Activision Patents Matchmaking That Encourages Players To Buy Microtransactions

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 18, 2017

Now, Call of Duty games have seen Microtransactions over the past few years, through Supply Drops and cosmetic items, but we haven't seen anything specific that ties in to matchmaking. If so, it's not you, but the game is created to act that way.

If you were ever concerned about the impact microtransactions could have on gameplay design within the games industry in the future, Activision has made your worst fears credible. The focus of the patent is "a system and method is provided that drives microtransactions in multiplayer video games". "For example, scoring engine 122 may lower the threshold match score (assuming higher match scores are associated with higher match quality) when a given player has been waiting to be matched for a predetermined period of time".

"For example, in one implementation, the system may include a microtransaction engine that arranges matches to influence game-related purchases", the patent reads.

"Doing so may enhance a level of enjoyment by the player for the game-related purchase, which may encourage future purchases", Rolling Stone quotes the patent as saying. In another case, players who have purchased a new weapon would be placed into matches where this weapon would have an advantage against others. "The microtransaction engine may match the junior player with a player that is a highly skilled sniper in the game. This may encourage the player to make future purchases to achieve similar gameplay results".

The patent details how multiplayer matches are configured, specifically how players are selected to play with one another.

If the player does then purchase a microtransaction item, the game may even put them into games with weaker players or a scenario which makes good use of the item so they can wreck shop and feel more powerful. Similarly, microtransaction engine 128 may identify items offered for sale, identify marquee players that use or possess those items, and match the marquee players with other players who do not use or possess those items.

A patent granted to Activision outlines a new matchmaking system that would pair players together in order to encourage microtransactions. If so, it will "place first player (who bought the item) in a gameplay session for which the item is effective", whereas someone who doesn't buy the item will lead to "update player profile to indicate non-purchase". Rolling Stone has reached out to Activision to check which games are using this system now, but based on the info we have so far, it might not be a stretch to say that Call of Duty is the #1 culprit when it comes to the matchmaking "tricks".

There's a lot more to it than that, and Activision hasn't responded yet regarding the patent, nor did it note if any games use this system, or will use it. Bungie's community manager, however, has noted that Destiny is not in use with it, though didn't say anything about it being implemented in the future.

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