Hot Ice and Blorb is a discussion series with writers Josh Beard and Kerry Craig. Today they’ll be discussing the news of Activision’s patent on microtransactions and match-making.
Josh: Ok so, I have no idea how to start this exchange between us. I guess I’ll just try to start this as best I can while making it seem like our Facebook conversations are written like we’re always talking to other people. So, Activision has once again shown us how little they care for gamers and how little they care about people having an enjoyable gaming experience. Once more, as if we needed any more evidence, Activision shows it’s true colors (Shout out to Cyndi Lauper) and those colors are green.
On Wednesday, news got out that Activision holds a patent for a system that will attempt to drive microtransaction sales through multiplayer matchmaking. The patent literally details a nightmare scenario for any gamer, be they experienced or not, “The system 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,” the patent explains. “A junior player may wish to emulate the marquee player by obtaining weapons or other items used by the marquee player.”
This is the exact kind of situation the two of us, and millions of other gamers, have been afraid we would hear at some point. The fact that they would even consider manipulating their profits by essentially forcing players to pay for gear just to stay competitive in the game disgusts me.
Kerry: I think anyone that’s ever listened to us speak knows how much it pisses us off, and I’m so far passed that with this news that I can’t even SEE. It’s true, we knew we’d get subversive, manipulative shit like this eventually, but the fact that it’s Activision doing it makes it SO much worse. I hate Activision. I’ve hated this company for quite a while. In the world of gaming, they are the Galactic Empire. Of course it would be those evil pieces of shit that come up with this. They already are targeting us for more money. Now, if you’re good at the game, they will pair you with a less experienced player, either to kick their ass and makes them envious of your shit, or to save their ass and make them envious of your shit.
Was shoving half-finished games at us not enough? Was us scraping and saving to get more DLC not enough? You want to pull some mind-fuckery like this? And the first thing they do is come out and say, “Don’t worry, everybody. We’re not using it.” Yeah, right now. But you will, and you want to make sure no one else can trick people into this bullshit but you. Want to jump into a game that came out last month? Get fucked, kid. Everyone just shit all over you, but you can shit all over THEM for the low price of $14.99!
Josh: Exactly! I love how they think we’re so stupid that we’d actually be appeased by them simply saying, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Slow down there champ. We’ve had this patent for a few years now and we aren’t using it. You can trust us. Shhhh… quiet now. Just let it happen. Shhh… just relax and this will go a lot easier.”
That was Activision fucking us while whispering lies into our ears yet again, in case you didn’t get that. They WILL use this at some point and can you imagine the kind of imbalance this is going to create in their games?
In a time with when all I ever hear people say is how unbalanced and unfair FPS games are, this is going to create a major disparity in skills levels. All I want in an FPS nowadays is for the game to have some system that pairs people together based on similar skills and Activision looks at this NEED in the FPS genre, especially with the Call of Duty franchise, and they just want to shit in our mouths, tell us to go fuck ourselves, and make us pay an extra $20 just for the added services.
The more popular video games get, the bigger and more bloated these companies become, and the less they care about the “little people” they’re supposed to be making these games for. I honestly believe we’ve already passed by the Golden Age of gaming. I feel like there was a stretch from 2005-2012 with the Xbox 360 and PS3 where gaming was truly great. Graphics for the time were pretty damn amazing, storylines in video games were better than 97% of movies and TV shows out there, and when you bought a damn game that was the last time you spent money on it unless it was DLCs. Those 7(ish) years of gaming were so much fun and it ended way too quickly.
But with the advent of DLCs, publishers realized how gullable and stupid we all are and they knew, no matter how much we’d cry about it, they can milk any amount of money out of us to continue to play the games we love.
Kerry: It really is sad to see it going this route. We could have all had a great time just hanging out and playing video games, but we can’t even get taken out to a DLC dinner before they try and FUCK US. This is one of the reasons when Bungie decided to partner with Activision I sighed and said, “…god….dammit.” I knew we would end up with games that trickle out behind a paywall, and that’s exactly what we got. We just keep sucking that teat, too, because we want to enjoy our hobby so badly. Maybe it’s just because I’m a cynical asshole, but this is the shit that makes me avoid a game. I play damn near everything, and there is no shortage of games. I have no problem avoiding a game that pisses me off. I will, however, reward developers that choose not to do this kind of manipulative shit. So I’ll say it with the loudest voice I can muster: FUCK YOU, ACTIVISION!!!!!
Josh: Moves like this one are exactly the reason I haven’t purchased and played a Call of Duty game since “Ghosts” and this “patent” will be the reason I won’t buy COD:WW2.
The worst part is, if they find a way to add these pay to win measures to the games that I love the most, I will spend my entire life savings to keep playing. It shouldn’t be this way. Sadly, as long as we’re willing to pay for it, these big publishers will keep finding ways to keep the cash flow going and growing.