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Publication numberUS20090054127 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/223,612
PCT numberPCT/IL2007/000158
Publication dateFeb 26, 2009
Filing dateFeb 6, 2007
Priority dateFeb 6, 2006
Also published asUS20090156280, WO2007091256A2, WO2007091256A3, WO2007091257A2, WO2007091257A3
Publication number12223612, 223612, PCT/2007/158, PCT/IL/2007/000158, PCT/IL/2007/00158, PCT/IL/7/000158, PCT/IL/7/00158, PCT/IL2007/000158, PCT/IL2007/00158, PCT/IL2007000158, PCT/IL200700158, PCT/IL7/000158, PCT/IL7/00158, PCT/IL7000158, PCT/IL700158, US 2009/0054127 A1, US 2009/054127 A1, US 20090054127 A1, US 20090054127A1, US 2009054127 A1, US 2009054127A1, US-A1-20090054127, US-A1-2009054127, US2009/0054127A1, US2009/054127A1, US20090054127 A1, US20090054127A1, US2009054127 A1, US2009054127A1
InventorsRephael Sweary, Michael Eden, Yaron Golan
Original AssigneeToumanino Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multi-Stage Future Events Outcome Prediction Game
US 20090054127 A1
Abstract
Apparatus and method for the playing of a multi-stage multi-player future event outcome prediction game. The prediction game involves the prediction or forecasting or guessing of the actual outcomes of a series of pre-defined sequentially occurring future events. The objective of the players participating in the prediction game is to predict correctly, progressively, sequentially and continuously the actual outcome of the entire set of pre-defined future events included in a game unit.
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Claims(51)
1. A method for performing a multi-stage future event outcome prediction game, the method comprising:
providing a computer software on a computer readable medium, configured for:
tracking along a time axis at tentative event maturation points-in-time of at least one future event constituting a game unit;
at the tentative event maturation points-in-time obtaining an actual outcome of the at least one future event, determining the correctness of at least two players predictions by comparing the actual outcome of the at least one future event with the respective predictions of the at least two players; according to the correctness of the predictions calculating the number of players that predicted correctly the actual outcome of the at least one future event, calculating the temporary number of bonus points for each player; and
at the termination point-in-time of the game unit determining the number of winners for the game unit according with the number of event outcome predictions that proved to be correct and calculating the final number of bonus points for each player.
2. The method of claim 1 further comprises generating a multi-stage future event prediction game unit, including defining the duration of the game unit, the starting point-in-time and the tentative termination point-in-time of the game unit, associating the at least one future event with the game unit that the tentative maturation points-in-time of the at least one future event are later than the starting point-in-time and earlier than the termination point-in-time of the game unit, the tentative maturation points-in-time of the at least one future event are separated by pre-defined different time intervals.
3. The method of claim 1 further comprises creating a list including a set of future event-related questions with two or more alternative answers attached or one question solving indicator placeholder the set of future event-related questions and attached alternative answers and the question solving indicators concern respectively the outcome of the at least one future event.
4. (canceled)
5. The method of claim 2 further comprises the tentative maturation points-in-time of the at least one future event occur progressively, sequentially, continuously and separately along the time axis of the game unit.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein prediction of the players are made progressively, sequentially and continuously along the time axis.
7. The method of claim 1 further comprises responding to requests submitted by players and potential players by distributing to the players and potential players the list of future-event related questions and attached alternative answers or question solving indicator placeholders to provide the players with the option of predicting the outcome of the at least one future event by indicating the correctness of one of the alternative answers or inserting an answer to the question solving indicator placeholder.
8. (canceled)
9. The method of claim 1 further comprises:
receiving and handling requests submitted by the players for the organization of players' groups;
receiving, handling and negotiating offers for the transfer of lists of event-related answers from the players;
receiving, handling and negotiating requests for the transfer of lists of event-related answers from the users; and
receiving and handling requests for the deposition of bonus points in a points depository from the players.
10.-12. (canceled)
13. The method of claim 1 wherein the future events constituting the game unit include any one of the following:
stock market fluctuations; sport competitions; financial and economic indicators; scientific and artistic awards winners; natural phenomena; cellular communications statistics and Short Message Service call statistics; Internet usage statistics; marketing statistics and market research results; global, national or local elections; public opinion surveys.
14.-16. (canceled)
17. The method of claim 1 wherein the winners of the game unit are one or more players comprising:
players that predicted correctly the highest number of actual event outcomes progressively, sequentially and continuously during the progress of the game unit along the time axis;
players that predicted the highest number of actual event outcomes non-sequentially and non-continuously;
players that predicted the highest number of actual event outcomes progressively, sequentially and continuously in a specific stage of the game unit and the total number of players in the game unit predicted incorrectly the actual outcome of the events in the following stage of the game unit; and
players where the total number of players in the game unit predicted incorrectly the actual outcome of the events at all the stages of the game unit.
18. The method of claim 1 wherein more than one tentative maturation points-in-time could occur at the same point-in-time.
19.-20. (canceled)
21. The method of claim 9 wherein a player's group is one of the following:
a public players' group to allow for any potential player to enter the group; and
a private players' group to allow selectively invited members to join.
22. The method of claim 9 wherein the players' group includes a group of players submitting an identical list of event-related answers and introducing initial bonus points for the list of event-related answers and where the winner of the game unit is the member of the group then the bonus points earned by the winner are distributed among the members of the group on the introduced points percentage basis.
23.-25. (canceled)
26. Apparatus for performing a multi-stage future event outcome prediction game, the apparatus comprising:
an at least one gaming server device for generating an at least one multi-stage future event outcome prediction game unit, for registering an at least two players requesting to participate in the at least one game unit, for creating and distributing a list of future event-related questions to potential players, for tracking the tentative maturation points-in-time of the future events constituting the at least one game unit, for obtaining the actual outcomes of the events constituting the at least game unit, for determining the correctness of the predictions for the outputs of the events constituting the at least one game unit, for determining the status of the at least two players participating in the at least one game unit at each stage of the at least one game unit, for calculating the number of bonus points earned and lost by the at least two players at every stage of the at least one game unit and for determining the number and the identity of the winners from among the participating at least two players and the final number of bonus points earned and lost by the at least two players at the termination of the at least one game unit.
27. The apparatus of claim 26 further comprises an at least two client devices utilized by an at least one player for connecting to the at least one gaming server device, for registering as participants in at least one the future event outcome prediction game unit and for submitting predictions concerning the actual outcome of the future events constituting the at least one game unit.
28. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the gaming server device comprises:
a game controller for organizing creating and managing the at least one game unit, for organizing, managing, controlling and tracking the activities of the at least two participating players in the at least one game unit, for selecting a set of future events suitable for constituting the at least one game unit;
a message handler for communicating with the at least two players and for transmitting messages reflecting the progress of the at least one game unit, the position of the at least two players in the at least one game unit, the outcomes of the events constituting the at least one game unit, the number and identity of the winners and the scheduling of an at least one future game unit; and
a game unit summary generator to initialize and update a game unit summary associated with the at least one game unit.
29. (canceled)
30. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the gaming server device further comprises:
a list of event-related answers available for transfer between the at least two players or potential players;
an answer exchange handler to handle transfer of lists of event-related answers between the at least two players or other potential players;
a points depository to store the bonus points earned and submitted by the at least two players; and
an events, questions and answers organizer to receive, handle and organize events, questions and answers suggested by the at least two players or other potential players.
31. (canceled)
32. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the at least one gaming server device is a computing and communicating device.
33. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the at least one gaming server device is a cellular switch.
34. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the at least one gaming server device is a gaming machine.
35.-41. (canceled)
42. A game machine comprising;
a gaming system for the performance of a game unit of a multi-stage, multi-participant future event outcome prediction game including a player's interface to communicate with a player during the game unit, a game controller for managing and controlling the game unit, a game unit summary generator for generating dynamically a game unit summary during the performance of the game unit, an answers transfer handler for checking the answers submitted during the progress of the game unit, and a points depository to store the number of bonus points for each of the players participating in the game.
43. The apparatus of claim 42 wherein the game machine further comprises a gaming database including a game unit data for storing game unit-specific information, the game unit data including a list of players including a list of players participating in the game unit, a list of future event-related questions including questions associated with events the termination point-in-time is within the period of the game unit, a game unit summary to hold information concerning the progress of the game, the standing of the players at the different stages of the game unit, the number of bonus points accumulated by the players, and the answers introduced by the players at each stage of the game unit, and a list of event-related answers submitted by the players or potential players;
44.-47. (canceled)
48. The game machine of claim 42 further comprises:
a bonus point token reception device to allow the players to introduce bonus points for a game unit; and
a bonus points disposal device to provide bonus point tokens to a player.
49. A method of playing a prediction game, the method comprising:
submitting predicted outcomes of at least one property of at least one prediction event provided by a game control unit; and
competing with other players on the accuracy of the prediction of the outcome of said event, for a plurality of events whose outcome is not known simultaneous in time.
50. (canceled)
51. A method according to claim 49 wherein submitting predicted outcomes is via SMS.
52. (canceled)
53. A method according to claim 49 wherein submitting predicted outcomes is at a kiosk.
54. A method according to claim 49 wherein submitting the predicted outcomes occurs before start of the game.
55. A method according to claim 49 wherein submitting the predicted outcomes occurs during the game.
56. (canceled)
57. A method according to claim 49 further comprising:
activating at least one life saver.
58.-60. (canceled)
61. A method according to claim 49, further comprising:
influencing the outcome of said prediction events by a player.
62. (canceled)
63. Apparatus for playing a prediction game, the apparatus comprising of:
a game control unit adapted to provide prediction events to players in a prediction game; and
a subscription unit adapted to receive the predicted outcomes to said prediction events as submitted by players of the game;
wherein the game control unit is further adapted to score the players according to the predicted outcomes submitted by the players.
64. Apparatus according to claim 63 wherein the control unit is a trusted source.
65. Apparatus according to claim 63 wherein at least some of the prediction events provided by the game control unit are real world events.
66. Apparatus according to claim 63 wherein at least some of the prediction events provided by the game control unit are fantasy events.
67. Apparatus according to claim 63 wherein the prediction events provided by the game control unit comprise a commercial value.
68. Apparatus according to claim 63 wherein the prediction events provided by the game control unit are personalized by at least one of said unit and said controller to match a specific player.
69.-74. (canceled)
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority and the benefit under 119(e) from U.S. Provisional application No. 60/765,161 filed on Feb. 6, 2006 and U.S. provisional application 60/869,954 filed 14 Dec. 2006, both including inventor Sweary, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference. The application is also related to a PCT application filed on even date with this application, by same applicants in the IL receiving office, attorney docket 34851, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to Apparatus and method for a multi-stage multi-player event outcome prediction game, and more particularly to Apparatus and method for a game that provides a framework in which a plurality of participants can express competitive interests through the prediction of the outcomes of a series of sequentially occurring future events.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Prediction is a statement or claim that a particular event will occur in the future or that a future event will have a distinct outcome. Prediction has scientific aspects where the prediction is based on pre-collected historical data which could be suitably processed by statistical functions. Scientific prediction could be very precise, such as astronomers predicting the exact time of an eclipse or could be less precise, such as meteorologists forecasting the expected power and path of an atmospheric storm.

Other aspects of a prediction could involve social phenomena where the prediction could be extrapolated from partial or complete observations from the past (projection) or could be based both on carefully collected and systematically analyzed statistical data, and in addition on diverse external complex phenomena. Thus, the result of a public opinion poll could point to a possible outcome of an election while unexpectedly emerging external variables from psychological, political, financial and social functions could affect the outcome. The outcome of an event is quasi-random when there is a plurality of external variables on which the outcome of the event depends. The greater the number of external variables on which the outcome of a future event depends the more difficult is to perform a comprehensive prediction-related calculation in which all the variables all taken into consideration and consequently the more problematic to produce a correct prediction. For example, it is notoriously difficult to forecast the weather in the long range, the occurrence of earthquakes, the results of sporting events, (horse racing, soccer, baseball, basketball) the financial and economic trends, indices and events (stock market movements, exchange rates fluctuations, and the like), the outbreak of diseases, and the outcomes of games of chance. Regarding games of chance the difficulty is exacerbated by the outcome being influenced by the use of randomizing devices.

