Activision Patents Driving Microtransactions Through Matchmaking

An article on Rolling Stone reveals United States Patent- 9789406 for a "system and method for driving microtransactions in multiplayer video games" that was awarded to Activision yesterday (thanks Charlie INTEL via Slick). They applied for this in 2015, but tell Rolling Stone "the technology is not currently in any games." Microtransactions are currently a lightning rod, to the extent that today there are headlines because Warhammer: Vermintide 2 will not sell loot boxes. The ethics of how companies drive these is drawing a lot of scrutiny, and this brings that situation into strong focus. The patent rewards schemes for psychologically manipulating players into making purchases, outlining an 18-step decision tree for this, and fleshing it out with a 17,000 word description, in case you were worried they aren't putting enough thought into this. This is based around ways of adding the ability to drive purchases to the criteria used by in-game matchmaking. The abstract repeatedly refers to this scheme as "the invention," and here are a few examples of what they've invented:
For example, in one implementation, the system may include a microtransaction engine that arranges matches to influence game-related purchases. 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. A junior player may wish to emulate the marquee player by obtaining weapons or other items 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. Similarly, the microtransaction engine may identify items to be promoted, identify marquee players that use those items, and match the marquee players with other players who do not use those items. In this manner, the microtransaction engine may leverage the matchmaking abilities described herein to influence purchase decisions for game-related purchases.

In one implementation, the microtransaction engine may target particular players to make game-related purchases based on their interests. For example, the microtransaction engine may identify a junior player to match with a marquee player based on a player profile of the junior player. In a particular example, the junior player may wish to become an expert sniper in a game (e.g., as determined from the player profile). 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.

In one implementation, when a player makes a game-related purchase, the microtransaction engine 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, the microtransaction engine 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.
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Re: Activision Patents Driving Microtransactions Through Matchmaking
Oct 18, 2017, 14:51
30.
Re: Activision Patents Driving Microtransactions Through Matchmaking Oct 18, 2017, 14:51
Oct 18, 2017, 14:51
 
sounds awful. it's sad where things are going in gaming.

I see a lot of people boasting about how much they spend on loot boxes and such. It's very much a, "Oh i have so much more money than you, i can afford to do this all day!" sort of arrogant statement.

Meanwhile it's ruining gaming for everyone else, including them, but they're too selfish and arrogant to care.
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