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Patent Reveals Activision May Deliberately Match Players To Encourage The Purchase Of Microtransactions

A smoking gun...

Just when you thought the microtransaction / loot box controversy had quietened down Rolling Stone have uncovered what I can only described as a bombshell. Activision have patented match making technology which would deliberately match weaker players against stronger gamers in the hopes that the weaker players would then spend money on micro-transactions to boost the power of the characters.

That patent,”System and method for driving microtransactions in multiplayer video games” was filed way back in 2015 but was granted today, October 17th.  The abstract of the patent is as follows:

A system and method is provided that drives microtransactions in multiplayer video games. The system may include a microtransaction arrange matches to influence game-related purchases. For instance, the system may match a more expert/marquee player with a junior player to encourage the junior player to make game-related purchases of items possessed/used by the marquee player. A junior player may wish to emulate the marquee player by obtaining weapons or other items used by the marquee player.

Another section of the patent explains that the engine would drop a player who had just bought a weapon in to a game with another player who is highly profeccient with the same weapon, “giving the player an impression that the particular weapon was a good purchase. This may encourage the player to make future purchases to achieve similar gameplay results”

Another example given would be a junior player who, through his gaming profile, is determined as wanting to be a sniper. The player would be matched with a highly proficient sniper. “In this manner, the junior player may be encouraged to make game-related purchases such as a rifle or other item used by the marquee player.”

Rolling Stone have asked Activision which games this engine is running in but the company have yet to comment.

Source: Rolling Stone / Patent Office

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  1. MrYd
    Since: Mar 2011

    So they’re working on the theory that everyone is an idiot and will pay for stuff instead of just thinking “your matchmaking algorithm is shit” and getting annoyed and playing something else instead?

    Yeah, good luck with that.

    Oh wait. Enough people are idiots that it might just work.

    Comment posted on 17/10/2017 at 22:49.
  2. StevenHibs
    Since: Oct 2009

    Personally I think it’s starting to get out of hand now with this micro transactions malarkey.

    First it was DLC, then season passes, now this nonsense. However there is obviously a market for this, which is scary.

    Comment posted on 17/10/2017 at 22:54.
  3. Starman
    Since: Jul 2011

    Damn that goes totally against what most matchmaking systems do nowadays. Pairing you with people of similar skill vastly improves your enjoyment of a game. Getting destroyed will more likely see people move on to another game instead.

    Activision are going to do some colossal backtracking. I predict they’ll say they don’t intend to use it, were just patenting it before someone else does like Sony did with in game video adverts.

    Comment posted on 17/10/2017 at 23:07.
    • gazzagb
      Master of speling mitakse
      Since: Feb 2009

      They can always say that, but it would be near impossible for anyone outside of Activision to find out if it was or wasn’t being used.

      Comment posted on 18/10/2017 at 07:42.
      • Starman
        Since: Jul 2011

        True, but if they did and it was found out they’d lied, they’d be in some trouble I’d expect.

        Comment posted on 18/10/2017 at 18:19.
  4. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    It’s at times like this i’m glad that i’ve never subscribed to the concept of micro transactions. Targeting junior players seems especially insidious.

    Comment posted on 18/10/2017 at 10:31.