As a game design concept, would it be outrageous to consider giving hidden advantages to a losing team (or a player doing poorly) in a competitive multiplayer game? It’s been done with AI in racing games for ages, but I haven’t heard of it being used in actual player vs player games.
Imagine a multiplayer shooter, where players are rated by how well they’re doing and based on this rating, they either receive a subtle accuracy penalty or an aim-bot effect.
Players who are doing well probably won’t get too frustrated, because they have to be doing well to get the penalty and can chalk it up to being unlucky.
Players who are average won’t have anything to really notice, so they won’t care.
Players who are doing poorly, will now have an easier time and are less likely to rage-quit the game.
The outcome of games is more balanced, matchmaking (if it exists) doesn’t have to be as good.
And if we’re going into the being an evil manipulative game developer territory, I’m sure you could gather enough data to find out in which circumstances to give players buffs, so that they’re more likely to buy new skins for weapons or characters. (ie. playing the first 2-3 rounds with a new character, they get a buff, because that means they’re more likely to buy a new skin for it)
I can’t think of any reasons not to use something like this, as long as you keep it subtle enough to be undetectable by players. Depending on the game, could be done in a number of ways as well, giving players higher average damage rolls, increasing trigger rate of random chance effects, slightly tighter bullet spread in shooters or anything with even a hint of randomness.
So what’s the thinking on this? Is it morally questionable? Is it a good/bad idea? Am I behind the curve and do games do that already?