For the first time, Warzone is on Steam

warzone steam page
(Image credit: Activision)

Update 6:00 PM ET: Writing on Steam's forums, Activision confirmed that Modern Warfare 2 players on Steam *already* have Warzone 2.0 preloaded as part of an update to that game, and should "look out for the Season 01 update before the launch on Wednesday." I've updated this article to reflect that clarification.

Just a couple of days before its launch on November 16, Call of Duty: Warzone 2 has arrived on Steam and launched a pre-load option for the game, but not without sowing a bit of confusion.

If you don't own Modern Warfare 2, you should be clear to click that preload button and start downloading Warzone 2.0 on Steam. It's a sensible 23GB download at the moment, but that may expand when the Season 01 update deploys for Modern Warfare 2.

But if you do own Modern Warfare 2, beware: the preload is coming from inside the game. You'll probably notice, as I did, that hitting "Pre-Load Game" just launches Modern Warfare 2 and sends you to the main menu without downloading anything new. Some players were confused by this, but Activision followed up later today to note that if you have Modern Warfare 2 installed and up to date, you should already have Warzone 2.0 preloaded.

(Image credit: Steam)
Win more Warzone 2

warzone 2 battle pass explained

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Warzone 2 loadouts: Best guns
Warzone 2 DMZ: New mode guide
Warzone 2 unhinged: Hectic BRs
Warzone 2 perks: Perk packages
Warzone 2 contracts: Turn it in
Warzone 2 cash: Make bank

Whether you own MW2 or not, expect the Season 01 update to arrive sometime before Warzone 2.0's launch on Wednesday and prompt another download.

Also worth noting: the listed system requirements for Warzone 2.0 on Steam are identical to that of Modern Warfare 2. That makes it less clear exactly how much hard drive footprint the unzipped download will take up. The system requirements page lists 125GB, but the Warzone preload is much smaller than that. Over on, the "Base Game" and Warzone sum to a 17.4GB download.

If this is a bit confusing, we might actually have it better off than our console comrades, where it sounds like tracking down the Warzone 2 PS5 preload, or the Xbox one, is a bit of a byzantine process.

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Activision also notes on Twitter, without referring to a specific platform, that after preloading but "Prior to launch, you may be prompted to purchase Modern Warfare 2, which is not necessary to experience Warzone 2.0."

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(Image credit: Activision)

This marks Warzone's debut on Steam. Warzone debuted on PC on in March 2020, but ahead of Activision Blizzard's expected acquisition by Microsoft, the company has returned to Steam in the last month, also releasing Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on Steam in October, Activision's first game on the platform since 2019.

A final note about Warzone on Steam: Warzone will actually block you from preloading the game until you have the newest drivers installed, which I had to do before attempting.  

Evan Lahti
Global Editor-in-Chief

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.