Activision Patents Matchmaking That Encourages Players To Buy Microtransactions

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Activision Patents Matchmaking That Encourages Players To Buy Microtransactions

Activision Patents Matchmaking That Encourages Players To Buy Microtransactions.

On October 17th, the game’s publisher Activision was awarded a patent that the studio filed in 2015, detailing a matchmaking system that is designed to spread the seeds of envy amongst players and make them covet the gear used by higher ranking players. This system is designed to make people want to purchase microtransactions within a game, allowing the game to generate additional revenue.

Activision has clarified that this technology is not present in any of the studio’s games, with Bungie’s community manager DeeJ clarifying that the technology isn’t used in Destiny 2. An Activision spokesperson has told PCGAMER that “This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studios. It has not been implemented in-game”. This does, however, prove that Activision has R&D teams that research how to incentivise the purchase of Microtransactions in their games.

Below is a small excerpt from the patent, detailing what this matchmaking system does in basic terms, placing junior players with senior players to encourage them to purchase microtransactions to emulate that player’s in-game gear/loadout.
The patent also posits more straightforward applications, such as generating NPCs to fill certain roles on a team or dropping players in maps that favor their playstyle. Player-selected variables such as a preference for difficult opponents might also be used in such a matchmaking system.

An Activision Publishing spokesperson has responded to Kotaku with the following statement:

“This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studios. It has not been implemented in-game.”

“For example, if the player purchased a particular weapon, the microtransaction engine may match the player in a gameplay session in which the particular weapon is highly effective,” the text of the patent reads. “This may encourage the player to make future purchases to achieve similar gameplay results.”

The matchmaking system would analyze player trends such as latency and weapon preference in order to place them in scenarios that might lead them to buy certain items:

“For example, microtransaction engine 128 may identify a junior player to match with a marquee player based on a player profile of the junior player. In a particular example, the junior player may wish to become an expert sniper in a game…Microtransaction engine 128 may match the junior player with a player that is a highly skilled sniper in the game. In this manner, the junior player may be encouraged to make game-related purchases such as a rifle or other item used by the highly skilled sniper.”

The patent details several methods that a matchmaking system can be used to draw players towards microtransactions, like a system where players are sent into games with players that are using an item they don’t own or a system where players have individual profiles that detail their playstyles and then assign them to matches with highly skilled players of the same style (both are snipers for example) that use a weapon that they don’t own.

This patent details a system that goes against the very purpose of fair matchmaking, intentionally placing players in matches where they are designed to lose, or with placed with players with prettier gear to incentivize the use of in-game microtransactions. Simply put this system is ruthless and places profit above players.

Right now there is no evidence that Activision has any plans to implement this system into any of their games, as patenting a technology does not dictate that it ever needs to be used. There have been many unused patents over the years and there is no reason why this can’t be one of them. The only reason to implement such a system is greed alone, as it adds nothing of value to gamers.