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.
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.