Update: Activision confirmed that this system has not been implemented into any of their games at this time.
The patent, which focuses on how matchmaking works, was granted this month and seems focused on FPS titles, although the concept, at least, has great potential to stretch far further.
Activision has successfully patented a system it hopes will convince more people to purchase items via microtransactions in multiplayer games. "For instance, 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".
We will no doubt see marketing spin on this in the coming weeks if the story speads enough, but at its core it's hard to see any way in which this isn't a bad thing.
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. Activision is adding a new factor that assigns players to promote the likelihood of in-game digital purchases. Naturally, more uses and other shaders can be purchased for real-world money, or found in-game. "Similarly, the microtransaction engine may identify items to be promoted, identify marquee players that use those items, and match the marquee players with other players who do not use those items".
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Another example given would be a junior player who, through his gaming profile, is determined as wanting to be a sniper. Through algorithms, the system would match low skill players with high skill ones in order to encourage the lower skilled player to spend money in-game.
The system may include a microtransaction arrange matches to influence game-related purchases. "This may encourage the player to make future purchases to achieve similar gameplay results".
"For example, if the player purchased a particular weapon, the microtransaction engine may match the player in a gameplay session in which the particular weapon is highly effective", the text of the patent reads.
"Doing so may enhance a level of enjoyment by the player for the game-related purchase, which may encourage future purchases", according to the patent. Activision has since told the site that this tech is not now being used in any game.
It's unlikely Call of Duty: WWII would use such a system, though Supply Drops and possible cosmetic items are likely to be offered once the game releases on November 3.