Title:
Game play with mobile communications device synchronization
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mobile communications device including a transceiver; a system for playing a game; and a system for downloading game status information through the transceiver and a mobile communications system, and for playing the game based, at least partially, on the downloaded game status information. A method of playing a video game is provided including transmitting game status information between a server and a mobile communications device through a mobile communications system with use of a wireless link; and playing a game on the mobile communications device based, at least partially, on the game status information transmitted to the mobile communications device from the server.



Inventors:
Kiiskinen, Arto (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/894704
Publication Date:
02/09/2006
Filing Date:
07/19/2004
Assignee:
Nokia Corporation
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WERT, JOSHUA P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARRINGTON & SMITH, LLP (4 RESEARCH DRIVE, SHELTON, CT, 06484-6212, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mobile communications device comprising: a transceiver; a system for playing a game; and a system for downloading game status information through the transceiver from a mobile communications system, and for playing the game based, at least partially, on the downloaded game status information.

2. A mobile communications device as in claim 1 wherein the mobile communications device comprises a mobile telephone.

3. A mobile communications device as in claim 1 further comprising a system for uploading game status information from the mobile communications device to a second device through the transceiver and the mobile communications system.

4. A mobile communications device as in claim 1 wherein the system for downloading game status information comprises a system for downloading the game status information from a server coupled to the mobile communications system.

5. A mobile communications device as in claim 1 wherein the system for downloading the game status information comprises a protocol, in the system for playing the game, to communicate with a server.

6. A mobile communications device as in claim 1 wherein the system for downloading the game status information comprises the system for playing the game accessing the game status information in a separate database, and the use of a synchronization protocol and client for synchronizing of the game status information in the mobile communications device with game status information in a server.

7. A mobile communications device as in claim 6 wherein the synchronization protocol comprises SynclML.

8. A mobile communications device as in claim 7 wherein the synchronization protocol is adapted to access the game status information stored in an application execution system environment, and synchronize the game status information based upon a trigger created by opening or closing the application execution system environment.

9. A mobile communications device as in claim 8 wherein the application execution system environment comprises a Java application.

10. A mobile communications device comprising: a transceiver; a system for playing an electronic game; and a system for uploading game status information from the mobile communications device to a memory through the transceiver to a mobile communications system.

11. A mobile communications device as in claim 10 wherein the mobile communications device comprises a mobile telephone.

12. A mobile communications device as in claim 10 further comprising a system for downloading game status information through the transceiver and the mobile communications system, and for playing the game based, at least partially, on the downloaded game status information.

13. A mobile communications device as in claim 10 wherein the system for uploading game status information comprises a system for uploading the game status information to a server coupled to the mobile communications system.

14. A mobile communications device as in claim 10 further comprising a system for downloading the game status information comprising a protocol, in the system for playing the game, to communicate with a server.

15. A mobile communications device as in claim 10 wherein the system for downloading the game status information comprises the system for playing the game being adapted to access the game status information in the memory, wherein the memory is located in a server, and the mobile communications device is adapted to use a synchronization protocol and client for synchronizing the game status information in the mobile communications device with game status information in the server.

16. A mobile communications device as in claim 15 wherein the synchronization protocol comprises SynclML.

17. A mobile communications device as in claim 16 wherein the synchronization protocol is adapted to access the game status information stored in an application execution system environment, and synchronize the game status information based upon a trigger created by opening or closing the application execution system environment.

18. A mobile communications device as in claim 17 wherein the application execution system environment comprises a Java application.

19. A system for synchronizing an electronic game status between a first mobile communications device and a second device, the system comprising: a system for transmitting game status information between the second device and a server; and a mobile communications system adapted to transmit the game status information between the server and the first mobile communications device with use of a wireless link, wherein the game status information is adapted to be transmitted from the second device to the first mobile communications device through the server and the wireless link for continuing of game play with the first mobile communications device in a transient mode.

