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Publication numberUS20080171599 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/631,703
PCT numberPCT/IB2004/002506
Publication date17 Jul 2008
Filing date10 Jul 2004
Priority date10 Jul 2004
Also published asEP1766917A1, EP1766917B1, WO2006008572A1
Publication number11631703, 631703, PCT/2004/2506, PCT/IB/2004/002506, PCT/IB/2004/02506, PCT/IB/4/002506, PCT/IB/4/02506, PCT/IB2004/002506, PCT/IB2004/02506, PCT/IB2004002506, PCT/IB200402506, PCT/IB4/002506, PCT/IB4/02506, PCT/IB4002506, PCT/IB402506, US 2008/0171599 A1, US 2008/171599 A1, US 20080171599 A1, US 20080171599A1, US 2008171599 A1, US 2008171599A1, US-A1-20080171599, US-A1-2008171599, US2008/0171599A1, US2008/171599A1, US20080171599 A1, US20080171599A1, US2008171599 A1, US2008171599A1
InventorsAntti Salo, Turo Keski-Jaskari
Original AssigneeAntti Salo, Turo Keski-Jaskari
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming Device, a System For Gaming and a Method of Controlling a Game
US 20080171599 A1
Abstract
A gaming device for playing a game comprising: including detection means for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played; and control means for changing the state of the gaming device from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event within the game and for returning the state of the gaming device from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
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Claims(60)
1. A gaming device for playing a game comprising:
detection means for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played; and
control means for changing the state of the gaming device from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event within the game and for returning the state of the gaming device from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
2. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the control means is operable to return the state of the gaming device from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state after the expiry of a predetermined period.
3. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, further comprising means for receiving an electronic token, wherein the control means is operable to return the state of the gaming device from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state in response to the receipt of an electronic token
4. A gaming device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the means for receiving comprises a radio transceiver and the electronic token is received wirelessly via the radio transceiver.
5. A gaming device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the electronic token is a message received via the radio transceiver in response to a request message sent via the radio transceiver.
6. A gaming device as claimed in claim 5, wherein the request message identifies the user for billing.
7. A gaming device as claimed in claim 5, further comprising a display which is controlled by the control means, when the state of the gaming device changes from the first non-penalty state to the second penalty state, to present a user selectable option for obtaining a token immediately, wherein user selection of the option controls the gaming device to send the request message via the radio transceiver.
8. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the control means is operable to present a specified task for completion by a user of the gaming device and is operable to return the state of the gaming device from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state on the successful completion of the specified task by the user.
9. A gaming device as claimed in claim 8, further comprising means for receiving a specification of the task.
10. A gaming device as claimed in claim 9, wherein the means for receiving comprises a radio transceiver and the specification of the task is received wirelessly via the radio transceiver.
11. A gaming device as claimed in claim 10, wherein the specification of the task is within a message received via the radio transceiver in response to a request message sent via the radio transceiver.
12. A gaming device as claimed in claim 11, wherein the request message identifies the user for billing.
13. A gaming device as claimed in claim 11, further comprising a display which is controlled by the control means, when the state of the gaming device changes from the first non-penalty state to the second penalty state, to present a user selectable option for obtaining a specified task immediately, wherein user selection of the option controls the gaming device to send the request message via the radio transceiver.
14. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the control means is operable to start a timer when it changes the state of the gaming device from the first non-penalty state to the second penalty state and is operable to return the state of the gaming device from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state when the timer exceeds a predetermined period.
15. A gaming device as claimed in claim 14, comprising a memory for recording a value of the timer when a game session ends while in the penalty state, wherein the control means updates the value of the timer when a game session is started, determines whether the updated value of the timer exceeds the predetermined period and determines whether the state of the device is the first non-penalty state or the second penalty state.
16. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the second penalty state is persistent between sessions of a current instantiation of the game.
17. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the second penalty state is persistent between instantiations of the game.
18. A gaming device as claimed in any preceding claim 1, operable to play a plurality of games wherein the second penalty state is persistent between the plurality of games.
19. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the game comprises a user playing object associated with the user, wherein during the second penalty state of the gaming device the user playing object associated with the user of the gaming device is disabled.
20. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, operable to play a plurality of games each of which comprises a user playing object, wherein during the second penalty state of the gaming device all user playing objects associated with the user of the gaming device are disabled.
21. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the game comprises a user playing object that is associated with the user of the gaming device and has one or more attributes, wherein during the second penalty state of the gaming device at least one attribute of the user playing object associated with the user in the game is affected.
22. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, operable to play a plurality of games each of which comprises a user playing object that is associated with the user of the gaming device and has one or more attributes, wherein during the second state of the gaming device at least one attribute of the user playing object associated with the user in the game is affected and at least one attribute of the user playing object associated with the user in another game is similarly affected.
23. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the occurrence of the event within the game is dependent upon how a user of the gaming device plays the game.
24. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the game comprises a user playing object that is associated with the user of the game, the event within the game corresponds to an injury to the user playing object received within the game and the predetermined period corresponds to a healing time for the injury.
25. A gaming device as claimed in claim 1 operable as a hand-portable mobile cellular telephone.
26. A computer program comprising computer program instructions which when run on a computer provide a gaming device, for playing a game, comprising: detection means for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played; and
control means for changing the state of the gaming device from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event within the game and for returning the state of the gaming device from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
27. A physical entity embodying the computer program as claimed in claim 26.
28. An electromagnetic carrier signal carrying the computer program as claimed in claim 26.
29. A system for enabling a plurality of gaming devices including a first gaming device having a first user and a second gaming device having a second user, to participate in a game, the system comprising:
a game server that is remotely accessed by the plurality of gaming devices to play a game, the game server comprising:
detection means for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played by the first user; and
control means for changing the state of the game for the first user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event and for returning the state of the game for the first user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
30. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the control means is operable to return the state of the game for the first user from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state after the expiry of a predetermined period.
31. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the control means is operable to return the state of the game for the first user from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state in response to a transaction by the first user.
32. A system as claimed in claim 31, wherein the transaction is initiated by a message identifying the first user received wirelessly from the first gaming device.
33. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the control means is operable to present a specified task for completion by the first user and is operable to return the state of the game for the first user from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state on the successful completion of the specified task by the first user.
34. A system as claimed in claim 29 wherein the game is a multi-user game that is playable simultaneously by the first and second users, wherein the specified event within the game is a result of the action or inaction of the first user while playing the game.
35. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the game is multi-user game that is playable simultaneously by the first and second users, wherein the specified event within the game is a result of the action of the second user while playing the game.
36. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the game comprises a first user playing object that is associated with the first user of the game, the event within the game corresponds to an injury to the first user playing object received within the game and the predetermined period corresponds to a healing time for the injury.
37. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the second penalty state of the game for the first user is persistent, for the first user, between sessions of a current instantiation of the game.
38. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the second penalty state of the game for the first user is persistent, for the first user, between instantiations of the game.
39. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the game comprises a first user playing object associated with the first user, wherein during the second penalty state of the game for the first user, the first user playing object is disabled.
40. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the game comprises a first user playing object that is associated with the first user of the gaming device and has one or more attributes, wherein during the second penalty state of the game for the first user, at least one attribute of the first user playing object is affected.
41. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein the
detection means is additionally operable to detect the occurrence of a specified event, relating to the second user, within the game while it is being played by the second user; and the control means is operable to change the state of the game for the second user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event, relating to the second user, and for returning the state of the game for the second user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state after one of: the expiry of a predetermined period; the receipt of an electronic token at the input means during the predetermined period; completion of a specified task by the second user.
42. A system as claimed in claim 29, wherein at least one of the gaming device is a hand-portable mobile cellular telephone.
43. A game server that is remotely accessed by a plurality of users playing a game, the game server comprising: detection means for detecting while the game is being played the occurrence of a specified event in the game and the user(s) associated with that event; and control means for changing the state of the game for the associated user(s) only from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event and the user(s) associated with the event and for returning the state of the game for an associated user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state when the associated user completes a transaction.
44. A game server as claimed in claim 43, wherein the transaction is a financial transaction.
45. A game server as claimed in claim 43, wherein the control means is operable to return the state of the game for the user(s) from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state after the expiry of a predetermined period.
