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Patent reveals Activision uses matchmaking to encourage players to buy more microtransactions – UPDATE

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UPDATE: Activision sent us the following statment in regards to this new patent being revealed, stating that the matchmaking patent was an exploratory patent that is not implemented in any title.

“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.”

Original Story:

Rolling Stone magazine has uncovered a new patent from Activision that was filed in 2015 that talks about how the company wants to design their matchmaking systems in their titles. Activision was granted the patent earlier this month by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

This new patent appears to be about how Activision plans to use “tricks” in their matchmaking system to lure players to purchase more in-game items through the course of playing a game. Specifically (one aspect of the large patent), the patent mentions that high skilled players get paired with low-skilled players to purposefully encourage low-skilled players to spend more money to get better in-game items to match up against higher skilled players.

“For example, in one implementation, the system may include a microtransaction engine that arranges matches to influence game-related purchases. 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. A junior player may wish to emulate the marquee player by obtaining weapons or other items used by the marquee player.”

Furthermore, the patent describes that Activision could use the matchmaking data to encourage players to buy specific items they want, for example a sniper rifle.

“In a particular 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. In this manner, the junior player may be encouraged to make game-related purchases such as a rifle or other item used by the marquee player.”

The patent also details that Activision may matchmake those who own a specific microtransaction item with those who do not, which could encourage the player who does not own the microtransaction item to purchase in-game credits to get it.

“Microtransaction engine 128 may analyze various items used by marquee players and, if at least one of the items is currently being offered for sale (with or without a promotion), match the marquee player with another player (e.g., a junior player) that does not use or own the item. Similarly, microtransaction engine 128 may identify items offered for sale, identify marquee players that use or possess those items, and match the marquee players with other players who do not use or possess those items. In this manner, microtransaction engine 128 may leverage the matchmaking abilities described herein to influence purchase decisions for game-related purchases.”

The patent also reveals how Activision could make players more encouraged to purchase additional in-game content after an initial purchase. The new engine they received a patent for would allow Activision to matchmake players with microtransaction items into games which highlight the power of the microtransaction item, leading players to feel satisfied with the purchase to buy additional content because of the gratification of the purchase.

“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. Doing so may enhance a level of enjoyment by the player for the game-related purchase, which may encourage future purchases. For example, if the player purchased a particular weapon, microtransaction engine 128 may match the player in a gameplay session in which the particular weapon is highly effective, giving the player an impression that the particular weapon was a good purchase. This may encourage the player to make future purchases to achieve similar gameplay results.”

As part of the summary of the patent, Activision claims that in a certain implementation of a new microtransaction engine, the new system could “arrange matches to influence game-related purchases.” 

Microtransactions first appeared in Call of Duty back in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 with new ways to customize content. Since Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, in 2014, Activision brought a Supply Drop system to Call of Duty where players can purchase loot boxes to attain random content. Call of Duty’s loot boxes have weapons in the game which do feature stat changes, like in Black Ops 3, Advanced Warfare, and some weapons in Infinite Warfare.

Activision has also come under fire recently for the Eververse implementation in Destiny 2, where some Shader’s could not be used multiple times in game. Bungie’s community director says the this matchmaking system is not implemented in Destiny.

We shared more information about the patent in this article here.

SOURCE: Rolling Stone and US Patent Office

Activision

Activision cuts ties with voice actor of Ghost, Jeff Leach, after sexist comments resurface

Activision ends relations with the re-casted voice actor behind Ghost.

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Activision has cut all ties with Jeff Leach, the voice actor behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s Ghost Operator, after sexist comments made by Leach resurfaced on social media.

Jeff Leach was the voice actor behind the Ghost character in Modern Warfare 2019 and Warzone. The entire original Modern Warfare cast was re-casted for the 2019 reboot, and Leach voiced Ghost when the character was added as an operator in Season 2 in February 2020.

The news of Activision ending their working relationship with Leach comes as sexist comments made by Jeff Leach have resurfaced online after streamers and community members were questioning why Leach still had partners within the industry.

A Twitter thread posted shows sexist comments Leach made about streamer ZombiUnicorn in 2017, as well as other more recent comments during a stream on Facebook Gaming, and asked why he still has partnerships with Facebook Gaming and Activision.

Leach has been streaming on Facebook Gaming as an official partner in 2020 and has been frequently streaming Warzone.

One of the clips shows Leach, while playing Call of Duty: Warzone, saying, “I love how it’s always like some dirty, dirty, gross f**king looking emo b**ch who looks like she f**king has no chance of getting a bit of d**k in her.”

These clips are believed to be from a live stream that occurred in December 2020.

