Activision is reportedly looking into "A system and method [provided] for continuous gameplay in a multiplayer video game through an unbounded gameplay session", i.e. a never-ending mode that sees one match in play indefinitely, never coming to a close.
As reported by Insider Gaming, a patent was filed in July 2022 for the technology, but there have been references to it since 2015, nearly ten years ago. How it will work if implemented remains to be seen, but we do know from the patent that these matches will "run continuously until all players have exited the unbounded gameplay session."
Simply put, so long as there is one player on the server, it will remain open. This isn't the same as an MMO, however. Rather than a giant, constantly running server with hundreds of players doing their own thing, it would be an extension of existing modes.
It could take the shape of a deathmatch game that never ends or a battle royale where players are constantly parachuting onto the map. Both are entirely speculative, but those are the kinds of sessions this tech could be used for. And given that Activision's main focus is Call of Duty, that's likely the game we'll see it in.
The patent also mentions auto-balancing, load-outs, and matchmaking algorithms. This is no doubt in a bid to stop one player from dominating a match and staying on top with an unfair advantage, as the server would likely haemorrhage players in that scenario. Nuketown with a couple of people camping in one room, getting over 100 kills, doesn't sound like a great time.
While Activision is looking into matches that keep going and going and going, Warzone 2's DMZ is wiping all progress and making players start from scratch. This came as a complete surprise to many, but it's something that games like Rust and Escape from Tarkov do with similar modes. But maybe DMZ will go infinite one day, or maybe we'll see an endless Crash Bandicoot battle royale. We'll have to wait and see
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