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EA Files Patent for Matchmaking System Algorithm that Can Track Player Spending

In October 2017, it came to light that Activision had filed for a matchmaking patent that was designed to "dramatically increase the odds for players to purchase microtransaction items". It appears that EA took note and has filed its own patent for an algorithm designed to "drive engagement".

The patent, Engagement Optimized Matchmaking, is specifically designed to keep players actively engaged in multiplayer games by adjusting matchmaking behind the scenes. Various player statistics are analyzed by the algorithm including player skill, sportsmanship and play style (offensive or defensive preferences and favored attacks). 

The controversial part comes here (thanks, Destructoid!):

"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 key words here are the ones addressing a player's spending habits and the potential for an algorithmic adjustment to encourage more.

The patented algorithm has not yet been implemented in any EA games. However, there are big titles coming along in the future including Anthem. It remains to be seen whether or not it will be used then.

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Suzie Ford / Suzie is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom

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