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Activision granted patent that allows players to share Call of Duty loadouts

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Activision has been granted a patent that the team filed in 2019 in references to sharing loadouts in a multiplayer video game via online social networks. The patent was granted to Activision officially on November 17, 2020.

The inventor of the patent is: David Vonderhaar. The studio design director at Treyarch.

The patent was originally filed on September 16, 2019. It’s called “Systems and methods for customizing weapons and sharing customized weapons via social networks,” according to the US Patent Office.

The main premise of this patent is to build an engine that will allow “one or more other players of the multiplayer video game” to share their custom loadouts “via at least one social network such that the one or more other players can utilize the customized weapon configuration during a gameplay session.”

This patent details every single portion of the weapon that Call of Duty considers and tracks in implementing them into the game. It looks at “weapon performance attributes, weapon appearance attributes, weapon performance statistics, and player performance statistics.” 

The massive part of this patent is the sharing aspect, which is something that could change Call of Duty and add a new layer to the social experience of the franchise. 

As reported by PCGamer, this new patent details how players could control who can see and use their loadouts. The patent explains that loadouts can be shared. It talks about customized weapon configuration and details how they can dictate the share controls. 

“A player may further specify that he or she wishes to make a customized weapon configuration available for gameplay by one or more other players. In some implementations, a user may specify that a customized weapon configuration and/or some or all of the foregoing information be made available to all players, or a subset of players including, but not limited to, friends (or followers), or team members, or other groups of players.”

Another massive part of the patent is about how players can share the loadouts. In detail, the patent describes a new engine that goes in depth to allow players to share loadouts on social media platforms, within the game itself, and more. 

This new engine will “enable a player to share weapon configurations, information about weapon configurations, and/or gameplay statistics internally (or in-game) via, for example, an in-game social network or a game publisher-centric social network accessible in-game by game players. Additionally or alternatively [it will enable players to share] via one or more external social networks (e.g., Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, etc.). In one implementation of the invention, the sharing engine may enable a player to transmit communications (e.g., email messages, text messages, or other electronic communications) that include hyperlinks or other selectable graphical user interface objects that enable recipients to access the shared information.”

This detailed patent also allows players to include messages and/or details when sharing said loadouts. Players can include “personalized text, graphics, pictures, audio, video, or other multimedia” as part of their share experience. 

Lastly, the new patent describes how players could potentially issue challenges when sharing their loadouts, and then allow others to complete or best those challenges. 

“The sharing engine may further enable a player to issue challenges to one or more other video game players to obtain or exceed certain player performance statistics, weapon usage statistics, or ratings, and/or achieve other objectives using a given weapon configuration.”

It says there’s a “Challenge Interface” that could be built allowing players to track and advance their challenges within the game’s engine. 

This would be a significant new portion to the social experience for Call of Duty, if implemented. Do note that is a patent, and patent’s don’t always end up in products immediately or in the near future. It could take some time for players to see a real in-game experience of this feature. But it’s quite interesting to see the level to which Activision can take the social experience of Call of Duty especially with Warzone and free to play experiences. 

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Activision issuing “hardware bans” to thwart Warzone cheaters

Activision have confirmed that they are handing out “hardware bans” to banned cheaters who keep making fresh accounts.

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Call of Duty Warzone gameplay

Cheaters and hackers have plagued Call of Duty: Warzone since its launch, but on top of account bans, Activision has confirmed that they are issuing hardware bans to thwart repeat offenders.

Cheaters have been a thorn in both players’ and developers’ sides since Warzone launched in 2020. It has been common to run into players blatantly wall-hacking and aim-botting, ruining the game for casual players and pros alike.

Raven Software has been providing regular updates on how many cheaters have been banned, and Activision recently confirmed that 475,000 permabans have been issued since Warzone’s launch. The likely reason why this number is so high is that Warzone is free-to-play. It’s widely believed that even if a cheater’s account gets banned, they can simply create a new one and carry on as if nothing happened.

