U.S. Patent No. 9,381,430: Interactive video game using game-related physical objects for conducting gameplay

Issued: July 5, 2016, to Activision Publishing, Inc.
Priority Date: May 17, 2011

U.S. Patent No. 9,381,430 describes a method for toys to interact with a video game. Only designated toys containing an identification tag can interact with a compatible video game. A peripheral detection device is needed for the video game to read the game data contained in the toy’s tag. The toy’s game data can alter the gameplay by giving a character a new attack or item. A user must place the toy in the designated area on the peripheral device for the video game to detect the data.

The ‘430 Patent relates to Activision’s Skylanders franchise since the patent uses Spyro the Dragon in certain figures. Spyro appeared in the first Skylanders and has been a key character in the Skylanders lore. The Skylanders franchise popularized the toys-to-life video game genre. Since 2011, Activision has released six main Skylanders games and six spin-off games. By 2016, the Skylanders franchise had sold over 300 million toys. Both Disney and Lego tried to compete against Activision, but both companies have ceased to make toys-to-life games or products.


A video game includes a peripheral device that senses the presence and identity of toys near or on the peripheral. Each of the toys includes an identification device such as an RFID tag. Each of the toys is also associated with a corresponding game character or object. The interactive video game presents a play pattern such that when a toy is detected in a detection area of the peripheral, the virtual game system may process the placement of the toy so as to effectuate a video game control action such as an attack or a maneuver to evade an enemy.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A computer implemented method for controlling a movement of a virtual object in a video game using a physical object, comprising: detecting a physical object within a detection area of a detection device; determining a position for a virtual character, controllable by inputs from user input devices, corresponding to the physical object within a video game play sequence; retrieving identification information from the physical object; executing instructions to conduct a game play sequence to display the virtual character based on the identification information and to display a movement of the virtual character from an entry point to the determined position in response to detecting the presence of the physical object, the movement including an attack sequence determined according to the identification information; detecting removal of the physical object from the detection area of the detection device; and executing instructions to conduct a second game play sequence to display an exit movement of the virtual character from a last position of the virtual character to an exit point in response to detecting the removal of the physical object, wherein the exit movement including a defensive gameplay move and the exit point being different than the last position of the virtual character.