Activision filed a patent for a microtransaction system in 2015

Yolanda Curtis
October 18, 2017

If so, it's not you, but the game is created to act that way.

As if the games industry hadn't make itself look seedy enough lately, a new patent reveals a disturbing new method to sell you in-game items.

Based on the copy of the patent published online by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it appears that the major goal of this new technology is to boost microtransactions and encourage players to make numerous game-related purchases. Instead it seems that companies these days are trying to milk every dollar possible out of their players, and this is usually done with in-game transactions where players can spend real-life money to purchase things like skins, costumes, power-ups, and so on. "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".


"The microtransaction engine may analyze various items used by marquee players and, if the items are being promoted for sale, match the marquee player with another player (e.g., a junior player) that does not use or own the items", reads another excerpt of the patent. The best I can do is that maybe new players will be guided to role-model team mates?

The article goes on to give examples such as somebody who the system identifies as aspiring be be a sniper in-game being matched with a more elite sniper, likely armed with purchasable gear in the hopes that said gear will become a tempting purchase.

But the patent also points out how players could be encouraged to make additional purchases even after buying the core title, through gratification of a purchase.


It can also "arrange matches to influence game-related purchases".

Systems such as loot boxes already use various tricks to encourage players to drop cash, so it's not surprising that game publishers would want to find more underhanded ways to get those wallets open. "In this manner, microtransaction engine 128 may leverage the matchmaking abilities described herein to influence purchase decisions for game-related purchases".

Activision's patent also supposes that the technology could increase the chances of players making more future purchases. This may encourage the player to make future purchases to achieve similar gameplay results.


It's also important to note that while the patent uses a first-person shooter game for its examples, the system can be applied to other genres as well. 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".

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