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Publication numberUS20080125225 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/605,115
Publication date29 May 2008
Filing date28 Nov 2006
Priority date28 Nov 2006
Publication number11605115, 605115, US 2008/0125225 A1, US 2008/125225 A1, US 20080125225 A1, US 20080125225A1, US 2008125225 A1, US 2008125225A1, US-A1-20080125225, US-A1-2008125225, US2008/0125225A1, US2008/125225A1, US20080125225 A1, US20080125225A1, US2008125225 A1, US2008125225A1
InventorsGiannis Anastasios Lazaridis
Original AssigneeGiannis Anastasios Lazaridis
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multiplayer voting game and method for conducting a multiplayer voting game
US 20080125225 A1
Abstract
The invention broadly comprises a method for conducting a multiplayer game, including: transmitting a plurality of voting options; accepting votes from respective players via respective telecommunication devices, the votes selecting voting options from the plurality of voting options; ranking the voting options according to the votes; identifying a player who voted for a predetermined designation of the voting options; assigning a prize to the player; and notifying the player. The telecommunication devices can be cellular telephones, computers connected to the Internet, or land line telephones. In some aspects, the method: transmits another plurality of voting options; accepts other votes selecting a voting option from the other plurality of voting options; ranks the other voting options according to the other votes; identifies another player voting for another predetermined designation; assigns another prize to the other player; and notifies the other player. The steps are performed by a specially programmed general-purpose computer.
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Claims(22)
1. A method for conducting a multiplayer game, comprising the steps of:
accepting first respective votes from first respective players via first respective telecommunication devices, said first respective votes selecting first respective voting options from a first plurality of voting options;
ranking said first plurality of voting options according to said first respective votes; and,
identifying a first player from said first respective players who voted for a first predetermined designation of said first plurality of voting options, wherein said steps of accepting, ranking, and identifying are performed by a general-purpose computer specially programmed to perform said steps of accepting, ranking, and identifying.
2. The method of claim 1 further comprising transmitting said first plurality of voting options, wherein said step of transmitting is performed by said general-purpose computer.
3. The method of claim 2 wherein transmitting said first plurality of voting options further comprises transmitting said first plurality of voting options to at least a portion of said first respective telecommunication devices.
4. The method of claim 2 wherein said first predetermined designation is a predefined ranking among said first plurality of voting options and wherein transmitting said first plurality of voting options further comprises transmitting said predefined ranking.
5. The method of claim 1 further comprising notifying said first player, said step of notifying performed by said general-purpose computer.
6. The method of claim 5 wherein notifying said first player further comprises notifying via said first respective telecommunication devices.
7. The method of claim 1 further comprising assigning a first award to said first player, said step of assigning performed by said general-purpose computer.
8. The method of claim 1 further comprising providing a display accessible to said first respective players, said display listing said first player, said step of providing a display performed by said general-purpose computer.
9. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
transmitting a second plurality of voting options;
accepting second respective votes from second respective players via second respective telecommunication devices, said second respective votes selecting second respective voting options from said second plurality of voting options;
ranking said second plurality of voting options according to said second respective votes;
identifying a second player from among said second respective players who voted for a second predetermined designation of said voting options;
assigning a second award to said second player; and,
notifying said second player, wherein said steps of transmitting, accepting, ranking, identifying, assigning, and notifying are performed by said general-purpose computer.
10. The method of claim 9 wherein said second award is greater when said second player voted for said first predetermined designation of said first plurality of voting options.
11. The method of claim 9 wherein said first and second pluralities of voting options are for sequential rounds of said game.
12. A method for conducting a multiplayer game, comprising the steps of:
in a sequence of rounds, transmitting respective pluralities of voting options;
for each said round, accepting respective votes from respective players via respective telecommunication devices, said respective votes selecting respective voting options from said respective plurality of voting options;
in said each round, ranking said respective pluralities of voting options according to respective numbers of votes cast for said respective voting options;
in said each round, identifying a respective player voting for a respective predetermined designation of said respective voting options;
in said each round, assigning a respective award to said respective player, wherein said respective reward increases for said respective player according to a number of consecutive rounds in said sequence of rounds in which said respective player selects said respective predetermined designation; and,
in said each round, notifying said respective player, wherein said steps of transmitting, accepting, ranking, identifying, assigning, and notifying are performed by a general-purpose computer specially programmed to perform said steps of transmitting, accepting, ranking, identifying, assigning, and notifying.
