U.S. Patent no. 10,325,266: Rewarding classes of purchasers
Issued June 18, 2019 to Sony Interactive Entertainment America LLC
Priority Date May 28, 2009
U.S. Patent No. 10,325,266 (the ‘266 Patent) relates to rewarding purchasers of digital media. This invention functions by receiving a notification that a digital medium, such as a video game, is being played. The system then identifies the user based on matching within a unique identifier to the user, determines what level of purchaser the user should be classified as, and then providing the user with access to a reward based on determination that the user belongs to the first classification of purchasers. This topic has become increasingly common in today’s video game market as pre-order bonuses and other exclusives are a common aspect of video game marketing. While consumers may buy their games from a major marketplace such as Amazon, others may buy games on sites that resell games or facilitate trading of games. Thus, this system must analyze into which class the purchaser should be assigned. Upon determining classification level the system will reward the first class of purchaser and will withhold rewards from second classification of purchasers. This better controls the system of pre-orders and bonus content and helps to ensure the exclusive rewards end up in the possession of those who paid for the content.
Rewarding a first classification of purchasers of digital media is provided. Such a classification may include initial purchasers (e.g., purchasers of new items) and secondary purchasers (e.g., purchasers of previously used items). A digital medium is played on a digital device and a notification is sent to a server. The server identifies the user of the digital device based on a unique device identifier associated with the digital device and a stored association of that digital device with the user. The user is determined to belong to the first classification of purchasers of the digital medium based on a unique identifier associated with the digital medium. The user, belonging to the first classification of purchasers, is provided with access to a reward that is not generally accessible to users belonging to a second classification. Users that are identified as belonging to the second classification may be offered a chance to upgrade their classification and access the reward.
1. A method for rewarding a classification of purchaser, the method comprising: storing a plurality of classifications in memory of a server, each of the stored classifications corresponding to a set of classification elements; receiving a notification regarding a detected play of a digital media by a purchaser on a digital device, wherein the notification includes a unique user identifier, a unique media identifier embedded in a digital storage medium associated with the digital media, and a unique device identifier associated with the purchaser, and wherein the notification is received at the server; executing instructions stored in memory at the server, wherein execution of the instructions by a processor at the server: identifies the purchaser and the digital device used to play the digital media via the unique user identifier and the unique device identifier included in the received notification, matches the unique media identifier to stored information associated with the digital media, the stored information indicating whether the digital media has been played on other digital devices or used by other users, identifies that the digital media is new and unused at a time of the detected play of the digital media based on no matches between the unique media identifier and the stored information, generates an association between the digital media and the unique user identifier and unique device identifier, the association being stored in memory at the server, updates the stored information associated with the digital media, the updated stored information indicating that the digital media has been played on the digital device associated with the unique device identifier, and classifies the purchaser in accordance with at least a first one of the stored classifications with respect to the digital media, wherein the first classification characterizes a set of purchasers, wherein a set of classification elements corresponding to the first classification is based on identifying that the identified purchaser is using the digital media under a pre-determined condition specifying that the digital media is new and unused, wherein the classification is stored in memory at the server, unlocking access to secured data associated with the digital media based on the classification that the purchaser belongs to the first classification of purchasers, wherein the secured data is not accessible to purchasers not within the first classification without engaging in an additional transaction; and automatically attaching rights over the secured data to the unique user identifier based on the unlocked access.