46. A game server as claimed in claim 43, wherein the control means is operable to return the state of the game for a first user from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state in response to a transaction by the first user.
47. A game server as claimed in claim 43, wherein the control means is operable to present a specified task for completion by a first one of the user(s) and is operable return the state of the game for the first one of the user(s) from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state on the successful completion of the specified task by the first one of the user(s).
48. A computer program comprising computer program instructions which when run on a computer provides a game server comprising:
detection means for detecting, while the game is being played, an occurrence of a specified event in the game and the user(s) associated with that event; and control means for changing the state of the game for only the associated user(s) from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event and the user(s) associated with the event and for returning the state of the game for an associated user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state when the associated user completes a transaction.
49. A physical entity embodying the computer program as claimed in claim 48.
50. A client device for accessing a remote server to play a game, the client device comprising:
a user interface for providing, in response to the server changing the state of the game for the user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state,
a user-selectable option for completing a transaction with the server that changes the state of the game for the user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
51. A computer program comprising computer program instructions which when run on a computer provides a client device for accessing a remote server to play a game, the client device comprising:
a user interface for providing in response to the server changing the state of the game for the user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state,
a user-selectable option for completing a transaction with the server that changes the state of the game for the user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
52. A physical entity embodying the computer program as claimed in claim 51.
53. A method of controlling a game comprising: detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played by a user;
changing the state of the game for the user from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to detecting the occurrence of the specified event; and
returning the state of the game for the user from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state
54. A method as claimed in claim 53, wherein the step of returning the state of the game for the first user to the first non-penalty state occurs after the expiry of a predetermined period.
55. A method as claimed in claim 53, wherein the step of returning the state of the game for the first user to the first non-penalty state occurs in response to a transaction by the first user.
56. A method as claimed in claim 53, wherein the step of returning the state of the game for the first user to the first non-penalty state occurs on the successful completion of a specified task by the first user.
57. A computer program comprising computer program instructions which when run on a computer provides a method for:
detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played by a user;
changing the state of the game for the user from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to detecting the occurrence of the specified event; and
returning the state of the game for the user from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
58. A method of obtaining a revenue stream from a game comprising:
transacting with a remote device, used by a first user to play a game, to change the state of the game for the first user from a second penalty state to a first non-penalty state.
59. A method as claimed in claim 58, wherein the transacting involves a financial transaction.
60. A method as claimed in claim 58, wherein the transacting involves the sending of a message, from the remote device, that incurs a charge.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    Embodiments of the invention relate to a gaming device, a system for gaming and a method of controlling a game. In particular, they relate to a gaming device, a system for gaming and a method of controlling a game in the field of mobile cellular telecommunications.
  • BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    It is now common for mobile cellular telephones to have games that are embedded in the system software. These games are bundled with the mobile telephone when it is sold.
  • [0003]
    It has recently become possible to download games to a mobile cellular telephone over the air (or by any other means). This allows a mobile cellular telephone to be reprogrammed with a new game.
  • [0004]
    The downloading of games over the air allows a user of a mobile telephone to customize his or her mobile telephone so that it has his or her favorite games.
  • [0005]
    It is now also possible to play multi-user games via a mobile cellular telephone. A user of a mobile telephone may for example, log onto a remote server to play the game with other people who have logged on either through their own mobile telephones or, for example, via the Internet. Another user of a mobile telephone may, for example, form a local ad-hoc network with other local wireless gaming devices, using for example BLUETOOTH technology.
  • [0006]
    There may be a significant investment in developing new games. The normal business model by which a game developer recoups the investment made is by selling each game for a price that includes a profit margin. A disadvantage of this business model is that the initial purchase price for a game may be high.
  • [0007]
    Another more recent business model that is applicable to the mobile cellular telephone industry is shareware. Shareware generally operates on the principal that a working version of the game can be obtained for free and can be distributed to others without restriction. The game developers may recoup their investment by generating an income stream from the game while it is being used as opposed to when it is first distributed. They may, for example, sell add-ons to the game or block certain features in the game and then sell versions of the game without the blocks.
