MULTI-PLAYER GAME SYSTEM USING
MOBILE TELEPHONE AND GAME UNIT
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 5
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates in general to interactive games, and more particularly to a multi-player game system using mobile telephones and game units.
2. Description of Related Art 10 Wireless mobile communications continues to expand at
a rapid pace and will continue to do so for at least the next decade. Over 100 million people were using a mobile service by the end of 1995, and that number is expected to grow to 300 million by the year 2000. Several factors are 15 contributing to the exciting growth in the telecommunications industry. For example, a combination of technology and competition bring more value to consumers. Phones are smaller, lighter, had a longer battery life, and are affordable now for the mass market. Operators are providing excellent 20 voice quality, innovative services, and roaming across the country or world. Most important, mobility is becoming less expensive for people to use. Around the world, as well as in the United States, governments are licensing additional spectrum for new operators to compete with traditional 25 cellular operators. Competition brings innovation, new services, and lower prices for consumers.
For cellular telephony to continue its spectacular growth, it must handle more subscribers per base station and
higher—bandwidth services. One interesting application which relies upon at least some of the above mentioned technologies is interactive hard-core computer enthusiast. For instance, online gaming required arcane skills belonging only to computer savvy users. However, online gaming has 3J become easier for the more casual user. In fact, online gaming is rapidly becoming one of the most popular activities on the Internet.
Most important to interactive gaming enthusiast is the ability to connect with other enthusiasts who may be located 4Q at remote locations. The convergence of telecommunications and computer technology has lead to portable computers being able to connect to the Internet using wireless modems and also to cellular phones, which include games.
The above-mentioned wireless networks provide the pos- 45 sibility to play the same game between different playing devices or game units without regard to geographic or physical location. However, the mobile phone, which is used for calls, might not be the best device for playing. Game units with joysticks, keypads, etc. have been developed. 50 Such game units are better suited for games, even if the mobile phone is a popular game device.
Prior interactive multiple player game systems have included two playing devices that communicate with each other over an all-to-all broadcast network so that two or 55 more players, each playing on their own playing device, are in a wireless communication with the other players. Thus, each player can participate in a game scenario common to all the playing devices. However, while the players are playing the same game, they cannot select with whom they play with 60 or the members of the group that they will play.
It can be seen that there is a need for a method and apparatus that provides a multiplayer game system using the mobile telephone and a game unit.
It can also be seen that there is a need for a method and 65 apparatus that allows configuration of an interactive game between users using a mobile telephone and a game unit.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
To overcome the limitations in the prior art described above, and to overcome other limitations that will become apparent upon reading and understanding the present specification, the present invention discloses a multi-player game system using a mobile telephone and a game unit.
The present invention solves the above-described problems by linking multiple users having game units with mobile phones provided with the first transceiver for connecting to cellular network and second transceiver for connecting short range line (low power RF). The mobile telephone provides a good basis to link game services and game data.
A system in accordance with the principles of the present invention includes a mobile phone having a first transceiver for providing connections to a cellular network and a second transceiver for providing short-haul connectivity and a game unit for interfacing with a player, the game unit having a third transceiver for providing short-haul connectivity, wherein the mobile phone and the game unit are linked by the transceivers therein to enable a game to be played on the game unit.
Other embodiments of a system in accordance with the principles of the invention may include alternative or optional additional aspects. One such aspect of the present invention is that the game unit comprises a group selection interface for choosing a player to include in a gaming group.
Another aspect of the present invention is that the second and third transceiver comprises short range wireless transceivers.
Another aspect of the present invention is that the short range wireless transceivers comprises modules designed according to a Bluetooth specification.
Another aspect of the present invention is that the short range wireless transceivers comprises infrared transceivers.
Another aspect of the present invention is that the short range wireless transceivers comprises universal asynchronous receiver/transceivers (UARTs).
Another aspect of the present invention is that the transceivers enable a game to be downloaded to the game unit.
Another aspect of the present invention is that the system further includes a base station, a game server and a network interconnecting the base station and the game server.
Another aspect of the present invention is that the game server provides a game across the network and base station to the at least one mobile phone for play on the game units.
Another aspect of the present invention is that a game system includes a mobile phone having a first transceiver for providing connections to a cellular network and a second transceiver for providing short-haul connectivity and a plurality of game units for interfacing with a plurality of players, each of the game units having a third transceiver for providing short-haul connectivity, wherein at least one mobile phone and the game units are linked by the second and third transceivers therein to enable a game to be played on the game units by the plurality of players.
Another aspect of the present invention is that a mobile phone includes a keypad for providing user input, a speaker and microphone for providing audio data to a user, a display for displaying information concerning the mobile phone to a user, a first transceiver for providing connections to a cellular network, a second transceiver for providing shorthaul connectivity and a controller, coupling the keypad, speaker and microphone, display and transceiver, for processing data.