Update June 2: Call of Duty's return to Steam looks all but certain at this point. On Thursday, the Call of Duty Twitter account tweeted "the ultimate weapon is team," setting a reveal date for Modern Warfare 2 on Wednesday, June 8. Minutes later, Valve's official Steam Twitter account responded (opens in new tab):
👀 https://t.co/U5nNKwzwZBJune 2, 2022
is team, eh? Subtle.
Original story: In 2017, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was released on Battle.net—the first game in the series available on Activision Blizzard's launcher rather than Steam. The trend continued with subsequent CoDs: Modern Warfare, Warzone, Black Ops Cold War, and Vanguard. That trend might be reversing with this year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, if we can read into splash art spotted on Steam and then posted to Reddit by a user named Kalinine (opens in new tab).
The art, which was found at the bottom of pages for Call of Duty DLC, was quickly removed and now blank images show underneath pages like the one collecting DLC for Black Ops 3 (opens in new tab). While it was still live, the splash showed the same image of Lt. Simon 'Ghost' Riley being used to promote Modern Warfare 2 in, for example, the tweet announcing its release date (opens in new tab). Cheers to Redditor garysplay, who saved a link to the background art (opens in new tab).
While it could be a simple error on the part of whoever looks after updating the CoD pages on Steam, the series returning to Valve's storefront would make sense. Modern Warfare 2 will be the first CoD released since Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and Microsoft has been bringing more games to Steam in recent years. The Halo series, for instance, as well as Gears 5, Sea of Thieves, Minecraft Dungeons, and the last couple of Forza Horizon games.
It's hard to imagine, even if CoD does return to Steam, that Blizzard games like World of Warcraft will follow it, however. And even if Modern Warfare 2 does come out on Steam, that doesn't guarantee you won't have to use Battle.net to launch it as well. That's still the case with Ubisoft's games and Uplay, er, I mean Ubisoft Connect. We'll find out closer to Modern Warfare 2's launch on October 28.