US 20060247056 A1
This invention is a new business model and matchmaking system designed for consumers who play competitive video games (specifically online video games). Consumers must purchase a digital commodity in order to participate in the gaming marketplace. The commodity can be a character, a vehicle, or any digital entity that has value within the gaming system. The value of this commodity will fluctuate based on its performance in the marketplace. Consumers may liquidate the entire commodity or portions of the commodity. The profit or loss at the time of liquidation is calculated by subtracting the initial value of the commodity from the final value of the commodity. The business model supports real foreign currencies in addition to arbitrary online game currencies.
1. A gaming system that manages associated commodities and is comprised of computer hardware which consists of input devices such as a joystick, keyboard, and/or mouse; a computer with a CPU and memory; and optional multimedia hardware devices for rendering real-time video graphics and playing real-time audio
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The present invention relates to devices that allow players to play a game, particularly gaming systems that keep track of players' performances, assign rewards based on the players' performances, and allow players to enter into various transactions using their rewards.
Current video games, such as Nintendo's PS2 and Microsoft's X-Box, allow players to connect to the internet, find other players, invite potential competitors, and compete with other players. The applicant has discovered that one way to make existing video games more exciting and rewarding than they currently are is to allow players to earn rewards based on their own performances, another player's performance, or a team's performance. Another way is to structure the rewards so that they can serve like commodities wherein players may trade, accumulate, and monitor their rewards.
In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
As used herein, the term “internet” may interchangeably used with the term “network” to refer to a communication system that allows users to connect computers, terminals, or databases. The term “server” may interchangeably be used with the term” computer” to refer to an electronic device or a plurality of connected electronic devices that can store, retrieve, or process data or than can provide service for computers connected thereto.
The present invention comprises a player gaming system (PGS), generally indicated by reference number 20. PGS 20 preferably allows a plurality of game players to earn rewards based on their individual performances, performances of other players, or performances of particular teams. In one of the embodiments of the present invention, the reward can be in a form of an adjustable prize that does not have to be immediately redeemed upon earning the prize. The adjustable prize may increase or decrease in value. The adjustable prize may further be monitored and traded just like a share of stock with a publicly traded company.
In the preferred implementation of PGS 20 shown in
With continued reference to
The price adjuster 25 may be a program code that may be compiled and built separately as a stand-alone binary file. At run-time, the price adjuster binary file instructions may be dynamically linked with the game executable instructions. Alternatively, the code may be statically compiled and built with the game code, and both instructions may run in the same address space.
PGS 20 preferably includes a plurality of client computers 28 and 30, which may be used by the game players or interested users. Each client computer 28 or 30 preferably includes at least a microprocessor, a random access memory (RAM), at least one network hardware device, and a web browser. In the preferred embodiment, each client computer 28 or 30 preferably further includes devices for running video games, such as a memory storage medium, such as compact discs (CDs) or digital versatile discs (DVDs), dedicated graphics hardware preferably capable of performing complex 3d math operations, audio hardware for sound, video out for rendering images to a display, input controllers for sending instructions to the video game software, and output devices, such as monitors and speakers.
The web browser of a client computer 28 or 30 may communicate with a web server that supports the website 24, such as web server 22. The web browsers of the client computers 28 and 30 may also communicate with the web server 22 to access the database 26. Web communications is preferably through HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or other languages known in the art.
The web server 22 may be dedicated or non-dedicated. In the embodiment where the web server 22 is a dedicated server, the web server 22 preferably maintains game states and provides users with real-time stock prices. Thus, web server 22 preferably includes a microprocessor, a RAM, and at least one network hardware device. In the embodiment where the web server 22 is not a dedicated server and serves as a client computer as well, the web server 22 may further include a video game software, a memory storage medium, such as CDs or DVDs, graphics hardware preferably to render three dimensional graphics, audio hardware, video out, input controllers, and output devices, such as monitors and speakers.
Manner of Use
Referring now to
PGS 20 preferably solicits information from client, such as client's name, mailing address, email address, username desired, password desired, and source of funds for the initial investment, such as a credit card number. The player is preferably required to provide an initial investment. For instance, the player may be asked to purchase 100 initial shares of his own stock at an initial price offer of $1.00. Since the player is required to make some commitment by risking his money, it is anticipated that the player will strive to perform well to at least earn back his money. Thus, it can be appreciated that certain embodiments of the present invention creates a highly competitive and entertaining environment for players and investors.
At step 36, a client is preferably asked to log onto the website 24 by entering a username and password. A preferred screen shot of this step is shown in
Once the client selects a stock, the client is preferably shown a screen similar to the screen 140 shown in
Referring back to
If the client chooses to create a new stock, the client is preferably asked to select a game from the list of available games at step 42. The games may be games meant to be played individually or as a team. The client may then be asked to provide an identifier at step 44, which may be the client's initials. The new stock preferably will appear in the format <client initial-name of the game> for individual games and <client initial-name of the team> for team games. At step 46, a default initial stock price offering of $1.00 per share is preferably assigned to the stock, which is displayed to the player or investor along with the new name of the stock. Of course, other initial stock price may be used as default price. Foreign currencies as well as arbitrary game currencies, such as game credits may be used to trade. Arbitrary game currencies may be used to redeem prizes from sponsors, which may be retail stores. Alternatively, arbitrary game currencies may be auctioned off for cash.
