|Publication number||US20060079317 A1|
|Application number||US 11/223,704|
|Publication date||Apr 13, 2006|
|Filing date||Sep 9, 2005|
|Priority date||Sep 24, 2004|
|Publication number||11223704, 223704, US 2006/0079317 A1, US 2006/079317 A1, US 20060079317 A1, US 20060079317A1, US 2006079317 A1, US 2006079317A1, US-A1-20060079317, US-A1-2006079317, US2006/0079317A1, US2006/079317A1, US20060079317 A1, US20060079317A1, US2006079317 A1, US2006079317A1|
|Inventors||Peter Flemming, Benjamin Gomez, Larry Pacey|
|Original Assignee||Wms Gaming Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (47), Classifications (6), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is related to and claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/612,685 filed Sep. 24, 2004, titled “Wagering Game With Bonus-Game Assets That Can Be Preserved For Subsequent Gaming Sessions,” which is incorporated herein in its entirety.
The present invention relates generally to gaming terminals for playing a wagering game and, more particularly, to a gaming terminal having a bonus-game asset that can be preserved for use in a subsequent gaming session.
Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines, and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are most likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting of the machines.
Consequently, shrewd operators strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines available because such machines attract frequent play and, hence, increase profitability to the operator. In the competitive gaming machine industry, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to produce new types of games, or enhancements to existing games, which will attract frequent play by enhancing the entertainment value and excitement associated with the game.
One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is that of a “bonus” game which may be played in conjunction with a “basic” game. The bonus game may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game, and is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome of the basic game. Such a bonus game produces a significantly higher level of player excitement than the basic game because it provides a greater expectation of winning than the basic game.
Another concept that has been employed is the use of a progressive jackpot. In the gaming industry, a “progressive” involves collecting coin-in data from participating gaming device(s) (e.g., slot machines), contributing a percentage of that coin-in data to a jackpot amount, and awarding that jackpot amount to a player upon the occurrence of a certain jackpot-won event. The percentage of the coin-in is determined prior to any result being achieved and is independent of any result. A jackpot-won event typically occurs when a “progressive winning position” is achieved at a participating gaming device. If the gaming device is a slot machine, a progressive winning position may, for example, correspond to alignment of progressive jackpot reel symbols along a certain payline. The initial progressive jackpot is a predetermined minimum amount. That jackpot amount, however, progressively increases as players continue to play the gaming machine without winning the jackpot. Further, when several gaming machines are linked together such that several players at several gaming machines compete for the same jackpot, the jackpot progressively increases at a much faster rate, which leads to further player excitement.
In current basic games, bonus games, and progressive games, the player is provided with little incentive to return the game at a later time. Once the player chooses to stop playing the game in that round, the player is immediately awarded any credits that are remaining and also loses assets that have been accumulated, but not yet awarded. For example, in some games, the bonus game consists of the player collecting assets and when a certain number or combination of assets is accumulated, the player wins an award. However, should the player choose to leave the game prior to winning the award, the player loses all of the assets accumulated. This can cause player frustration and does not provide the player with any incentive to return to the game.
Such a system also encourages “vulturing,” in which the “vulturing” player waits for a person who is close to winning an award to leave the gaming machine prior to the winning of the award. The “vulturing” player then begins to play the machine, and may quickly win the award without investing much time into the game. This is also frustrating for other players.
Thus, there is a need to allow a player to accumulate assets on gaming terminals and to have those assets restored to them should the player return to the game at a later time. This way, should a player choose to leave a game, anything the player has accumulated during the game goes with them and is restored at a later time when the player returns to the game. This alleviates the player frustration at losing assets that they have accumulated and also provides the player an incentive to return to the game at a later date.
A method for playing a wagering game includes receiving wager inputs from a player for a wagering game, which includes a basic game and a bonus game, and selecting at least one randomly-selected outcome of a plurality of outcomes in response to receiving the wager inputs. The player is awarded a bonus-game asset in a first gaming session of the wagering game. A data set representing the bonus-game asset is stored, and, based on the data set, the player is allowed to use the bonus-game asset in a second gaming session.