20. A system for synchronizing the electronic game status as in claim 19 wherein the first mobile communications device comprises a mobile telephone.

21. A system for synchronizing the electronic game status as in claim 19 wherein the system for synchronizing the electronic game status further comprising a system for uploading the game status information from the first mobile communications device to the second device through a transceiver of the first mobile communications device and the mobile communications system.

22. A system for synchronizing the electronic game status as in claim 19 wherein the system for synchronizing the electronic game status further comprises a system for downloading the game status information through a transceiver of the first mobile communications device and the mobile communications system, and for playing the game based, at least partially, on the downloaded game status information.

23. A system for synchronizing the electronic game status as in claim 22 wherein the system for downloading the game status information comprises a protocol to communicate with the server.

24. A system for synchronizing the electronic game status as in claim 22 wherein the system for downloading the game status information is adapted to access the game status information in a separate database, and is adapted to use a synchronization protocol and client for synchronizing of the game status information in the first mobile communications device with game status information in the server.

25. A system for synchronizing the electronic game status as in claim 24 wherein the synchronization protocol comprises SynclML.

26. A system for synchronizing the electronic game status as in claim 25 wherein the synchronization protocol is adapted to access the game status information stored in an application execution system environment, and synchronize the game status information based upon a trigger created by opening or closing the application execution system environment.

27. A system for synchronizing the electronic game status as in claim 26 wherein the application execution system environment comprises a Java application.

28. A video game system having a game console, the video game system comprising: a system for transmitting game status information from the game console to a server, wherein the game status information is adapted to be transmitted between the server and a mobile communications device by a wireless link through a mobile communications system; and a system for synchronizing game status information in the game console based upon game status information in the server uploaded to the server from the mobile communications device.

29. A method of playing a video game comprising: playing the video game with use of a first game console; ending playing of the video game on the first game console; and transmitting game status information from the first game console to a mobile communications device and allowing the video game to continue to play on the mobile communications device based upon the transmitted game status information, wherein the video game is adapted to continue to play on the mobile communications device without substantial user interaction with the video game.

30. A method of playing a video game comprising: transmitting game status information between a server and a mobile communications device through a mobile communications system with use of a wireless link; and playing a game on the mobile communications device based, at least partially, on the game status information transmitted to the mobile communications device from the server.

31. A mobile communications device comprising: a transceiver; a system for downloading game status information, at least partially created on another device, through the transceiver; a system for downloading a software game application into the mobile communications device through the transceiver and for playing the software game application based, at least partially, on the downloaded game status information, wherein the mobile communications device does not comprise the software game application to run the game status information until the system for downloading the software game application downloads the software game application into a memory of the mobile communications device.

32. A method of playing a video game comprising: transmitting game status information to a mobile communications device with use of a wireless link; downloading a software game application to the mobile communications device with the game status information; and playing a game on the mobile communications device based, at least partially, on the game status information transmitted to the mobile communications device, wherein the mobile communications device does not comprise the software game application to run the game status information until the software game application is downloaded into a memory of the mobile communications device with the game status information.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a game and, more particularly, to transient play of a game with a mobile communications device.

2. Brief Description of Prior Developments

Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. has indicated in press releases that its new PlayStation® Portable (PSP™) will allow developers to create games that can be played both on the move and on a home PlayStation® console, such as PS2, PS3, etc. The PSP™ is intended to feature connectivity with the PS2 and PS3 home consoles. This feature would allow games to be played on a home system, with saved games being moved to the PSP so that play could be continued on the handheld system; exploiting the fact that the PSP's hardware is broadly similar in specification to the PS2. The means by which the PSP and the PS2 will share information is not known.

Sega's Sonic Adventure™ on Dreamcast™ allows users to take away characters from the main game and play with them in a mini game on a Visual Memory Unit. Pokemon® on Gameboy® allows users to create and train characters. Pokemon® Stadium™ on Nintendo64™ allows users of the handheld game to transfer their characters from the Gameboy® to the Nintendo64™ and fight.

