Activision Granted a Patent That Could Use Matchmaking to Sell Microtransactions

Activision Granted a Patent That Could Use Matchmaking to Sell Microtransactions

A machine algorithm that can compel players to buy more items.

A recently uncovered patent granted to Activision reportedly outlines a new matchmaking system that would encourage players to purchase items and engage in microtransactions.

According to a new report from Rolling Stone, Activision filed a patent in 2015 that was granted in October 17 of this year that outlined a "System and method for driving microtransactions in multiplayer video games." The patent details ways to configure multiplayer matchmaking and utilize computer algorithms to match players specifically with one another to entice in-game purchases.

Activision's patent

An example of this would be if "For instance, the microtransaction engine 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," the patent adds, "A junior player may wish to emulate the marquee player b obtaining weapons or other items used by the marquee player."

More specifically the patent says,

"the junior player may wish to become an expert sniper in a game... The microtransaction engine may match the junior player with a player that is a highly skilled sniper in the game. 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 machine algorithm can perform other actions like collect data to know which in-game purchase should be promoted. And while the examples relate to a first-person game, the patent notes that the algorithm can be used in multiple games and genres.

Basically, it's a psychological tool that will increase the chances of in-game purchases by, at least from the examples presented, makes one player feel less adequate than another, thereby encouraging them to make purchases to make up for the skill-gap. If it sounds monstrous, that's because it is.

In a comment to Rolling Stone, Bungie community manager David "Deej" Dague said that the patent isn't used in Destiny 2, a game published by Activision. Activision itself has not responded to calls for a statement, but considering Call of Duty: WWII is just over the horizon, the company will face serious questions regarding whether this patent is in effect in the company's next major release.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

A Time Traveling Titan is the Star of Destiny 2's Season of Dawn

Moon's haunted, Mercury's unstuck in time…

Google Defends 4K, 60 FPS Claims For Stadia While Placing Responsibility on Developers

"We expect that many developers can, and in most cases will, continue to improve their games on Stadia."

Destiny 2's Solar Subclasses Are Getting Some Major Reworks

The changes will be introduced next season.

No, Stadia Users Won't Lose Access to Games Purchased With a Stadia Pro Discount

Destiny 2 and other free Pro games are tied to your subscription—purchases are not.

Destiny 2's Vex Offensive is Wrapping Up, But the Finale's Underwhelming

The Undying Mind's return left a little to be desired.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Patch is Trying to Address Your Thundering Footsteps

Also, Piccadilly should hopefully be less of a circus.

More News

If You're Bad at Tetris 99, You Can Now Squad Up For Help

The puzzle-battle royale hybrid just got friendlier.

Resident Evil's Newest Survivor is a Living Homage to "Jill Sandwich"

Martin should probably stay away from small rooms with descending ceilings.

The CEO of Japanese Indie Publisher Dangen Entertainment Resigns As Allegations of Harassment Mount

Ben Judd is stepping back from the publisher he helped found, as well as his "other industry endeavors."

More on PC

Once the King of PC Gaming, MechWarrior is Now the Big Stompy Ghost of a Bygone Era

A legacy series returns, and there’s little else like it in gaming today.

Resident Evil's Newest Survivor is a Living Homage to "Jill Sandwich"

Martin should probably stay away from small rooms with descending ceilings.

The CEO of Japanese Indie Publisher Dangen Entertainment Resigns As Allegations of Harassment Mount

Ben Judd is stepping back from the publisher he helped found, as well as his "other industry endeavors."

The Game Awards is Launching a New Initiative Featuring Limited-Time Demos of Upcoming Games

Over a dozen games will have demos available for a limited time.

Disco Elysium: How to Get to the Fishing Village and Close the Water Lock

We show you how to get across the water and into Land's End in Disco Elysium.