes. Free-to-play with optional microtransactions.
These titles let you jump into online multiplayer combat without paying anything. No Xbox Live Gold subscription needed since they are free games.
However, the content is limited compared to paid entries like Modern Warfare. The focus is solely on multiplayer rather than a full package with singleplayer campaign.
Still, if you want regular online Call of Duty action for free, these are your best options. Great way to practice and prepare for those short Modern Warfare 2 free trial periods!
Game Sharing – Not a Multiplayer Workaround
You might be wondering about Xbox game sharing. This feature lets you share access to digital games and subscriptions with one other Xbox console.
Say you game share Modern Warfare with a friend. They can download and play the game on their Xbox while signed in to their own account.
But here‘s the catch – game sharing does NOT share Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate access.
Your friend would need to purchase their own separate subscription to play online multiplayer. Game sharing only gives them access to the single player campaign and local co-op modes without an Xbox Live subscription.
So unfortunately, game sharing is not a workaround to play unlimited free Call of Duty multiplayer. Everyone still needs their own subscription to play online.
Playing Offline Multiplayer for Free
While online multiplayer requires a paid subscription, you can play Modern Warfare offline split-screen multiplayer without Xbox Live!
This is a great option if you want to enjoy casual Call of Duty multiplayer in person with friends and family.
Here‘s what you can expect from offline split-screen COD multiplayer:
- Requires multiple controllers connected to a single Xbox console
- Supports 2-4 players depending on mode
- Customize matches against bots, change rules, disable killstreaks
- Modes include custom games, survival, spec ops, and local competitive playlists
- Progress is not tracked or saved online without an Xbox Live account
Offline play lets you access local multiplayer fun without paying for Xbox Live Gold. Gather your crew on the couch for hours of Call of Duty mayhem.
However, keep in mind you won‘t be able to level up profiles or weapons without an online connection. This is purely for casual offline entertainment.
Will Modern Warfare Go Free Eventually?
You might wonder if Activision will eventually make Modern Warfare multiplayer permanently free on Xbox after several years.
Based on past Call of Duty games, that is very unlikely to happen. Here‘s why the games remain locked behind Xbox Live Gold/Game Pass Ultimate:
- Encourages players to keep buying new COD releases annually
- Provides ongoing revenue from subscription fees
- Reduces server loads by limiting free players
- Retains value perception of premium titles
For example, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare from 2007 still requires an active Xbox Live subscription in 2023 to play online multiplayer.
Activision keeps the multiplayer locked down to maximize new game sales and subscription revenue. The only way around this is separate free-to-play editions like Warzone.
Don‘t expect mainline series entries like Modern Warfare to become permanently free. The paywall ensures a higher quality experience for paying players.
Multiplayer Requirements on Other Platforms
For comparison, here‘s a quick look at Call of Duty multiplayer access on other platforms:
- PlayStation: Requires PlayStation Plus subscription for online multiplayer
- PC: No subscription required, online multiplayer is free
- Nintendo Switch: Currently no Modern Warfare games available
So Xbox‘s paid subscription model is similar to PlayStation. But on PC, Activision surprisingly allows free access to COD multiplayer even without a Battle.net account.
Let‘s Get Your Free Multiplayer Fix
Alright my friend, let‘s recap the key takeaways:
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer requires Xbox Live Gold/Game Pass Ultimate on Xbox consoles
- Limited-time free access events offer short multiplayer previews
- Try free-to-play editions like Warzone to satisfy your COD combat cravings
- Game sharing does NOT share multiplayer access, only campaign/co-op
- Gather your crew for offline split-screen sessions
- Don‘t expect the paywall to drop permanently any time soon
While the cost of Xbox Live Gold may seem frustrating, look on the bright side – you get what you pay for in terms of smoother performance and anti-cheat security.
For now, maximize those short free periods when available and practice up with Warzone. Stay frosty out there! Let me know if you have any other questions.