Activision wants to arrange mismatches in online games so that the less Experienced player spends more on microtransactions. That’s not a conspiracy theory but rather a directly stated goal of a system it’s just patented.
It’s arguable whether this should be considered to its credit or not, but there’s absolutely no subtlety or euphemisms in the description of the system. The application flat out reads:
…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.
The patent has a detailed explanation of the process, but it’s a simple concept:
- A less experienced player would be matched up with a more experienced player who possesses a particular item that gives them an advantage in the specific scenario.
- If and when the less experienced player loses the game, they’ll then get a suggestion to buy the item in question. The idea is that the player will infer that it must be a smart purchase to help in future games.
- If the player buys the item, in their next game they’ll be matched in a scenario where having the item gives them a big advantage. The idea is that they’ll likely win, conclude they made a worthwhile purchase, and be more susceptible to the system in future.
The patent has only just been approved and made public. Activision told Kotaku that “This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studios. It has not been implemented in-game.””
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