Prediction of future events and their outcomes has a universal appeal within human communities and is likely to have continued with increasing appeal. Prediction made and submitted in the framework of a game could provide competitive speculation for the participants where the parties could obtain rewards for correct predictions and suffer penalties from incorrect predictions. Currently several predictive gaming frameworks or predictive contest frameworks exists where the correct prediction of the outcomes is typically based on a) players' knowledge, b) players' skills or c) random factors or on any combination thereof.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

An aspect of some embodiments of the invention relates to a prediction game in which players compete with each other to predict the outcomes of one or more properties of prediction events. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention there is provided a game control unit for control of the game. In an exemplary embodiment, the control unit is a trusted source for providing the outcome of the events, allotting scores to the players in an honest manner and/or defining the winner (or winners) of the game. Optionally, the source provides a score together with a link to (or copy of) a third party information source with the result on which scoring is based. Optionally, a player can request and receive an analysis of his or another's score, performed by the game system or by a third party. Optionally, the scoring is randomly or consistently checked by a human, for example an accountant or lawyer or other trusted third party. Optionally, players can vote on the correctness of a response or on the meaning of an outcome, or vote to veto a system decision. Optionally, such interaction is using an internet terminal which displays the issue(s) and the voting results. Optionally, a user is presented with a choice to join such a voting session.

In an exemplary embodiment, a player participates in a game via the internet. Alternatively or additionally, the player participates in a game by sending SMS via a cell phone. Alternatively or additionally, the player participates in a game by obtaining a ticket in a kiosk. Optionally, the player interacts in the game using a device in a kiosk.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game is an interactive game. The player optionally interacts with the game using internet or cell phone.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a player participates in a game by providing a list of predicted outcomes for one or more properties of prediction events at the start of the game. Optionally, each predicted outcome in the list is associated with a prediction event in which the player is participating. Alternatively or additionally, a predicted outcome may be associated with more than one prediction event. Alternatively or additionally, multiple predicted outcomes are associated with one prediction event.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the prediction events are real world events. Alternatively, the events are events in a virtual world. Optionally, the events in a virtual world are in a role-playing game, such as fantasy sports.

In an exemplary embodiment, the events or questions to be predicted regarding the events are provided by the game controller. Alternatively or additionally, the events (or questions) are provided by players in the game. Optionally, the events are multi-stage events, in which one stage naturally follows a previous stage in time, for example, weather at different times.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the events are composed to serve a commercial basis. Optionally, the events serve as an introduction to a certain product or company. For example, the events may guide the user to tour in a site or series of sites of a company or teach the advantages of a certain product. Optionally, the player may influence the outcome of a prediction event, whereby he will be exposed to commercials. For example, by touring in a site of a company, thereby being exposed to companies commercials.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the prediction events are personalized to match specific players. Optionally, the prediction events are personalized by one or more of: a player's fields of interests, hobbies, profession or consuming behavior. Optionally, the personalization is based on an identification (e.g., by a game controller or local gaming unit) of events/properties that a player selects to answer, based on a questionnaire, based on a manually entered profile and/or based on a determination of fields where the player has had a higher success rate.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, all prediction events of a game are defined at the start of the game. Alternatively, prediction events are added during the game.

In an exemplary embodiment, a player who participates in a game participates in all prediction events of the game. Alternatively, a player who participates in a game participates in fewer than all prediction events of the game. Optionally, a player in the game chooses the events in which to participate. Optionally, a player decides before start of the game in which events to participate. Alternatively or additionally, a player may choose, during the game, to add or skip a prediction event.

In an exemplary embodiment, the prediction events in a game are divided into series. Optionally, a player may participate in the game by participating in one or more series. Optionally, a player decides before start of the game in which series to participate. Alternatively or additionally, a player may join a next series at certain stages in the game. Optionally, a player who participates in a certain event participates in all prediction events of the series. Alternatively, a player may participate in fewer than all prediction events of a series.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention a player may obtain life savers for the game. In this application, the term “life saver” is used to define an option to help a player to overcome problems or to improve his position in the game. Optionally, a life saver enables a player to skip a prediction event, before or after the outcome of the event. Alternatively or additionally, a life saver enables a player to correctly predict the outcome of a prediction event. Alternatively or additionally, a life saver enables a player to amend predicted outcomes from the player's list of predicted outcomes. Alternatively or additionally, a life saver allows a player to reduce the quality of prediction required.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a winner of the game is the player with the most correct predicted outcomes. Alternatively or additionally, the winner is the player with the longest run of predicted outcomes to a sequence of events. Optionally, a player is scored during the game based on his predicted outcomes and the winner of the game is the player with the highest score. Optionally, certain correctly prediction outcomes grant a higher score then other than regular predicted outcomes.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention the winner of the game is compensated by a prize. Optionally, the prize is money. Alternatively, the prize is other than money, such as tickets for future games or life savers to be used in future games.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game comprises:

tracking along a time axis at one or more tentative event maturation points-in-time of at least one future event constituting a game unit;

at the tentative event maturation points-in-time obtaining an actual outcome of the at least one future event, determining the correctness of at least two players predictions by comparing the actual outcome of the at least one future event with the respective predictions of the at least two players or comparing the predictions against each other; and

scoring the players according to the correctness of predictions and/or other features of the game, such as usage of lifesavers. Scoring may be used to select a single winner or group of winners.

An aspect of some embodiments of the invention relates to a game control unit adapted to evaluate the value of a player's position in a prediction game during the game. Optionally, the valuation is based on predicted outcomes of events that have already occurred and verified. Alternatively or additionally, the valuation is based on statistical analysis of future success of a player's list. Optionally, the future success is based on the current status of the prediction events. Alternatively or additionally, the future success is based on past achievement of the player in the game or in a specific field of events (e.g., sports, general knowledge, history).

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention the control unit publishes the valuation of the player's position. Alternatively, the valuation is available to the respective player only.

An aspect of some embodiments of the inventions relates to a multi-stage prediction game where a player may join or leave the game during the game. In an exemplary embodiment, a player who wishes to leave the game before the end of the game sends a sale offer to the game control unit and a player who wishes to join the game sends a buy offer to the game control unit. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention the game control unit negotiates between a seller and a buyer of a list of predicted outcomes. Alternatively, the game control unit contacts between the seller and buyer who then negotiate between themselves. Optionally, a person may buy a position in the game during the game without replacing a player who leaves the game.

An aspect of some embodiments of the invention relates to a prediction game wherein a player can be interactive during the game. The interactivity of a player in the game may provide one or more potential advantages. The interest of the player in the game increases which can increase of the popularity of the game. In addition, when a player is interactive in the game the player may be better exposed to commercializing.

Optionally, a player is active by participating in additional prediction events during the game. Alternatively or additionally, a player is active by selling his position in the game during the game. Alternatively or additionally, a player is active by influencing the outcome of prediction events. Alternatively or additionally, a player is active by activating a life saver during the game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game is configured to ensure and/or encourage at least 2, at least 4 or more interactions of a player during a game, beside interactions associated with checking on a player's score/standing/prediction ability. In some cases, the player cannot be forced to interact but is enticed by options and alternatives. Optionally, a player interacts at least 3, at least 5, at least 7, or intermediate numbers of time with a game during its progress and until a winner is determined. Optionally, the game is set up to encourage interaction at fixed time points, for example, once an hour, twice a day or using a different scheme. Optionally, the times are fixed and/or uniformly spaced in time, but this is not required. The time scales of interaction may depend on the audience and/or setting. For example, for players in a pub, interaction every 5 or 10 minutes may be appropriate. For interaction with players during a daily job, interaction once every few hours may be more appropriate. Similarly, interaction by cellular phone may be more often than using an internet (where players might not have a station available) or using kiosks. Optionally, different players interact a different amount, for example, one player may interact 10 times and another only 2 times or not at all. Optionally, at least 5%, at least 10%, at least 20% or at least 40% of the players interact a significant amount as noted above. Optionally, interaction is measured by time, rather than number. For example, interaction in a game (after the game is started) may be at least 1, 5, 10, 30 or intermediate numbers of minutes.

Following is a description of the apparatus and method for playing the game according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention. It should be noted that the aspects and/or details of the game described below are provided in some embodiments of the invention as individual aspects or in combination with features of other exemplary embodiments. In addition it should be noted that some of the features described herein, such as life savers and selection of events may be used in games other than the games described herein, for example, for single event games and for games where the events are applied simultaneously.

Apparatus and method for the playing of a multi-stage multi-player event outcome prediction game is disclosed. The prediction game involves the prediction of the outcomes of a series of pre-defined sequentially occurring future events such as sporting contests, elections, stock market fluctuations, weather forecasts, pollution levels, consumer indices, verdicts in celebrity trials, income from a movie in the first week of showing, winner of the Nobel prize, winner of the Academy Awards, winner of the Emmy Awards, total number of goals in a football or a basketball game, cellular voice traffic and Short Message Service (SMS) traffic statistics, public switched telephone networks calls statistics, Internet access statistics, and the like. The objective of players participating in the prediction game is to predict correctly the outcome of an entire set of pre-defined events included in a game unit preferably in a consecutive, progressive and continuous manner. A game unit is defined as a pre-defined period with a pre-defined duration with a well-defined starting point-in-time and a tentatively defined termination point-in-time during which in the real world and external to the prediction game a series of pre-defined events occur and mature in a sequential manner. The maturation point-in-time is tentatively defined since the outcome of an event could be published earlier or later than expected. For example, the actual length of certain sporting events, such as for example a basketball game is difficult to determine in advance and therefore could be defined only in an inexact manner.

The maturation of an event means that an event's outcome is finalized and published. A publication of an event is used in the text of this document is defined as the introduction of the actual outcome of the event into the game. The types of the events included in the game unit, the number of events spread over the duration of the game unit, the tentative points-in-time whereat the actual outcomes of the events are published and the wording and content of the event outcome-related questions are pre-defined and pre-prepared by a “game controller”. The responsibility of the game controller is to organize and manage the game in general and a game unit in particular. In organizing, managing, controlling and tracking the activities of the players the game controller utilizes a set of “rules of the game”. Prior to the beginning of the game unit, the duration of the game unit, the type of events included in the game unit and the set of questions associated which each event are selected, prepared or structured by the game controller. The game controller is also responsible for the collection of the outcomes of the future events and the introduction of the outcomes into the game (publishing the outcome of an event). The event outcome-related questions are presented either in response to a suitable request from a set of potential players or could be presented automatically to a set of potential players by utilizing “push” technology. Players are human individuals that desire to take part in a game unit of the multi-stage event outcome prediction game for reasons of competitiveness, entertainment, pleasure, social activity or speculation with an accumulation of bonus points. Players could also be human agents or automatic computer-based agents that will play the game in accordance with specific instructions. The actual event outcomes will be predicted, forecasted or preferably guessed by the players. The predictions of the players will be expressed and indicated by providing answers to a series of either multi-choice (two or more choices) questions or single-answer questions where each question is associated with the actual outcome of a real-world event. In the preferred embodiments of the invention, the occurrence, progress and the result of the event are independent of the prediction game. In other preferred embodiments of the invention events could be artificially generated by the game controller, such as for example a set of events where each event is associated with a randomly generated digit. In the preferred embodiments of the present invention, all the players' answers relating to the outcomes of the events are to be submitted in advance before the starting of the game unit. In other preferred embodiments of the invention the answers should be submitted before the publication of the outcomes of the associated events. The winners of the game will be in the order of the type, the size or the quality of prizes given: a) players who provided the highest number of correct answers in an unbroken sequence starting from the first event included in the game unit and preferably to the last event included in the game unit, b) players who provided the highest number of corrects answers in an unbroken sequence starting from any event taking place after the first event in the game unit and preferably to the last event included in the game unit, and c) players who provided the highest number of correct answers to the events distributed in the game unit. The winners in the (a) category will typically receive a “first prize”, the winners in the (b) category will typically receive a “second prize” and the winners in the (c) category will typically receive a “third prize” where each prizes could include a number of bonus points. In the preferred embodiments of the present invention a “prize” is a number of bonus points that is given to a winner in one of the categories (a), (b) and (c). The amount of the prizes are determined in accordance with the “investment” of the players into the game unit and in accordance with the number of winners in each of the categories (a), (b) and (c) where each category includes a pre-determined percentage of the total bonus points introduced by the players. Thus, for example, the winners in category (a) could obtain 60 percent of the total bonus points; the winners in category (b) could obtain 25 percent of the bonus points, while winners in category (c) could obtain 15 percent of the total bonus points.