  • [0008]
    It would be desirable to provide a gaming system that uses an alternative mechanism to generate an income stream while it is played.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    According to one embodiment of the invention there is provided a gaming device for playing a game comprising: detection means for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played; and control means for changing the state of the gaming device from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event within the game and for returning the state of the gaming device from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
  • [0010]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a computer program comprising computer program instructions which when run on a computer provide a gaming device, for playing a game, comprising: detection means for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played; and control means for changing the state of the gaming device from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event within the game and for returning the state of the gaming device from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state .
  • [0011]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a system for enabling a plurality of gaming devices including a first gaming device having a first user and a second gaming device having a second user, to participate in a game, the system comprising: a game server that is remotely accessed by the plurality of gaming devices to play a game, the game server comprising: detection means for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played by the first user; and control means for changing the state of the game for the first user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event and for returning the state of the game for the first user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
  • [0012]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a game server that is remotely accessed by a plurality of users playing a game, the game server comprising: detection means for detecting while the game is being played the occurrence of a specified event in the game and the user(s) associated with that event; and control means for changing the state of the game for the associated user(s) only from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event and the user(s) associated with the event and for returning the state of the game for an associated user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state when the associated user completes a transaction.
  • [0013]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a computer program comprising computer program instructions which when run on a computer provides a game server comprising: detection means for detecting, while the game is being played, an occurrence of a specified event in the game and the user(s) associated with that event; and control means for changing the state of the game for only the associated user(s) from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event and the user(s) associated with the event and for returning the state of the game for an associated user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state when the associated user completes a transaction.
  • [0014]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a client device for accessing a remote server to play a game, the client device comprising: a user interface for providing in response to the server changing the state of the game for the user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state, a user-selectable option for completing a transaction with the server that changes the state of the game for the user from the second penalty state to the first non- penalty state.
  • [0015]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a computer program comprising computer program instructions which when run on a computer provides a client device for accessing a remote server to play a game, the client device comprising: a user interface for providing in response to the server changing the state of the game for the user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state, a user-selectable option for completing a transaction with the server that changes the state of the game for the user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
  • [0016]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a method of controlling a game comprising: detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played by a user; changing the state of the game for the user from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to detecting the occurrence of the specified event; and returning the state of the game for the user from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state
  • [0017]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a computer program comprising computer program instructions which when run on a computer provides a method for: detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played by a first user; changing the state of the game for the first user from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to detecting the occurrence of the specified event; and returning the state of the game for the user from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state
  • [0018]
    According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a method of obtaining a revenue stream from a game comprising: transacting with a remote device, used by a first user to play a game, to change the state of the game for the first user from a second penalty state to a first non-penalty state.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0019]
    For a better understanding of the present invention reference will now be made by way of example only to the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0020]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a hand-portable electronic device operable as a gaming device;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 2 illustrates a process for controlling the functionality of a game;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 3 illustrates a system in which gaming devices use a remote server to play a game; and
  • [0023]
    FIG. 4 illustrates a transaction, initiated by a user of the remote device, for changing the state of a game for the first user from a second penalty state to a first non-penalty state.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • [0024]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a gaming device 10 for playing a game comprising: detection means 12 for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played; and control means 12 for changing the state of the gaming device 10 from a first non-penalty state to a second, penalty state in response to the detection means 12 detecting the occurrence of the specified event within the game and for returning the state of the gaming device 10 from the second, penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
  • [0025]
    In more detail, FIG. 1 illustrates a hand-portable electronic device 10 comprising: a processor 12, a display 14, a memory 16, a user input device 18 and an audio output device 20. The illustrated hand-portable electronic device 10 in this example is a mobile cellular telephone and further comprises an audio input device 22 and a cellular radio transceiver 24.
  • [0026]
    The processor 12 is connected in two-way communication with the memory 16 and with the radio cellular transceiver 24. It is also connected to provide command signals to the display 14 and the audio output device 20 and to receive input signals from the user input device 18 and the audio input device 22. It should be appreciated that the electronic device 10 may comprise further functional elements and that the processor 12 may be comprised of a plurality of processor units.
