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. 10,688,396: Second screen virtual window into VR environment


Issued June 23, 2020, to Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.
Filed: April 25, 2018 (claiming priority to April 28, 2017)



Overview:


U.S. Patent No. 10,688,396 (the ‘396 patent) relates to locally observing the virtual reality environment of someone playing virtual reality (VR) through a virtual window into the environment. The ‘396 patent details a method of observing the VR environment of a VR player using a head mounted display (HMD). This is achieved by establishing a connection between a handheld device of an observer and the computer executing the presented VR environment. Then the camera of the handheld device captures the current position of the VR player in real space, and uses a second camera on the handheld device to capture the face position of the observer to determine a viewing direction for a screen of the handheld device. The screen is then configured to present the VR environment and at least part of the VR player. Meanwhile, the camera continually shares the position of the observer with the computer executing the VR environment. The VR environment presented to the handheld device is configured to the position and viewing direction of the observer. The ‘396 patent could allow observers of VR gameplay to have a window into the virtual world in which the player is playing, in real time.


 


Abstract:


Methods for observing a virtual reality environment of a virtual reality player is are provided. One method includes establishing, by a handheld device of an observer, a connection with a computer executing the virtual reality environment being presented to the virtual reality player using a head mounted display (HMD). Capturing, by a first camera of the handheld device, a current position of the virtual reality player in a real world space. Capturing, by a second camera of the handheld device, a face position of the observer. The face position being monitored to determine a viewing direction to a screen of the handheld device. The screen of the handheld device is configured to present the virtual reality environment and at least part of the virtual reality player interacting in the virtual reality environment. A current position of the handheld device and the face position of the observer are continually shared with the computer executing the virtual reality environment presented to the virtual reality player. The method then enables receiving, from the computer, a video stream of the virtual reality environment that includes at least part of the virtual reality player adjusted for the current position of the virtual reality player in the real world and the viewing direction of the observer to the screen of the handheld device.


 


Illustrative Claim:



  1. A method for observing a virtual reality environment of a virtual reality player, comprising, establishing, by a handheld device of an observer, a connection with a computer executing the virtual reality environment being presented to the virtual reality player using a head mounted display (HMD); capturing, by a first camera of the handheld device, a current position of the virtual reality player in a real world space; capturing, by a second camera of the handheld device, a face position of the observer, the face position being monitored to determine a viewing direction to a screen of the handheld device, the screen of the handheld device is configured to present the virtual reality environment and at least part of the virtual reality player interacting in the virtual reality environment, wherein a current position of the handheld device and the face position of the observer being continually shared with the computer executing the virtual reality environment presented to the virtual reality player; and receiving, from the computer, a video stream of the virtual reality environment that includes at least part of the virtual reality player adjusted for the current position of the virtual reality player in the real world and the viewing direction of the observer to the screen of the handheld device.


 


U.S. Patent No. 10,839,215: Artificial intelligence for emulating human playstyles


Issued November 17, 2020, to Electronic Arts Inc.
Filed/Priority to May 21, 2018



Overview:


U.S. Patent No. 10,839,215 (the ‘215 patent) relates to artificial intelligence (AI) which uses player data to emulate human-like gameplay. The ‘215 patent details instructions executed by one or more computing devices to generate image indicating positional information, and non-positional information, about objects in a video game. A first AI is selected from several, based at least partially on the data, is provided with the data as inputs. The AI is configured to receive the image and data as inputs, process the inputs, and generate control command outputs. The AI executes at least one command to control the computer-controlled character in the video game, during runtime of the game.


The image generated by the ‘215 patent includes a retina image which is a matrix divided into cells, each cell corresponding to a location in the video game and indicating which objects are in which cells. While processing the control operation, the computer-controlled character checks the consequences of the operation and behaves at least partially based on the consequences. The computer-controlled character plays a similar role to a player-controlled character in the video game. The ‘215 patent could make AI controlled characters more human-player-like in some games.


 


Abstract:


An artificially intelligent entity can emulate human behavior in video games. An AI model can be made by receiving gameplay logs of a video gameplay session, generating, based on the gameplay data, first situational data indicating first states of the video game, generating first control inputs provided by a human, the first control inputs corresponding to the first states of the video game, training a first machine learning system using the first situational data and corresponding first control inputs, and generating, using the first machine learning system, a first artificial intelligence model. The machine learning system can include a convolutional neural network. Inputs to the machine learning system can include a retina image and/or a matrix image.


 


Illustrative Claim:



  1. A non-transitory, computer-readable storage medium storing computer readable instructions that, when executed by one or more computing devices, causes the one or more computing devices to perform operations comprising: generating an image indicating positional information about objects in a virtual environment within a video game, the objects including at least one computer-controlled character; generating data including non-positional information about the objects in the virtual environment; selecting a first artificial intelligence (AI) model from among a plurality of AI models based at least in part on the image and the data; providing the image and the data as inputs to the first AI model, wherein the first AI model is configured to: receive, as model inputs, the image and the data; process the model inputs; and generate, as outputs, at least one command to control operation of the computer-controlled character; executing the at least one command to control operation of the computer-controlled character within the virtual environment; and generating instructions to output the execution of the at least one command by the computer-controlled character within the virtual environment during runtime execution of the video game.


U.S. Patent No. 10,857,466: Audience adjusted gaming


Issued December 8, 2020, to eBay Inc.
Filed: November 20, 2018 (claiming priority to December 29, 2014)



Overview:


U.S. Patent No. 10,857,466 (the ‘466 patent) relates to adjusting video game mechanics based on the audience watching a stream of the game. The ‘466 patent details a system which receives requests to view a stream of a video game and provides potentially modifiable game mechanics (along with the stream) to devices requesting the stream. The system intakes requests for one or more modifications to the game mechanics and then at least one or more of the game mechanics is altered accordingly.


The game mechanics that can be altered in the ‘466 patent include: difficulty, map size, and game character attributes like movement speed or damage-per-second. It could be required that a viewer of stream has to pay to input game modifications, and the modification could vary based on the amount of money contributed. The amount of time that the modification lasts could also depend on amount of money contributed. The ‘466 patent could allow viewers of video game streams more interaction with the stream they are watching and encourage more donations from viewers by making donations more rewarding to donors.


 


Abstract:


A system and method includes a first device with one or more processors coupled to a memory that executes instructions from the memory to perform the steps of receiving a request to begin a videogame; streaming video of the videogame to an audience; determine a popularity of the streaming video; and changing the videogame mechanics based on the popularity of the streaming video.


 


Illustrative Claim:



  1. A system, comprising: one or more processors; and a memory coupled to the one or more processors and storing instructions that, when executed by the one or more processors, perform operations, comprising: receiving, from one or more computing devices, a request to receive streaming video of a video game; providing one or more game mechanics to the one or more computing devices; receiving, from the one or more computing devices, input that requests at least one of the one or more game mechanics be changed; and altering the at least one of the one or more game mechanics based, at least in part, on the received input.




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