Modern Warfare 3 is technically not out for a few more hours (depending on your platform and where you happen to be in the world) but, as is the case every year, the servers are already live. This means there are ways to access multiplayer – or potentially more – right now.
The method and modes you can access early vary by platform, so let’s break down everything you need to do know.
Assuming you have all the different components of Modern Warfare 3 pre-loaded, and have Call of Duty HQ (the new launcher/home) updated on your chosen platform, then you’re ready to start the adventure.
How to play Modern Warfare 3 early on PlayStation 5
We’re starting off with the easiest console platform when it comes to jumping through hoops. While this is the easiest way to play right now, it’s only available on PS5, and lets you only access standard multiplayer – not Zombies, War Mode, Ground War/Invasion or any of the other modes.
Simply go to Call of Duty on your PS5, hit down on the Dpad twice until you reach Activities. Keep scrolling to the right until you land on the Multiplayer Modes Activity (the one with the Rust background), and hit Square, or expand with Cross then enter. You’ll end up in the multiplayer lobby and you can go from there.
Do not back out, or you will still find all multiplayer modes locked. The good news is that you if you do that, you can simply shut the game down and re-do the same steps. This method does not require any other tricks.
How to play Modern Warfare 3 early on PlayStation 4
The PS4 sadly does not have the PS5’s Activities feature, so we’ll need to do things the old fashioned way. You cannot change your console’s region, but what you can do instead is change the address of your Activision Account. Assuming you’ve played any Call of Duty game recently, you should already have your Activision Account linked to your PlayStation Account.
To change your location, go to Activision Account site and log in. Click Profile on the top right corner of the screen, then navigate to Basic Info from the panel on the left. Address is the second to last item on the list, find it and hit Edit. Find New Zealand on the list and enter the address of any hotel in the country.
Save out and relaunch to check if the new information has been updated. Sometimes the Activision site is funky, so you may need to re-do that step more than once. Now, all that’s left to do is launch the game on your PS4 and you should have access – unless Activision decides to block the feature until the proper launch.
How to play Modern Warfare 3 early on Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One
On Xbox, you need to change your console’s region to New Zealand, where Modern Warfare 3 is currently out. Don’t worry, this change isn’t permanent, and you can switch back to your actual location once the game has been released. This also has no effect on matchmaking servers: the game will still try to find you a match with the lowest ping.
To do this, press the Xbox button, select Profile & System. Visit Settings, then System, and finally Language & Location. Select New Zealand from the drop-down list under Location, and restart the console for it to take effect.
Some players are reporting, however, that doing this is not enough, and you may need to also change your Activision Account’s address to New Zealand. Check the section above on how to do that.
How to play Modern Warfare 3 early on PC
We saved this one for last because it’s much more tricky to get started than the rest. Credit to Twitter user @lachlanisdumb for discovering this, and to @_Evdogg for sharing it. Their method also appears to work only for Steam copies, not Battle.net (not yet, at least).
Start by launching Call of Duty HQ, going to the Modern Warfare 2 section, and clicking Multiplayer. Before it loads, Alt-tab out, open Task Manager, and end the Call of Duty HQ process. You’ll need to immediately return to Steam so you can hit Play (green) as soon as the button switches from Stop (once it realises the game had been closed).
It should now show the Modern Warfare 3 logo on launch (With Captain Price and the red background), rather the Modern Warfare 2 version. Your game should now load into the multiplayer menu directly. Keep in mind that, just like the PS5 method, this only unlocks access to standard 6v6 multiplayer.
— Evan Fox (@_Evdogg) November 9, 2023