Call of Duty: Warzone censored its 2020 Pride Month flags in the Middle East a couple of years ago, garnering backlash for replacing the rainbow and other flags with greyed out images of Price, while renaming every flag to "Pride". Modern Warfare and Warzone 2 are no different, as players are reporting blacked out cards in place of Pride flags.
This isn't too surprising given that LGBTQ+ games such as The Sims and The Last of Us Part 2 have been banned in the Middle East before, meaning that Activision is no doubt attempting to avoid cutting off an entire market. However, many have been quick to criticise Activision for this move, saying that it shows profit is more important than taking a stance on LGBTQ+ rights. "Corps don't care about anything other than profits," Dire87 commented. "Public image is just another layer to get those profits."
"They don't give two fucks about pride," bmrvkia commented. "People fall for it every time, and it works every time." These comments were in response to a larger Reddit post made by AlxKing22 in r/gaming, attaching an image (taken with a camera, rather than being a screenshot), of their friend's calling card. The Middle Eastern version blacks it out, while the US version shows a rainbow.
As you can see in the post above, the same player is shown on the top and bottom, with the same calling card, and only one is hidden.
It's unlikely that this will change any time soon, continuing the previous Call of Duty games' approach of censorship to avoid any complications with selling the games in the Middle East. And this has all been unearthed ahead of 2023's Pride Month, which is six months away. Call of Duty will likely, as it has in previous years, add new Pride flags and other means of celebration, but these will no doubt be censored in certain countries as well.
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