  • [0027]
    The memory 16 stores computer program instructions that control the operation of the electronic device 10 when loaded into the processor 12. The memory 16 may be any suitable type of memory, for example, it may be an extended memory chip. The memory 16 includes computer program instructions for a game, which when loaded into the processor 12 enable a user to interact with the device 10 and play the game. As a consequence, the device 10 may be referred to as a gaming device. The user may interact with the device via the display 14 and user input device 18 and, optionally, the audio output device 20.
  • [0028]
    The computer program instructions may arrive at the device 10 via an electromagnetic carrier signal 11 or be copied from a physical entity 13 such as a computer program product, a memory device or a record medium such as a CD-ROM or DVD.
  • [0029]
    The gaming device 10 enables a user to play any suitable type of game for which computer program instructions are stored in the memory 16. Examples of games include first person perspective games, role playing games, board games and arcade games.
  • [0030]
    In embodiments of the invention, the gaming device 10 enters a penalty state if a specified event occurs within a game. The user of the gaming device 10 can exit the penalty state either by waiting until a time-out period has expired or by buying a token which cancels the penalty state or by completing a specified task in the game.
  • [0031]
    For example, if the game is a snowboarding game, then when a user's game character takes' a tumble and is injured, the user is prevented from playing the game until the injury has healed or until the user pays a fee or until the user completes a specified task. In this example, the event is the tumble and the penalty state of the device prevents the user playing the game for a certain period.
  • [0032]
    Another example is a competitive game, where one user competes against another. In this example, the electronic device 10 may have a Low Power Radio Frequency transceiver (e.g. as BLUETOOTH transceiver), for forming an ad-hoc wireless network with another device to play a multi-user game. When a user's game character loses a competition that character loses, for example, a weapon to the competing user's game character. However, the user is then able to purchase a new replacement weapon. In this example, the event is losing the competition and the penalty state of the device is one in which the user's game character is without that weapon.
  • [0033]
    The inventive process is further described with reference to FIG. 2. The game has an associated data structure 17 stored in the memory 16. This data structure is in the form of a table that specifies a plurality of events that can occur within the game and associates, with each of those events, a penalty state. When a penalty state becomes the state of the gaming device, it effects how a user of the gaming device 10 participates in the game. Typically, when the gaming device is in a penalty state the user's character in the game is handicapped or disadvantaged or the game play is diminished in some way or the user's participation in the game is limited in some aspect. The specified events are non-temporal in the sense that an event does not merely correspond to the expiry of a timer limiting the amount of game play and are generally, at least partially, under the control of the user of the gaming device 10. That is the likelihood of a particular event occurring within the game is at least partially dependent upon how the user of the gaming device 10 plays the game. In a multi-user game, the likelihood of a particular event occurring within the game may also be at least partially dependent upon how another user in the game plays the game. The user may therefore, with skill, improve the chances of avoiding an event that results in a penalty state.
  • [0034]
    During the playing of a game, the gaming device 10 at step 30 operates to detect the occurrence of an event specified by the data structure 17. When the occurrence of a specified event is detected the process moves to step 32, where the gaming device 10 uses the data structure 17 to determine the penalty state associated with the detected event. Then at step 34, the gaming device 10 changes its state to the determined penalty state. The gaming device 10 immediately starts a timer at step 36 and presents, at step 38, a transaction option to the user for disabling the penalty state. In the illustrated example, the option involves the purchase of a token, however, in other implementations it may involve the completion of a specified task. Typically this transaction option will be displayed in the display 14. The process then enters a loop 39. The loop 39 may be exited at step 40 when the timer reaches a threshold value. This threshold value may be dependent upon the current penalty state and may be stored as a value associated with the current penalty state in the data structure 17. The loop 39 may also be exited if a token is received by the gaming device or the specified task is completed at step 42. When the loop 39 is exited, the gaming device 10 changes its state back to its normal state at step 44. The user of the gaming device 10 may thus exit the loop 39 at any time by purchasing a token or completing the specified task. When such a token is received or the specified task is completed at the gaming device 10, the loop 39 is exited at step 42 and the state of the gaming device reverts from the penalty state to the normal state.