13. A computer-based system for conducting a multiplayer game, comprising:
a receiving element arranged to accept first respective votes from first respective players via first respective telecommunication devices, said first respective votes selecting first respective voting options from said first plurality of voting options;
a ranking element arranged to rank said first plurality of voting options according to said first respective votes; and,
an identifying element arranged to identify a first player among said first respective players who voted for a first predetermined designation of said voting options, wherein said receiving, ranking, and identifying elements are included in at least one specially programmed general-purpose computer.
14. The system of claim 13 further comprising a transmitting element arranged to transmit said first plurality of voting options, wherein said transmitting element is included in said at least one specially programmed computer.
15. The system of claim 14 wherein said transmitting element is arranged to transmit said first plurality of voting options to at least a portion of said first respective telecommunication devices.
16. The system of claim 14 wherein said first predetermined designation of is a predefined ranking among said first plurality of voting options and said transmitting element is arranged to transmit said predefined ranking.
17. The system of claim 13 further comprising a first assignment element arranged to assign a first award to said first player, said first assignment element located in said specially programmed computer.
18. The system of claim 13 further comprising a first notifying element arranged to notify said first player, said first notifying element located in said specially programmed computer.
19. The system of claim 13 further comprising a displaying element arranged to provide a listing regarding said first player, said displaying element located in said specially programmed computer.
20. The system of claim 13 further comprising a second assignment element and a second notifying element; and,
wherein:
said transmitting element is arranged to transmit a second plurality of voting options;
said receiving element is arranged to accept second respective votes from second respective players via second respective telecommunication devices, said second respective votes selecting second respective voting options from said second plurality of voting options;
said ranking element is arranged to rank said second plurality of voting options according to said second respective votes;
said identifying element is arranged to identify a second player from said second respective players who voted for a second predetermined designation of said voting options;
said second assignment element is arranged to assign a second award to said second player; and,
said second notifying element is arranged to notify said second player.
21. The system of claim 20 wherein said second award is greater when said second player voted for a first predetermined designation of said voting options.
22. The system of claim 20 wherein said first and second pluralities of voting options are for sequential rounds of said game.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The invention relates generally to computer-based multiplayer polling games and in particular to a multiplayer game and method in which players are polled using telecommunication devices. Even more particularly, the invention relates to a game in which players voting for a predetermined voting option are rewarded and the awards increase for successive successful votes.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    U.S. Pat. No. 7,052,010 (Katz et al.) discloses multi-level games of chance where a gambler has multiple choices at each level, and a game controller decides which choice is the winning choice for each level. U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2005/0026697 (Balahura et al.) discloses a system, computer product and method for enabling multi-player gaming on a wireless device. U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,334 (Yoseloff) discloses a method of playing a multi-stage video wagering game, in which a player can reach higher profit categories by winning in a current profit category. However, none of the preceding references disclose a multiplayer game of chance where a winning option is determined by voting for specific options.
  • [0003]
    Thus, there is a long-felt need to provide a multiplayer polling game accepting votes regarding a winning option from a list of voting options, using telecommunication devices.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    The invention broadly comprises a method for conducting a multiplayer game, including the steps of: accepting first respective votes from first respective players via first respective telecommunication devices, the first respective votes selecting first respective voting options from a first plurality of voting options; ranking the first plurality of voting options according to the first respective votes; and identifying a first player from the first respective players who voted for a first predetermined designation of the first plurality of voting options. The steps of accepting, ranking, and identifying are performed by a general-purpose computer specially programmed to perform the steps of accepting, ranking, and identifying.
  • [0005]
    In some aspects, the method includes transmitting the first plurality of voting options and the step of transmitting is performed by the general-purpose computer. In some aspects, transmitting the first plurality of voting options includes transmitting the first plurality of voting options to at least a portion of the first respective telecommunication devices. In some aspects, the first predetermined designation is a predefined ranking among the first plurality of voting options and transmitting the first plurality of voting options includes transmitting the predefined ranking. In some aspects, the method includes notifying the first player and the step of notifying performed by the general-purpose computer. In some aspects, notifying the first player includes notifying via the first respective telecommunication devices.
