A recently granted patent reveals some of the methods in which Activision might influence players to make some in-game purchases, such as extra weapons or DLC. The patent was originally filed in 2015, but was only granted today. The focus of the patent is “a system and method is provided that drives microtransactions in multiplayer video games.”
The abstract to the patent from USPTO goes into a bit more detail:
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.
Essentially what this means is that, Activision will set up a system that will set up multiplayer matches a certain way. Newer players may be matched up with more experienced player that has made some in-game purchases already. Then, the newer players will likely either lose the match or see the veteran player performing better than them, it’ll leave the implication that the newer player can get better by buying those items.
It’s a bit more complicated than this, as the system Activision patented uses multiple factors to determine the match-ups, but the end goal is to help drive additional in-game purchases for Activision.
But, please note that this technology is not currently in any of their games. The Rolling Stone clarifies:
“This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studios,” an Activision spokesperson tells Glixel. “It has not been implemented in-game.”
What are your thoughts on Activision’s patent, and in-game purchases in multiplayer games in general?