Imagine watching your favorite streamer playing a game live and you along with the rest of the spectators having unprecedented control over the content. That would eventually become reality as far as Activision is concerned.
According to a patent (US10376793B2) granted to Activision Publishing, Inc by the United States Patent and Trademark Office a couple of months back, the Call of Duty publisher wants a system that allows spectators to indirectly take control of characters and hence, impact the game itself while watching a livestream. The basic idea is to have the spectators dynamically create secondary objectives, assumedly through voting, for the streamer to complete for various rewards.
For example, as outlined by Activision in the application, a racing game may have spectators create a new task that involves overtaking four cars or jumping a particular distance. In the same way, a shooting game may have spectators create a new task that involves grenading two players or achieving a killing spree.
When created, the secondary objective(s) will appear on the screen of the streamer alongside the number of fans making the demand. The streamer will then be able to choose what mission to complete first. Incentives thrown in by Activision will vary from earning virtual currency to virtual items, and receiving invitations to special events to obtaining sponsorships.
This newfound relationship between streamers and spectators could develop even further. Activision is also considering to have games where spectators can impact the progression of characters as well as time-based events.
In either case, streamers will be eying what Activision calls “virtual fans” that account for the number of spectators involved in creating secondary objectives. Completing an objective will add the number of spectators behind its demand to a basket of sorts, which will decay over time. Streamers can then show off their virtual fans to attract more followers.
Activision has been patenting some fairly interesting trademarks. The company also acquired rights to a system that analyzes online profiles of players to create clones of those very players. It starts with monitoring player-activity such as in-game handles, sportsmanship, playstyles, choice of weapons and items, choice of modes and companions, and spending habits. The mining methods also cover demographic information such as gender, location, income levels, and such.
Once all of the necessary details have been stacked, the patented system will then begin creating non-playable characters (NPCs) that behave in similar fashion. Hence, populating online games with clones that will be difficult to distinguish from real players.