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Microsoft patents online upselling

New system automatically detects missing content and offers instant purchases

Microsoft has patented a new system of purchasing downloadable content via an automatic prompt, which attempts to ensure all players in the game have the same updates.

Discovered by website Broke My Controller, the "automated directed transaction and delivery system for digital content" (ATDDC) is designed to automatically detect if a player has not installed a particular component necessary to take part in an online game.

Once the content, such as a map or character download, is detected a prompt to the user is automatically generated. This allows them to purchase the extra content and automatically download and install it while remaining in contact with the other players.

The patent application uses a racing game in its example, describing a situation where a game host has a downloadable circuit which another player does not. Rather than having to exit the game and visit the Xbox Live Marketplace the ATDDC system would allow them to purchase and install the content immediately.

As with any patent there is no guarantee that Microsoft will implement the system, although it does have obvious potential for increasing sales of downloadable content.

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David Jenkins