It then goes through a system to first soft-reserve a slot in a game for a player and then assign the players to the same match. "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".
Some less-distressing features of the patent also call for tracking player purchases and attaching that data to profiles. In effect, more players could end up buying items to their advantage. One of which explains how a junior player can be an expert sniper. Activision also mentions the possibility of doing this when specific items are on sale - after all, if you get matched with someone who's using a gun that's on sale and that player does well, the temptation to buy it for yourself would presumably grow. "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". Alternatively, after getting an upgrade, the game could place you in a match where that particular weapon or item was highly effective. But those purchases are clearly optional, despite their controversy, and players can still unlock quite a bit in the game, especially when it comes to completing missions. So this is big business, and while Acitvision has the patent on this particular technology other publishers no doubt have similar systems in play or in development. Recently there have been worries about loot boxes in games, and the models that might attempt to manipulate users into purchasing them. "I might be paranoid but as soon as I read this I was thinking to myself 'sounds like this is already in Hearthstone.' I've heard of way too many new players that complain about playing against decks with tons of legendary cards", another stated.
The patent details how multiplayer matches are configured, specifically how players are selected to play with one another.
Effectively, as a personal take, this whole concept is deeply troubling, and a clear stepping over the line between a cosmetic "tip jar" approach to microtransactions right into straight-up affecting the quality of the game experience to influence you to spend more money.
In an implementation, when a player makes a game-related purchase, microtransaction engine 128 may encourage future purchases by matching the player (e.g., using matchmaking described herein) in a gameplay session that will utilize the game-related purchase.
Last year, Activision Blizzard earned $3.6 billion from in-game purchases alone.
Activision has patented a new microtransactions technology.