  • [0006]
    In some aspects, the method includes assigning a first award to the first player and the step of assigning performed by the general-purpose computer. In some aspects, the method includes providing a display accessible to the first respective players, the display listing the first first player and the step of providing a display is performed by the general-purpose computer.
  • [0007]
    In some aspects, the method includes: transmitting a second plurality of voting options; accepting second respective votes from second respective players via second respective telecommunication devices, the second respective votes selecting second respective voting options from the second plurality of voting options; ranking the second plurality of voting options according to the second respective votes; identifying a second player from among the second respective players who voted for a second predetermined designation of the voting options; assigning a second award to the player; and notifying the second player. The steps of transmitting, accepting, ranking, identifying, assigning, and notifying are performed by the general-purpose computer. In some aspects, the second award is greater when the second player selected the first predetermined designation. In some aspects, the first and second pluralities of voting options are for sequential rounds of the game.
  • [0008]
    The invention also broadly comprises a method for conducting a multiplayer game, including: in each round of a sequence of rounds, transmitting respective pluralities of voting options; accepting respective votes from respective players via respective telecommunication devices, the respective votes selecting respective voting options from the respective plurality of voting options; ranking the respective pluralities of voting options according to respective numbers of votes cast for the respective voting option; identifying a respective player voting for a respective predetermined designation of said respective voting options; assigning a respective award to the respective player, where the respective reward increases for the respective player according to a number of consecutive rounds in the sequence of rounds in which the respective player selects the respective predetermined designation; and notifying the respective player. The steps of transmitting, accepting, ranking, identifying, assigning, and notifying are performed by a general-purpose computer specially programmed to perform the steps of transmitting, accepting, ranking, identifying, assigning, and notifying.
  • [0009]
    The invention further broadly comprises a computer-based system for conducting a multiplayer game, including: a receiving element arranged to accept first respective votes from first respective players via first respective telecommunication devices, the first respective votes selecting first respective voting options from the first plurality of voting options; a ranking element arranged to rank the first plurality of voting options according to the first respective votes; and an identifying element arranged to identify a first player among the first respective players who voted for a first predetermined designation of the voting options. The receiving, ranking, and identifying elements are included in at least one specially programmed general-purpose computer.
  • [0010]
    In some aspects, the system includes a transmitting element arranged to transmit the first plurality of voting options and the transmitting element is included in the at least one specially programmed computer. In some aspects, the transmitting element is arranged to transmit the first plurality of voting options to at least a portion of the first respective telecommunication devices. In some aspects, the first predetermined designation of is a predefined ranking among the first plurality of voting options and the transmitting element is arranged to transmit the predefined ranking.
  • [0011]
    In some aspects, the system includes an assignment element arranged to assign a first award to the first player and the assignment element is located in the specially programmed computer. In some aspects, the system includes a notifying element arranged to notify the first player and the notifying element is located in the specially programmed computer. In some aspects, the system includes a displaying element arranged to provide a listing regarding the first player and the displaying element located in the specially programmed computer.
  • [0012]
    In some aspects, the transmitting element is arranged to transmit a second plurality of voting options; the receiving element is arranged to accept second respective votes from second respective players via second respective telecommunication devices, the second respective votes selecting second respective voting options from the second plurality of voting options; the ranking element is arranged to rank the second plurality of voting options according to the second respective votes; the identifying element is arranged to identify a second player from the second respective players who voted for a second predetermined designation of the voting options; the assignment element is arranged to assign a second award to the second player; and the notifying element is arranged to notify the second player. In some aspects, the second award is greater when the second player voted for the first predetermined designation. In some aspects, the first and second pluralities of voting options are for sequential rounds of the game.
  • [0013]
    It is a general object of the present invention to provide a polling game using telecommunication devices to communicate with players.
  • [0014]
    These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciable from the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention and from the accompanying drawings and claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing of a present invention computer-based system for conducting a multi-player polling game;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing showing the sequence of rounds in a present invention system;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of sorting voting results for a round in a present invention system;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of player categories;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a present invention method for conducting a multiplayer game; and,
  • [0020]
    FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating a present invention method for conducting a multiplayer game.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0021]
    At the outset, it should be appreciated that like drawing numbers on different drawing views identify identical, or functionally similar, structural elements of the invention. While the present invention is described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred aspects, it is to be understood that the invention as claimed is not limited to the disclosed aspects.
