EA has recently filed a patent for a matchmaking algorithm they hope will influence players when purchasing in-game items. Technical Design Director Brenon Holmes assured players BioWare will not add the divisive algorithm to their upcoming RPG - Anthem.
EA have recetnly filed a patent for a matchmaking algorithm to "dramatically increase the odds for players to purchase microtransaction items". The sound of the word "microtransaction" triggers a full third of the planet at this point, but there is no such thing as bad publicity, and that particular type of hype is all you get when you associate yourself closely with EA.
Since the notion of a system that plays with our psychology for profit, also known as advertising, doesn't sit quite well with anyone on the receiving end of it, some people are worried about the future. Fans of BioWare's upcoming RPG Anthem have been up in arms wondering if the algorithm will make it into the new game. The short answer: of course it will. We presume.
We also presume that there is something fundamentally wrong with the idea of being a fan of something that hasn't even been released yet, but the description is entirely self-inflicted.
Technical Design Director Brenon Holmes took to Reddit to debunk the rumours:
I'm convinced. Well, nothing to see here folks but a bunch of falsehoods and a man on a crusade against them. For argument's sake, let's say EA will, in fact, make BioWare tack on the matchmaking algorithm.
In that case they will be able to analyse your stats such as skill, play time and spending as EA's patent reads:
"The patent, Engagement Optimized Matchmaking, is specifically designed to keep players actively engaged in multiplayer games by adjusting matchmaking behind the scenes. (...) Within the EOMM framework, the core building components, skill model, churn model and graph pairing model are uncoupled so that they can be tuned and replaced independently. Moreover, we can even change the objective function to other core game metrics of interest, such as play time, retention or spending. EOMM allows one to easily plug in different types of predictive models to achieve the optimization."
The patent refers to measures aimed at identifying players who have a potential interest in an item available through microtransactions or lootboxs - based on players interests, play style or any other metric EA can think of.
The matchmaking algorithm would then pair that player with another, who already owns the potentially coveted item. After the match, the system would "update the profile associated with the first player" to reflect whether he/she had caved and bought the desired item.
Thank goodness this algorithm won't make it into Anthem. It sounds terrible.