Activision are c**ts

If I have read this article right, then what a bunch of twats!

Activision has successfully filed a patent designed for use in multiplayer matchmaking systems. In short, it’s an idea to engender envy at teammates’ or opponents’ gear through the matchmaking algorithm itself.

Here’s the abstract from the patent, granted today after its filing two years ago:

“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.”

Full piece can be found here: Here

Wow that does seem a bit shit, personally I’d not fall for that but I’m sure they have done the maths to work out that a lot of people would otherwise they’d not do it.

It is a fairly shitty thing when you read the title, but it’s just marketting to gullible folk.

Do you really give a toss about the skin on some guys gun?

If it stacks you against people who have in-game items that are actually giving them a gameplay advantage… then that’s a different kettle of fish.

I think the thing that would piss me off is the match making not matching to players that are around my level but matching to an “expert” regardless of whether they bought skins or not…

Quick way to turn me off their games… Not that I have any interest in the COD series now.


You know what happens in COD normally fines its way in to other games. They where the ones that pretty much started skins on guns/uniforms and they are every where now. Now I couldnt care less about skins on things, If I get one for free, good, but i’ll not pay for it with real money. But, if this takes you down the route of getting match to player A who has paid to get a better weapon then i’m out.

Gaming is very much turning in to pay to win.

I can see the AAA games doing that but I hope the indie makers will wait and see the impact of employing such things but if it is patented to Activision, I have a feeling many will not want to pay Activision to use that type of technology

at least if they patent it then it might put of others from doing anything similar that could result in activision filing a suit for infringement.

matching people against more experienced players is a dick move though; matching them with similar level folk who’ve bought whatever crap they’re flogging would seem the way to go, or do they think they’ll convince new players that cosmetic items make you a better player?

Arstechnica article I read has a couple of bits I’ve not seen elsewhere - linkage.

An Activision representative told Glixel (which first unearthed the patent) that the filing was merely an “exploratory” effort from a disconnected R&D team and that such a system “has not been implemented in-game” yet. But the patent itself shows a decent amount of thought being put into various ways to maximize the chances of players purchasing in-game items based on their online gameplay partners.

Such matching would be based largely on “the potential interest of the in-game item to the first player, and… the possession of the in-game item by the second player” according to the patent, and it could be activated during “a subsequent gameplay session that caters to use of the in-game item.”

Potential interest in an in-game item would be determined by “an express preference” or a “derived preference… based on a gameplay history.” For example, “the junior player may wish to become an expert sniper in a game (e.g., as determined from the player profile). The microtransaction engine may match the junior player with a player that is a highly skilled sniper in the game.” The engine could also push items based on “usefulness.” For instance, “an in-game item that may be suited for a particular level that the player has repeatedly failed may be identified.”

This last part is the most troublesome for me (highlighted for emphasis).

Not only is a potentially lower level or lower ‘skilled’ (however that would be defined on a game by game basis) being matched directly with a higher level or ‘skilled’ player, but their interaction is being used directly to then market a monetised item to the lower skilled player.

There are all sorts of things wrong with that in my mind. First and foremost is that the lower skilled player is being actively placed in a position where their game experience will be potentially negatively impacted for the sole purpose of pushing a sale on them by creating a situation where their fun would be diminished. All manner of slippery slopes here, especially since the example given above seems to suggest that the item being targeted at the lower skilled player would somehow even the odds between the two of them - which begs the question why ‘skill’ would be mentioned at all if a given item can negate the level of skill either player might have. And wouldn’t that be like buying trainers/bots/cheats for a game?

Second of all, this form of system invites and encourages the parcelling off and portioning out of game content, encourages the mindset that a game be broken up in development prior to launch and then sold off in pieces post-launch. I’m not even crying about HURR DURR CORPORATE MACHINE HURR DURR, my big issue here is: How the hell can you balance a game experience across your player base to account for the fact different players have access to different items/content?

Nothing about what I’ve read suggests that the patent is focusing on cosmetic items. I suppose the example I’ve highlighted could be talking about making the lower skilled player consider buying the weapon the higher skilled player has even if it’s essentially just a skin/model, effectively tricking the lower skilled player in to thinking said weapon is better when it has the same underlying stats as a weapon the player already has access to. If this is the case then it’s just slimy business/marketing, but if they are talking about items beyond cosmetics then down right evil in my opinion.

Oh and I’ll echo something from the Arstechnica comments section: The money here wont be in ActiBlizzard utilising this themselves, it will be in the license fees and patent infringement suits.

This screams of an overlap between gambling and games now.

Loot boxes are raking in so much money by gating content via chance. A system that has been enabled to to Valve’s structures via steam, Team Fortress 2 and DOTA.

The worst thing about this patent and exploration, is that it will primarily affect those who value skill and getting the shiny. Psychologically, if you are competing against someone who is “better”, and whose gear looks or even behaves differently to yours, and said gear is hidden behind a paywall…yeah. That’s going to affect those most susceptible and those with the most disposable income.