  • [0022]
    Furthermore, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the particular methodology, materials and modifications described and as such may, of course, vary. It is also understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention, which is limited only by the appended claims.
  • [0023]
    Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood to one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although any methods, devices or materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the invention, the preferred methods, devices, and materials are now described.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing of present invention computer-based system 10 for conducting a multi-player polling game. System 10 includes a transmitting, or transmission, element 12, receiving element 14, ranking element 16, and identification, or identifying, element 18. The transmitting element is arranged to transmit a plurality of voting options 20. The receiving element is arranged to accept respective votes 22 from respective players 24 via respective telecommunication devices 26. It should be understood that a player may be a human being or other sentient being or may be an automated function. For example, a person can vote using a telecommunication device, or a telecommunication device could be programmed to vote without further intervention from a person. Each respective vote selects a respective voting option from the plurality of voting options. The ranking element is arranged to rank the plurality of voting options according to the respective votes. For example, the option receiving the most votes is ranked first, the option receiving the fewest votes is ranked last, and any remaining options are ranked accordingly.
  • [0025]
    Element 18 is arranged to identify respective players who voted for a predetermined designation of the voting options, also referred to as the predetermined voting option. In general, the designation relates to a status of the voting options once the voting is complete. The voting determines which voting option meets the criterion of the predetermined designation as further described infra. In some aspects, element 18 is located in element 16. In some aspects (not shown), the transmitting and receiving elements are included in a transceiving element. The transmitting, receiving, ranking, and identifying elements are included in at least one specially programmed general-purpose computer 28.
  • [0026]
    In some aspects, the transmitting element is arranged to transmit the plurality of voting options to at least a portion of telecommunication devices 26. However, it should be understood that voting options can be transmitted to any receiving or transceiving device known in the art, and that such transmitting is included in the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. In some aspects, the transmitting element is arranged to transmit to telecommunication device 26 a among telecommunication devices 26 and the receiving element is arranged to accept a vote regarding the voting options from device 26 a. That is, a same device receives the options and is used to vote on the options. In some aspects, the transmitting element is arranged to transmit to device 26 b among devices 26 and the receiving element is arranged to accept a vote from a different device 26 c among devices 26, regarding the voting options transmitted to device 26 b. In some aspects devices 26 are one or more cellular telephones, computers connected to the Internet, or land line telephones. However, it should be understood that any telecommunication device known in the art can be used with system 10 and that the use of such devices is included within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention.
  • [0027]
    In some aspects, the predetermined designation is a predefined ranking among the plurality of voting options. That is, the predetermined option will be which ever voting option ends up having the predefined ranking among the plurality of voting options, for example, the option receiving the second-most votes. In some aspects, transmitting element 12 is arranged to transmit the predefined ranking and/or the predefined ranking is transmitted with the plurality of voting options.
  • [0028]
    In some aspects, system 10 includes notification element 29 arranged to notify players voting for the predetermined designation. In general, element 29 is located in computer 28. In some aspects (not shown), element 29 is part of another element, such as the ranking element, the receiving element, or the transmitting element. In some aspects, element 29 is arranged to notify via said telecommunication devices 26. That is, notifications are sent by the notifying element to devices 26. In some aspects, notifications are only sent to devices 26 associated with the players who voted for the predetermined voting option. In some aspects, system 10 includes display element 30 arranged to display respective players who voted for a predetermined voting option. Display element 30 is generally accessible to game players. The identification of players can be masked, for example, players can be user names and passwords. Thus, element 29 actively notifies players and display element 30 provides a more passive form of notification.
  • [0029]
    In some aspects, system 10 includes award assignment element 32 arranged to assign a first award or reward, associated with the predetermined designation, to the players voting for the option satisfying the predetermined designation. Element 32 is located in computer 28. In some aspects, the notifying element is arranged to notify the players regarding the first award or the display element is arranged to display information regarding the first award.
  • [0030]
    In some aspects, system 10 is arranged to assign players to categories according to their votes. For example, in some aspects, each of the players who voted for the predetermined designation is assigned to a first category and the remaining players who did not vote for the predetermined designation are assigned to a second category.
  • [0031]
    As further described below, the game can be played in rounds. The process described above is applicable for each round. It should be understood that voting options 20 may be the same in each or some of the rounds or may vary among rounds. It is clear that players 24 and devices 26 participating in a round are outside the system and may vary from round to round, and consequently, respective votes 22 may vary from round to round.