In another aspect of the present invention, a gaming terminal for playing a wagering game includes a display and a controller coupled to the display. The display displays at least one randomly-selected outcome of a plurality of outcomes in response to receiving wager inputs from a player during a first gaming session of a wagering game. The wagering game includes a basic game and a bonus game. The controller is programmed to award a bonus-game asset to the player in a first gaming session of the wagering game. A data set representing the bonus-game asset is stored. The player is allowed to use the bonus-game asset, based on the data set, in a second gaming session.
In an alternative aspect of the present invention, a method of operating a wagering game includes receiving wager inputs from a player for a basic wagering game. At least one randomly-selected outcome is selected from a plurality of outcomes in response to the receiving step. A game-play item is awarded for use in a bonus game during a gaming session. A data set, which represents the game-play item, is stored before ending the gaming session. The game-play item is used during a subsequent gaming session.
In an alternative aspect of the present invention, a method of operating a wagering game includes receiving wager inputs from a player for a wagering game having a basic game and a bonus game. The wagering game is played in a plurality of gaming sessions, which includes a first gaming session and a second gaming session. In response to the receiving step, at least one randomly-selected outcome is selected from a plurality of outcomes. A plurality of game-play items are accumulated for use in at least one of the basic game and the bonus game. At least one of the plurality of game-play items is used in the first gaming session, and at least another one of the plurality of game-play items is used in the second gaming session. Unused items of the plurality of game-play items are saved in at least one representative data set before ending a respective one of the plurality of gaming sessions.
According to yet another aspect of the invention, a computer readable storage medium or media is encoded with instructions for directing a gaming device to perform the above methods.
The above summary of the present invention is not intended to represent each embodiment or every aspect of the present invention. The detailed description and Figures will describe many of the embodiments and aspects of the present invention.
The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings.
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
As shown, the gaming terminal 10 includes input devices, such as a wager acceptor 16 (shown as a card wager acceptor 16 a and a cash wager accepter 16 b), a touch screen 21, a push-button panel 22, and an information reader 24. For outputs, the gaming terminal 10 includes a payout mechanism 23, a main display 26 for displaying information about the basic wagering game, and a secondary display 27 that may display an electronic version of a pay table, and/or also possibly game-related information or other entertainment features. While these typical components found in the gaming terminal 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other elements may exist and may be used in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming terminal.
The wager acceptor 16 may be provided in many forms, individually or in combination. The cash wager acceptor 16 a may include a coin slot acceptor or a note acceptor to input value to the gaming terminal 10. The card wager acceptor 16 b may include a card-reading device for reading a card that has a recorded monetary value with which it is associated. The card wager acceptor 16 b may also receive a card that authorizes access to a central account, which can transfer money to the gaming terminal 10.
Also included is the payout mechanism 23, which performs the reverse functions of the wager acceptor. For example, the payout mechanism 23 may include a coin dispenser or a note dispenser to output value from gaming terminal 10. Also, the payout mechanism 23 may also be adapted to receive a card that authorizes the gaming terminal to transfer credits from the gaming terminal 10 to a central account.
The push button panel 22 is typically offered, in addition to the touch screen 21, to provide players with an option on how to make their game selections. Alternatively, the push button panel 22 provides inputs for one aspect of operating the game, while the touch screen 21 allows for inputs needed for another aspect of operating the game.
The outcome of the basic wagering game is displayed to the player on the main display 26. The main display 26 may take the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution LCD, a plasma display, LED, or any other type of video display suitable for use in the gaming terminal 10. As shown, the main display 26 includes the touch screen 21 overlaying the entire monitor (or a portion thereof) to allow players to make game-related selections. Alternatively, the gaming terminal 10 may have a number of mechanical reels to display the game outcome, as well.