Note should be taken that the above distribution is exemplary only. In other preferred embodiments, for example, only a “first prize” including 100 percent of the bonus points could be won. Yet in other preferred embodiments no prizes are distributed. Still in other preferred embodiments of the invention the types of prizes could differ, such as various items or merchandise, discount or gift coupons, contest entry vouchers, vacation vouchers and the like.

In the preferred embodiments of the invention, a maturation of an event included in the game unit is associated with a specific stage of the game unit. In other preferred embodiments of the invention, more than one event could be associated with a specific stage of the game unit and simultaneous maturations of the more than one event could take place at the tentative termination points-in-time of the simultaneous events. The players who predicted correctly the outcome of an event associated with a stage of the game unit will continue to the next stage with a “correct answer” indication. Players who predicted incorrectly the outcome of an event will continue to the next stage with an “incorrect answer” indication. At any stage an overall incorrect prediction involving the providing of wrong answer by all the participants (“all wrong-answer” stage) will affect the continuing of all the players to the next stage within the game unit with a “correct answer” indication. Following an “all-wrong answer” stage the playing game unit continues in one of two possible ways: a) The players who provided a set of correct answers in an unbroken sequence until the “all-wrong answer” stage will receive a “first prize” and either could leave the game unit or continue playing in the game unit while the remaining players will continue the game until the maturation of the last event where the objective for the remaining players is to win either a “second prize” and a “third prize” and b) All the players continue the playing the game unit until the maturation of the last event.

Note should be taken that in different variations of the game the manner in which the determination of a winner or winners could differ. In the preferred embodiments of the present invention the winners are those players who completed the last stage of the game unit with an unbroken sequence of correct guesses where the overall number of correct guesses is a) greater than the number of guesses of any other player, and b) the stage at which an unbroken sequence of correct guesses began is nearer to the starting point-in-time of the game unit than the similar stage of any other player.

Optionally, at any point in time during the game unit a player is allowed to transfer his list of submitted answers or parts thereof to another active or potential player. Transferring lists or portions of lists between active or potential players could involve specific negotiations concerning percentages, offered bonus points, bids, value estimates and the like.

Optionally, if there are potential players whose requests for the transfer of lists is not satisfied then a parallel game unit could be set up simultaneously with the original game unit. The parallel game unit will have identical questions and identical associated events. The interested players could enter the parallel game with the copy of the requested list of question and the already provided answers. The entry will involve the transfer of a specifically negotiated number of bonus points to the game controller and the parallel game could begin with the new players from a specific stage. The parallel game unit will be managed separately from the original game unit. Note should be taken that a parallel game could be set up by the game controller at any time during the game unit to allow for potential players to enter the parallel game unit without submitting requests for list transfers and without receiving lists from active players. Simple requests from potential players to the game controller will be sufficient to open an “entry” session that will involve an “entry-desired” dialog between the potential players and the game controller including the submission of an amount of bonus points by the potential players, the sending of a list of questions generated by the game controller and the registration of the players into the parallel game unit.

Optionally, potential players are allowed to organize players' groups. Players could improve their chances of winning the game unit or could enhance their pleasure from the playing in the game by participating in one or more organized players' groups. Players' groups could be organized in a number of different ways. For example, a players' group could be established by a specific player referred to as an affiliate game controller. A player's group could be “public” such that is open for entry to any potential player who wishes to join or could be “private” such that is will include only selectively invited members are allowed to join. A “private” players' group will be referred to as an affiliate players' group. Such a group could be organized on the basis of friendships, companionships, common interests, and common objectives and could provide social activity-specific pleasure for participants. The affiliate players' group could utilize its own game unit that could include private events and associated questions that could be significant to or be understood by only the members of the “private” group. In the “public” version of a players' group a group of players will be persuaded by the affiliate game controller to submit identical answers for a specific game unit. Another type of “public” players' group could be established on the basis of profit where the players organize themselves into players' groups in order to enhance their chances of winning. The initial bonus points introduced will affect their share or their percentage of the potential prize.

Players could enhance their standing in the game by suggesting specific events to be included in the game and by composing event outcome-related questions open to other players.

The prediction game will provide full transparency for all the players and potential players. At every stage of the game the active players and the potential players could access and be informed of the status of the game, the standing of each player, the number of correct or incorrect answers that were given by each player at each stage of the game unit, the published answers at each stage of the game, the number of players with consecutive and continuous correct answers, the future events and associated questions, the probability of specific players to win the game, and the like.

One aspect of the present invention regards a method for performing a multi-stage future event outcome prediction game. The method comprises tracking along a time axis at tentative event maturation points-in-time of future events constituting a game unit, at the tentative event maturation points-in-time obtaining an actual outcome of the future events determining the correctness of players predictions by comparing the actual outcome of future events with the respective predictions of the players, according to the correctness of the predictions calculating the number of players that predicted correctly the actual outcome of the future events, calculating the temporary number of bonus points for each player, and at the termination point-in-time of the game unit determining the number of winners for the game unit according with the number of event outcome predictions that proved to be correct and calculating the final number of bonus points for each player.

The method for performing a multi-stage future event outcome prediction game also comprises receiving and handling lists submitted by the players, including future event-related predictive answers associated with the future event-related questions, receiving and handling registration requests into a game unit submitted by the players, and receiving and handling suggested future events, future event-related questions and future event-related alternative answers or question solving indications submitted by the players to be considered for inclusion in future game units.

The method for performing a multi-stage future event outcome prediction game further comprises receiving and handling requests submitted by the players for the organization of players' groups, receiving, handling and negotiating offers for the transfer of lists of event-related answers from the players, receiving, handling and negotiating requests for the transfer of lists of event-related answers from the users, and receiving and handling requests for the deposition of bonus points in a points depository from the players.

A second aspect of the present invention regards Apparatus for performing a multi-stage future event outcome prediction game. The apparatus comprises a gaming server device for generating a multi-stage future event outcome prediction game unit, for registering players requesting to participate in the game unit, for creating and distributing a list of future event-related questions to potential players, for tracking the tentative maturation points-in-time of the future events constituting the game unit, for obtaining the actual outcomes of the events constituting the game unit, for determining the correctness of the predictions for the outputs of the events constituting the game unit, for determining the status of the players participating in the game unit at each stage of game unit, for calculating the number of bonus points earned and lost by players at every stage of the game unit and for determining the number and the identity of the winners from among the participating players and the final number of bonus points earned and lost by the players at the termination of the game unit.

A third aspect of the present invention regards a game machine. The game machine is utilized for the playing of the multi-stage future event outcome prediction game and includes a gaming system and a gaming database. The gaming system includes a player's interface, to communicate with a player during the game unit, a game controller for managing and controlling the game unit, a game unit summary generator for generating dynamically a game unit summary during the performance of the game unit, an answers transfer handler for checking the answers submitted during the progress of the game unit, a points depository to store the number of bonus points for each of the players participating in the game. The gaming database stores a plurality of game unit data aggregates. The game unit data is utilized for the storing of game unit-specific information, such as a list of players participating in the game unit, a list of future event-related questions including questions associated with events the termination point-in-time is within the period of the game unit, a game unit summary to hold information concerning the progress of the game, the standing of the players at the different stages of the game unit, the number of bonus points accumulated by the players, and the answers introduced by the players at each stage of the game unit, and a list of event-related answers submitted by the players or potential players. The functionalities of the game machine are typically executed by the game controller. The game controller generates the game unit data, transfers the list of event-related questions to registered players or potential players, receives the event-related answers from registered players registered, tracks the outcome of the events included in the game unit, publishes the outcome of the events by introducing event outcome indicators to the gaming machine, determines the standing of the players based on the outcome of the events and the answers submitted by the players, and determines the winners of the game unit from among the participating players at the termination point-in-time of the game unit based on the number and the point-in-time association of the correct answers provided by the entire set of participating players.

There is also provided in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a method of playing a prediction game, the method comprising:

submitting predicted outcomes of at least one property of at least one prediction event provided by a game control unit; and

competing with other players on the accuracy of the prediction of the outcome of said event, for a plurality of events whose outcome is not known simultaneous in time.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, submitting predicted outcomes is via the internet. Alternatively or additionally, submitting predicted outcomes is via SMS. Alternatively or additionally, submitting predicted outcomes is via a telephone. Alternatively or additionally, submitting predicted outcomes is at a kiosk.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, submitting the predicted outcomes occurs before start of the game. Alternatively or additionally, submitting the predicted outcomes occurs during the game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, submitting comprises submitting predicted outcomes to all events provided by the game control unit for the game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the method comprises:

activating at least one life saver. Optionally, a life saver comprises a ticket not to compete in an event to which a predicted outcome was submitted by the player. Alternatively or additionally, a life saver comprises a ticket to correctly predict the outcome of a prediction event, regardless of the prediction outcome submitted by the player.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the method comprises:

a player leaving the game before the end of the game and receiving compensation therefore.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the method comprises:

influencing the outcome of said prediction events by a player.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the method comprises:

interacting with the game by a player at least 3 times, after said game is started.

There is also provided in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention, apparatus for playing a prediction game, the apparatus comprising of:

a game control unit adapted to provide prediction events to players in a prediction game; and

a subscription unit adapted to receive the predicted outcomes to said prediction events as submitted by players of the game;

wherein the game control unit is further adapted to score the players according to the predicted outcomes submitted by the players.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the control unit is a trusted source.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the prediction events provided by the game control unit are real world events. Alternatively or additionally, the prediction events provided by the game control unit are fantasy events. Alternatively or additionally, the prediction events provided by the game control unit comprise a commercial value.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the prediction events provided by the game control unit are personalized by at least one of said unit and said controller to match a specific player.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, said control unit is adapted to compare predicted outcomes to different prediction events by different players.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game control unit is adapted to provide prediction events before a start of a game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game control unit is adapted to provide prediction events during a game. Optionally, the control unit is adapted to provide prediction events provided during the game in accordance with the status of the game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, said prediction events are divided into series and wherein said subscription unit is adapted to receive series of predicted outcomes respectively to said series of predicted events.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the apparatus comprises a plurality of subscription units.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of the event outcome prediction game, in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic presentation of the list of event-related questions, in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic presentation of a list of event-related answers, in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIGS. 4A through 4D are schematic presentation of the game unit summary consequent to exemplary performances of game units, in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a simplified block diagram showing a gaming platform based on computing and data communications devices, in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a simplified block diagram showing a gaming platform based on cellular communications devices in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a simplified block diagram showing a gaming platform based on a game machine, in accordance with a third preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a simplified flowchart presenting the gaming logic, in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention; and

FIG. 9 is a simplified flowchart presenting the exchange and transfer of lists among players, in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a flowchart of a prediction game according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, from a player's point of view.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1 players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 are the participants in the multi-stage future event outcome prediction game during a specific game unit. Each player 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 is provided with a copy of a list of event-related questions 12 that is distributed by a game controller 10. In accordance with the gaming platform or gaming forum on which the game is organized, performed, managed and played, the game controller 10 could be one or more human individuals (game control team) or a set of interrelated computer programs (gaming software) or a set of interconnected hardware devices (gaming machine) or any combination thereof. The players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 could become an affiliate game controllers and organize a group of potential players for the playing a group-specific game. The game controller 10 enforces the rules of the game, sets up the game units 50 of the game, controls the functional components needed to run the game, such as lists of future event-related questions 12, lists of future event-related answers 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, game unit summaries 52, and the like. Where setting up the game unit 50, the game controller 10 is responsible for a) selecting the events 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48 to be included in a game unit 50, b) synchronizing the period of the game unit 50 with the beginning and the tentative maturation of the selected events, c) composing the questions related to the outcome of the event included in the game unit 50, d) generating list of event-related questions 12 associated with the actual outcomes of an event, e) enabling the registration of players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 to a specific game unit 50, f) providing a list of event-related questions 12 for the registered players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, g) keeping copies of the list of event-related answers 24, 26, 28, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48 submitted by the registered players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, respectively, h) tracking the actual outcome of the event 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, and particularly publishing the outcome of the event or introducing the outcome of the event into the game, i) generating a game unit summary 52 for a game unit 50 in accordance with the rules of the game, with the answers submitted by the registered players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and with the results of the actual outcome of the events 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48. In addition the game controller 10 is responsible for the maintenance of the game-related information, such as historical data, game unit composition data, list transfer information, bonus point information, player suggestions, groups of players management, list transfer negotiations, replication of game units and the like. Note should be taken that when the game controller 10 is a team of human individuals then each specific individual from the team could be responsible for the controlling various different aspects of the game.

