The gaming industry has been evolving at an unprecedented rate in recent years. Game developers are constantly trying to innovate game design and create crafty mechanics and unforgettable gameplay experiences in order to amaze players and win them over with their games.
For this reason, developers are constantly trying to create innovative mechanics such as the Nemesis system by Monolith for Middle-Earth games. So it is no surprise to know that such ambitious systems and mechanics are patented so that others may not use them without the developer/publisher/owner’s permission.
The patent is for “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR INCENTIVIZING PLAYER PARTICIPATION IN BONUS GAME PLAY SESSIONS”, and as the name indicates, the aim is to make players participate in bonus matches after normal matches.
The basic description reads:
“Systems and methods enable most valuable players (MVPs) of a gameplay session to play a bonus gameplay session where other players (non-MVP players) participate as player-spectators in online video games and, through a collective voting mechanism or through active interaction, determine the occurrence of certain events or contents of the bonus gameplay in real time. In this manner, non-MVP players are able to directly affect the course of the bonus gameplay.”
The patent is for a very unique system that Activision may add to its future games. Basically, it’s a system so that the most valuable players or MVPs participate in bonus matches or gameplay sessions after their matches. If you play multiplayer games or shooters you must be well aware of who is an MVP.
Each game has its own criteria but the general objective is to single out one individual who performed the best in the whole match or gameplay session. Each game determines the MVP using its own parameters, but an MVP player is without a doubt a cut above the rest.
Activision’s patent intends for a system in which the MVPs of a gameplay session will be invited into a bonus gameplay session after the current one ends in which the player was declared the MVP.
In this bonus session, the rest of the players, or non-MVPs, will vote on certain mechanics or systems of the bonus session through a voting mechanism, or some other type of active interaction, which may even be voice chat.
This way, non-MVPs will decide possibly crucial aspects of the bonus gameplay session in real-time and basically control it, while spectating the participating MVPs. Think of it as a game in which you make the rules and put the strongest players in matches you control to some extent.
Naturally, many are filled with rage and envy for the MVPs as a match ends. Those with a competitive spirit would surely feel jealous, but with such a system, they may have a chance at revenge and test the mettle of those they lost to in one way or another.
Further, the bonus session would not be entirely generated by a computer and relies on a specific amount, or “threshold” amount of players to participate for the bonus session to be generated:
“the bonus gameplay session is at least partially generated by a computer system and at least partially transmitted to a plurality of end user devices and wherein the computer system includes one or more processors executing a video game streaming application for generating and streaming the gameplay session, the method comprising: determining if a threshold number of the non-MVP players exists to trigger a generation of a plurality of game event options for potential inclusion in the bonus gameplay session”
This indicates that the participation of non-MVPs is very crucial for the generation of the gameplay session, as computer systems is partially generated by computer systems and the rest depends on player decisions.
Moreover, it may not be just one MVP who participates in the bonus session. There can be multiple MVPs, and MVPs are assessed through the game’s own criteria to determine whether certain events occur during a gameplay session or not, according to a description.
“to determine the occurrence, in real time, of certain events or contents of the bonus gameplay. MVP(s) are assessed through multiple criteria during a multi-player game. The MVP may be a single player, may be multiple players that meet specific criteria of the game, or may be a team of players.”
Moreover, the input is not from just the non-MVPs and computer systems, but the participating players or MVPs as well.
The MVP(s) may then select various options for the bonus game, including, but not limited to, game type or genre and game modifiers, such as weapons, power-ups, and obstacles. In some embodiments, the system selects the options for the bonus game without input from the MVP(s). In some embodiments, the system selects these options randomly. In some embodiments, the system selects these options based on the performance of one or more players in the preceding multi-player game.”
Thus, in some instances, MVPs may control certain aspects of the bonus session, such as different powerups they may want to spawn, specific weapons they may want or game modifiers as well. However, MVPs will not always be allowed to give their inputs and in some matches, the computer system will generate options itself.
The options the system chooses can either be completely random or based on the player’s performance in the preceding or previous match (although, how it is affected, we do not know).
Once the bonus game starts, the non-MVPs may affect the gameplay while spectating n various ways. The description reads:
“The MVP(s) then plays the bonus game as a single player. In some embodiments, in addition or alternatively to choosing and voting on options in advance of the bonus gameplay, as described above, the at least one non-MVP player may actively affect the gameplay of the bonus game during gameplay. In some embodiments, the at least one non-MVP player can present obstacles or distractions to the MVP(s). In another example, in a First Person Shooter (FPS) game, the at least one non-MVP player can select the type of enemies the MVP(s) faces. In this manner, players other than MVP(s) become player-spectators and are able to directly affect the course of bonus gameplay.”
The example just shows one way in which non-MVPs alter the elements and gameplay of one match but the gist is that this way the non-MVP’s challenge becomes to stop the player by choosing different options, while the non-MVP is actively spectating. This is sort of like a God game, except there is no computer-controlled NPC but rather, an expert player who beat you in a previous match.
However, this all depends on whether the player even wants to participate in said bonus gameplay sessions. For that. the system can provide different incentives to push people to participate, such as in-game currency that can be used to buy skins, cosmetic enhancements, and other benefits to participants, as a description reads.
“In another embodiment, the present specification provides methods and systems to encourage more participation and response from all the players, and provides additional incentives and benefits to the MVP(s). In some embodiments, incentives are related to long term game currencies. In some embodiments, the long term currencies may be used for purchasing additional in-game content including, but not limited, to game cosmetics, such as player skins.”
How effective it is, we can only judge when the system is actually applied to a game, but this system is certainly enticing. It adds another layer of gameplay and competitiveness to a game and turns it almost into a kind of gladiator match in which the strongest is/are thrown into the pit and their enemies control the battlefield.
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