In the business of video games, intellectual property is critical to success, and Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks are the bricks with which your IP portfolio is built. The Patent Arcade is the web’s primary resource for video game IP law, news, cases, and commentary.

U.S. Patent No. 10,569,178: Automatic movement of player character in network game


Issued February 25, 2020 to Square Enix Co Ltd
Priority Date: January 12, 2011



Summary:
U.S. Patent No. 10,569,178 (the ’178 Patent) relates to automatically moving a player’s character in an online game when the player is not currently playing. The ’178 Patent details a method of moving a player’s in-game character when the player himself/herself is not playing, such as in situations where a player temporarily steps away from their device, or logs off. A copy non-player character (“NPC”) may be created based on the “away” player’s character. In one embodiment, this is used when the breakaway player is in a cooperative game with other players to allow the other players to still progress in the game while the breakaway player is gone. Automatic movement instructions allow other players to continue progressing without having to wait for the breakaway player. The copy NPC may be given movement instructions by other players. 

Abstract:
A game includes player characters in a virtual space. The game is progressed in accordance with game progress information, which is useable for generating a game screen. The game screen is configured to be displayed on a display device. An instruction for registering a player character, which is manipulated in the game by a first player, is received, and the player character of the first player is registered as a copy non-player character. The copy non-player character is configured to be manipulated in the game by a second player. The game progress information is updated, and data of the player character of the first player is updated in accordance with a manipulation of the copy non-player character by the second player during a period in which the first player is in an off-line state.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A non-transitory computer-readable medium including a program for progressing a game, the game including player characters in a virtual space, the program being executable by a processor and causing the processor to execute operations comprising: progressing the game in accordance with game progress information, the game progress information being useable for generating a game screen, the game screen configured to be displayed on a display device; receiving an instruction for registering a player character of a first player, the player character being manipulated in the game by the first player; registering the player character of the first player as a copy non-player character, the copy non-player character configured to be manipulated in the game by a second player during a period in which the first player is in an off-line state by the second player performing an operation during a period from when the first player becomes the off-line state to when the first player starts a log-in process; receiving, at a time of a log-in process of the first player, a selection of one of a plurality of copy non-player characters from the first player, each of the plurality of copy non-player characters being present at a position on a field of the game and having not been deleted at a time of a log-in process of the first player; and resuming the game from the position at which a selected copy non-player character is present when the first player switches from the off-line state to an on-line state to resume the game, wherein the virtual space includes a plurality of predetermined registration locations from which the instruction for registering the player character of the first player is configured to be received.

U.S. Patent No. 10,610,779: Methods and systems for scheduling game play of a video game


Issued April 7, 2020 to Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC
Priority Date: June 19, 2017




Summary:
U.S. Patent No. 10,610,779 (the ’779 Patent) relates to scheduling a video game session among invited players (whether immediately or in the future) to be accessed from a cloud hosting system from any geo location. The ’779 Patent details a method of sending a notification to invited players, and preloading the game in advance for players who accept the notification. The cloud hosting system determines the geo location of each player, and choses data center(s) for each player after performing latency and quality tests based on their geo location. The current game state for each player is stored at their respective data center(s). 

Abstract:
Methods and systems for assigning a data center in a second geo location for migrating data in anticipation of receiving a request from a user account from the second geo location includes receiving an indication of a change in geo location of a user from a first geo location to the second geo location. Save data for the user is identified at the first geo location. The save data is analyzed to determine usage trend of the user for the plurality of games. A portion of the save data is identified, based on the usage trend, and transmitted to a second data center in the second geo location in anticipation of the user's likely access of the save data at the second geo location. The save data is made available to game logic of one or more games, when executed on a cloud gaming system, so as to provide current state of game play of the respective one or more games for rendering on a client device of the user used to access the game.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A method for game play of a video game available on a cloud gaming system, comprising: detecting a request for game play of the video game, the request originating from a client device of a first player and identifying a scheduled time for game play and other players that are to be invited to join in game play of the video game with the first player, wherein the video game is a multi-player video game played between the first player and the other players to define a current game state; sending a notification to the other players with an invitation to join in game play of the video game at or before the scheduled time, in response to the request; evaluating response to the notification received from one or more of the other players to identify specific ones of the other players that have accepted the invitation for game play of the video game with the first player at the scheduled time; and pre-loading the video game up to a point defined by the current game state from where game play of the video game is to begin, for the first player and specific ones of the other players that have accepted the invitation for game play, the pre-loading performed in advance of the first player and each of the specific ones of the other players connecting to the cloud gaming system to begin game play of the video game from the point defined by the current game state, at or before the scheduled time, wherein the pre-loading includes, identifying a time window defined before the scheduled time for performing the pre-loading of the video game; performing the pre-loading within the time window for each of the first player and the specific ones of the other players, the time window is defined to include time needed for pre-loading the game data and a buffer time for completing pre-loading of the video game, and wherein operations of the method are performed by processors in the cloud gaming system.

U.S. Patent No. 10,463,962: Spectator view perspectives in VR environments


Issued November 5, 2019 to Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.
Priority Date: March 18, 2016


 



Summary:
U.S. Patent No. 10,463,962 (the ’962 Patent) relates to outside spectators viewing the virtual reality (“VR”) environment of a player wearing a head-mounted display (“HMD”). In some embodiments, the ’962 Patent details a method allowing a spectator to view a player’s VR environment from predetermined locations, a location of the spectator’s choosing, or a location determined by the gaze of the player wearing the HMD. A spectator may be allowed to move closer or farther away from a location, which results in the content of the VR environment up-scaling or down-scaling that portion accordingly. A corresponding listening zone may accompany a viewing location that provides audio to the spectator as if they were in that location. 

Abstract:
A method, system, computer readable media and cloud systems are provided for generating views of a virtual reality environment for a spectator. One example method includes enabling a spectator to view into a virtual reality environment, and control what specific content within the environment the spectator wishes to see. By allowing the spectator to move closer or further away from specific content, the spectators movement toward or away will cause an automatic scaling of content within the virtual-reality content being generated by an HMD player, that is sharing the content with the spectator. Other features include allowing a spectator to adjust the viewing angle of the content. The viewing angle of the content can be moved by allowing the spectator to reach into the content or control the content scene, and then position the content in the viewing angle that is most comfortable to the position of the spectator.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A method for processing virtual reality content for interaction by players and viewing spectators, comprising, receiving, at a server, interaction data for a head mounted display (HMD) player wearing an HMD, the HMD player is configured to navigate a virtual reality environment, and the virtual reality environment is provided by the server as a virtual reality stream that includes an HMD player view; receiving, at the server, a request via a device of a spectator to view the virtual reality stream via an HMD of the spectator; sending, by the server, the virtual reality stream to the device of the spectator to provide an HMD spectator view into the virtual reality environment that enables viewing of a same view or distinct views of the HMD player view; receiving, by the server, position information of the HMD of the spectator; and processing, by the server, a magnification of a portion of the virtual reality environment when the position indicates that the HMD of the spectator has moved closer to content in the virtual reality environment; and a de-magnification of the portion of the virtual reality environment when the position indicates that the HMD of the spectator has moved away from content in the virtual reality environment.


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