Still referring to FIG. 1 the players 14, 16, 18, 20 22 are human individuals interested in playing the game during the period of at least one game unit 50 for competitive reasons, for entertainment, for pleasure, for speculation, for “profit” and the like. The players 14, 16, 18, 20 22 could be human agents or software-based automatic agents responsible for the playing of the game according to instructions received from the human players. The participation and performance of the players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 is accomplished through suitable communication with the game controller 10 via diverse gaming platform-specific or gaming forum-specific gaming interfaces. Players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 submit request for the reception of lists of event-related questions 12. Consequently the list of event-related questions 12 within the selected game unit 50 is distributed among the players 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22. Players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 submit suitable requests for registering in a specific game unit 50 and participating in the specific game unit 50 through an appropriate gaming interface. In accordance with the rules of the game the players 14, 16, 18, 20 22 submit predictive answers to all the questions in the list of event-related questions 12 and thereby each player 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 generates a list of event-related predictive answers 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32, respectively. Then, copies of the list of event-related answers 24, 26, 28, 30, 32 are submitted to the game controller 10 for tracking and processing. During the registration of the players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 a list of players 11 is generated by the game controller 10. The game controller 10 tracks occurrences associated with the game unit 50, such as the start of the game unit 50, the termination of the game unit 50 and the progressively and sequentially occurring publications of the actual outcomes of the events 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48 along time axis 48 during the period of the game unit 50. At the tentative maturation point of the event the game controller 10 obtains the outcome of the event 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46 and 48, translates the outcome to a format suitable for comparing with the submitted predictive answers and scans the list of event-related questions 24, 26, 28, and 32 submitted by the players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22, respectively, in order to check whether the answers submitted are correct in relation to the actual outcome of the event. In accordance with correctness or the incorrectness of the answers separately or in combination the game controller 10 updates the game unit summary 52. The game controller 10 communicates the outcome of the event, the correct event-related answer, the standing of each player 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and additional information to the players or to potential players either in response to specific requests or automatically. Note should be taken that on the drawing under discussion only a limited number of players, lists of answers, events and a single game unit is shown. It would be easily perceived that in a realistic environment a plurality of players could participate in a plurality of game units by submitting a plurality of lists of a plurality of answers for each game unit that could include a plurality of events.

Referring now to FIG. 2 the generation of list 54 is the responsibility of game controller 10 of FIG. 1. As was detailed herein above game controller 10 could be a human individual that generates list 54 in a manual manner. Alternatively controller 10 could be a specifically developed computer software program or a set of hardware instructions embedded in suitable electronic logic devices. When controller 10 is a human individual then list 54 is generated manually. When controller 10 is a software module or parallel-function set of hardware instructions then list 54 is prepared either automatically, based on an input of relevant events, appropriate questions and game units scheduling data. List 54 could be further generated in combination by both a human individual and specially developed computing modules. Subsequent to the generation thereof list 54 will contain a set of event-related question records 56, 58, 60 and, 62. Each question record 56, 58, 60 and 62 is associated with an event. In the preferred embodiments of the invention, an event is real-world occurrence that is external to and independent of the progress of the prediction game. In other preferred embodiments of the invention, an event could be an artificially generated abstract occurrence, such as the random selection of a number, and the like. An event could be practically any occurrence that has a tentative termination point-in-time and has a distinct, well-defined, and publishable result. Events used for the purpose of the game and included in the game units could be associated with economics, finance, sports, politics, science, arts, marketing, communications, statistics, entertainment or any other suitable field. Examples of events will be given herein under in association with the description of the fields constituting the question records 56, 58, 60, and 62. Note should be taken that although on the drawing under discussion only four question records are shown in a realistic environment the number of question records could substantially vary in accordance with the period of the game unit and appropriate time intervals defined by the game controller 10 during the generation of list 54.

Still referring to FIG. 2 a list of event-related questions 54 includes all the questions related to all the events that included in a game unit 50 of FIG. 1 and therefore “drive” the game unit 50. The set of event records 56, 58, 60 and 62 relate to events that mature during a specific game unit. If the game unit is defined with duration of for example 14 hours, beginning with 8 a.m. and terminating at 10 p.m., then all the events associated with the question records 56, 58, 60 and 62 within list 54 will mature during that period. A question record 56, 58, 60 and 62 includes a set of data fields, where a data field is a specific segment of information located at a pre-defined position in the question record 56, 58, 60, and 62 in order to enable for easier handling or processing. The data fields are a) question number, b) event description, c) question text, d) tentative event maturation point-in-time, e) first alternative answer, and f) second alternative answer. Optionally, the record could include more than two alternative answers, such as record 60 further includes g) third alternative answer and record 60 includes several more alternative answers h) additional alternative answer . . . and i) last alternative answer. In other preferred embodiments of the present invention, the record could include a question solving indicator placeholder for the provision of a distinct answer. For example question record 58 could include the following exemplary data: a) Question Number “2”, b) Question Description: “Tokyo Stock Market Closing Value”, c) Question Text: “The value of Tokyo Stock market at the closing of the commerce.”, d) Event Maturation Point-in-Time: “25 Jan. 2006, 11 p.m. GMT”, e) First Alternative Answer: “If you predict that the value will be up relative to the opening or the market then press ‘1’ on the keyboard”, and f) Second Alternative Answer: “if you think predict that the value will be down relative to the opening of the market then press ‘2’ on the keyboard”. In another example question record 60 could include the following exemplary data: a) Question Number “3”, b) Question Description: “Golden Globe Awards Best Actor Category.”, c) Question Text: “The winner of the Golden Globes Award in the Best Actor Category will be”, d) Event Maturation Point-in-Time: “25 Jan. 2006, 12 p.m. GMT”, e) First Alternative Answer: “for George Clooney type ‘1’”, and f) Second Alternative Answer: “for Don Cheadle type ‘2’”, g) Third Alternative Answer: “For Brad Pitt type ‘3’”, and h) Fourth Alternative Answer: “For Tom Cruise type ‘4’”. The list 64 is distributed between the potential players and the players 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 of FIG. 1 prior to the beginning of the game unit. According to the gaming platform, the list 54 will be in a traditional printed sheet format, in a computer screen display window format or any other suitable format. The players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 will attempt to predict, forecast or guess the actual outcome of the associated event and will indicate the answers that according to their prediction, forecasting or guessing will reflect the result of the event. In the preferred embodiment of the intention, a list of indicated answers will be submitted by the players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 prior to the beginning of the game unit 50 of FIG. 1 to the game controller 10 of FIG. 1. In other preferred embodiments of the invention the indicated answers could be submitted separately before the publishing of the relevant event. The submission will be done in accordance with the type of the gaming platform through various interfaces, in various formats and using various techniques. The techniques, format and interfaces will constitute the gaming platform. Some potential gaming platforms could be: computing and communications networks, cellular networks, traditional telephone network, cable TV networks, satellite networks and the like. The proposed apparatus and method could also use existing gaming infrastructures as gaming platforms, such as the infrastructure of a state lottery, a nation-wide sporting event lottery, local raffles and the like. The submitted list of answers will received and collected by the game controller and readied for suitable processing during the fore coming game unit.

Referring now to FIG. 3 a list of event-related answers 64 includes all the answers related to all the events that are included in a game unit 50 of FIG. 1 and were listed in list 54 of FIG. 2. The answers in list 64 are generated by the players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 through the answering of one of the alternative questions included in list 54. List 64 includes a player record 66 and a set of answers records. Player record 66 contains player-specific information, such as the identification of the player, the identification of the group of the player (if applicable), the percentage of the player in the list of answers if applicable (not shown) and the number of bonus points the player accumulated during the game. For example, player record 66 could include the following information: a) “Yoram125”, b) “None”, and c) 720. A more detailed description of the player record 66 will be provided herein under in association with the following drawings.

Still referring to FIG. 3 answer records 66, 68, 70, 72 and 74 in list 64 relate to the questions associated with events that mature during a specific game unit. Each participating player 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 generates a list of event-related answer records 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 through providing a set of answers to the questions listed in list 54. Answer records 68, 70, 72 and 74 include a set of data fields, where a data field is a specific segment of information located at a pre-defined position and having a specific length in answer records 68, 70, 72 and 74 in order to enable for easier handling or processing. The data fields are a) question number b) event-related question text, c) tentative event maturation point-in-time, and d) player's answer. For example answer record 70 in list 64 relates to question record 58 in list 54 of FIG. 1 where the associated event is the closing value of the Tokyo Stock Market. Thus, answer record 70 could include the following exemplary data: a) Question Number: “2”, b) Event-Related Question Text: “The value of Tokyo Stock market at the closing of the commerce will”, c) Event Maturation Point-in-Time: “25 Jan. 2006, 11 p.m. GMT”, and d) Player's Answer: “1”. Thus, answer record 70 indicates that the player submitting list 64 predicted or forecasted or guessed that the value of the Tokyo Stock Market will rise at the closing of the commerce. In another example answer record 72, which is associated with question record 60 in list 54 of FIG. 1, could include the following exemplary data: a) Question Number “3”, b) Event-Related Question Text: “The winner of the Golden Globe Awards in the Best Actor Category will be”, c) Event Maturation Point-in-Time: “25 Jan. 2006, 12 p.m. GMT”, e) Player's Answer: “1”. Thus, answer record 72 indicates that the player submitting list 64 predicted or forecasted or guessed that George Clooney will be the actor who will win the Golden Globes Award in the Best Actor Category in 2006. The list 64 is submitted by the participating players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 of FIG. 1 to the game controller 10 of FIG. 1 prior to the beginning of the game unit. According to the gaming platform, the list 64 will be in a traditional printed sheet format, in a computer screen display window format or any other suitable format for submission. A list of indicated answers will be submitted by the players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 prior to the beginning of the game unit 50 of FIG. 1 to the game controller 10 of FIG. 1. The submission will be done in accordance with the type of the gaming platform through various interfaces, in various formats and using various techniques. The submitted list of event-related answers, each having the information as described in list 64 will be received and collected by the game controller 10 of FIG. 1 for subsequent processing during the coming game unit. Note should be taken that preferably the number of answer records 68, 70, 72, and 74 in list 64 will be identical to the number of question records 56, 58, 60 and 62 in list 54 of FIG. 2.

Referring now to FIGS. 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D, game unit summary 52 of FIG. 1 is a summary record generated by the game controller 10 of FIG. 1 during the period of game unit 50 of FIG. 1 based on a) the rules of the prediction game, b) the lists of event related answers 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 submitted by players 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22, and c) the outcome of the events 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46 and 48 at the events' tentative termination points-in-time (for example, points 43 and 35 of FIG. 1). Game unit summary 52 of FIG. 1 is specific to a game unit 50 and includes all the relevant information associated with a game unit in an integrative and dynamic manner. Summary 52 is initialized by the game controller 10 of FIG. 1 and it is updated with the registration of each player 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 to the game unit. Summary 52 further updated with the submission of each list of event-related answers 24, 26, 28, and 32. Summary 52 is yet further updated with the publication of each event 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, and 48 in game unit 50. Summary 52 is further updated consequent to specific calculations performed after the publication of the outcome of each event 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46 and 48 of FIG. 1.

