U.S. Patent No. 7,663,045: Music replacement in a gaming system

Issued February 16, 2010, to Microsoft Corp.
Priority Date September 20, 2005

U.S. Patent No. 7,663,045 (the ‘045 Patent) describes a method for a user to replace the background music in a video game with their music. The Xbox 360 allowed users to rip music from a CD and download it to the system’s hard-drive. A benefit to having the music on the 360 hard-drive was the system allowed users to listen to their music while playing a game. The system would mute game’s background music and then insert the user’s music. If the game had a scripted moment that required preselected music, then the system would mute the user’s music until the scripted moment finished.  Sound effects remained in the game, so effectively the 360 allowed users to create customized soundtracks.

A user of a game system can replace background music from a game with the user’s selected background music, while still hearing any other audio streams (e.g. sound effects related to gameplay). A music engine and system audio mixer allow the playback of the user’s requested replacement music. The game tags background music streams with an identifier indicating that they are background music, and such streams are muted at the music engine and system audio mixer (if the game is using the provided music engine in order to play the game’s audio streams) or by the game if the game is using a game music engine and has received information indicating that a mute request has been issued.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A system for providing audio playback from a gaming system running an application, wherein said application generates an application default audio stream, said system comprising: application programming interfaces, said application programming interfaces integrating gaming system audio playback control features into said application, wherein audio commands issued by said application are implemented by said gaming system concurrently with execution of said application; an audio input for receiving said audio commands and said application default audio stream from said application; an audio replacement indicator for indicating when replacement of said application default audio stream is requested; an audio output, operably connected to said audio input and said audio replacement indicator, wherein said audio output plays audio comprising said application default audio stream if said audio replacement indicator indicates that no audio replacement is requested, or an alternate audio stream if said audio replacement indicator indicates that audio replacement is requested.

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