  • [0032]
    It is possible that one or more players who vote for the predetermined voting option in a successive round of the game also voted for the predetermined voting option in an earlier round of the game. Then, in some aspects, the award for the players in the successive round is greater. That is, the award for winning in multiple rounds is greater than the award for winning in only one round. In some aspects, the multiple rounds are at least two sequential rounds of the game.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing showing the sequence of rounds in present invention system 10. The following provides further details regarding a present invention computer-based system for conducting a multiplayer game. In general, the game is played in repeated rounds 52 of voting, although it is possible for a game to consist of a single round of voting (not shown). The system is not limited to any particular number of rounds. Each round lasts for a particular time period during which players become aware of a list of options for voting. For example round 52 a has time duration 54. The system is not limited to any particular time period
  • [0034]
    Time periods between different rounds can be different. For example, period 56 between rounds 52 a and 52 b can be different or the same as period 58 between rounds 52 a and 52 c . During a round, each player chooses one of the available options and votes according to the rules of the game. At the end of the round the list of options is sorted according to the player's votes. The option that has a predefined order in the sorted list is the wining option. The players who have selected (voted for) the winning option are the winners of the round. The prize a player gets after a win depends on the number of his/her successive wins. The bigger the number of successive wins the greater the prize.
  • [0035]
    In some aspects, the system is conducted by a game provider. The game provider is responsible for determine the game rules, for example, the number of rounds, to tune game parameters, and to inform the public of the rules of the game. The provider announces a poll, collects answers from the players, makes out the final result, and informs the players regarding the results of the poll.
  • [0036]
    The game is played in repeated rounds of voting, for example, rounds 52 a through 52 c. A round of the game is a time period, during which a poll takes place, that is, during which votes are accepted by the system regarding the voting options. The duration of a round is predetermined by the game provider. Before each round, the provider determines the list of options for the current poll and the rank of the winning option. During the round players become aware of the list of options of the current poll and send their vote to the game provider. After each round, votes are processed and players participating in that particular round are informed of the results of the round. After a predetermined idle time period the next round begins.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of sorting voting results for a round in present invention system 10. The following should be viewed in light of FIGS. 1 through 3. Before the beginning of each round the game provider determines the list of options, or, the list of voting options, for the current poll, for example, list 20 a. This list consists of at least two options. The number of options may vary between the different rounds or it can be fixed. This decision is made by the game provider and is part of the game's rules. It should be understood that the system is not limited to a particular number of options in a round or to any proportion or relationship of numbers of options among the rounds in a game. The list of options is announced by means that are decided by the game provider. The list of options can include anything known in the art, including, but not limited to words, numbers, graphic representations, or expressions regarding a same subject or unrelated subjects. A game player can be considered as a person who has subscribed to the system, in particular, a game. In each round, a particular player can be active or idle. Active players are those players who have voted during a particular round. The remaining players (those not voting in the round) are considered to be idle.
  • [0038]
    Game players can participate in a game within the system in a number of ways supported by the game provider. The players become aware of the list of options for a certain round of the game and vote using a voting method supported by the game provider. In some aspects, a player cannot vote twice during the same round and only the first vote submitted by a certain player is counted. A player votes during the period of a specific round, for example, during duration 54 for round 52 a. In some aspects, each vote is valid only for the round during which the vote was submitted. Each vote is recorded and correlated to the player casting the vote. At the end of each round, votes are processed and poll results 70 are formulated. That is, each option is assigned the number of votes cast for the option.
