The details of a patent filed by Activision in 2015, recently revealed in Rolling Stone magazine, show the methods behind Activision's reliance on microtransactions.

U.S. Patent 9,789,406 was filed May 14th, 2015 and is described as "System and method for driving microtransactions in multiplayer video games ". It has the following points:

  • "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."

Meaning: Multiplayer matchmaking is rigged so that a low-skilled team faces a team of high-skilled players on purpose, in order to encourage the lower team to buy game-related items (Supply Drops and COD Points, in this case).

  • “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.”

Meaning: If someone owns a specific in-game item like a weapon that is obtainable only from microtransactions, they will most likely be teamed with other players who own the same item.

  • “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.”

Meaning: A player who buys a Supply Drop and gets an exclusive weapon from it will likely be placed in a lobby where the weapon would be very useful. This causes the player to feel good about buying the item, thereby tempting them to buy another drop in order to get a similar item.

In all honesty, this is unacceptable and totally shameful behavior towards loyal members of the Call of Duty community. This move is taking the once-legendary CoD franchise in the wrong direction, and something must be done in order to stop it from expanding. Some may think that it would all be for nothing, but it is impossible to bring about change when there is nothing being done at all. We should at least call attention to the issue, and encourage others to stand up to this. This corporation is going so far as to cripple our game experiences for nothing other than monetary gain, and has all but completely lost touch with the community.

The idea of letting the new pay-to-win system ruin future games while we do nothing about it is infuriating. Since we have a bigger voice in the Call of Duty community than most, I believe we should start a group effort in order to stop this from getting out of control. Something along the lines of a petition or boycott may be a good option. I would at least like to see how far we can go with it. This is definitely something worth looking into.

Main article: [1]
Additional info: [2]
U.S. Patent Office details: [3]