If you're a gamer, you've probably played a few of Activision's titles in the past. As the publisher behind the ever-popular Call of Duty franchise and the recently released Destiny 2, Activision is a company that has received both widespread praise and criticism for its published titles over the years.
Initially filed for in May 2015, the patent details a method of "[arranging] matches to influence game-related purchases" - in other words, the company invented a microtransaction-based matchmaking system.
The way this matchmaking system would work is by matching "expert/marquee" players that possess powerful or otherwise desirable weapons and items with junior players who lack them. If the marquee player wins the match against the junior player, the latter "may wish to emulate the marquee player" by purchasing those weapons or items.
If the junior player does so, they would then be segmented into a different branch of the matchmaking system where the cycle begins anew. If they do not, the player's profile is "[updated to] indicate non-purchase."
The following graphic (provided in the patent itself) shows how Activision might implement such a system:
This is certainly distressing news for those who prefer to be matched on skill alone but it's worth noting that this potential matchmaking system is still only a patent. In a statement to GameSpot, an Activision spokesperson claimed the following:
"This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studios. It has not been implemented in-game."