At step 48, the client is preferably asked to indicate the number of initial shares the client wants to purchase, and PGS 20 preferably records the order. It is noted that the business owner operating PGS 20 may limit the number of shares of stock it issues to guarantee that it can facilitate trading of stocks by being able to readily buy stocks that players or investors sell.
Once the client makes the stock purchase, the client may be asked whether he is a player or an investor at step 50. If the client is a player, at step 52, PGS 20 preferably activates the game software (step 57) and allows the client to play the game previously selected (step 59). The stock price of the player may then be adjusted and displayed to the player during or after the game, depending on what conditions are programmed to dictate the stock price (step 60). For instance, if the stock price is programmed to be based on the game level the player reaches, then the stock price may be adjusted during the game. If the stock price is programmed to be based on the overall score of the player, then the stock price may be adjusted after the game.
Both client computers 28 or 30 and the server 22 preferably run identical video game software and communicate with each other by sending binary data packets across a network. The client computer 28 or 30 preferably tells the server 22 information about the client game state at an arbitrary point in time. As soon as the server 22 computer receives information from the client computer 28 or 30, the server 22 preferably takes a snapshot of the global game-state at that instant and sends this information back to the client computer 28 or 30. This way, the client computer 28 or 30 can keep its local game-state in sync with the server game state and vice-versa.
If the client is an investor, at step 54, PGS 20 preferably interrogates the game player, which is associated with the stock the investor has selected, for a game schedule. PGS 20 preferably notifies the investor of the game schedule at step 56. At the schedule indicated by the game player, PGS 20 preferably activates the game software (step 57) and allows the game player to play a game (step 59). The stock price of the player may then be adjusted during or after the game, depending on what conditions are programmed to dictate the stock price (step 60).
It can be appreciated that certain embodiments of the present invention may encourage players or teams to perform well so as to maximize their stock prices. Players or teams at the bottom may not despair, as their stock prices may still increase. For instance, if they beat a top ranked team or player, their stock prices may soar. Investors may not necessarily pick only the strong teams or players, but may also consider promising teams or players. Thus, certain embodiments of the present invention provide diverse choices of stocks for investors.
Certain embodiments of the present invention may further provide scenarios where a player or a team may be undervalued, and investors may find bargains in purchasing a stock. For instance, a team may currently be undergoing a losing streak. The price of the commodity associated with this team may be at its all-time low. An investor may purchase a certain number of shares for this commodity in anticipation of certain changes, such as more upcoming home games or a return of an injured player.
Fantasy Sports Embodiment
With reference now to
With reference to
Next, PGS 20 preferably allows a player or an investor, who has trading card 150, to log-in to the PGS 20 website using the access code from the trading card 150 (step 166). The player or investor may be allowed to purchase, sell, liquidate, or keep existing shares of stock (step 168). The player or investor may be provided with more information about the athlete depicted on the trading card. For instance, the player or investor may be provided information pertaining to the health of the athlete, conditioning, strengths, weaknesses, pre-season training, and the like. The player or investor may be provided a full three-dimensional scan of the athlete 180 as shown in
At step 172, PGS 20 preferably notifies the player or investor of the game schedule. PGS 20 may then conduct a fantasy game, by either activating a game software program or by referring to a televised or publicized game (step 174). PGS 20 may adjust and display stock prizes either during the game or after the game (step 176).
PGS 20 may include various fantasy games. One embodiment of a PGS fantasy game is in a form of a league. Various trading cards may be made and sold for each team participating in the league. A trading card buyer may purchase trading cards representing one or more teams. The trading card that represents a team that prevails in the league may have the most increase in value. Other trading cards that represent teams that experienced some success, such as reaching the playoffs, may increase in value as well.
Another embodiment of a PGS fantasy game is in a form of individual performance. For instance, a trading card buyer may select a trading card that represents an athlete, such as a basketball player, a golfer, or a quarterback. Every time the athlete's performance statistics improve, the value of the trading card representing the athlete may increase. For instance, in golf, every time the golfer's driving accuracy increases, the value of the respective trading card may increase.
Athletes in the same sport may be paired by the trading card holders to compete in individual skill games. For instance, quarterbacks may be allowed to compete in a quarterback drill competition; basketball players may be allowed to compete in three-point contests or slam dunk contests; and, baseball players may be allowed to compete in a home run derby. The athletes' performances may cause the value of the trading cards to increase or decrease, and the card holders may purchase, sell, or liquidate their trading cards. Card holders may also exchange cards with other card holders.
In another embodiment of the PGS fantasy game, individual athletes may be grouped into teams to play team sports. Each athlete may be depicted on a trading card, and each trading card may have an associated value. The total value of all athletes in one team may be capped to encourage card traders to compose a team having a diverse mix of high valued and low valued athletes. The cap may have a predetermined schedule, such as per season, per week, or per month. The value of the trading card may fluctuate depending on the individual performance and the team's performance.
