U.S. Patent No. 9,511,292: Video game competition notifications

Issued December 6, 2016, to Sony Interactive Entertainment America, LLC
Priority Date October 20, 2009

U.S. Patent No. 9,511,292 (the ‘292 Patent) describes a method and system for in-game notifications. The notifications will alert a user if a friend has completed a predetermined goal in a video game. The goals can be achievements created by the game’s developers or custom goals created by a group of players. Once a user has finished a goal, the system sends a notification to every friend on the user’s friends list. Users can choose to receive notifications on any device, but certain features may not be compatible with some devices. A key feature described by the ‘292 Patent is the ability for a user to launch the game upon receiving a notification to beat the friend’s achievement. For example, if a user completes a level under five minutes, the notification sent out will encourage the friends to beat the users time by allowing them to launch the game quickly.

Methods and systems are described for automatically sending a popup or other message to another person’s electronic device upon finishing a predetermined goal in a video game. The predetermined goal can be, for example, killing a first boss in under five minutes. The message to the friend can include a link or button enabled such that the friend can begin the game on his device in the same room, mission, scenario, etc. that the first player started out in so that the friend can attempt to duplicate or ‘one up’ the first player’s achievement. Friends who are interested in receiving such messages can be determined from existing social networking sites.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A computer-implemented method of challenging another person to a video game, the method comprising: indicating interest in a video game from a client electronic device associated with a first person to a server; sending a custom goal for the video game from the client electronic device associated with the first person to the server; receiving, on a client electronic device associated with a third person, a message from the server, the message indicating, based on a determination of the server, that a second person playing a first instance of the video game has met or exceeded the custom goal in the video game, the message including a selectable element enabled to begin a second instance of the video game for the third person at a specified point of the video game associated with the custom goal; retrieving from an electronic device associated with the second person, a game state condition of the first instance of the video game; and beginning the second instance of the video game using the retrieved game state condition on the client electronic device associated with the third person in response to a selection of the selectable element.

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