Before referring to the following drawings first the rules of the prediction game will be detailed. A) The game is played by multiple participants or active players. B) The game is partitioned into game units defined by the duration, starting point-in-time and tentative termination point-in-time of the game unit. C) Before the start of the game unit each player is provided with a set of questions relating to the actual outcomes of future events when the outcomes are published within the period of the game unit. D) For each question either two or more multiple choice answers are provided or a question solving indicator placeholder is provided. E) Either prior to the start of the game unit or prior to the publication of the outcome of an event each participating player should predict, forecast or guess the outcome of either each event or one or more events prior to the publication of the outcomes thereof and select the answers accordingly or insert the question solving indicator. F) Consequent to the predictive selection of the answer or the insertion of the question solving indicator the list of answers to be submitted prior to the beginning of the game unit or each answer is to be submitted before the publication of the outcome of the associated event. G) During the period of the game unit after the outcome of an event is published the relevant answer of each player is compared to the outcome. H) At each stage some or all of the players whether guessed correctly or incorrectly are staying in the game. I) The winners of the game unit are: a) players that guessed correctly the highest number of event outcomes progressively, sequentially and continuously beginning with the stage nearest to the starting point-in-time of the game unit without “break” even when they do not reach the last stage, b) players that guessed correctly the highest number of event outcomes progressively, sequentially and continuously beginning with a stage farther to the starting point-in-time of the game unit than the first stage without “break” even when they do not reach the last stage and c) players that guessed correctly the highest number of events outcomes the correct answers could be distributed across progressive stages of the game unit J) If no player guessed correctly the outcomes in the game unit in accordance with the conditions of (I) then a) players with the highest numbers of guesses are “first prize” winners and leave the game while the remaining players continue in the game unit in order to the “second prize” or the “third prize”, b) all the players continue in the game unit in order to obtain the “first prize” or the “second prize” or the “third prize”. K) At each stage if no player guessed the correct outcome then it is considered that all the players guessed correctly. L) At each stage bonus points are calculated for those players who with an “unbroken” sequence of correct answers by dividing the total number of bonus points by the number of players. M) The game unit terminates when the outcome of the last event is published. N) The winners could be determined only at the termination of the game unit O) The game could include a plurality of game units performed either simultaneously or sequentially. Game units could be replicated at any stage following either unfulfilled requests by potential players for the transfer of list of answers from the participating players or specific requests by potential players. P) Players are allowed to self-organize players' groups where the establishment and organization of the group could be managed by an affiliate game controller. Players' groups could be organized such that each player submits an identical list of answers and participates in the earned bonus points according to a pre-defined percentage or each player becomes the partial owner of a single list of answers and participates in the earned bonus points according to a pre-defined percentage. The earnings of a group could be divided in accordance with a pre-determined arrangement where for example a certain portion of the earnings is dedicated to a charity cause. Q) Options are provided for the two-way transfer of list of answers between the players or potential players accompanied by exchange of bonus points. R) At the stage in which the incorrect answers are given by all the players then the bonus points of the players will be zeroes. S) Alternatively at a stage in which all the players submitted incorrect answers the winners will be those players who in the previous stage still had an unbroken sequence of correct answers. T) Players or potential players are provided with the option of initiating submitting suggestions for events and questions that will provide them with bonus points.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 4A the game unit summary 76 presents the information collected and calculated at the termination of a game unit. The easy understanding the exemplary game unit summary was built such that only “first prize” winners are shown. The summary is shown in a table format although it would be easily perceived that the raw information could be stored in different formats. Summary 76 includes a title row 78, a set of stage rows 80, 82, 84, 86, 88, 90, 92 and 94, a winner indicator box 100, a winner's point indicator 98 and the winning stage 8. A stage is associated with the publishing of the outcome of an event and with the consequent calculation by the game controller. Summary 76 includes 8 stage rows each associated with a sequentially matured event. The rows 80, 82, 84, 86, 88, 90, 92 and 94 are identified by the “Question Number” title the value of which is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 respectively. The correct answer is identified by the “Correct Answer” title. A correct answer is the number of one of the alternative questions included in the list of event-related questions. When the outcome of an event is published then the result is translated into the specific codes indicating the answer and inserted into the summary 76. The field entitled, “Number of Players” indicates the number of players with an unbroken sequence of correct answers after the correctness/incorrectness of their answer for the outcome of the event is determined. “Points for Player” is the result the bonus points calculation based on the correctness/incorrectness of the answers submitted, on the initial number of bonus points and the number of players at each stage. The correctness/incorrectness of the guesses is indicated under the title “PLAYER” and the sub-title “1 2 3 4 5” where each digit signifies a specific player. In the specific game unit there are 5 participating players where each player began the game unit with 10 bonus points. In the first stage (row 80) the translated value of the correct answer is 1. Players 1, 2, 3, and 5 guessed correctly the outcome while player 4 guessed incorrectly. Thus, the number of players with unbroken sequence of correct answers is 4 and the number of bonus points for each player with unbroken sequence of correct guesses is calculated as follows: 50 points divided by 4 players is 12.5 points. In the second stage (row 82) the translated value of the correct answer is 3. Players 1, 3, and 5 guessed correctly and sequentially continuously the outcome while player 2 guessed incorrectly. Thus, the number of players is 3 and the number of bonus points for each player is calculated as follows: 50 points divided by 3 players is 16.6 points. At stage 8 (row 94) the game unit terminates when the outcome of the eighth event is published and it is determined that player 3 guessed correctly the outcome of the eighth event. It is determined that player 3 guessed correctly the entire set of eight events consecutively and continuously. The winning player is indicated by indicator 100, the points' of the winner are calculated as 50 initial points divided by 1 player=50, and the winning stage 96 is displayed. Note should be taken that the structure and information shown in the game unit summary 76 is simplified, schematic and it is used as an example only. In other preferred embodiments of the invention, other fields could be added, the number of players could differ extensively, and a plurality of stages could be involved in the playing of the game unit.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 4B the game unit summary 76 is showing the information collected and calculated at the termination of a different game unit. For easy understanding the exemplary game unit is built such that only “first prize” winners are shown. The structure of the summary is essentially identical to the structure of the summary shown in FIG. 4A. The number of the participating players is five and the number of stages is eight. Similarly the number of the initial bonus points is 50 where each player begins with 10 points. The information in summary 76 of FIG. 4B differs from summary 76 in FIG. 4A by representing the summary of a game unit in which there are two winners. Player number 3 and player number 5 both guessed correctly the outcome of all the events and “reached” alone stage 8 with a whole set of correct guesses sequentially and continuously. Therefore the number of winners is indicated by indicators 100 and 101, the winner's points is calculated as 50 initial bonus points divided between two players, i.e. 25 points for each player.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 4C the game unit summary 76 is showing the information collected and calculated at the termination of yet another different game unit. For easy understanding the exemplary game unit summary is built such that only “first prize” winners are shown. The structure of the summary is essentially identical to the structure of the summary shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B. The number of the participating players is five and the number of stages is eight. Similarly the number of the initial bonus points is 50 where each player begins with 10 points. The information in summary 76 of FIG. 4C differs from summary 76 in FIGS. 4A and 4B by representing the summary of a game unit in which the winning player reached only stage 5. Player number 5 guessed correctly the outcomes of all the events associated with stage 1 through stage 5 only. Player number 5 reached stage 5 by guessing correctly the outcomes of the events associated with stage, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 sequentially and continuously. In the following stages 6, 7 player 5 guesses incorrectly while there were correct guesses by other players. Therefore the player 5 is indicated by indicator 100, the winner's points is calculated as 50 initial bonus points divided by one player, i.e. 50 points for each player. The winning stage 96 is indicated as 5 since it is in stage 5 that the last correct guess was made by the player with the longest “unbroken” set of correct guesses.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 4D the game unit summary 76 is showing the information collected and calculated at the termination of yet another different game unit. The structure of the summary is essentially identical to the structure of the summary shown in FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C. The number of the participating players is five and the number of stages is eight. Similarly the number of the initial bonus points is 50 where each player began the game unit with an initial 10 points. The information in summary 76 of FIG. 4C differs from summary 76 in FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C, respectively, by representing the summary of a game unit during which all the players guessed incorrectly the outcomes of all the events associated with the respective stages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Rule ‘K’ of the game rules defines that when all players guess incorrectly the outcome of an event then it is considered that all the players guessed correctly. Thus, in summary 76 of FIG. 4D no player is shown as the winner and the winner's points are calculated as 50 initial bonus points divided by five players, i.e. 10 points for each player. The winning stage 96 is indicated as ‘1’ since it is stage one (the stage which is nearest in time to the starting point-in-time of the game unit) that the unbroken set of stages began where all players guessed incorrectly the outcomes of the events associated with the stages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Note should be taken that the playing by the exemplary game unit continues. Thus, the players are capable of pursuing the objectives of winning the “second prize” or the third prize. In the game unit summary 76 all the consequent stages are “all-wrong answer” stages. Therefore, none of the participating players wins the “second prize” or the “third prize”.

Note should be taken that the above described game unit summaries are exemplary only. A game unit summary could have different structures, different information and additional functionalities. Moreover, the progress and the results of the games units reflected by the game unit summaries exemplary only. Different kind of calculations and determinations could be made at different changes following diverse occurrences. The determination of winners from among the players could further differ among various game units. For example, it could be pre-determined that a specific game unit would be one by a player with the highest number of correct guesses notwithstanding the sequentially of the guesses. The events could be given different weights in the calculations. For example, events having questions with multi-choice answers could be weighed less in the final calculations than events with a single answer.

Referring now to FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 the prediction game could be played on various gaming platforms. A gaming platform or gaming forum is defined as the technical infrastructure and the associated tools through which the game could be organized, performed, managed and played. Thus, for example, for a card game the gaming platform could substantially simple and could include a table, several chairs, several decks of card, and the like. The same card game could be played in a substantially more sophisticated manner by using computing devices with suitably developed and installed card gaming software where each of the players could operate through a personal computer and communicate with the other players remotely via a data communications network. In association with the following drawings several gaming platforms will be presented that could be used for the playing of the game. For example, the game could be played in a simplified manner in which only local, easily captured events could be used for the organizing of the prediction game. Such simple local events could include, local temperature at noon, the number of cars passing an intersection in a predefined period, precipitation, results of examinations, and the like. In such a simple gaming, the lists could be manually prepared and answered, the game controller could make manual calculations, the game unit could be conveniently long, and the spacing of the event could be fitted with the players' population. Thus, In general, it will be easily perceived by one with ordinary skills in the art that diverse platforms and forums could be used for the organization and the playing of the prediction game. The limits of the invention will be defined by the attached claims only.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 5 that shows a gaming platform 115 based on computing and data communications devices, in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the present invention. Gaming platform 115 includes a client device 102 communicatively linked to a gaming server device 114 via a data communications network 112. Client device 102 is a computing device with remote communication capabilities, such as personal computer (PC), a laptop computer, a handheld computer, a mainframe computer, an advanced game console and the like. Client device 102 is operated by a human user (not shown), such as a participating player in the prediction game. Client device 102 includes a set of software modules constituting a gaming system. Note should be taken that client device 102 includes diverse other types of software either strictly necessary for the operation of device 102, such as an operating system (not shown) and other utilities (not shown) or installed for the performance of various tasks not connected to gaming, such as a word processor (not shown) and the like The gaming system includes a gaming server interface 104, a list of event-related questions 108, a list of event-related answers 110 and a suggestions of event questions and answers handler and uploader 106. Interface 104 enables the user of device 102 to communicate with gaming server device 114 for the playing of the prediction game. Interface 104 includes various display and communications hardware devices, such as screen display, a keyboard, a network interface card and a set of inter-related communications software modules. The user of device 102 communicates with game server device 114 via the data communications network 112, such as the Internet. User of device 102 submits requests and registration data related to the participation in the prediction game via a graphical user interface, selects a specific game unit to participate therein, receives a list of event-related questions 106 from the gaming server device 114, introduces answers to the questions and sends a list of event-related questions 110 to the gaming server device 114. In addition, user of device 102 is capable submitting, handling and uploading event and questions suggested for use via the handler and uploader 106. User of device 102 further capable of tracking the course of the predictive game by displaying the relevant messages sent by the gaming server device 114 either in response to requests submitted or automatically utilizing “push” technology.