Activision is aware of this issue and player’s concerns and released an in-depth update on their anti-cheat progress on April 12.

Because so many players have been concerned that account bans are ineffective, Call of Duty staff responded to this, saying that “Removing cheaters and taking away their ability to move to alternate accounts is a key focus for the security teams.”

They confirmed that if you’re cheating, not only could you be unknowingly downloading malware to your system, you could also receive a hardware ban.

To make sure players don’t keep creating fresh accounts to cheat with, Activision said, “We do issue hardware bans against repeat, or serial, cheaters. This is an important part of our effort to combat repeat offenders.”

This means that players who receive a hardware ban will be permanently locked out and won’t be able to simply create a new, free account and go back to their cheating ways.

Helicopters flying to Warzone's Verdansk Stadium

Activision also confirmed that not only are they targeting individual accounts with cheats installed, but also “the commercial market of cheat providers and resellers.” They revealed that they have recently banned “45,000 fraudulent, black market accounts used by repeat offenders.”

Cheaters will likely still make their way into your Warzone sessions, but Activision is making sure it’s continuously more risky and difficult to do.

In the meantime, you can check out our guide on how to spot cheaters in Warzone so you can assist Activision by reporting these players.

Image Credit: Activision

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Report: Activision Blizzard HQ & Treyarch offices set to relocate

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A new report states Activision Blizzard will no longer lease its office space in Santa Monica and are actively searching for a new HQ location.

DoTEsports reports that Activision Blizzard and Treyarch have ended their lease at their Santa Monica HQ offices. The company has had the office under their lease for more than a decade.

Per the new report, the teams that work in those spaces will work from home until further notice.

The company is reportedly in search of a new space. An internal memo, which was sent to staff and obtained by DoTEsports, states the company is actively looking for a new office space in the Santa Monica area.

We have narrowed down the search for our next office location to several properties in the Santa Monica area and we hope to finalize our plans in the coming weeks,” the internal company communication said.

Activision employees have been working from home since March 2020. As of now, the company says they’re on track to return to office by September 1, 2021. The timeline remains unchanged.

Activision’s main headquarters was located in the Santa Monica office on Ocean Blvd in California. Treyarch’s studio space was located right next door to Activision Blizzard HQ in Santa Monica on the first floor of an office building. The two used those buildings for over 10 years now, and are now up for rental and purchase.

Activision has not commented on this information as of now.

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Investment group calls out Activision for CEO payout

Activision Blizzard’s CEO continues to rake in bonus after bonus, and now investment firms are questioning the decisions.

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An investment firm, CtW, issued a statement report directed at Activision for upcoming bonus pay for their CEO, Bobby Kotick, which is valued at a remarkable $200 million.

The report states that an SEC filing and agreement between Activision Blizzard CEO and the board of directors of the company will allow the CEO to receive a bonus pay of $200 million at the end of this year.

Per the investment group, as released to GameSpot, a loophole created within Bobby Kotick’s employee agreement allows him to claim full bonus payout for previous years regardless of the company’s performance. This loophole is described in the “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” provision in Kotick’s employment agreement. He can receive a full performance equity payout from previous years – 2017 and on. That is valued at almost $200 million, which is set to be paid out in cash upon the end date of the incentive provision.

Investment group CtW issued a scathing statement over this, as the company just this week laid off less than 2% of its workforce, which is less than 190 people for “restructuring” purposes. The lay offs impacted Activision Blizzard esports department, alongside the company’s King division.

While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” director of executive compensation research, Michael Varner, said. “There are many factors that may contribute to a rise in this particular company’s stock price that may not be directly attributable to Robert Kotick’s leadership. The use of video games as one of the few entertainment options available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has been a boon to many companies in the gaming industry irrespective of executive talent or strategic decisions.

Bobby Kotick already makes $30 million a year from Activision thanks to his base salary and bonus yearly pay. He’s one of gaming’s highest paid executives. Activision continues to report record profits with 2020 being the company’s biggest year yet.

Activision has not commented on the latest developments on this payout.

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