In some embodiments, the information reader 24 is a card reader that allows for identification of a player by reading a card with information indicating his or her true identity. Currently, identification is used by casinos for rewarding certain players with complimentary services or special offers. For example, a player may be enrolled in the gaming establishment's players' club and may be awarded certain complimentary services as that player collects points in his or her player-tracking account. The player inserts his or her card into the player-identification card reader 24, which allows the casino's computers to register that player's wagering at the gaming terminal 10. The information reader 24 may also include a keypad (not shown) for entering a personal identification number (PIN). The gaming terminal 10 may require that the player enter their PIN prior to obtaining information. The gaming terminal 10 may use the secondary display 27 for providing the player with information about his or her account or other player-specific information. Also, in some embodiments, the information reader 24 may be used to restore assets that the player achieved during a previous game session and had saved.
As shown in
Communications between the peripheral components of the gaming terminal 10 and the CPU 30 occur through input/output (I/O) circuits 35 a. As such, the CPU 30 also controls and receives inputs from the peripheral components of the gaming terminal 10. Further, the CPU 30 communicates with external systems via the I/O circuits 35 b. Although the I/O circuits 35 may be shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that the I/O circuits 35 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits.
In some embodiments, the CPU 30 may not be inside the gaming terminal 10. Instead, the CPU 30 may be part of a game network 50 (
In some embodiments, the CPU 30 is also used with the information reader 24 to restore saved assets. For example, in one embodiment, the information reader 24 is adapted to receive and distribute tickets. The tickets each include a unique identifier. The unique identifier links the ticket to a file contained within the local memory 32 or a system memory 52 located in the game network 50. The file includes the assets that are being stored from a previous game. Monetary awards include game credits or money, while the non-monetary awards can be free plays (e.g., free spins), multipliers, or access to bonus and/or progressive games.
When a player inserts a ticket into the information reader 24, the CPU 30 obtains the unique identifier and causes the appropriate memory 32, 52 to be searched, and the file containing the unique identifier matching the identifier on the ticket is retrieved. Any assets or other information contained in this file are then transmitted to the gaming terminal 10, and the player regains any assets that were saved during a previous game. This allows the player to keep assets even after a particular gaming session ends, which increases player commitment to a game and decreases vulturing.
In other embodiments, the information reader 24 may include a card reader, and the unique identifier provided at the gaming terminal 10 may be stored on a personal identification card, such as one described above. Or, the gaming terminal 10 includes a radio frequency identification device (RFID) transceiver or receiver so that an RFID transponder held by the player can be used to provide the unique identifier of the player at the gaming terminal 10 without the need to insert a card into the gaming terminal 10. RFID components can be those available from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (under the United States Department of Energy) of Richland, Wash.
In other embodiments, the information reader 24 may include a biometric reader, such as a finger, hand, or retina scanner, and the unique identifier may be the scanned biometric information. Additional information regarding biometric scanning, such as fingerprint scanning or hand geometry scanning, is available from International Biometric Group LLC of New York, N.Y. Other biometric identification techniques can be used as well for providing a unique identifier of the player. For example, a microphone can be used in a biometric identification device on the gaming terminal so that the player can be recognized using a voice recognition system.
In summary, there are many techniques in which to provide a unique identifier for the player so that the assets accumulated by the player during one wagering session can be stored in either the system or local memory 52, 32, thereby allowing the player to subsequently access those assets at the same gaming terminal 10 or a different gaming terminal within the network 50. As described below with reference to FIGS. 3 to 10C, various assets related to the wagering game features and formats can be stored after one gaming session and used in a subsequent gaming session(s) to enhance the gaming experience for the player.
In the present invention, a player accumulates, or collects, during a wagering game a plurality of game assets, or items, that can be used in future games. The future games can be played in a current wagering session or in a future wagering session. The game assets are stored in a data set that can be saved in a memory device for future use. The game assets can be collected in a basic game or in a bonus game of the wagering game, and can be used in a future basic game or in a future bonus game of the same or different wagering game.
