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View Full Version : Nintendo awarded patent for instant messaging in games


Saurus
06-10-2006, 07:15 PM
"Nintendo has been awarded a patent for a video game messaging service that utilizes a buddy list and can display information about game activities and user status. Initially filed in 2000, a year before the release of Microsoft's Xbox and two years before the official launch of Microsoft's Xbox Live Internet service, Nintendo's patent is relatively broad and could potentially lead to litigation against other major players in the game console market. Although the text of the patent itself refers to the Nintendo64 and Game Boy Color by name, some have speculated that this patent could portend an instant messaging system for the Wii."

Link (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060609-7024.html)

A. Wright
06-10-2006, 07:50 PM
I don't really think you should be able to patent something like that....

tozz
06-10-2006, 08:01 PM
Thanks for the innovation Nintendo :rolleyes:

Well it all comes down to what they're gonna use it for I guess.

L.Rawlins
06-10-2006, 08:19 PM
Like this? (http://www.xfire.com/)

CupOWonton
06-10-2006, 08:45 PM
Dont use X-fire btw. Serious hacking issues. tons of ID theft. Enables people to get around being banned on servers in sertain games.

Still, " instant messaging" already exists. You shouldnt be able to patent something that already exists by putting it INTO a game.

I can understand patenting backbone software that other things have to run off of, but other than that everything else just sort of falls under standard copywright so people cant break down and reproduce your work. Patenting gives them the ability to charge anyone who uses an IM system within their game and thats just wrong.

MisterE
06-10-2006, 09:18 PM
Dont use X-fire btw. Serious hacking issues. tons of ID theft. Enables people to get around being banned on servers in sertain games.

I've used XFire for over a year now and have NEVER encountered - nor know anyone else who have encountered - any hackers, ID thefts, or any other "issues" you speak of.

Back on-topic, yeah, XFire is just one ludicrous example of in-game instant messenging. So, what, Nintendo will sue the makers of XFire (I believe now backed up by VIACOM)? Sue Microsoft for XBox Live? Ridiculous news. I don't forsee how this can happen.

innermindseye
06-10-2006, 09:20 PM
ooo. 1st bit of news from nintendo to be negative. i hope this isnt the shape of things to come. theyve done so much right thus far. it seems weird saying that xbox cant have IM within a game when microsofts MSN is probably the most popular instant messaging service out there.

ParamountCell
06-10-2006, 09:31 PM
Nintendo Files "Messaging Service" Patent
An ambitious system could have us chatting on our Wii, or even between the Wii and DS.
by Daemon Hatfield and David Adams (http://wii.ign.com/email.html)

June 8, 2006 - Nintendo was recently granted a curious patent (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=nintendo.ASNM.&OS=AN/nintendo&RS=AN/nintendo) with the U.S. Patent Office for a "messaging service for video game systems with buddy list that displays game being played."



Like most patents, Patent #7,056,217 is written in nearly incomprehensible legal jargon. But we at IGN have very effective decoder rings for deciphering the gist of these sorts of things. (That's "decoder ring," not "wedding band," ladies!) The document describes an instant messaging service that isn't exclusively designed for any one game system, and which would share messages, user accounts, and buddy lists across different systems. One might guess it could be used to send messages between, say, the Wii and the DS. Or, perhaps, for future Nintendo consoles and handhelds.

The patent includes some truly mind-boggling illustrations, like this Jim Dandy:

http://wiimedia.ign.com/wii/image/article/711/711865/nintendo-files-messaging-service-patent-20060608041019708-000.jpg (http://media.wii.ign.com/articles/711/711865/img_3663725.html) Nintendo 64, right? The patent was originally filed November 28, 2000, but wasn't finalized until June 6, 2006. It's possible the technology was originally intended for the N64, but the language of the filing could pertain to any system since no particular console is ever named. So something like the picture above is probably meant to illustrate the type of console the messaging system could work with. Still, the point remains: mind-boggling.