Still referring to FIG. 5 the gaming server device 114 operates across the data communications network 112, such as the Internet. Gaming server device 114 is a computing device with remote communication capabilities, such as personal computer (PC), a mainframe computer and the like. Gaming server device 114 could be operated by a human user, such as a game controller of the prediction game Gaming server device 114 includes a set of software modules constituting the prediction gaming organizer and controller system. Note should betaken that client device 104 could include diverse other types of software either strictly necessary for the operation of device 114, such as an operating system (not shown) and other utilities (not shown) or installed for the performance of various tasks not connected to gaming, such as a word processor (not shown) and the like The prediction gaming organizer and controller system includes a game controller 116, a message handler 118, a game unit summary generator 120, a players' group handler, and answer exchange handler 124, a points depository 135, and event questions and answers organizer 138 and a game unit data 129. Game controller 116 is the master module of the gaming organization and performance system. Controller 116 is responsible for generating the game units, selecting the events, organizing the list of questions, distributing the list of questions, receiving the list of answers, building and updating the game unit summaries, handling players' registrations, sending game-related messages, providing game status information, player standing information, managing the points depository, tracking the progress of the prediction game, obtaining event outcomes, calculating bonus points, determining winners and the like. Controller 116 loads and executes other more specific modules for gaming-specific tasks. Message handler 118 is responsible for sending gaming-related messages to the user of client device 102. The messages could be sent via the Internet or could be structured into suitable SMS format and sent to a cellular device via a gateway device and a cellular communications network. The messages could be sent automatically or by specific request and could reflect the progress of the game, the situation of a specific player or players' group, the number of accumulated bonus points, the winner of a game unit and the like. Game unit summary generator 120 loaded and executed by controller 116 initializes the game unit summary prior to the start of the game unit, updates the information in the game unit summary based on the game unit data 128, calculates the diverse information associated with the various stages of the game unit, determines the winners, the bonus points, the correctness of answers and the like. Points depository 135 is a data structure storing the bonus points for each of the players across a game unit or across several game units. Depository 135 further stores bonus points inserted prior to a list of answers exchange and bonus points rewarded consequent to players' suggestions for new events, questions and answers. Answer exchange handler 124 manages the two-way voluntary transfer of lists of event-related answers between players while players' groups' handler 122 enables the players to self-organize into specific players' groups with percentage-based bonus points. Game unit data 129 is a data structure that includes players' group lists 128, lists of players 132, lists of event-related questions 130, lists of event-related answers 134, game unit summaries 136, and lists of event-related answers available for transfer 133. Players' group list 128 included the list of registered users with indications of the selected players are participating in. List of players 132 includes a list of registered users with indications of the game units the players are playing in. Lists of event-related questions 130 is a game unit-specific list of event-related questions generated by the controller 116 and distributed to the participating players. List 130 was described herein above in association with FIG. 2. Lists of event-related answers 134 are received from the players prior to the start of a game unit and consequent to the player's selection of a presumed correct answer from among the several alternative answers. List 134 was described in detail herein above in association with FIG. 3. Game unit summaries 136 were described herein above in association with FIGS. 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D. List of event-related answers available for transfer 133 is generated by the players consequent to the offers submitted by players concerning the willingness thereof to transfer a list of answers during the progress of the game unit to other players who are interested of taking up the offer. The game server device 114 further includes an event questions and answers organizer 138 loaded and executed by controller 116. The function of the organizer 138 is to insert into a game unit a set of selected events, questions and alternative answers where the events are sequenced by termination-point-in-time. Organizer 138 further responsible for the presence of convenient time intervals between the tentative terminations points-in-time of the events constituting the game unit. The game server device 114 further includes and event tracking module (not shown) for tracking the outcomes of the events constituting a game unit, and an event outcome translator (not shown) for translating the outcome of an event into a pre-defined digit or code. Note should be taken that although in the drawing under discussion only a single client device and a single gaming server device are shown in a realistic environment a plurality of client device is utilized by a plurality of players could be communication with a plurality of gaming server devices. Gaming server device 114 could handle a plurality of game unit simultaneously and could communicate with other potential gaming server devices across the data communication network 112 for load balancing, events exchange, wide-area group of players, fast routing for the obtaining of events outcome and the like.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 6 that shows a gaming platform 145 based on cellular devices communicating via a cellular communications network, in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention. Gaming platform 145 includes several cellular devices 142, 144 and 146 communicatively linked to a cellular switch device 160 via a cellular communications network 148. Cellular devices 142, 144 and 146 are further linked communicatively to a gaming server device 154 via the cellular communications network 148, an inter-network gateway device 150 and a data communications network 152, such as the Internet. Cellular devices 142, 144 and 146 are cellular telephones utilized by users who are interested to register to the prediction game and to participate in one or more game units of the predictive game. Users of device 142, 144 and 146 communicate with gaming software 162 in association with a gaming database 164 by calling a predictive game-specific cellular number. The call is transferred to the cellular switch 160 in a wireless manner. Switch 160 identifies the number as a request to connect to the predictive gaming system. Consequently, the users of device 142, 144 and 146 are linked to the predictive gaming software 162 and a cellular communications session is established. The users of devices 142, 144 and 146 register as players and select one or more gaming unit to participate in. The communication session between the cellular devices 142 and 144, 146 and the cellular switch 160 is managed by cellular protocol and a suitable user interface, such as for example, Interactive Voice Response (IVR). IVR effects the transmission of voice menus to the players and enable selections of the options related to the prediction game by the pressing of the suitable keys on the cellular device 142, 144, 146. Thus, for example, the list of event-related questions could be provided in a recorded voice format. For example, a certain event could be presented to the user audibly, such as playing a pre-recorded file with the following text: “The next event in this game unit is the temperature change in Rome, Italy at 22 Feb. 2006 at 12 p.m. relative to the previous day at the same time. For rising temperature press key 1. For falling temperature press 2. For no change in the temperature press 3.”

Still referring to FIG. 6 cellular devices 142, 144 and 146 with enhanced display and interaction capabilities could be connected to the gaming serving device 154 by dialing a different cellular number. Based on the number the call will be routed via the cellular communications network 148, the gateway 150, and data communications network 152 to gaming server device 154. The type, the structure, the content and the functionalities of device 154 are substantially similar to gaming server device 114 of FIG. 5. Thus, consequent the connection between the cellular devices 142, 144 and 146 and gaming server device 154 a full Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) session could be established between the devices and the players utilizing the cellular device 142, 144, 146 could actively participate in the game unit, including lists of answers exchange, players' groups, suggestions for events, and the like. Note should be taken that although in the drawing under discussion only a three cellular devices, a single gaming server device and a single cellular switch are shown in a realistic environment a plurality of cellular devices operated by a plurality of players could be communicating with a plurality of gaming server devices and/or cellular switches. It would be easily understood that that the gaming platform 145 could include other devices operated by the players, such as personal computers, laptop computers, mainframe computers, game consoles with communication capabilities, interactive television devices, citizen band radio devices, satellite telephones, handheld computers, traditional telephone devices, and the like.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 7 that shows a gaming platform 145 based on a gaming device 180. Gaming device 180 is a hardware gaming machine typically located at entertainment arcades, entertainment parks, casinos, hotel lobbies, shopping malls and other public locations dedicated to leisure and entertainment. Gaming machine 180 includes a specific user interface that includes various knobs, handles, buttons, displays, voice effects, lighting effects and the like. Players 172, 174, 176 are 178 are human individuals communicating with machine 180 via the above described interface devices for the purpose of playing the prediction game. For prediction game-specific communication with the players machine 180 includes a form issuing device 185, a printer device 187 and a scanning device. Machine 180 further includes a gaming system 184 associated with a gaming database 182. In functionality, logical interconnections, structure and content gaming system 184 is substantially identical to the gaming system modules installed on gaming server device 114 of FIG. 5 while in functionality, interconnections, structure and content gaming database 182 is substantially identical to the game unit data 129 of FIG. 5. The function of the gaming system 184 in association with gaming database 182 is to organize and generate gaming units based on selected events with specific questions to be guessed by players 172, 174, 176, and 178. A further of the gaming system 184 in association with gaming database 182 is to control the predictive game across one or more game units, to track the tentative termination points-in-time of the events constituting a game unit, to generate the game unit summaries, to communicate with the players, and the like. The communications involves the printing of the list of event-related questions by printer device 187, the issuing of the list of event-related questions via the form issuing device 185 and the obtaining of the list of event-related answers by the scanning device 189. In accordance with the configuration thereof machine 184 could be played by a single player at a time or could be played by more than a single player. Several machines 180 could be set up at single or remote locations with local or shared software and databases and with communication lines installed there between to enable a plurality of players to play the prediction game simultaneously. Note should be taken that in another preferred embodiment of the present invention, a hybrid gaming platform could be configured where computing devices, cellular devices, gaming machines and other suitable devices could work in full communication for the performance of a game unit of the prediction game. In yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention the server devices could be dispensed with and a peer-to-peer network could be used as the gaming platform with a super node utilized as the game controller.

In another preferred embodiments of the present invention, a game machine is utilized for the playing of the multi-stage future event outcome prediction game. The game machine includes a gaming system and a gaming database. The gaming system includes a player's interface, to communicate with a player during the game unit, a game controller for managing and controlling the game unit, a game unit summary generator for generating dynamically a game unit summary during the performance of the game unit, an answers transfer handler for checking the answers submitted during the progress of the game unit, a points depository to store the number of bonus points for each of the players participating in the game. The gaming database stores a plurality of game unit data aggregates. The game unit data is utilized for the storing of game unit-specific information, such as a list of players participating in the game unit, a list of future event-related questions including questions associated with events the termination point-in-time is within the period of the game unit, a game unit summary to hold information concerning the progress of the game, the standing of the players at the different stages of the game unit, the number of bonus points accumulated by the players, and the answers introduced by the players at each stage of the game unit, and a list of event-related answers submitted by the players or potential players. The functionalities of the game machine are typically executed by the game controller. The game controller generates the game unit data, transfers the list of event-related questions to registered players or potential players, receives the event-related answers from registered players registered, tracks the outcome of the events included in the game unit, publishes the outcome of the events by introducing event outcome indicators to the gaming machine, determines the standing of the players based on the outcome of the events and the answers submitted by the players, and determines the winners of the game unit from among the participating players at the termination point-in-time of the game unit based on the number and the point-in-time association of the correct answers provided by the entire set of participating players. The game unit also includes a form issuing device to issue a list of event-related questions to the participating players, a printer device to print the list of event-related questions and a scanning device to scan and read a list of event-related answers associated with the event-related questions from the players of the game unit. The gaming database installed in the game machine further includes a players' group list to store dynamically players organized into a specific game unit, The gaming system installed in the game machine further contains a players' group handler to provide support for the self-organization of players into a group. The game machine of further includes a bonus point token reception device to allow the players to introduce bonus points for a game unit and a bonus points disposal device to provide bonus point tokens to a player.

Referring now to FIG. 8 that describes in a substantially simplified manner the internal logic of the prediction game. The steps of the flowchart presented herein are steps performed from the game controller's point-of-view. The logic is executed via a series of computer software instructions embedded in software routines or built-in hardware commands “burnt into” hardware logic units. For objects of simplicity and easier understanding the logic is considerably simplified. The logic will be referred to herein under as the ‘program’ while it will be obvious that a plurality of programs could be involved in the execution where each program could call a plurality of subroutines. Thus, no inter-module operations are mentioned or shown. The flowchart begins consequent to the generation and organization of the game unit and the registration of the players. At entry step 212 the program is initialized and starts to execute. At action step 214 the game unit data is obtained and at step action 216 either in response to the suitable requests of the players or automatically using “push” technology a game unit-specific list of event-related questions is distributed to the players. At action step 218 a list of game-unit specific list of event-related answers is received from the players. Consequently, at action step 220 the game unit-specific list of players is updated by the insertion of every player that submitted a list of answers. At determination step 222 it is determined whether the current point-in-time is equal to the game unit start point-in-time. If the result of determination step 222 is negative then program control returns to action step 218 in order to be ready to receive more lists of answers from more potential players and loop is executed across steps 218 through 222. In contrast, if the result of determination step 222 is positive then at action step 224 the game unit is initialized and at determination step 226 it is determined whether the current point-in-time is equal to an event's maturation point-in-time. If the result of step 226 is negative then program control returns to step 226 and loops thereon until the result of step 226 is positive. Then at action step 228 the list of event-related answers is obtained and in accordance with the indicative answers in the list the game unit summary is suitably updated. Next, at determination step 232 it is determined whether there are more players in the players list. If the result of step 232 is positive then program controls proceeds to step 228 to perform a loop across steps 228 through 232 until the result of step 232 is negative. Then, at determination step 234 it is determined whether there are more events in the game unit. If the result of step 234 is positive then program control returns to step 226 and performs a loop across steps 226 through 234 until the result of step 234 is negative. Then, at action step 236 the game unit summary is finalized, at action step 238 appropriate messages are sent to the players and exit step 240 the program terminates. Note should be taken that in other preferred embodiments of the invention, the method of the operation could be different. Some step could be eliminated or could be combined with other steps, some steps could be added and the path of the execution could be different as long as the underlying idea of the present invention is maintained.