  • [0039]
    At the end of each round, ranking element 16 sorts the votes, for example in ascending order, according to the votes cast for the players for the various options to form list 72. In some aspects, first position 74 in the ordered list is the option that accumulated the largest number of votes and last position 76 in the ordered list is the option that accumulated the fewest votes. The numbers shown in list 72 are for purposes of illustration only. It should be understood that other ordering schemes are included in the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. Before the beginning of a particular round, the game provider announces winning option 78, also referred to as the predetermined voting option supra. In some aspects, the winning option is correlated with a position in the sorted list, for example position 80 (3rd position in poll results). It should be understood that any position among the list of voting options can be selected as the predetermined winning position and that different rounds can have the same or different predetermined winning positions. A game player who has selected the winning option is a round winner. It should be understood that in each round, there can be a plurality winners. The winning position can be changed for the next round or it can stay the same. In some aspects, the winning option is solely determined by the players' votes, that is, the ranking is solely dependent on the number of votes received by the various voting options.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of player categories 82. In some aspects, the game includes a plurality of winner categories, the number of which is determined by the game provider. A player is eligible for a particular category according to the game history of the player, for example, the number of successive wins enjoyed by a player during rounds of the game he voted. For example, a player with one win is in first category 84 and a player with three successive wins in third category 86. It should be understood that the present invention is not limited to any particular number or type of categories or any particular scheme for assigning players to categories. The shaded portions of a category, for example, portion 87 in category 86, represent the players who voted for the predetermined designation in the current round. It should be understood that FIG. 4 is provided only for purposes of illustration and is non-limiting.
  • [0041]
    In some aspects, players who are playing for the first time or who did not win in the last poll in which they participated, are in initial or zero category 88. For example, path 90 shows movement from category 84 to category 88 for players in category 84 who participated in a round and did not select the predetermined winning option for the round. After each round, the round winners move to the next category. For example, path 92 shows movement from category 88 to category 84. The remaining players, those who voted for other than the predetermined option, are placed in initial category 88. A player not voting in a particular poll (an idle player) remains in the category to which they were assigned before that poll.
  • [0042]
    In some aspects, a reward, award, or basket, is associated with one or more of the categories for a round. The players that move to a category after a win, are eligible to win the basket for that category. Players that have been assigned to a category in a previous round, but do not participate in a current round are not eligible for the basket associated with the current round. In some aspects, a player reaching the last category, for example, category 96 is assigned to the initial category. That is, there is a cap on the number of categories.
  • [0043]
    A basket is not limited to any particular type or amount of contents. For example, a basket can contain money or goods, or may be empty. That is, the prize for reaching a category is the acknowledgement of having reached that category. The contents of a basket can be shared by any means known in the art, and can be determined by the game provider, the players, or the game provider and players. In general, at least the basket for the last category has a tangible award. In some aspects, if a basket contains money, the number of participants in each round determines the amount of money that will be shared among the categories according to percentages set by the game provider. For example, if there are eight categories one category could get a certain percent and the remaining categories, except for the initial category, receive equal percentage of what is remaining. In some aspects, sponsors provide some or all of the contents of a basket.
  • [0044]
    Returning to FIG. 1, in some aspects, a player is identified according to the voting method used by the player. A player's identification is used by the game provider to keep a record of activity for the player, for example, rounds in which the player participates and/or wins. In some aspects, the same player can vote by using different methods. However, each vote is correlated with the method used and is considered by a present invention system as separate votes cast by separate persons. For example, if player X votes for a same round using a cell phone and the Internet, the game counts the cell phone and Internet votes as separate votes cast by separate players. Players that vote using a mobile phone or a landline phone can be identified by the telephone number. In some aspects, system 10 includes registration element 98 for players that vote using the Internet. Element 98 creates respective personal accounts for Internet players and can be used for the identification of a particular player. In some aspects, to claim a reward, a winning player must provide clear evidence of identification.
  • [0045]
    In some aspects, each player is associated with a player profit account. An account can be created in the following non-limiting ways according to the voting method used by that player. Mobile telephone: a player is identified and the account created the first time the player sends a message from their mobile telephone. This message could be a vote, a request for a list of options, a credit charging message or any other message supported by the game provider. Landline telephone: a player is identified and the account created the first time the player votes from their landline phone. Internet: a player registers for the game in a web site by providing all the necessary information for their identification.
  • [0046]
    In some aspects, players are charged for participating in a game. In some aspects, respective credit accounts are set up for players. Then, when a player votes (and the vote is valid) the amount of credits in their credit account is reduced by the cost of one vote. The credit account can be loaded with credits in ways that are supported by the game provider. If the player wins in a particular round and the prize is money, then their credit account can be automatically loaded from their profit account. Players are charged according to valid votes. Players are not charged for votes outside of the valid round time period.