  • [0035]
    Although the penalty state is a state of the device in this embodiment, it may also be described as a state of the game. FIG. 4 illustrates a transaction, initiated by a user of the remote device 10 by accepting the transaction option. The transaction changes the state of the game from a penalty state to a non-penalty state.
  • [0036]
    The transaction option for disabling the penalty state may be the same for all penalty states, for example, it may require the purchase of a token (which may be the same for all penalty states or dependent upon the type of penalty state) or the completion of a task (which may be the same for all penalty states or dependent upon the penalty state).
  • [0037]
    The token may, for example, be an electronic token. One type of electronic token is a code sequence that is input via the user input device 18 but a preferred electronic token is a message received via the radio transceiver 24.
  • [0038]
    If the transaction option for disabling the penalty state is the purchase of an electronic token, then the user is presented with an option for purchasing an electronic token. If the user accepts this option a transaction message 101 is sent to a remote authorization server 50 using the radio transceiver 24. Typically, this transaction message 101 is dependant upon the current penalty state of the gaming device 10 and includes an identification of the user of the gaming device 10. When the transaction message 101 is received at the authorization server, the server issues a token to the gaming device by sending to the gaming device 10 a response message 102 that authorizes the deactivation of the current penalty state of the gaming device 10. The authorization server 50 also uses the identification information of the user to charge the user for issuing the token. The charge 103 made for a token may vary and may depend upon the particular penalty state it deactivates. The token will typically have a security feature that prevents its reuse. This may include a time stamp which limits its use to a particular period of time or a mechanism that allows it only to be used once. The messages 101, 102 exchanged between the gaming device 10 and the server may be SMS messages.
  • [0039]
    If the transaction option for disabling the penalty state is the completion of an extra specified task, then a transaction message 101 is sent to a remote authorization server using the radio transceiver 24. Typically, this transaction message 101 is dependant upon the current penalty state of the gaming device 10 and includes an identification of the user of the gaming device 10. When the transaction message 101 is received at the authorization server, the server issues a specified task to the gaming device by sending to the gaming device 10 a response message 102 that either specifies the task or identifies the specified task. The authorization server may also use the identification information of the user to charge the user for issuing the specified task. The charge 103 made for a task may vary and may dependent upon the particular penalty state it deactivates. The messages 101, 102 exchanged between the gaming device 10 and the server may be SMS messages. The specified task may, for example, involve a test of skill or knowledge. In one implementation, the specified task involves answering one or more questions, provided by the server, correctly. As an example, if a game character is injured the specified task may involve answering a series of medical questions. This advantageously enables the introduction of educational material into the game.
  • [0040]
    A revenue stream from a game can thus be obtained by transacting with a remote gaming device, used by a first user to play a game, to change the state of the game for the first user from a penalty state to a non-penalty state.
  • [0041]
    Typically a game comprises one or more “user playing objects”. A “user playing object” is an object that is apparent to the users of the game and which participates in the game play in a manner controlled by a particular user. It could for example be a character in a role playing. Each user playing object may have one or more attributes. An “attribute” is a characteristic of a playing object that affects its participation in a game.
  • [0042]
    It should be appreciated, that each different event specified in the data structure 17 may have a different associated penalty state. The gaming device 10 may therefore enter any one of a plurality of penalty states. One type of penalty state disables a user playing object in the game. Another possible type of penalty state disables all user playing objects associated with the current user in this and other games. A further possible type of penalty state affects one or more attributes of a user playing object associated with the user in the current game. A further possible type of penalty state affects one or more attributes of a user playing object associated with the user in this game and one or more corresponding attributes of the user playing object associated with the user in at least another game.
  • [0043]
    Thus a penalty state may be limited to the current game or may have persistence through a number of different games. The penalty state may prevent a user playing a game or may limit the way in which a user plays a game.
  • [0044]
    It is possible to pause game playing in some games. For such a game, a game instantiation starts at the beginning of a game and ends when the game concludes and a session is a period during which a game is played until a pause or a conclusion.