Nintendo further details a buddy list, similar to Xbox Live, that lets you peek into what your friends are doing/playing/eating/thinking. Mention is also made of voice chat, which reminds us of rumors that the Wii controller may contain a microphone.

This is another illustration from the patent which may give some info on what the buddy list will entail:

http://wiimedia.ign.com/wii/image/article/711/711865/nintendo-files-messaging-service-patent-20060608041806505-000.jpg Interestingly, the patent goes to great trouble to describe the messaging service working with portable game systems, as well as working within a device which emulates other game systems. While the patent never mentions the Wii, the DS, or the Wii's virtual console, it's tough not to guess these are just what are intended.

Will we be sending messages and chatting during games of Bonk's Adventure? Or more impressively, does this mean a DS user on the go could text- or voice-chat with a friend at home playing Wii? What about DS-to-DS communication? Nintendo seems to have wide ambitions here, and the possibilites are striking.

Of course, this is all speculation. Companies frequently file patents for products and services that never see the light of day. But it at least tells us that Nintendo is thinking about these things, and it's certainly possible we could see them put to use in the near future.

Per-Anders
06-10-2006, 09:43 PM
So now we wait for ID software to sue them (as they had in game messaging in their games since Doom in 1993 I seem to recall).

I really believe that if it can be demonstrated that a previous working model was in existance by another party before then it should be possible to go to the patent office and have the patent revoked, especially ludicrous stuff like this, marching cubes, or Amazons shopping cart etc. The biggest problem with patents is the way that anyone can file them with a working model, regardless of the innovation status of that patent, it's that alone that cripples the whole system and restricts growth and development in so many sectors, the majority of patent squaters were not the originators of the concepts they patented.

ambient-whisper
06-10-2006, 10:44 PM
pretty much all blizzard games allow this as well.( well, whatever games work over battle.net) but for all we know. maybe nintendo has something more specific in mind.

UrbanFuturistic
06-10-2006, 10:54 PM
The biggest problem with patents is the way that anyone can file them with a working modelLast I checked, a working model has not been required for some time due to the underfunded and understaffed nature of the USPO and the time it takes to deal with an actual working model rather than just a piece of paper.

Szos
06-10-2006, 11:03 PM
I hear next Nintendo is going to Patent this 'unique' concept called "forums" - it's where someone posts up a message on a website, and then people add replies to it.



Vague patents FTLose http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon14.gif

CupOWonton
06-11-2006, 12:44 AM
In an effort to better mankind, and fill my pockets with an insane ammount of undiserved cash, I have now pattented breathing through your nose.
Now, if people want to snore, they have to pay me.
This should help more wives get a good nights sleep.

LucentDreams
06-11-2006, 08:57 AM
I think the one thign people missed was the date though, the timing is nothign to do with Wii or Nintendo's plans, its how patent's often go, years to process and approve. If they applied for it in 200 then it was before it became such a standard in games. there were of course many regular IM systems like ICQ and windows messenger, but not in games. Yes many games had the abilty to chat with fellow players, typically via lan networks and only with people in game, hardly the capabilities you see in IM software, unlike modern games now where you do see more IM like buddy systems in games, even being able to contact and chat with soemone in a totally different battle as you and such.

As for Nintendos plans, considering their hard push for the free wifi and autodetecting communicating games like nintendogs I see this as no surprise or curiosity in how they will use it, they are already showing how they want to utilize this.

mech7
06-11-2006, 09:30 AM
In America patent's system is just wrong.. they should hurry up and change it.

daedalu$
06-11-2006, 10:43 AM
Not a big deal, I doubt they are going to use this patent against others. :wise:

Everybody should read "Are Software Patents Evil?" (http://www.paulgraham.com/softwarepatents.html) by Paul Graham, it's really well written and shows how those things work most of the time.