There is a desire to provide a transient device for continuing console game play when on the go. When an end user plays a game on a video game console, eventually the game session would end. Typically the end user then saves the game progress so that later on he can return to the game and start from the saved position. It is desired that the saved position could be saved in a format that could then be downloaded to a mobile phone or other mobile communications device. The end user would then be able to take the game situation with him or her between two game sessions at the console. Before the next game session at the console, the end user could synchronize the mobile device's progress with the progress of the saved game in the console memory.

This opens a whole new world of possibilities for game developers. It is likely that the transient mode could be used for building depth to the life of the game character, or achieving preparing work like “testing or resting” during battles or racing. So the possibility to continue the game play anywhere, anytime and during short times when the user has nothing to do, greatly enhances the gaming experience. This kind of functionality is not available currently. There are some solutions where proprietary physical remotes are used to store game progress, but these are used more only to transport game status from one console to another.

There is also a desire to provide a feature of an unsynchronized game between a console and a mobile product which is unlike current solutions which synchronize the game play so that a user may transfer game status between two devices which effectively run the same resident software.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a mobile communications device is provided comprising a transceiver; a system for playing a game; and a system for downloading game status information through the transceiver and a mobile communications system, and for playing the game based, at least partially, on the downloaded game status information.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a mobile communications device is provided comprising a transceiver; a system for playing an electronic game; and a system for uploading game status information from the mobile communications device to a memory through the transceiver and a mobile communications system.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a video game system having a game console is provided comprising a system for transmitting game status information from the game console to a server, wherein the game status information can be transmitted between the server and a mobile communications device by a wireless link through a mobile communications system; and a system for synchronizing game status information in the game console based upon game status information in the server uploaded to the server from the mobile communications device.

In accordance one method of the present invention, a method of playing a video game is provided comprising playing the video game with use of a first game console; ending playing of the video game on the first game console; and transmitting game status information from the first game console to a mobile communications device and allowing the video game to continue to play on the mobile communications device based upon the transmitted game status information. The video game is adapted to continue to play on the mobile communications device without substantial user interaction with the video game.

In accordance with another method of the present invention, a method of playing a video game is provided comprising transmitting game status information between a server and a mobile communications device through a mobile communications system with use of a wireless link; and playing a game on the mobile communications device based, at least partially, on the game status information transmitted to the mobile communications device from the server.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and other features of the present invention are explained in the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a system incorporating features of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of components in the mobile communications device shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a diagram of the system shown in FIG. 1 implemented with use of a mobile communications system having a wireless transmission base station; and

FIG. 4 is a timeline diagram showing one method of use of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a block diagram of a system 10 incorporating features of the present invention. Although the present invention will be described with reference to the exemplary embodiments shown in the drawings, it should be understood that the present invention can be embodied in many alternate forms of embodiments. In addition, any suitable size, shape or type of elements or materials could be used.

The system 10 generally comprises a game console 12, a server 14 and a mobile communications device 16. The game console 12 is adapted to play an electronic game or video game. Examples of game consoles includes PlayStation® PS2, Microsoft® Xbox™, and Nintendo® GameCube™. However, in alternate embodiments, any suitable game console could be provided. The game console preferably comprises a user interface, such as a hand-held controller, a connector for connecting the console to a display, such as a television set, and a communications port, such as for connection to a telephone line, or a cable line, or satellite dish, or an Internet connection. In an alternate embodiment, the game console could comprise a personal computer having game software.

