Earlier this month it was revealed that Activision submitted a patent for selling microtransactions to players. That patent aims to matchmake players in matches where a purchasable item is most effective, in order to convince the player to spend money on it too. That patent received heavy backlash from fans who accused the video game publisher of trying to ‘exploit’ them.
The controversy died down somewhat after Activision confirmed that the patent has not been included in any of its games (yet). However, fans may not be best pleased to know that the publisher has submitted another microtransaction patent, also designed to get players to spend more on Activision games.
A new report confirms that, on October 21, 2015, Activision submitted a patent to the U.S. Patent Office that would make it easier to sell in-game items featured in clips of its games. Titled “System and Method of Identifying Portions of Video Game Streams for Driving Microtransactions,” this patent details how players could create “Video Game Streams” which are user-generated replays of a game. “In some instances, a metadata track may include micro-transaction information that identifies an item available for purchase,” explains the patent submission.
The filing goes on to provide this example: “a shooter game, a location on the display (e.g., pixel position) of a virtual weapon that may be purchased by the viewer for use in the viewer’s gameplay may be encoded in the metadata track.” Once that weapon is identified, the viewer could click that and be able to purchase the in-game item for themselves.
Activision’s biggest game franchises have microtransactions and unlockable loot that could potentially make use of this patent. For example, Overwatch has a range of skins and Call of Duty: WW2 Zombies mode has loot boxes. As so many players are tuning in to watch esports matches of its games, to Activision it makes good business sense to monetize that and encourage players to spend more on the events that they are watching.
But fans of its games are likely to feel frustrated by the continued attempts at money-making from the publisher. Activision‘s main aim is to make money, but some players may question its methods and could argue that this patent seems far too pushy. The industry is already seeing some pushback on loot boxes and microtransactions as players have been vocal about them. The microtransaction controversy hasn’t affected video game sales just yet, but patents like this could make players think twice about their purchases.
Source: Dot Esports, Justia