Referring now to
In response to receiving the wager inputs from the player, the reels 60 a-60 e start spinning and a randomly-selected outcome is presented when the spinning has stopped. If the outcome is a winning outcome, the player is rewarded with an award. The winning outcome can include a credit amount, a bonus game, and a bonus-game asset.
The game screen shows that a “Product Pick” symbol 62 a and a “Supermarket Sweep” symbol 62 b have been selected. The “Product Pick” symbol 62 a is a bonus-game asset that the player accumulates for future use in a bonus game. As shown by a “Product Picks” indicator 61 d, the player has accumulated “12” picks so far. The “Supermarket Sweep” symbol 62 b triggers a bonus round.
When the bonus round has ended, shown in
Referring now to
The map 276 includes unselected sections 276 a, previously selected sections 276 b, and a currently selected section 276 c. The currently selected section 276 c corresponds to the state of California, which is now unlocked. Unlocking a new section of the map 276 can include various awards, such as a new gaming theme, a new bonus round, additional jackpots, etc.
In another embodiment of the present invention, the wagering game is a “MonopolyŽ”—type game. During the game, the player can unlock a new board, e.g., a new city, and build monopolies on each side of the board. Optionally, the player can save selected properties for use in a future round of the game. For example, to achieve a monopoly (and increase the winnings) the player may save each one of the first three “Railroad” properties until the fourth property has been selected. Then, the player can use the saved “Railroad” properties to form the desired “Railroad” monopoly.
Optionally, the reward for guessing the correct suspect can decrease with the number of clues that are used. For example, if the player uses only one clue to guess the correct suspect, then he or she will obtain a higher reward than if the player had used two clues.
Referring now to
The indicator 470 shows that three bass lures have been accumulated, based on the three bass lures shown in the “Bass” lure symbol 462 b, and that one pike lure has been accumulated, based on the one pike lure shown in the “Pike” lure symbol 462 c. Thus, the player can use any of these lures in subsequent bonus rounds.
In other embodiments, the player can collect other bonus-game assets, such as free spins, award multipliers, “can't lose” spins, side bets, free moves, bonus-round awards, credit amounts, etc. For example, the player may collect tickets for redemption to play a bonus round. Alternatively, the player may collect tickets and then choose an award from a bonus game, a general award, a new game level, a new game, a new game theme, a credit amount, a progressive jackpot, a bonus jackpot, etc.
Optionally, bonus-game assets allow the player to choose when to go into a bonus game. Thus, the player may choose to go into a bonus game at any time. In other embodiments, the player may choose to redeem collected bonus-game assets at any time, either in a basic game or in a bonus game. Accordingly, the bonus-game assets do not necessarily have to be played in a bonus game; rather, the bonus-game assets can be also used in a basic game.
In the above-described embodiments, the player can collect other type of bonus-game assets, or game-play items, for use in subsequent games. The player can collect shields (“pooper stoppers”), which can be used to prevent the termination of a game. Another type of an asset can be one that eliminates weak options in a bonus game. Thus, using such an asset improves the player's chance of winning a greater reward. The player can also collect “undo” assets, which give the player the opportunity to undo a bad choice. Alternatively, the player can collect assets that allow the adjustment of adverse symbols. For example, the player can use an asset to decrease the number of adverse symbols and, therefore, increase the player's chance of winning an award.
Additional types of game assets can also be puzzle pieces, keys for unlocking new game items, passports for traveling to other games or game sections, earned shortcuts, increments for a bonus meter, new game items, etc. For example, in an auction-theme game, the player can trade in items from previous auctions to receive new, more valuable items. Thus, the items can be stored in a gaming session, and then traded for more valuable items in a subsequent gaming session. Similarly, the game assets can be stored in a virtual wallet during a current game, and redeemed for more valuable game assets in a future game. In another embodiment, the player can achieve, or collect, a plurality of events from different bonus rounds and then, when all the required events have been achieved, the player can receive a general award. For example, the player must can collect ten small treasure chests before he or she can receive one big treasure chest.