ParamountCell
06-11-2006, 11:04 AM
Not a big deal, I doubt they are going to use this patent against others. :wise:

Everybody should read "Are Software Patents Evil?" (http://www.paulgraham.com/softwarepatents.html) by Paul Graham, it's really well written and shows how those things work most of the time.

agreed, the idea is an old one that they had, I cant see nintendo suing for this.

dude, nice avatar.

Szos
06-11-2006, 12:12 PM
Not a big deal, I doubt they are going to use this patent against others.
:rolleyes:
Oh yea? And what makes you think that they won't sue?

Sorry - but just because some of their characters are all warm and cuddly don't fool yourself in thinking that the company as a corporate entity isn't gonna sue or use this extremely vague patent as a roadblock for other companies.

Reality check....

This is not the president of Nintendo:
http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/content/images/2002_1466.JPG

daedalu$
06-11-2006, 12:53 PM
:rolleyes:
Oh yea? And what makes you think that they won't sue?
If you read the article I've linked, you'll see why I don't believe they are going to sue.

@ParamountCell: Thanks! :)

NanoGator
06-11-2006, 09:40 PM
So now we wait for ID software to sue them (as they had in game messaging in their games since Doom in 1993 I seem to recall).


Doom did not have a 'buddy list'.

PhantomDesign
06-12-2006, 12:31 AM
I seem to remember half-life 1 offered text & voice chat in real-time. I think you could setup budy-lists, but I don't remember.

JeroenDStout
06-12-2006, 01:10 AM
This is not the president of Nintendo:
http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/content/images/2002_1466.JPG
Hahaha, oh god, that's a brilliant thing to say :scream:

Steam has a buddy and IM thing, never used it, though.

NanoGator
06-12-2006, 01:23 AM
Hahaha, oh god, that's a brilliant thing to say :scream:

Steam has a buddy and IM thing, never used it, though.

Pre-2000 *and* in-game?

EpShot
06-12-2006, 04:51 AM
the nintendo patent also specifialy states cross platform function. how many previous incarnations were?

NanoGator
06-12-2006, 05:08 AM
the nintendo patent also specifialy states cross platform function. how many previous incarnations were?

They might have been picturing Mario Kart appearing on the DS and the Wii or GC.

P_T
06-12-2006, 05:27 AM
the nintendo patent also specifialy states cross platform function. how many previous incarnations were?

That's probably the key point, text, chat and buddy list for cross platform communication. I don't think they're stupid enough to not realised that PC games like HalfLife had ingame text and voice comm.

NanoGator
06-12-2006, 08:24 AM
That's probably the key point, text, chat and buddy list for cross platform communication. I don't think they're stupid enough to not realised that PC games like HalfLife had ingame text and voice comm.


With a buddy list? There's a reason I'm asking, folks. Patents are specific. Very specific. To the patent office, "Instant Messaging + Buddy List" != "Instant Messaging + Buddy List + In the Game". If may sound silly, but trust me, you would not want the USPTO running it the other way around. Imagine Amazon suing Nintendo. :P

P_T
06-12-2006, 09:20 AM
I'm just guessing it's the "cross platform communication" that's being patented. That will of course include text, voice, video and a list of people you would want to communicate with. I guess those are pretty much the only way you can communicate via the net.

If they just include text and voice, other companies might decide to patent cross platform video and buddy list just to cripple the service and get Nintendo to pay royalties or something. Like you said, very specific.

pixelmonk
06-12-2006, 10:25 AM
heh.. this patent will be easy to defeat. Generic patents like this are fun and funny.

SHEPEIRO
06-12-2006, 01:31 PM
i dont think they will or could use this patent aggresivly, i think its just a case of protecting their own stuff. just some media hype IMO

EpShot
06-12-2006, 04:21 PM
heh.. this patent will be easy to defeat. Generic patents like this are fun and funny.

which is why amazon lost its oen click ordering service.. o wait, no they didn't..
and its not generic its actualy very specific covering many points. Note don't assume everything based on the thread title. which seem sto be a very popular thing to do in these forums.

also read the above article posted.

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