Activision back in 2015 filed for a microtransaction loot box matchmaking patent that would be approved just this week. The patent encourages players to purchase microtransactions by manipulating matchmaking multiplayer algorithms to heighten the chance of a player buying loot boxes.
For starters, Activision hasn’t put this new microtransaction loot box matchmaking patent algorithm in any of its games yet. But the idea that this poisonous endeavor is making it closer to becoming a thing is very atrocious and real.
I bet you are thinking, though, “but why Ethan? What makes this whole thing so bad?” Well, let’s take a good look at the patent’s wording and how poisonous it is via uspto.gov:
“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.”
Did you catch any of that? In layman terms, the patent explains how some low level noob who just hit puberty wants to become a Dorito, Mountain Dew, no-scope 720 sniper who smokes dank blunts, but he’s matched up with a wannabe MLG pro and gets mopped. The noob feels bad and is constantly matched up with similar high caliber players along with matchmaking screens filled with loot box/microtransaction purchases that claim to increase the noob’s skill. All of this bombardment leads to a purchase or multiple loot box purchase by both the noob and MLG pro.
You don’t believe me? The next part just confirms the above:
“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, the microtransaction engine 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.”
So this microtransaction engine is literally rigging matches based on loot box purchases and pairing people up with other people who are far beyond their skill level to purposefully encourage the loser to buy “enhancements” via loot box microtransactions? That is more than poisonous… that’s insidious!
At the rate that Activision, DICE, EA and other triple-A companies are going, you might just have to purchase a loot box and hope it opens the start menu so you can get in the game. Seriously, if no one is boycotting loot boxes other companies will see that not only do microtransactions make money but they also create an addiction, so then, why not hide important stuff behind loot boxes if there’s no opposition?
The time is coming where ridicules measures and loot boxes will invade basic features, and who has the power to stop all of this? You, your voice, and your wallet.