How Activision Uses Matchmaking Tricks to Sell In-Game Items

How Activision Uses Matchmaking Tricks to Sell In-Game Items

You can view Activision's statement along with the orginal story below.

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". If so, it's not you, but the game is created to act that way. The technology explained in the patent also has a means of identifying which types of items should be promoted to junior players.

Some publishers have gotten a bit carried away and started implementing them in ways that hurt the game.

Website Glixel has discovered that Activision has been granted a patent which purposefully manipulates matchmaking in order to encourage you to spend money on in-game items, with the basic idea being to purposefully match you with players that have better and more desirable items than you. Whatever the matter is, microtransactions are very present in modern gaming. But there's always a way to approach this monetisation model from a more creative perspective, as publisher Activision has now shown. 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". If their strategy is successful, it'll encourage the weaker player to purchase microtransactions to obtain more powerful gear.

As spotted by Glixel, the patent was filed in 2015 and approved on October 17th.

The patent details several instances that could make this new system and method useful.

A system and method is provided that drives microtransactions in multiplayer video games. "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", a piece of the patent reads. 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. "The microtransactions engine may match the junior player with a player that is a highly skilled sniper in the game".

"In an implementation, when a player makes a game-related purchase, microtransaction engine 128 may encourage future purchases by matching the player (e.g., using matchmaking described herein) in a gameplay session that will utilize the game-related purchase".

The microtransaction-focused matchmaking could even be used to influence match outcomes to ensure players who paid money felt satisfied with their purchase. It can also "arrange matches to influence game-related purchases". "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. This may encourage the player to make future purchases to achieve similar gameplay results".

It's unlikely Call of Duty: WWII would use such a system, though Supply Drops and possible cosmetic items are likely to be offered once the game releases on November 3.