  • [0045]
    One type of penalty state may be limited to a session in which the detected event occurs. In this case the penalty state does not have persistence. Another type of penalty state may be limited to a particular game instantiation during which the detected event occurs. In this case the penalty state will have persistence through the sessions of the current instantiation but will not have persistence between instantiations. Another type of penalty state may have persistence between instantiations of the game. This persistence in time may be achieved by storing when a gaming session ends the timer value, a real time clock value at that time and information identifying the current penalty state. Then, when a new session is initiated, the prior penalty state is identified from the stored information and recorded real clock time value is subtracted from the current real clock time value and the difference is added to the recorded timer value to obtain a current timer value. The current timer value is then compared with the relevant threshold associated with the prior penalty state as in step 40 of FIG. 2. If the threshold is exceeded, the state of the gaming device is set to the normal state, but if the threshold is not exceeded, the state of the device is set to the prior penalty state.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 3 illustrates a system 100 for enabling a plurality of gaming devices 10A, 10B including a first gaming device 10A having a first user and a second gaming device 10B having a second user, to participate in a game, the system comprising: a game server 50 that is remotely accessed by the plurality of gaming devices 10A, 10B to play a game, the game server 50 comprising: detection means 52 for detecting the occurrence of a specified event within a game while it is being played by the first user; and control means 52 for changing the state of the game for the first user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state in response to the detection means detecting the occurrence of the specified event and for returning the state of the game for the first user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
  • [0047]
    In more detail, FIG. 3 illustrates a further implementation of the invention, in which remote gaming devices 10A and 10B are operable to play a game on the gaming server 50 by communicating via the network 60, e.g. cellular mobile telephone network or broad based network such as Internet. The gaming server may enable each of the gaming devices 10A and 10B to play, as clients to the gaming server 50, different games or different instantiations of the same game. The gaming server may also enable a multi-user game in which both the gaming devices 10A and 10B participate concurrently in the same game. In this implementation, the gaming server 50 performs the penalty process illustrated in FIG. 2. However, the process does not affect the state of the server 50 but affects the interaction of the server 50 with a particular gaming device 10.
  • [0048]
    The server 50 comprises a processor 52 and a memory 54 that stores a data structure 17 for the game that is currently being played remotely via the gaming device 10a. The memory 54 stores computer program instructions that control the operation of the server 50 when loaded into the processor 52. The memory 54 may be any suitable type of memory. The memory 54 includes computer program instructions for one or more games, which when loaded into the processor 52 enable multiple users to interact with the server 50 and play the game(s). The computer program instructions may arrive at the server 50 via an electromagnetic carrier signal 51 or be copied from a physical entity 53 such as a computer program product, a memory device or a record medium such as a CD-ROM or DVD.
  • [0049]
    The server 50, as illustrated in FIG. 2, detects an event specified by the data structure 17 in a game played using device 10A at step 30. The server 50, at step 32, determines the penalty state associated with the detected event in the data structure 17. Then, the server 50 changes the manner in which it interacts with the gaming device 10A at step 34. The penalty state in this circumstance is not a penalty state of the server 50 but it is a virtual penalty state associated with the gaming device 10A or its user. Typically, the server 50 will store a status flag against an identification of the gaming device 10A (or its user) that indicates the virtual state of the gaming device. Normally, the status flag would indicate a normal state, but at step 34 the flag is changed to indicate the determined penalty state. The server uses the value of the status flag to affect how a user of the gaming device participates in the game provided by the gaming server 50. As described above, if the gaming device 10A is in a virtual penalty state then its user's character in the game is handicapped or disadvantaged or the game play is diminished in some way or the user's participation in the game is limited in some aspect.
  • [0050]
    When the virtual state of the gaming device 10A is changed to a penalty state at step 34, a timer in the server 50 is started at step 36 and the server 50 controls the gaming device 10 to present a transaction option to the user for disabling the penalty state. In the illustrated example, the option involves the purchase of a token, however, in other implementations it may involve the completion of a specified task.
  • [0051]
    The client gaming device 10 comprises a user interface 14 for providing, in response to the server 50 changing the state of the game for the user from a first non-penalty state to a second penalty state, a user-selectable transaction option for completing a transaction with the server that changes the state of the game for the user from the second penalty state to the first non-penalty state.
