The physical version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 reportedly isn't playable without a day-one update.
While some people may have found acquired physical versions of the game ahead of its release date that's approaching this week, it doesn't appear as though they'll be able to do anything with those until the game launched. VG247 reported that someone on Twitter is in possession of an early copy of the game, but trying to play it on the PlayStation 4 greeted the player with a message that said "An update is required to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4."
Is not playable yet pic.twitter.com/7Hoa8GTMLm— ShAdoWw (@Ateam_ShAdoWw) October 5, 2018
The last Call of Duty game, Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty: WW2, also needed a day-one update to play it. That Call of Duty game had a single-player campaign component to it though, so there was more that a player could do should they have acquired a physical copy of the game and not needed an update to play it, but Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's features are mostly dependent on multiplayer. There are some solo Specialist missions that are playable and wouldn't require any multiplayer, and the Zombies mode can always be played solo, but the new game's multiplayer component and the new Blackout battle royale mode wouldn't be accessible.
Digital consumers won't have anything to worry about though seeing how their game would get the day-one patch immediately after downloading the game once it is released, but those who opt for the physical release will need an Internet connection to get the update prior to playing. Not having an accessible Internet connection when the game launches is an issue that would likely affect only a small portion of the community, but it's something to prepare for when the game releases later this week.
Treyarch hasn't yet shared any details on a day-one patch regarding its contents or how large it will be, so it could be anywhere from a small update to fully activate the game to a more substantial one that fixes last-minute problems. It has been revealed though that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will require at least 100GB of space, according to the back of the game's retail box. That file size was seen on the PlayStation 4 retail version and gives no indication of taking into account any day-one patch that's needed.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is scheduled to released on October 12th.