Yesterday, it was reported that Activision has filed a patent for microtransaction matchmaking. The technology, according to the filing, would matchmake players in multiplayer games in an effort to encourage them to spend more on microtransactions.
Unsurprisingly, many were furious with the video game publisher and said that Activision wants to ‘exploit’ the people who play its games. Activision has now responded to the concerns, releasing a brief statement that says, “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.”
Activision’s statement will be a huge relief to fans of its games who feared that they were already being subject to the technology. Community manager Deej had already confirmed that Destiny 2 doesn’t use the microtransaction patent but it was unclear whether other games were making use of the tech already. Many will be glad to know that this isn’t the case and that for now, the publisher isn’t putting additional pressure on them to pay for microtransactions.
But although the patent is described as ‘exploratory’, many players feel that it’s only a matter of time until the technology becomes a standard in Activision’s games. There would be plenty of opportunities for the company to do so.
For example, Overwatch has loot boxes and Blizzard’s game could matchmake people with players wearing the nicest skins. Call of Duty: WW2 Zombies mode has microtransactions too and this could encourage players to pay extra by showing them that those who do so go further.
The patent obviously allows for Activision to make the most money out of its games and the people who play them. As a business, that is its primary goal and so few were surprised when the matchmaking microtransactions patent was published. But it’s understandable why fans have so many concerns about the application of the technology.
While it’s one thing to subtly encourage people to pay for more cosmetics, there could also be some really frustrating applications of the patent too. Fans fear that Hearthstone will pit them against players with legendary cards, seeing them regularly suffer major defeats in an effort to get them to purchase card packs. The pay to win controversy of Star Wars Battlefront 2‘s loot boxes is already on people’s minds and so it’s little wonder why so many have already jumped to this conclusion over Activision’s patent.
Activision’s statement does not make it clear exactly when – or even if – the technology described in the patent will actually be featured in a game. But fans have outlined several major concerns with the technology and so if it is to be introduced, Activision will have to work to address them.