  • [0052]
    The process in the server then enters the loop 39. The loop is exited if the timer exceeds a threshold. This threshold value may be dependent upon the current penalty state and may be stored as a value associated with the current penalty state in the data structure 17. The loop 39 may also be exited if a token is received by the gaming device 10A or the specified task is completed in the game at step 42. When the loop 39 is exited at the server 50, the status flag associated with the gaming device 10A is reset to indicate a normal state for the gaming device 10A.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 4 illustrates a transaction, initiated by a user of the remote device by accepting the transaction option. The transaction changes the state of the game from a penalty state to a non-penalty state.
  • [0054]
    If the transaction option for disabling the penalty state is the purchase of an electronic token, then the server controls the client gaming device 10A to present a transaction option for purchasing an electronic token. If the user accepts this transaction option a transaction message 101 identifying the user is sent to a remote authorization server 50 using the radio transceiver 24. When the transaction message 101 is received at the authorization server 50, the server issues a token to the server 50 that authorizes the deactivation of the current penalty state of the user of gaming device 10A. In the example illustrated, the authorization server and the gaming server 50 are the same device. However, in other implementations they may be different devices. The authorization server also uses the identification information of the user to charge the user for issuing the token. The charge 103 made for a token may vary and may dependent upon the particular penalty state it deactivates.
  • [0055]
    If the transaction option for disabling the penalty state is the completion of an extra specified task, then a transaction message 101 is sent to a remote authorization server 50 using the radio transceiver 24. Typically, this transaction message 101 is dependant upon the current penalty state and includes an identification of the user of the gaming device 10. When the transaction message 101 is received at the authorization server 50, the server issues a specified task to the gaming device by sending to the gaming device 10 a message 102 that either specifies the task or identifies the specified task. The server may also use the identification information of the user to charge the user for issuing the specified task. The charge 103 made for a task may vary and may dependent upon the particular penalty state it deactivates. The messages 101, 102 exchanged between the gaming device 10 and the server 50 may be SMS messages. The specified task may, for example, involve a test of skill or knowledge. In one implementation, the specified task involves answering one or more questions, provided by the server, correctly. As an example, if a game character is injured the specified task may involve answering a series of medical questions. This advantageously enables the introduction of educational material into the game.
  • [0056]
    A revenue stream from a game can thus be obtained by transacting with a remote gaming device, used by a user to play a game, to change the state of the game for the user from a penalty state to a non-penalty state.
  • [0057]
    As described previously, the multi-user game may comprise one or more “user playing objects” and each user playing object may have one or more attributes. Each different event specified in the data structure 17 may have a different associated penalty state. A penalty state may disable a user playing object in the game. Another possible type of penalty state may disable all user playing objects associated with the current user in this and other games. A further possible type of penalty state affects one or more attributes of a user playing object associated with the user in the current game. A further possible type of penalty state affects one or more attributes of a user playing object associated with the user in this game and one or more corresponding attributes of the user playing object associated with the user in at least another game. Thus a penalty state may be limited to the current game or may have persistence through a number of different games. The penalty state may prevent a user playing a game or may limit the way in which a user plays a game. A penalty state may or may not have persistence between sessions and/or game instantiations. This persistence in time may be achieved by storing when a gaming session ends the timer value, a real time clock value at that time and information identifying the current penalty state. Then, when a new session is initiated, the prior penalty state is identified from the stored information and recorded real clock time value is subtracted from the current real clock time value and the difference is added to the recorded timer value to obtain a current timer value. The current timer value is then compared with the relevant threshold associated with the prior penalty state as in step 40 of FIG. 2. If the threshold is exceeded, the state of the gaming device is set to the normal state, but if the threshold is not exceeded, the state of the device is set to the prior penalty state.
  • [0058]
    Although embodiments of the present invention have been described in the preceding paragraphs with reference to various examples, it should be appreciated that modifications to the examples given can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as claimed.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/41
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationA63F13/792, A63F13/12, A63F13/332, A63F13/77, G07F17/3269, G07F17/3244, H04L67/38, A63F2300/406, A63F2300/5513, A63F2300/609
European ClassificationA63F13/12, H04L29/06C4
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