Patent Reveals Activision’s Microtransaction Matchmaking Engine

By: Ryan Cox | October 18th, 2017

Activision has been granted a patent, filed in 2015, for a online video game matchmaking engine that factors in player microtransaction purchases when tuning and creating multiplayer matches.

Activision has a stake in the publishing of numerous online multiplayer gaming franchises, including Overwatch, Call of Duty, Destiny and more. Each game utilizes microtransaction purchases in different ways. Destiny and Overwatch’s items are cosmetic and cannot impact gameplay, whereas Call of Duty offers loot from purchasable “supply drops” that can give players upgraded weapons that provide an upper hand in multiplayer.

According to the reliable Call of Duty news team at charlieINTEL, the freshly granted patent would allow developers to tune and create matches that pair players up based on their in-game purchases, rather than their skill or connection to one another. This functionality can be used to encourage lower skilled players to purchase stronger items, or reinforce current buyers and sway them to make even more purchases.

“Microtransaction engine 128 may analyze various items used by marquee players and, if at least one of the items is currently being offered for sale (with or without a promotion), match the marquee player with another player (e.g., a junior player) that does not use or own the item. 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. In this manner, microtransaction engine 128 may leverage the matchmaking abilities described herein to influence purchase decisions for game-related purchases.”

“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. Doing so may enhance a level of enjoyment by the player for the game-related purchase, which may encourage future purchases. For example, if the player purchased a particular weapon, microtransaction engine 128 may match the player in a gameplay session in which the particular weapon is highly effective, 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.”


Activision has since updated the charlieINTEL team 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.”

It is unknown, however, if Activision plans on implementing this new engine in future multiplayer titles. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes for that, as will many other worried gamers.

Source | charlieINTEL


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