Activision seems to have plans for a persistent multiplayer mode that potentially never ends, as long as at least one person is playing.
A couple of generations back there were lots of experiments in terms of first person shooters with unusually high player counts or persistent game worlds, but that’s all fallen away in recent years – with most modern games sticking to relatively small teams and matches that last around 10 minutes.
However, fans have discovered an Activision patent that describes a multiplayer mode that can theoretically carry on forever, as long as at least one person is playing, with others joining and leaving whenever they want.
That puts it halfway between a standard online shooter and an MMO; although the patent is a bit vague on how exactly it will be scored it claims that matches could last weeks or even years.
The patent suggests that the new mode could avoid the problem of people having to wait in lobbies for games and improve the state of matchmaking, because it’d have more time to sort players out according to skill levels.
There’s no indication of any upper limit to how many people would be playing at once, but while it doesn’t seem possible to ‘win’ the mode there will be smaller objectives to complete and give a sense of achievement.
The patent was first registered last July and yet this isn’t something Activision has ever formally announced or even hinted at.
As with any patent, there’s no guarantee that Activision will actually do anything with it, but on the other hand it could prevent anyone else from using the same idea.
Although you’d assume this would be used for Call Of Duty the patent doesn’t actually mention the franchise and in fact suggests that the same system could also be used for online games that aren’t shooters. Not that Activision makes any of those at the moment.