ZombiUnicorn since replied in their own video response on Twitter, asking why Facebook and Activision still have partnerships with Leach.

In a new statement sent to CharlieIntel on May 8th, Activision says they have ended all working relationships with Jeff Leach and “condemn” all of his remarks.

Sexism has no place in our industry, our games or in society,” Activision says in a new statement. “Activision is no longer working with Jeff Leach. We strongly condemn these remarks. We are committed to delivering a fun and safe experience for all players.”

Facebook Gaming has not commented on Jeff Leach’s comments at this time.

What this means for the future of Ghost Operator in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone remains to be seen and was not addressed in this statement.

Feature Image: Jeff Leach Twitter

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Johanna Faries named new Call of Duty General Manager

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Johanna Faries Call of Duty General Manager

Activision Blizzard announced that Johanna Faries had been named the new General Manager of the Call of Duty franchise.

Call of Duty is arguably the biggest franchise in the video game world and one of the top entities in all of entertainment. With great success this past year thanks to Black Ops Cold War and Warzone, Activision Blizzard has officially decided who will lead the franchise into the future.

This week, Activision announced that Johanna Faries has been named the new General Manager of the Call of Duty franchise. In her expanded role, she will have management oversight of every angle of the high-profile first-person shooter franchise going forward.

Johanna Faries Call of Duty General Manager

“Since joining Activision Blizzard, I’ve had the opportunity of a lifetime to set a new and dynamic vision for Call of Duty eSports alongside an incredibly talented team of colleagues, players, owners, and partners. In the process, I’ve been on the front lines of the Call of Duty franchise, working closely with our studio and marketing teams to deliver breakthrough experiences for players and fans the world over,” said Faries to GameInformer. “Call of Duty has made an immeasurable impact on the world of gaming and entertainment and is a bona fide cultural phenomenon. I can’t wait to help usher the franchise into its next chapter, and to continue to unlock the power that Call of Duty holds for the future of competitive entertainment.”

Faries is far from new when it comes to Call of Duty. She first joined Activision Blizzard in 2018 as the Head of Call of Duty Esports. Her goal when joining the company to create the franchised Call of Duty League, which lead to her becoming the Call of Duty League Commissioner and subsequently the Head of Leagues at Activision Blizzard, including the Overwatch League over the last 3 years.

The National Football League is where Johanna Faries called home before Activision Blizzard, where she spent 12 years as an executive.

With Call of Duty continuing its reign as a heavyweight in the video game world and Black Ops Cold War and Warzone kicking off Season 3 that saw the introduction of the new Verdansk ’84 map, there is no more exciting time to see where Johanna Faries will help take the franchise in the future.

Image Credits: Activision Blizzard

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Premium Call of Duty games will be revealed later in the year than usual

Activision confirms Warzone’s success has had an impact on Call of Duty marketing decisions.

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With the success of Call of Duty: Warzone and the post launch campaigns, Activision has acknowledged that they are experiencing a shift in their marketing of Call of Duty.

The Call of Duty marketing machine has been in almost a consistent pattern for years. A new game gets announced in May, MP reveal over the summer, potential beta in August/September, and then a release in October/November. It’s been systematic.

That entire process has been upended with the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone. With the game’s success and continued post launch campaign seasons ongoing, there’s a lot to talk about now without having to shift attention to the latest premium release so early.

And, Activision’s President is acknowledging this shift in Call of Duty marketing plans. When asked in a new interview with VentureBeat about revealing new CoD games later in the year, Kostich states “we’re probably shifting a bit more in that direction.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the first to experience this. The game, which fans hoped would be announced in the similar schedule in May, was only revealed in end of August. The reveal event occurred within Call of Duty: Warzone, a new way for Activision to engage the fan base.

Kostich says that the reason for the change in reveal time frame is what we’re seeing right now. “You’ve seen what we have in season three this week. We have so much to talk about and so much going on that’s happening this week. We want to focus on that with the community, focus on the journey with them.”

He reiterated how Black Ops reveal was able to be apart of Warzone, something Activision has never been able to do before. “We did some cool things in terms of integrating the reveal of Black Ops into Warzone. Those are the things we want to orchestrate and provide to our community, letting them discover Call of Duty themselves in their play experience.”

Kostich confirms that “marketing is changing within Call of Duty, how we get the community to participate and uncover things for us.

He states that reveals of premium CoD games “might be happening later, but it’s all part of a broader agenda to bring the community along on a fun journey.”

How this impacts Call of Duty 2021 release timing will be interesting to watch. Activision has steep competition this year with EA releasing Battlefield game and Xbox releasing Halo Infinite.

As always, stay tuned for the latest news on Call of Duty.

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