Activision researches matchmaking tactics to sell in-game items
Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s biggest computer game companies, has been researching “matchmaking” as a way to shift more in-game items. In-game items could be anything from a new set of clothes for your video game character to wear to more powerful weapons or other accessories that let you beat levels more easily. They form an integral part of online gaming, where games are often free to play, but have monetization options built into them, letting players spend to have a better experience. As early as 2015, the company was experimenting with matchmaking technology to increase the number of transactions players made.
Activision’s share price has appreciated by 82% year to date
SOURCE: Yahoo Finance
This month, Activision was granted a patent for a system that encourages micro-transactions in its games. The company said that “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.”
The system in question details how multiplayer games are configured online, specifically how players are selected to play with one another. It includes a wide range of factors like skill level, internet latency, availability of friends, and more to match players in ways that could lead to them purchasing more in-game benefits. The patent explains:
"For example, in one implementation, the system may include a micro-transaction engine that arranges matches to influence game-related purchases. For instance, the micro-transaction 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."
Although not in use yet, this is a powerful example of how modern technology and behavioural science can contribute to increased monetization on gaming platforms. But players shouldn’t worry too much – the best way to get players spending more is to make it an enjoyable experience. As the patent says, adding players into games where they are given the option to use previous purchases could enhance user experience:
"Doing so may enhance a level of enjoyment by the player for the game-related purchase, which may encourage future purchases."
Dominion holds Activision Blizzard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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