Yet another embodiment of a PGS fantasy game is a team match up, wherein trading card buyers (hereinafter cardholders) may purchase exactly the same trading cards, which represent exactly the same team. Thus, cardholder A may own a trading card representing Team A, and cardholder B may own trading card that also represents Team A. Cardholder A's Team A and cardholder B's Team A may compete, and the outcome of the game may dictate which cardholder's trading card would increase or decrease in value. It can be realized that PGS 20 may include players that can be duplicated and that can compete against each other. The capacities and talents of each player in the team may be given to cardholders A and B in equal amounts. The game outcome may be determined by how cardholders A and B utilize the players' capacities. Thus, cardholders A and B may have to execute effective gaming skills and mentality to obtain a desired outcome.
To promote more excitement to the team match up fantasy game embodiment, a limit may be set on the number of times a player may be duplicated. For instance, a player may not be duplicated, or a player may only be duplicated once. In the scenario where a player cannot be duplicated and cardholders A and B have requested to add said player in his team, a random number generator may be added to PGS 20 to determine which card holder obtains the desired player.
It can be appreciated that the fantasy game and trading card features of the PGS of the present invention create an exciting atmosphere of trading and speculation for participants. Some participants may stock up on certain cards before a game or before a season based on speculations that the players depicted in the cards will play well. The speculations may be based on information provided to the participants, which may include the health of the athlete, conditioning, strengths, weaknesses, pre-season training, and the like.
One embodiment of PGS 20 preferably allows stock prices to be dictated by the performances of the players when competing against each other. For instance, at least two players may choose to play a football game. If client A beats client B by a final score of 21-7, the stock price of client A may increase, and the stock price of client B may decrease. In this embodiment, PGS 20 preferably operates as follows:
With reference to
At step 72, PGS 20 preferably further shows the number of shares of stock each player owns. PGS 20 may then match the current player with other connected players by comparing the number of shares they hold. In the preferred embodiment, the current player may compete with only those who have the same number of shares of stock with him (step 74). The player may then be allowed to select at least one other player whom he wants to summon to a competition (step 76). Steps 70-76 may be represented in a screen display 100 shown in
It is noted that in the embodiment shown in
When another player in the lobby (hereinafter “player 2”) accepts the challenge summoned by the current player (hereinafter “player 1”), both players are preferably allowed to play at least one game. For instance, referring now to
It is noted that in other embodiments of the present invention, player 1 and player 2 does not have to play simultaneously. For instance, player 1 and player 2 may take turns playing a game. Each player's score may be compared after each player has taken his turn. The price adjuster may provide a stock price after it has compared the performances of both players.
PGS 20 may declare a stock split if the stock value has reached a particular predetermined threshold. For instance, a stock split may be declared each time the value of the stock increases to S10.00 a share. When a stock split is declared, the number of shares the player has is preferably multiplied by two, and the stock value is divided into two. To illustrate, as discussed above, a player preferably starts with 100 shares at $1.00 a share. If the stock increases to $10.00 a share, a stock split would be declared, and the player would now have 200 shares at $5.00 per share.
It is noted that when the stock value of a player increases to a level that would reach the threshold for a stock split, the player or the team must have experienced at least some success in competing against other players or teams, since the stock prices are preferably based on the players' performances. Thus, each time a stock split occurs, and each time the number of shares of the player is doubled, this event can be equated to the player being elevated to a more competitive level, which is a level that may include other players or teams who have experienced similar amount of success and demonstrated similar level of skill.
Referring now to
With the stock split feature, it can be appreciated that certain embodiments of the present invention provides a match making system that would match players or teams with similar skill or success levels. The stock split feature may also encourage clients to move up the ladder to challenge more difficult opponents. The stock split feature may further allow clients to earn more money, as clients may be able to liquidate.
In the preferred embodiment, when clients liquidate, PGS 20 preferably retain the latest number of shares each client had. For instance, if a client's stock value increases to S10.00 a share, and as a result of the stock split, the client now has 200 shares at $5.00, PGS 20 preferably requires the client to retain at least $1.00 a share (or $200) to continue using PGS 20. This ensures that the client does not revert to a lower level and compete with lesser skilled players.
In another embodiment, a client may be allowed to enter any of the five levels shown in
It can thus now be appreciated that certain embodiments of the present invention provide a more exciting and rewarding gaming system than those that exists. Certain embodiments allow consumers to make real money playing video games. Certain embodiments allow both players and non-players alike to obtain rewards by investing in themselves, in another player, or in a team. Certain embodiments provide new methods of doing business as PGS operator, a PGS player, a PGS passive investor, or as a PGS commodity broker. Certain embodiments provide a more competitive networked gaming system than those that exists.
Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of presently preferred embodiments of this invention. For instance, certain log-in procedures may be eliminated; initial stock price offering may vary; stock split rules may vary; formats of the names of the stocks may vary; the types of games where PGS 20 may be implemented may vary, including televised games and computerized video games; and, PGS 20 may work in a variety of competition formats, such as tournaments, seasons, and exhibition games.