The snack food/drink tie-in is a sacred videogame institution, with some collabs like Mountain Dew Game Fuel (opens in new tab)'s association with Halo 3 becoming generational touchstones. And so, as the world welcomed another Call of Duty last week, it also welcomed another branded team up, this one between Modern Warfare 2 and Jack Link's Beef Jerky. Unfortunately, some ne'er do wells are taking advantage of the preserved meat purveyor's guileless placement of its Modern Warfare 2 promo codes (opens in new tab) on each bag.
The CoD influencer Modern Warzone (opens in new tab), as well as a number of Reddit users (credit to bizkic (opens in new tab), AngryWarBear (opens in new tab), and DesertShot (opens in new tab)) all report with dismay that their local stores have been pillaged of their promised XP boosts. The specially marked jerky bags are present, but the codes, attached with a sticker to the outside of the bag, have been swiped by bad actors.
DesertShot describes an intact bag as having "a little pamphlet thing attached," while AngryWarBear claims to have examined upwards of 167 bags at a local Walmart to no avail. Modern Warzone also failed to find a single code after visiting multiple stores.
Lest you think this is a manufacturing error, there are already listings for Jack Link's Beef Jerky codes up on eBay (opens in new tab), in a tragic echo of last week's MW2 Burger King fiasco (opens in new tab), as well as gaming-at-large's general struggle with scalpers in recent years. The preserved meat promos are currently selling for around $14-$17 on the grey market.
Is this the result of roving bands of jerky defacers, or is there foul play in the supply chain, perhaps disgruntled workers asserting people power by sabotaging the latest corporate power play by Big Dry Beef? Who can say, I just know I'm not trusting anybody.
You may be wondering what these codes get you, and reader, I'm so glad you asked. Jack Link's is leaning into its iconic cryptid-themed marketing history (opens in new tab), entreating gamers to "play like sasquatch." In addition to a double XP boost, the code imparts sprays, a nameplate, and a special ghillie suit skin all inspired by that hirsute horror of American folklore.
In the interest of thorough reporting, PC Gamer staff writer Morgan Park and I did pop over to nearby vendors to see if we could snag a code, but our local Fastrip 24/7 gas station and Walgreens either aren't participating retailers, or they haven't cycled their stock yet (my Walgreens still hasn't dismantled its Halloween decorations, so they may yet acknowledge the arrival of Call of Duty with special meat). I felt weird about leaving without buying anything, so I did grab two sugar-free Arizona Arnold Palmers.
It is unclear if the outlook will improve in the near future. It is likely too late to reissue new Modern Warfare 2 Jack Link's bags with more secure code packaging. Finding a delivery system for codes to affected customers seems like a herculean task, one our battered, tired nation just isn't ready for.
In the future, I might suggest Jack Link's Beef Jerky print its codes somewhere more secure, like on those gel silica desiccant packets. You know, the extra treat they throw in there that tastes better than the rest of the bag combined. Bone app the teeth, gamers (for legal purposes I must insist you not actually eat silica desiccant).