Activision has just been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a new kind of matchmaking system that the company has been repeatedly filing for more than four years.
The traditional matchmaking system takes into account a variety of factors such as latency, region, skill level, number of players queuing together, and more. Activision is adding a new factor that assigns players to promote the likelihood of in-game digital purchases.
“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 explains. “A junior player may wish to emulate the marquee player by obtaining weapons or other items used by the marquee player.”
In other words, the new matchmaking system of Activision will make sure that players without any cosmetic upgrades will be assigned with those who have spent real-world currency in the shop. The company believes that seeing fancy digital items in play will convince players to open up their wallets as well.
The patent further adds that information gained from this new system will be used to identify the most popular in-game purchasable items and narrow down potential customers.
Speaking with RollingStone, a spokesperson for Activision confirmed that the patented matchmaking system has not been implemented in any game so far. Destiny 2, the most recent release from the publisher, also does not use the technology.
It is hardly surprising to see a company accept the lucrative opportunities of microtransactions. In the case of Activision, it earned $3.6 billion last year from in-game sales alone. The community, though, largely remains vocal against the business model for games that come with a full retail price.