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The Activision Microtransaction Patent - Or Why You Should Always Prioritize YOUR Money!

The recently granted patent revolving around microtransactions to Activision has been taking a beating online over the last 24 hours, and for good reason. It is a sleazy tactic made to separate you from even more money than your initial investment in a full retail release. It's something that would barely be considered "at home" in a free to play game.

I won't go into as much detail as some others, go here to see the original article in Kotaku. The short of it is, it will pair players in online matches based on the likelihood that one will encourage the other purchase in-game items. This continues to infinity, using things such as optimal map selection to compliment your newly purchased item, players lacking a skill in a way that will benefit your purchase, etc. It is sleazy as hell. From a cold, calculated business sense, it is freaking brilliant. I have already stated multiple times that you need to protect your money, and maximize its use. From rarely pre-ordering, to making sure you buy games on sale or in a way that benefits you, I have encouraged you to prioritize your money. This patent right here is further proof of why you need to do this!

I am going to compare this to another industry that seems to be compared more and more to games...gambling. Specifically, casinos. Their end goal, like any other business, is to make the most money possible. Here are a couple of "innovations" that have been bred over the years:

  • Casinos are maze-like. They want to make it hard to leave, so you will gamble more.

  • There are no clocks, and the lights are always on bright. They want you to lose track of time, and gamble more.

  • They offer free drinks while you gamble, so you get intoxicated, and gamble more.

  • Slot machines added lots of "near misses", so you think the next spin will be the big one. So you gamble more. You know, like loot boxes.

  • They offer "Free Play" after a certain amount of money gambled, so you gamble to reach the threshold, get the free money, and gamble get more money to gamble. Hey, kinda like some in-game economies.

  • Bar mounted slots at some casinos now have a "meter", so they won't give you free drinks until you gamble enough. Something that used to be free that is no longer the Forza 7 mods.

The big difference? Casinos ADMIT they want to make more money! They don't hide it. These aren't about choice. It's about profits. It's like if they told me they need me to gamble more for that free drink, but are doing it so I can be there longer without intoxication. Or if they said that the maze-like design is so I can make sure I experience everything the casino has to offer. NO! It's for money!

Business use tactics like these all the time, from retailers to restaurants. They don't hide it though. Do you think that pastry store puts those impulse items by the registers for your health? No, it's for money. They say as much too(watch The Profit). Activision stated that this patent was made by one of their R&D departments and it isn't even being used. However, they MADE IT FOR THEM. It is because they knew that is how Activision thinks. It's like being a private chef for someone who loves pizza and hates burgers. You aren't going to toil in the kitchen trying to make the best burger for your employer. You will create the best damn pizza you can.

My end thought is again this: PRIORITIZE YOUR MONEY. Purchase a game like Persona 5, but rent one like Shadow of War. Hell, if you end up liking the game that much, buy it on sale. I will never judge you on how you spend your money. I bought Destiny 2 at release, but I paid $38 by pre-ordering through Best Buy, and I made the purchase a day prior to release. I've gotten my money's worth out of it. All I'm saying, is I want you to guard your current and future cash like Activision guards theirs. Always look for the best way to stretch your dollar, as I've outlined many times in the past. Every single game company wants our money, but I am more likely to give it to someone who is honest about that fact and what they are doing to get it. I will respect them more in the end too. This was a bit ranty, but I had to get it out.

Get boning, don't get boned!

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