Referring now to FIG. 9 that describes in a substantially simplified manner the internal logic of the transfer of a list of event-related answers between players during the progress of a game unit. The steps of the flowchart presented herein are steps performed from the game controller's point-of-view. The logic is executed via a series of computer software instructions embedded in software routines or built-in hardware commands installed in hardware logic units. For objects of simplicity and easier understanding the logic is considerably simplified. The logic will be referred to herein under as the ‘program’ while it will be obvious that a plurality of programs could be involved in the execution where each program could call a plurality of subroutines. Thus, no inter-module operations are mentioned or shown. The flowchart begins consequent to the generation and organization of the game unit, the registration of the players, the submittal of the list of event-related answers and the initialization of the game unit. At action step 302 a request is received from a player for a transfer transaction involving a list of event-related answers offered for transfer from another player. At action step 304 a list of event-related answers that were previously offered for transfer is obtained and at action step 306 the obtained lists are displayed to the requesting player for selection. At action step 308 the selection of the requesting player is received and at action step 310 the requesting player record in the points depository is checked. At determination step 312 it is determined whether there are sufficient bonus points in the requesting player's record in order to perform the requested transfer transaction. If the result of step 312 is negative then program control proceeds to action step 316 in order to notify the requesting player in regard with the lack of bonus points necessary for the requested transaction and program control returns to action step 302 for executing a loop across steps 302 through 316. If the result of step 312 is positive then at action step 314 the required transaction is performed and program control return to step 302 for executing the loop across steps 302 through 316.

Note should be taken that the above described flowchart represents an extremely simplified method of list transfer. In a realistic environment the transfer of a list could involve offers for a certain number of bonus points the portion of a list of answers, counter-offers or bids for a smaller number of bonus points and a bigger percentage of lists of answers, multi-way negotiations between the offering parties and the requestor parties, and the like. The game controller could track the number of fulfilled transfers. Where the number of unfulfilled requests is greater that the number of offers or a great number of the transfer negotiations are unsuccessful, the game controller could determine on the replicating the original game unit and generate a parallel game unit. A parallel game unit will be identical in the structure and content thereof to the original game unit and the lists of answers will be identical up to the point-in-time of the replication. The requested lists of answers will be replicated from the original list of answers and will be transferred to the requestor parties after a negotiation of an ask-bid type between the game controller and the requester parties. Then, the parallel game will begin from the point-in-time of replication with the participation of the new players. In other preferred embodiments of the invention, the game controller is capable of replicating a game unit where a sufficient number of potential players indicate their interest in participating in the original game unit. Further note should be taken that in other preferred embodiments of the invention, the method of the operation could be substantially different. Some steps could be entirely eliminated or combined with other steps, some steps could be added and the path of the execution could be different as long as the underlying idea of the present invention is maintained.

FIG. 10 is a flow chart of a prediction game according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention from a player's point of view.

At 402, the prediction events of a multi-stage prediction game are presented to the user. Optionally, the user connects to the game via the internet and the events are presented over a display or vocally. Alternatively or additionally, the game is at a kiosk and the game is physically presented to the player on a card or screen. Optionally, a player may participate at the game at machines at different locations that are connected to the game control unit. Alternatively or additionally, the player connects to the game via his cell phone and the events are presented, for example, by SMS or vocally (e.g., using IVR). Optionally, the game control unit is a software that may be downloaded to any computer and/or cellphone. Alternatively, the game control unit is provided as a hardware and may be bought as a separate device or may be positioned as a gaming device in a kiosk.

The nature and origin of the prediction events, according to an exemplary embodiment, are described in the paragraph entitled “prediction events” below.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a player competes against other players in the game. Optionally, a player may choose against which players to compete. Optionally, a player may compete only against players of a certain group and/or type. A definition of group, according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, is explained in detail in the section “Groups” below. Optionally, a player defines a list of criteria for selecting players to compete against. Optionally, the system may automatically define criteria for a certain player and create games for players matching those criteria. These criteria may be based on one or more of player details, behavior, fields of interest and game history. In some cases, the system adds a handicap to a player to match his abilities to those of others, for example, requiring a better accuracy of prediction or allowing other player to make more mistakes or have more lifesavers. Optionally, when players complete in different fields for a same price, the system may adjust the score (e.g., using a factor or by matching to a distribution curve) in one field to match what is actually obtained in another field.

At 404, the player participates in the game by submitting predicted outcomes to prediction events. Optionally, the player submits predicted outcomes to all prediction events in the game. Alternatively or additionally, the player participates in fewer than all predicted events in a game. Optionally, the player may participate in additional events during the game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the prediction events are divided into series. A series of events includes one or more prediction event. Optionally, a player submits outcomes to a first series of prediction events only. Optionally, a player may choose in which series to participate at the start of the game. Optionally, only a player who correctly predicts the outcomes of first series of events or who has a high score may participate in a next series. Alternatively or additionally, a player is not required to participate in a sequence of series but may, for example, participate in a second and a fifth series only. Optionally, the number of series in a game is defined at the start of the game. Alternatively or additionally, series are added during the game. Optionally, series are added to the game until the end of the game. The end of the game in accordance with an exemplary embodiment is explained in detail in the section “end of game” below.

An exemplary method of scoring a predicted outcome is explained in detail in the section “scoring” below.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, participating in a game includes purchasing a ticket to participate in the game. Optionally, the price for participating depends on the number of prediction events the player is participating in. Alternatively, the cost is fixed and is the same for all players. Alternatively, entrance to the game is free of costs.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a player may join the game in the middle of the game. Optionally, the price paid for joining the game in the middle is higher than the price paid for joining a game at the beginning thereof and may be calculated, for example, based on the success rate of other players (or going value of a partially played game ticket), optionally with a penalty added to the joiner for not taking a risk with other players.

At 406 the game starts and the occurring of events begins.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention the prediction events are set in a way to encourage the interest of the user in the game.

During the game the user may check the outcomes at 408. Optionally, one or more of the following options are available to the user during the game:

    • a. selling or buying a player's position in the game (410)
    • b. participating in additional events or series of events (422)
    • c. influencing the predicted outcomes (430) and/or expose to commercials (432)
    • d. activating a life saver (440)
    • e. suggesting prediction events (450)

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention the options available to the player during the game may influence the player's behavior in the game. For example, a player may take more risks if he knows he can sell his list in the middle of the game or when he has a life saver he can activate in the middle of the game.

a. Selling or Buying a Player's Position in the Game

The user may decide to sell his list of predicted outcomes and submits a sale offer to the game control unit at 410. In an exemplary embodiment, upon submitting a sale request, the player's list of predicted outcomes is published and advertised to potential buyers. Optionally, the lists of players participating in the game are published to the public and the sale offer is added to the published list. Alternatively or additionally, people who are interested in buying a list send a buy offer to the game control unit and then receive list of players to review. Optionally, an estimated value of the player's list as provided by the game control unit is also published. Optionally, the price requested by the seller for his list is also published. Optionally, the sale or buy offer includes an offer to sell or buy life savers.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the point of purchase is enabled to read a player's list and provide the valuation of the list.

Optionally, a buy offer includes certain characteristics that a player is looking for in a list. For example, a buyer may be interested in specific prediction events or may want to buy a list for a certain price or range of prices. Optionally, the buyer can amend his buy offer during the game according to the status of the game. Optionally, the game controller filters the sale offers according to the requirements of the buyer and presents the buyer sale offer that match the buyer's requirements.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the published lists and/or sale offers are published on the internet. Alternatively or additionally, the lists are published at point of sales of tickets, such as at a device in a kiosk or over the internet. Alternatively or additionally, a person may call to an electronic or personal operator who then informs the person of the lists and/or sale offers.

If a potential buyer exists for the player's list, the player is notified thereof at 412. Optionally, if the players' lists are always published, a buyer may first send a buy offer intended for a specific player and the player then submits a sale offer if he is interested in selling his list. The notification may be by any type of communication known in the art, such as, calling the player on his cellphone, sending an SMS, email or publishing on an internet site or at a point of sale.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention the seller and the buyer contact each other to start negotiation on the list. Optionally, the game control unit contacts between the seller and the buyer. Alternatively or additionally, the seller responds directly to the buyer's offer or the buyer responds directly to the seller's offer.

A negotiation between the player and the buyer occurs at 414. Optionally, the negotiation is based on the value of the player's list provided by the game control unit. Optionally, the actual price paid for a list may also be affected by other circumstances, such as time pressure or negotiation skills of one of the parties.

Optionally, the player and buyer negotiate without intermediates. Alternatively, the game control unit assists in the negotiation between the player and the buyer. The assistance by the control unit may be for example by approaching a seller when he is under time pressures or by suggesting a compromise by adding life savers to the transaction. A party to the selling transaction may prefer to use the help of the control unit with the negotiation if his negotiation skills are weak.

The game controller may take a certain percentage of the price paid for the list. Alternatively or additionally, the game control unit receives the entire price paid for the list and credits the seller by other then money. For example, the seller may be credited with tickets for future games, life savers, or other products.

If the negotiation succeeds (416), the list of predicted outcomes is transferred to the buyer and the buyer continues the game in place of the player. If on the other hand the negotiation fails (418), the list of predicted outcomes stays with the user and the user may send a new sale request at 418 or continue with the game at 408.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the player may sell his list of predicted outcomes to the game control unit at 420. Optionally, the game control unit credits the player with the value of the list as estimated by the game control unit. Alternatively, the player is credited with a certain percentage of the value. Alternatively, the player is credited with the price paid for participating in the game. Alternatively, the player is credited by tickets or life savers for future games.

b. Participating in Additional Events or Series of Events

Another option available for a player during the game is the option to participate in predicting the outcomes of a new series of events or participating in events the player has previously decided not to participate in. Optionally, this option is available only for users who have correctly predicted the outcomes until a current stage of the game. Alternatively, even players who have not correctly predicted the outcome of previous series of prediction events may participate in a next series of events.

Optionally, the cost to participate in next prediction events depends on the status of the game. For example, a player who has correctly predicted all outcomes until currently may participate in the next events for free or for a lower cost, whereas a player who has incorrectly predicted the outcomes of some of the prediction events may have to pay a higher cost.

Alternatively or additionally, the game control unit may define certain stages in the game where participating in a next series is allowed, on sale or for free. Optionally, the game control unit defines the stages in the game when the game control unit desires to increase the interest in the game. For example, if the number of players left in the game who participate in the next event is low or when the general interest in the game decreases. Optionally, the points are defines when a next event or events commercialize a product or company.

A player receives one or more next series of prediction events to review at 422. The player may receive the next series of events in any of the ways defined at 402 for presentation of the game to a player. Optionally, a player receives the next events only of he requests to receive the events. Alternatively, the next events are sent to all players in the game for review. Optionally, the next events are also sent to people who do not participate in the game.

If the player is interested in participating in the next series, the player submits his next list of predicted outcomes at 424 and continues with the game at 408.

c. Influencing the Predicted Outcomes and/or Expose to Commercials

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a player can influence the outcomes of the predicted events at 430. For example, if the question is on the number of entrances to a certain site, the player may enter, or ask other people to enter, the site several times to increase the number of entrances. Another example is when the event relates to how many sales will a certain product have. A player may purchase the product in order to increase the number of sales.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, by influencing the outcomes of the predicted event, the player is exposed to a certain company or product at 432. Optionally, the player may be exposed to the commercials even if the player cannot influence the outcome of the prediction event. For example, the prediction event may lead the player to a certain page on a site of a company in order to guess a reasonable outcome. Optionally, a series of questions guides a player through the site of the company, thereby getting to know the site of the company. For example, the events may be a series of the following questions: “how many user's guides will be downloaded in a certain time?”, “how many emails will be sent to the company from their site” and “how many surfers will enter a certain link in the site”.

