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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 merges Vicarious Visions into Blizzard Entertainment

Activision owned Vicarious Visions will now be part of Blizzard Entertainment division.

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Activision has announced that one of their wholly owned studios, Vicarious Visions, will no longer be part of the Activision Publishing division.

The company has revealed that Vicarious Visions will be fully merged into Blizzard Entertainment division of the company effective immediately.

Vicarious Visions has worked on many titles and projects for Activision, including Skylanders, Destiny franchise, supported development of select Call of Duty games, and more. Most recently, the studio developed and released remasters of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2. The studio was listed as a support developer of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

In a statement to GamesIndustry, Blizzard says the studio becomes a “natural fit” after working on several Blizzard projects behind the scenes for the last several years.

“After collaborating with Vicarious Visions for some time and developing a great relationship, Blizzard realized there was an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support,” a representative explained to us.

It’s not truly clear how long Vicarious has been supporting Blizzard projects.

Vicarious Visions’ studio head Jen Oneal has been promoted to be Executive VP of Development at Blizzard Entertainment as part of the merger. She will report directly to Blizzard President J. Allen Barrack. All 200 Vicarious Vision employees will be part of Blizzard and work on Blizzard projects.

Her role is being replaced by Simon Ebejer, who was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the studio. It’s not clear what projects within Blizzard they are working on. Blizzard has multiple projects in the works, including Overwatch 2, Diablo 4, and more.

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Call of Duty: Warzone

Clever Warzone tricks lets you land without a parachute

A few players have discovered a fun little trick in Call of Duty Warzone that allows them to touch down on Verdansk without a parachute.

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How to land without a parachute in Warzone

There is a useful trick that you can use in a Call of Duty: Warzone match to break your fall while in mid-air. This will allow you to land safely in Verdansk without worrying about deploying your parachute. 

Call of Duty: Warzone will pit you against a ton of other players in a highly competitive Battle Royale match. The instant you land in Verdansk, you’ll have to find ways to get ahead of your enemies through different weapons or gear, scoring killstreaks, and even making use of glitches.

Players have discovered many different maneuvers in the game since its release in March 2020. These grant you an advantage over your opponent, including one that has you take out enemies by firing in mid-air.

This will have you deploy your parachute when you’re near the ground, and is a great way to score kills in mid-air. Now a neat new trick has been discovered that removes the need for a parachute altogether.

Parachutes in Warzone

How to land in Warzone without a parachute

This trick was pointed out by Reddit user Thexer0, who posted a clip of them dropping into Verdansk in the Call of Duty: Warzone subreddit. Here they showed that you are able to land on different surfaces without deploying your parachute.

Al you need to do is try hitting certain edges and surfaces in mid-air to break the fall before landing on your feet. In the clip, the player used a Satellite dish for this purpose, and slid off the curved edge before taking out their weapon.

While this trick is useful, it’s not guaranteed to work unless you’re precise with your landing. If you don’t hit the right type of surface, then you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. The player pointed this out and mentioned that you should try this “at your own risk.”

That said, this trick is absolutely worth trying out. Other players also commented on the thread about their own attempts at this neat little exploit, and many of them reported that it worked out successfully for them.

One Reddit user said “You can do it as well with some of the telephone/electrical towers,” and another mentioned “It works on stones and stuff too. You gotta land on the edges, something around 45 degrees.”

Parachutes are a vital component in Warzone matches, so you should definitely go for this trick. All it takes to succeed in pulling it off is some practice, along with a ton of patience. You can learn some more helpful tricks in our Warzone tips and tricks guide.

Image Credits: Activision

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Treyarch dev Tony Flame’s Twitter account hacked

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On this Christmas morning, Treyarch’s Lead Designer, Tony Flame, has had his Twitter hacked.

A user hacked Tony Flame’s Twitter account in the early morning hours of December 25, and has gone on a posting rampage, including posting racial slurs and more across the account. The hacker is @wixyV3.

We’re not going to showcase posts here with any racial slurs. The Twitter account has been locked by Twitter for the amount of slurs the hackers have posted, per images sent around in Discord servers.

One of the hacked tweets that has gone viral is about SBMM, asking Activision to remove it from his “game” he “worked hard to make.”

The account still remains hacked at this hour, but it does appear that tweets are being blocked from posting at this time. Twitter locked the account due to the content being posted.

Tony Flame’s account is not verified on the platform.

Flame has been active in posting since Black Ops Cold War’s alpha launched back in September. He’s been posting updates and thoughts around what the team is doing in terms of balancing and content updates.

The last tweet from Flame himself was a Merry Christmas post on the night of December 24.

Activision has not stated anything yet on this hack.

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