Microtransactions, and more specifically loot boxes - which are definitely not a form of gambling - make the game industry a whole heap of money, in fact going as far as tripling its value. But there's always a way to approach this monetisation model from a more creative perspective, as publisher Activision has now shown.
According to a patent filed three years ago and just granted, the publisher has explored the idea of using matchmaking to encourage players to acquire in-game items via microtransactions. The abstract of the patent reads:
System and method for driving microtransactions in multiplayer video games
A system and method is provided that drives microtransactions in multiplayer video games. The system may include a microtransaction arrange matches to influence game-related purchases. For instance, 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 microtransaction engine may leverage the matchmaking abilities described herein to influence purchase decisions for game-related purchases.
Activision, in its own words, is doing this because regular matchmaking systems fail to take into account skill level and other such factors. This new patent thus "facilitates optimization of player matches for multiplayer video games". Because of course it does.
Not to worry though, said an Activision spokesperson to Kotaku, as "This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 [sic] by an R&D team working independently from our game studios. It has not been implemented in-game."
Bungie community manager @DeeJ on Twitter was quick to point out that this system hadn't been implemented in any of the studio's games, and specifically not Activision-published Destiny and Destiny 2.
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