Kids, basically. To build a system that will statistically pair you against someone who may kick your ass with a shiny toy is pretty fucking manipulative.

With all the recent news about loot boxes, content gates etc. even in Early access (PUBG…) it feels so dirty to try. Even if its content that has not actual impact it still relies on “Someone has something you dont and you can get it…if you take a chance”.

I’m not even going as far as whether the content affects balance. It’s clear that gambling is becoming a norm in exec’s heads, only instead of raw cash and a blackjack table it’s virtual items needlessly blocked behind a pull of a lever and some cash thrown in.

Adults can dodge it, but youngsters are prime material for this.

Not going to lie, kind of makes me ill reading about ideas like this.

1 Like

loot boxes were deemed not to be gambling, on account of you get something from them even if it’s shit you don’t want.

So if implemented you could buy LOADS of premium stuff because in addition to being better kitted you’ll be matched with people who the game says aren’t as good as you, making your game easier still? Pay to WinWin!

I saw that earlier and Jim Sterling made a video about it. The current infestation of titles with stupid loot boxes makes me sick, beside other means of payment, overpriced special editions or other micro transactions just to milk everyone.

I kinda was fine with Overwatch doing it in the start, but now I just get pissed off on how far they are willing to push this bullshit. The most disgusting thing isn’t that they might use this system, the craziest part is that someone is fucked up enough to invent such a system and made a patent for it.

This system is purely intended to manipulate people to spent their cash, take advantage of children or easy to manipulate individuals, in the most disgusting way possible. This shit gets games closer and closer to gambling and most of the relevant institutions aren’t willing to acknowledge that. I’m just waiting for the outcry at some point when thousands of children are gambling, similar to what happened with CS:GO.

The last weeks were full of this kinda bullshit, EA with the loot box based skill system for Battlefront 2, WB with the crazy shit they pulled with Shadow of War (Orcs in Loot Boxes, making a profit from a dead developer), the Shaders of Destiny 2 and now Activision… again.

I’m going to consider a new hobby. Maybe alcoholism. Less complex.


CAD has a good one for this…


Jes, take up more general addiction, you get a wider range of activities that you can combine with one another, like drunk gambling.

Better kids get a sense of loss and understand gambling at a young age than learning that when they’re an adult and it can have far more destructive consequences. If they don’t understand the value of time or money on the other hand, that’s not something video games can be held accountable for.

I think implementing something like this algorithm would be a disgustingly human thing to do, but the reason for not doing it isn’t ‘but think of the children!’ for me. This exploits exploitable humans, whether they be young, old, stupid, infirm, insane, gullible, desperate or whatever.


Very fair point adrock. Anyone vulnerable should spring to mind tbh.

What happened to "make cool shit and sell it? " People don’t half want to make life more fucking complicated over baseless greed and get rich schemes.

random fact: ‘gullible’ isn’t actually in the dictionary.


the people who wanted to ‘make cool shit and sell it’ needed investment to do so, that came from people who want the maximum possible return on their investment. The greed isn’t baseless, it’s what defines us as a species; the desire for more (wealth, authority,property, longevity, understanding), as we long since surpassed necessity. Without it we could be (if we were at all) far worse off, and far happier with it, but we can’t be that because we’re already not.

We also need to question the motives of the people who wanted to “make cool shit and sell it”. And anyone who enabled them, including anyone who had the opportunity to do anything about anything but didn’t.

shit guys, i think we’re all collectively on the line for this one :frowning:


This entire concept baffles me. I have never understod why anyone would want an in-game thing because of its looks. I generally play entirely default skins in most games because if it doesn’t make things work better then it is irrelevant in every way.

Sure, I get wearing camo skins, but something shiny that costs money? All that makes me do is laugh at the eedjit who paid for it.

It just makes no sense.

I can’t understand why anyone would want this - although obviously they must, otherwise Activision wouldn’t be looking at monetising it.

1 Like

Sounds like what I’d expect. It may happen, it may affect certain games. A percentage of the audience will refuse to take part and if that percentage is large enough, they’ll form a market opportunity for people who don’t include these gambling mechanics in their games.

My one issue would be that I do believe it’s reaching a point where certain games should be required to state they contain gambling or addictive mechanics, if they include a ‘real money’ element where you purchase further opportunities for reward. Once that stage is reached, it seems essentially identical to me as gambling, though with virtual rewards.

Sadly, I can see the issue with that as being comparison with games at fairs, and that kind of thing. We tend to regard gambling as providing a money reward, while there are plenty of chance games that reward you with toys/games etc. that we commonly treat as play. In principle, they are exactly the same problem as loot boxes in computer games, it’s just that computer games are in the home and permanently available so the potential for consequences is rather more insidious.


At least in this US this sort of thing was recently ruled as not being gambling, which absolutely appalling. It’s gambling plane and simple.