Activision Explains Microtransaction Matchmaking Patent

Oct 19, 2017, 00:30
Activision Explains Microtransaction Matchmaking Patent

Per Glixel, Activision was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that proposed a "system and method for driving microtransactions" in multiplayer videogames.

If they don't buy it, then their data will reflect that they have not purchased it. Player-selected variables such as a preference for hard opponents might also be used in such a matchmaking system. The patent appears to detail how multiplayer matches are configured and how that system can be used to entice players to spend money on in-game items.

While much of that criticism has started to die down recently, a patent recently issued to the publisher has once again drawn fire from the public and prominent figures in games media. "The microtransaction engine may match the junior player with a player that is a highly skilled sniper in the game".

In a particular example, the junior player may wish to become an expert sniper in a game (e.g., as determined from the player profile). One theory suggests that users might see different loot box content during a match, which is more subtle and might encourage people to purchase a particular item they want. 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.

Activision's patent also supposes that the technology could increase the chances of players making more future purchases. Alternatively, after getting an upgrade, the game could place you in a match where that particular weapon or item was highly effective. Activision has been granted a patent for a system for encouraging in-game purchases that sound positively game-breaking. In this manner, microtransaction engine 128 may leverage the matchmaking abilities described herein to influence purchase decisions for game-related purchases.

As reported by Rolling Stone's Brian Crecente, the technology is not now in any games, and according to Activision it is an "exploratory patent".

The patent also makes it clear that while the examples used in the patent are all for a first-person-shooter game, the system could be used across a wide variety of titles.

When asked about the patent, however, Activision claims that the technology is not in play with any of the games that are now in the market.

Kotaku has reached out to Activision for further information.