The game console 12 is coupled to the server 14 by a communications connection 18. The communications connection 18 could comprise any suitable connection including, for example, a telephone line, or a cable line, or satellite dish, or an Internet connection, or even a wireless link. The server 14 preferably comprises a memory 20. The memory 20 is adapted to store game status information as further described below. The server 14 could be located at any suitable location. For example, the server could be located at a game software developer's location or at a mobile communications system server. The server 14 is coupled to the mobile communications device 16 by a communications connection 22. The communications connection 22 preferably comprises use of a wireless link in a mobile communications system. In alternate embodiments, the system 10 could comprise additional or alternative components.

Referring also to FIG. 2, the mobile communications device is preferably a mobile telephone mobile device. The device 16 could comprise any type of mobile electronic apparatus such as, for example, a mobile telephone, a personal data assistant (PDA), a mobile communicator, a laptop or notebook computer, or a mobile game player. In the embodiment shown, the mobile device 16 comprises an antenna 24, a transceiver 26, a controller 28, a game application 30 and a user interface 32. The mobile device 16 obviously comprises other components. For example, in a mobile telephone or mobile communicator the mobile device 16 comprises a display screen, a battery, a microphone and a speaker or sound transducer. The present invention could also be used with mobile devices that are not in just one piece. The mobile devices could be ubiquitous in a sense that storage memory is outside the core device and perhaps has some other components as well. The present invention could be used with a virtual device with all the components existing, but not all in the same “place”.

The user interface 32 can comprise any suitable components, such as a keypad, a touch screen, a trackball, a joystick, etc. The transceiver 26 and antenna 24 are adapted to communicate with the server 14 by means of the link 34 through a mobile communications system 36 (see FIG. 3) as part of the connection 22. In the embodiment shown, the link 34 comprises a wireless link, such as a radio frequency link. The air interface standard may conform to, for example, a Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) air interface, or a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) air interface, or a Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) air interface, or GSM, or 3G. In alternate embodiments, features of the present invention could be used with any suitable type of air interface standard. In an alternate embodiment, features of the present invention could be used with a wired communications system, such as a land line telephone system. The wireless telecommunications system establishes the wireless link 34 to couple the mobile device 16 to a base transceiver station (BTS) of an exemplary network operator.

The network operator generally comprises a mobile switching center (MSC) for connecting to a telecommunications network, such as a public switched telephone network or PSTN, at least one base station controller (BSC), and a plurality of base transceiver stations (BTS) that transmit in a forward or downlink direction both physical and logical channels to the mobile device 16 in accordance with a predetermined air interface standard. A reverse or uplink communication path exists from the mobile device 16 to the network operator, and conveys mobile station originated access requests and traffic, such as voice and possible packet data traffic.

The network operator can include a Message Service Center (MSCT) that receives and forwards messages from the mobile device 16, such as Short Message Service (SAS) messages, or any wireless messaging technique including Email and supplementary data services. In an alternate embodiment, features of the present invention could be used with any suitable type of network operator system.

The mobile device 16 also contains a wireless section that includes a digital signal processor (DSP), or equivalent high-speed processor, as well as the wireless radio frequency (RF) transceiver 26 comprising a transmitter and a receiver. The transceiver is coupled to the antenna 24 for communication with the network operator. In an alternate embodiment, features of the present invention could be used with any suitable type of wireless communications device or mobile phone. The server 14 could comprise any suitable type of computer server which is connected to the network operator by any suitable means, such as a telephone line.

As seen in FIG. 2, the controller 28 is coupled to the transceiver for controlling transmission and reception of signals; or at least processing of those signals. The controller is also coupled to the game application 30, such as software which resides in a memory of the mobile device 16 or software adapted to access game software through the Internet. The game application 30 preferably comprises the same game as in the game console 12; perhaps merely less processor intensive, such as with less graphics detail. The game console can comprise a resident game(s) and/or removable game modules or CD-ROMs having different games. The game application 30 can likewise comprise a resident game(s) and/or removable game modules or CD-ROMs having different games, or downloaded game software. The controller 28 is also coupled to the user interface 32. The user interface 32 is also coupled to the game application such that the user can play the game application on the mobile device 16.