In alternative embodiments, a player can use a telephone to access and use one or more of the player's accumulated game assets. For example, using a mobile phone, the player can dial a toll-free phone number to access his or her game assets. A central server associated with the network 50 (
Thus, the player can use his or her mobile phone to remotely access the wagering game and utilize the accumulated assets at a time and place according to the player's desire. For example, the player can restart a gaming session via the mobile phone at a point where he or she had previously stopped the session, or the player can choose, via the mobile phone, to play an accumulated bonus game that he or she had previously won, but not played.
In another example, the player can put money into a gaming machine 10 while the player is physically at the gaming machine 10. Before the player walks away from the gaming machine 10, the player can register the gaming machine 10 to the player's phone. The player can also let the gaming machine 10 know what assets it may intend to use in the future via remote access by the phone. For example, the player can register the phone number as a password required to access the player's assets on the gaming machine 10. The player can initiate an auto-play feature while at the gaming machine 10 or remotely via the phone. The auto-play feature of the gaming machine 10 is configured to report, e.g., via still or moving images on the phone, one or more of the gaming outcomes. Then, at a later time, the player returns to the gaming machine 10, re-checks into the gaming machine via the phone and, optionally, cashes out any winnings. While no actual gameplay occurs on the phone, the phone is used for accessing the player's assets and gaming outcomes on the gaming machine 10.
Optionally, the wagering game provides the player with access to accumulated assets and/or certain awards only if the player achieves a “Remote Play Winning Outcome.” If the player achieves this outcome (e.g., in a basic or bonus game), then he or she is allowed remote access to one or more of the accumulated assets and/or certain awards. For example, if the player achieves the “Remote Play Winning Outcome,” the player can have the option to select a smaller award while the player is physically present at the gaming machine 10 or a larger award if the player uses the telephone. In another example, the player may be given the option to play for smaller awards while the player is physically present at the gaming machine 10 or for larger awards if the player uses the telephone for gameplay initiation.
Alternative to using a voice telephone call to initiate a game or to access assets and/or awards, as described above, the player can send a text message. For example, the player can send a special code in the text message to log-in using a special number on the gaming machine 10.
For identification purposes, various verification ways can be used. For example, the player can enter the mobile telephone number into the gaming machine 10 as a player identification number. When the phone is near, the gaming machine 10 can detect it and verify the player identification number, e.g., the mobile number. For example, a receiver can be installed in the gaming machine 10 for detecting a mobile identifier (which may include the mobile number) that is periodically transmitted by mobile phones to the nearest mobile base station. Thus, the gaming machine 10 would have similar capabilities to the mobile base station.
Alternatively, the gaming machine 10 can send a voice or text message to the mobile telephone to verify the player's identification number. For example, the gaming machine 10 can send a text message asking the player to reply to the text message using a predetermined code for confirmation purposes. Optionally, a Bluetooth identifier can be used for logging-in and/or verification purposes, wherein the Bluetooth identifier is unique per phone and/or service carrier.
Special benefits can be offered to a player based on the telephone brand and/or service carrier. For example, predetermined assets can be made available to the player only if they use a telephone of brand X that uses service carrier Y. Optionally, the special benefits can be made available based on the telephone model.
While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, the player may collect game assets during one gaming session on a gaming terminal, and, then, the player can use those game assets during a subsequent gaming session on a different gaming terminal. Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.
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|Cooperative Classification||G07F17/3244, G07F17/3267|
|European Classification||G07F17/32K, G07F17/32M4|
|Sep 9, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FLEMMING, PETER W.;GOMEZ, BENJAMIN T.;PACEY, LARRY J.;REEL/FRAME:016986/0357;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050831 TO 20050906
|Jul 29, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0201
Effective date: 20150629