Another example is when the questions are about a certain product. The questions may introduce the product with all its advantages to the user. For example, a series of questions to advertise a certain weight watchers program may be “how many people will subscribe to the program between 1 and 2 PM”, “what will be the average of weight loss in a certain week” and “how many people will invite their friends to the program?”.

d. Activating a Life Saver

Another option for a player is to activate a life saver at 440. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a life saver may be one or more of the following:

    • a. correctly predicting the outcome of an event in the game. When a player activates this life saver, the game control unit credits the player for a correctly predicted outcome of the event, regardless of the predicted outcome the user submitted or if no predicted outcome was submitted by the player;
    • b. not participating in an event even if a predicted outcome to the event was submitted by the player. This life saver may or may not affect the chances of the player to win in the game for example, when a winner in the game is a player with the longest run of predicted outcomes, activating this life saver may or may not keep the run in the game;
    • c. amending the predicted outcome submitted by a player to an event. This life saver may be activated when a player notices that the predicted outcome he submitted for an event is not correct. The game control unit may credit a lower score to a player for an event for which the player activated this life saver;
    • d. participate in an additional event at any stage of the game. This life saver may enable a player to participate in an additional event even very close to the outcome of the event, when the chances to correctly predict the outcome increase. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the only way to participate in additional events during the game is by activating this life saver.
    • e. a hint to the outcome of an event;
    • f. a consideration of a large range for the correctness of a predicted outcome. For example, if the outcome of an event was 30 and a player predicted 35, the player may activate this life saver for consideration of predicted outcomes in the range of 5; or
    • g. pause the game. this life saver enables a player not to participate until he specifically requests to continue. A player may activate this life saver when the player is winning in the game and does not want to take any unnecessary chances by continue participating in the game.

A life saver according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention may be activated retroactively, for example to correct an incorrectly predicted event, or for the future, for example automatically acquiring a correct outcome to a future prediction event. Optionally, a lifesaver is applied automatically by the game controller, if the lifesaver is available and if a player pre-authorized it.

In exemplary embodiments, life savers may be purchased before the beginning of the game, when participating in new events or at any time during the game. Optionally, the cost of the life saver depends on the stage of the game. For example, a life saver that is purchased when a player participates in new events may be cheaper then a life saver purchased in the middle of a game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, life savers may be used at any stage during the game. Alternatively, life savers may be used only at certain time points defined by the game control unit. Optionally, different life savers may be used at different stages during the game, for example, a player may obtain an “expensive” life saver that can be used at any stage of the game or a “cheap” life saver that can be used only at certain stages of the game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a life saver to help a user overcome a problem related to a specific prediction event must be used before an occurrence of the event. Alternatively, a life saver may be used after occurrence of the event. Optionally, only “expensive” life savers may be activated after occurrences of an event. Optionally, all life savers have the same value and some “expensive” activations require activation of more than one life saver.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, life savers may be used in different games. This may encourage a player to obtain life savers, since he is not required to use all of them in the specific game but may keep them for future games. In addition, players who have life savers may decide to participate in future games since the life savers that the player has in his possession increase the player's chances to win. Optionally, a player who sells his list may sell his life savers with the list. Alternatively or additionally, a player may sell his life savers only.

e. Suggestion of Prediction Events

A player may also suggest prediction events to the game control unit at 450. The suggesting of prediction events by players may increase the interest of the player in a game. In addition, in exemplary embodiments, a player whose suggested event was added to the game may be compensated by the game control unit. Before adding a suggested event to the game, the game control unit checks and verifies the level and trusting of the event. Optionally, the game control unit does not allow the player who suggested the event to participate in the event in order to reduce corruption in the game. Alternatively, such participation is encouraged, optionally adjusting scores to reflect unusual success of a player. Alternatively or additionally, a player can suggest events for the game system to use when the player plays against other players of his choosing or players that decide to join such a game. Optionally, the identify of the question proposer is published

Optionally, the events are vetted by a human which receives such suggested questions form the game system.

End of Game

The game ends at 460. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game ends after a certain number of events. Alternatively or additionally, a game ends after a specific time, for example, after a week, month or year. Alternatively or additionally, a game ends only when one or more winners are determined.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a winner of the game is the player with the most correct predicted outcomes. Alternatively or additionally, the winner is the player with the most correct predicted outcomes to a sequence of events. Alternatively or additionally, a winner is a player with the highest score. Alternatively or additionally, certain correctly prediction outcomes give a higher score.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a player who incorrectly predicted an outcome to an event is thrown out of the game. In this embodiment, the winner of the game is the last player in the game. Optionally, in this embodiment the game comprises a limited amount of prediction events.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game control unit defines the range of the correct predicted outcome of an event after the event has occurred. For example, if the event was “how many units of a product will be sold” and the outcome turned out to be 123. The control unit will review the predicted outcomes by the players and decide if the correct prediction should be in the range of centime, decimal or units, e.g. 100, 120 or 123.

Alternatively, the score allotted to a predicted outcome may depend on how close the predicted outcome was to the occurred event, optionally depending on the outcome predicted by other players.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention the winner of the game is compensated by a prize. The prize may be any of the exchange unit available in the game, for example as described in the “Exchange unit” section below.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, players select a prize to compete for before participating in the game. Optionally, the game is the divided into groups according to the selected prizes. Optionally, the price is a commercial prize, for example, a product or a service. Optionally, a plurality of prizes, of descending value, are offered. For example, a clothing manufacturer may sponsor a game, propose prediction events to encourage interest in his or related products and offer as a prize his product (e.g., a jacket for first prize and gloves as a second prize). Optionally, the players can buy tickets to participate in such a game or the tickets may be given out as a promotion.

Exchange Unit

The exchange unit as referred to in this section is the exchange unit (several may be provided) used in the game for purchasing tickets or life savers in the game by a player and/or compensation by the game control unit to a player. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the exchange unit in the game is money, real or limited in use for gaming or other activities. Alternatively, the exchange unit in the game is other than money, such as tickets for next games, life savers to be used in next games. Optionally, the exchange unit is commodity. Optionally, the exchange unit is a bonus that increases a score in a game.

Groups

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a group of people may join to participate in one position of the game. a group may be formed by people who join together before participating in the game, for example in order to save money for a ticket in the game or in order to take advantage of other people's expertise. Alternatively, a group may be formed during the game by players in the game. A group may be formed during the game, for example when a player buys another player's position. Alternatively or additionally, a player who is not a player in the game may join to a player and form a group during the game to advise the player in the game.

Optionally, each member of the group submits his predicted outcomes to the prediction events and the game control unit defines a group decision to be submitted as the predicted outcome of the joined position. Optionally, the group decision is defined by an average of the predicted outcomes submitted by the group members. Alternatively, group decision constitutes the predicted outcomes of all members of the group and the joined positioned is regarded to have correctly predicted an outcome to an event if any one of the submitted outcomes was correct. Optionally, a member of a group receives (or buys or earns) one or more veto rights to decided on a certain predicted outcome. Optionally, a member in the group has a veto right to activate a life saver. Alternatively or additionally, only a member in the group who individually owns a life saver may activate a life saver to the group decision.

Prediction Events

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the prediction events are real world events. Real world events are events that occur in physical reality. For examples, events related to weather, sport games or consuming behavior. Since these events occur in reality, the correctness of the outcome is easily trusted.

Alternatively, the events are fantasy events that occur in a fantasy world. Examples for such events are events related to fantasy football or virtual games.

In an exemplary embodiment, the events are provided by the game controller. The game controller may receive the events from a commercial source or may define them according to the field of interest of the players in the game. Alternatively or additionally, the events are provided by players in the game.

Alternatively or additionally, the events are composed to serve as an introduction to a certain product or company. For example, the events may guide the user to tour in a site or series of sites of a company or the events may teach the advantages of a certain product. The guidance of a player in a site may be done by a series of prediction events where each event is related to a different page on the site. When a player wants to check all prediction events, the player will be exposed to the site and the company's actions. The teaching of the advantages of a certain product may be achieved by prediction events who relate to the product and the advantages thereof, such as “how many units of the product will be sold in a certain time”.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game is played between a group of people who are related to each other by place, time or employment. For example, a game may be played between people in a pub or between students at the same university. The events may be written to increase the player's interest in the group. For example, a pub may activate a game at specific times of the day in order to stimulate the people to stay in the pub for a longer time and consume more drinks. Optionally, the game may be further linked to the activity in the group. For example, when the game is played in a pub, a number of drinks may compensate the player with a life saver or prediction events may be related to the number of drink served in the pub.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the prediction events are personalized to match specific players. Optionally, the prediction events match the interests of a specific player. For example if a player is interested in a certain basketball group, he may participate in a game with prediction events related to that group. Interest of players may be related to any of sports, fantasy sports, politics, economy or fashion. Alternatively or additionally, the prediction events match the consuming behavior of a specific player, such as certain products a player may be interested in.

Optionally, a player sends his feedback to prediction events in a game. The game control unit may use this feedback to present prediction events that are of interest to the specific player. For example, if a player gives a positive feedback to events related to a certain football group, the game control unit will note that the player is interested in the football group and suggest events related to the football group to the player in future games or series.

In an exemplary embodiment, different players in the game compete with different prediction events. Optionally, the game control unit controls the difficulty of the prediction events to ensure that different prediction events of different players are of the same level. Alternatively or additionally, prediction events that are of a higher level receive a higher score. A player who participates with prediction events that are of a greater difficulty are valuated a higher score by the game control unit.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the game control unit invites a player to a game with prediction events that might be of interest to him. Alternatively or additionally, a person may invite a friend to a game if he believes the prediction events in the specific game may be of interest to him. Optionally, if a player invites a friend to the game he is compensated by the game control unit.

Compensation of Game Control Unit

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the operators of the game control unit are compensated by the companies who are the subject of the prediction events. Optionally, the compensation is based on the number of hits at the company site. Alternatively or additionally, the compensation is based on the number of purchases of a certain product or products. Optionally, when the game may be played by SMS the operators are compensated by a cell phone company. Optionally, the compensation is based on the number of SMS messages sent during the game and/or based on increase in browsing activity or telephone call activity of the users.

Scoring

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a player is given a score based on predicted outcomes submitted to prediction events. Optionally, a player is scored only when he correctly predicted the outcome of the event. Alternatively, a player is scored according to the proximity of the predicted outcome to the correct outcome. Alternatively or additionally, activating a life saver affects the score of the player. For example, a player may be given a lower score for an event for which he activated a life saver or may be reduced a score for an event which he passed by activating a life saver.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, players may purchase life savers and/or participation in future events by reducing their score in the game.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, different players receive different score for the same event. For example, a player who joined the game in the middle may receive a lower score than a player who joined the game at the beginning of the game, for the same predicted outcome of an event. Optionally, a player may pay sanctions by reducing his score or being allotted lower scores in the future. Reasons for paying sanctions may be for example, joining the game after beginning of the game or activating life savers.

It is noted that some of the above described embodiments may describe a best mode contemplated by the inventors and therefore may include structure, acts or details of structures and acts that may not be essential to the invention and which are described as examples. Structure and acts described herein are replaceable by equivalents which perform the same function, even if the structure or acts are different, as known in the art. Furthermore, features of one embodiment may be omitted and/or provided in conjunction with features of another embodiment. Therefore, the scope of the invention is limited only by the elements and limitations as used in the claims. When used in the following claims, the terms “comprise”, “include”, “have” and their conjugates mean “including but not limited to”.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the scope of the present invention is not limited by what has been particularly shown and described above. Rather, the scope of the invention is limited solely by the claims, which follow.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16, 463/42
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3295
European ClassificationG07F17/32P8
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 22, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: TOURNAMINO LTD., VIRGIN ISLANDS, BRITISH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SWEARY, REPHAEL;EDEN, MICHAEL;GOLAN, YARON;REEL/FRAME:021738/0368;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080308 TO 20080805