Over recent years, multiplayer games have substantially grown in popularity. More specifically, the competitive aspect of multiplayer games has taken over the gaming industry and, ultimately, esports. With a rapid increase in the competitive sector of gaming, game developers are constantly coming up with innovative ideas and game designs to contribute to the general audience and the gaming industry.
Game developers tend to file a patent for a specific in-game design that they do not want others to use without their permission. Some of the most innovative patents include the Nemesis system, introduced in the Middle-earth games by Monolith, and the Dual-Reality gameplay patent introduced in The Medium by Bloober Team.
The developers spend hours upon hours developing and implementing ideas for their games. It makes sense for them to patent a completely new game mechanic idea for exclusivity rights.
Similarly, EA recently filed a patent for a new in-game automated coaching system that will analyze player performance and suggest improvements accordingly. The system primarily focuses on EA's competitive titles, such as Apex Legends and Battlefield 2042. In recent years, with the emphasis placed on skill-based matchmaking (SBMM), it is high time something like this was introduced for gamers to improve their skills on.
EA is currently developing this technology for players who struggle to improve. The technology will help them identify their weaknesses and suggest actions that can be taken to improve in that particular area. EA is also famous for sports games such as Madden NFL, UFC, and FIFA. However, the patent hints that the technology is mostly for first-person shooters as the patent uses terms like guns and grenades. In addition to popular titles such as Apex Legends and Battlefield 2042, EA also has an impressive lineup of shooters such as Mass Effect and Titanfall.
According to the filed patent, EA claims if players are not skilled in a particular online game, they may not enjoy it and, as a result, would disengage from playing that particular game online. A prime example of such a game is the Call of Duty series. Over the past few years, the Call of Duty franchise has been a hot topic around SBMM, and many players complain about it being too strong. The basic idea behind SBMM is to put you in a lobby with other players having similar skill levels to yours.
While SBMM protects a lot of players under the 0.8 k/d or 0.7 k/d brackets, it can be extremely punishing for players with a k/d above 1, especially in Call of Duty games. This is because performing in one lobby exceptionally well will put you in a lobby with "pro" players.
This is why implementing an in-game coaching system is crucial, as EA has stated. It will help players improve their skills and enjoy the online game when put against other skilled players.
So how will this in-game automated coaching system work? It might be difficult for some to understand the basic workings of this system when you read the patent, but we've dumbed it down for easier understanding.
When you play any game, the system in place will identify the shortcomings in your gameplay through a model that will be designed for this program. Then, the program will try to identify the gameplay elements that may be contributing to the problem or the shortcomings. The performance metric for this includes data such as damage per match score, matchmaking ratings, etc.
Other player data that will be collected includes the amount of use of a certain weapon, level of communication with other players, the number of times climbed, the number of times sprinted, how accurately players shoot, etc.
The data here may be numerical and will be collected throughout several gameplay sessions, which will then be analyzed statistically using the performance model.
After applying the performance model, the coaching system will predict and display the best method to improve the gameplay performance based on the collected data.
As mentioned before, the automated coaching system is yet to be implemented, and we're still not sure what games will be the subject of this coaching system. However, the patent mentions game modes such as Battle Royale and first-person shooters, indicating that we may see the coaching system in popular competitive EA titles such as Apex Legends and Battlefield 2042.