  • [0047]
    During a game, information can be exchanged between the provider and the players according to the voting method used by the player. Information exchanges include, but are not limited to, the following examples shown in Table 1:
  • [0000]
    TABLE 1
    Message from player Message from system to player
    Player asks for the list of options for a poll Provider sends the list of options for a poll
    Player votes for an option Provider informs the players of the results of a
    poll
    Player requests information about their Provider informs the player about his/her
    accounts accounts
    Player charges credit account with credits Provider informs the player about his/her
    accounts
    Player requests information about contents of Provider informs the player about the contents
    baskets of baskets
  • The provider can include advertising information in the messages sent to the players.
  • [0048]
    The game can be customized by tuning a set of parameters. These parameters include, but are not limited to: the duration of a round, the frequency of the rounds, the number of winning categories, the percentages that are assigned to each category, and the messages exchanged between the provider and the players.
  • [0049]
    It should be understood that a present invention system is not limited to the number, type, or configuration of elements and functions shown in the figures and described above and that other numbers, types, and configurations of elements and functions are included within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a present invention method for conducting a multiplayer game. Although the method in FIG. 5 (and FIG. 6 below) is depicted as a sequence of numbered steps for clarity, no order should be inferred from the numbering unless explicitly stated. The method starts at Step 100. Step 102 transmits a first plurality of voting options. Step 104 accepts first respective votes from first respective players via first respective telecommunication devices, the first respective votes selecting first respective voting options from the first plurality of voting options. Step 106 ranks the first plurality of voting options according to the first respective votes. Step 108 identifies a first player from among the first respective players who voted for a first predetermined designation of the voting options. Steps 102, 104, 106, and 108 are performed by a general-purpose computer specially programmed to perform the steps.
  • [0051]
    In some aspects, the first predetermined designation is a predefined ranking among the first plurality of voting options and Step 102 transmits the predefined ranking. In some aspects, Step 102 transmits the first plurality of voting options to at least a portion of the first respective telecommunication devices. In some aspects, Step 102 transmits to a first telecommunication device among the first respective telecommunication devices and Step 104 accepts the first respective votes from the first telecommunication device. In some aspects, Step 102 transmits to a second telecommunication device among the first respective telecommunication devices and Step 104 accepts the first respective votes from a third telecommunication device among the first respective telecommunication devices. In some aspects, the first respective telecommunication devices are selected from the group consisting of a cellular telephone, a computer connected to the Internet, and a land line telephone.
  • [0052]
    In some aspects, following Step 108, a further step notifies the first player. In some aspects, the step notifies via the first respective telecommunication devices. In some aspects, following Step 108, a further step provides a display accessible to the first respective players, the display listing the first player. The steps are performed by the general-purpose computer.
  • [0053]
    In some aspects, Step 110 assigns a first award to the first player. The step is performed by the general-purpose computer. In some aspects: Step 112 transmits a second plurality of voting options; Step 114 accepts second respective votes from second respective players via second respective telecommunication devices, the second respective votes selecting second respective voting options from the second plurality of voting options; Step 116 ranks the second plurality of voting options according to the second respective votes; and Step 118 identifies a second player from among the second respective players who voted for a second predetermined designation of the voting options. Step 120 assigns a second award to the second player. The steps are performed by the general-purpose computer. In some aspects, following Step 118, a further step notifies the second player. The step is performed by the general-purpose computer.
  • [0054]
    In some aspects, the second award is greater when the second player has selected the first predetermined designation. In some aspects, the first and second pluralities of voting options are for sequential rounds of the game.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating a present invention method for conducting a multiplayer game. The method starts at Step 200. Step 202, in a sequence of rounds, transmits respective pluralities of voting options. Step 204, for each round, accepts respective votes from respective players via respective telecommunication devices, the respective votes selecting respective voting options from the respective plurality of voting options. Step 206, in each round, ranks the respective pluralities of voting options according to respective numbers of votes cast for the voting options. Step 208, in each round, identifies a respective player from among the respective players voting for a respective predetermined designation of the respective voting options. Step 210, in each round, assigns a respective award to the respective player, the reward increasing according to a number of consecutive rounds in the sequence of rounds in which the respective player selects the respective predetermined designation. Step 212, in each round, notifies the respective player. The steps are performed by a general-purpose computer specially programmed to perform the steps.
  • [0056]
    Thus, it is seen that the objects of the invention are efficiently obtained, although changes and modifications to the invention should be readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as claimed. Although the invention is described by reference to a specific preferred embodiment, it is clear that variations can be made without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention as claimed.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/41
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3276, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32M8D