The mobile device 16 also comprises a game status information upload/download system 38. The game status information upload/download system 38 could be a part of the game application 30. The game status information upload/download system 38 is coupled to the controller 28. The game status information upload/download system 38 is adapted to download game status information from the server 14 and/or upload game status information to the server 14.

Referring also to FIG. 3, data transfer can occur between the mobile device 16 and the game console 12 by means of the mobile communications system 36 and a connection 40. The server 14 could be located in the mobile communications system 36 or the connection 40. The connection 40 comprises the connection 18 and could comprise any suitable type of connection such as, for example, a telephone line, a cable line, satellite dish, an Internet connection, a wireless link, etc. or a combination or two or more of these.

The game console 12 is connected to a display 42, such as a television set, and the user is able to play a game as is known in the art. The present invention allows the user to transmit game data, such as game status information, to the mobile device 16 such that the user can turn OFF the game console 12, but continue to play the game by means of the mobile device 16 in a transient mode. If the mobile device already has game data, the upload/download system 38 can synchronize the received game data in the mobile device 16. If desired, the user can transmit the game data back to the game console 12 from the mobile device 16 and synchronize the game data. However, this is not required, such as if the user merely uses game play on the mobile device 16 to practice before going back to play on the game console 12, or when allowing others to try a situation in the game at a location remote from the game console 12, such as when the game console is at a user's home and the other(s) is/are at a school, or a workplace, or a friend's house.

The downloading and uploading of the game status information comprises use of the server 14 to store the information from the game console 12 until the information is downloaded by the mobile device 16. Likewise, the downloading and uploading of the game status information comprises use of the server 14 to store the information from the mobile device 16 until the information is downloaded by the game console 12.

The present invention can provide a transient device (e.g., a portable telephone) for continuing console game play on the go. A saved position in a game console could be converted to an application that could then be downloaded to a mobile phone. The end user could then be able to take the game situation with them between two game sessions at the game console 12. Before the next game session at the game console 12 the end user could synchronize the progress made with the game in mobile phone 16 with the progress of the saved game in the memory of the game console 12.

An example is provided in the timeline shown in FIG. 4. A user can start a first game session (game session 1) with the game console 12. When the first game session subsequently ends, game status information can be transmitted 44 to the server 14. The game status information can comprise any suitable game data, such as score, progress in a time line of the game, level in the games, utilities available in the game, characters' status and condition in the game, etc. The game status information can then be sent 46, such as by a status report, from the server 14 to the mobile device 16. After receipt of the game status information by the mobile device, the user can play the game on the mobile device 16 in a transient mode. Optionally, the user can transmit the later version of the game status information back to the server 14 to update the game status information in the game console 12 for use at the start of a second game session (game session 2). The user can either update the server or, at the start of the second game section at the game console 12, the server could query the mobile device 16 for transient mode results. The game console can react to the transient mode results.

This opens a whole new world of possibilities for game developers. It is likely that the transient mode could be used for building depth to the life of the game character, or achieving preparing work like “testing or resting” during battles or racing. So the possibility to continue the game play anywhere, anytime and during short times when the user has nothing to do, greatly enhances the gaming experience.

This kind of functionality is not available in convention systems. There are some solutions where proprietary physical remotes are used to store game progress, but these are used more only to transport game status from one console to another. Advantages include that the end user's gaming experience is greatly enhanced by him being able to interact with the game also while not actually playing. This interaction opens a lot of functionality possibilities. For example, in an adventure type of game, the concept could be used to introduce “camp grounds”. The player could need to reach a camp ground and then save the progress. Then, if the player stops playing there, the transient device assumes that the player has decided to let the game character rest in the camp ground. Now, the time in the camp ground is used for preparing to progress next time when actually playing the game. During the time using the transient device, the end user can train, rest, interact with a possible game character team and do whatever else. When next time the end user starts to play the actual game at the console, the transient device can be synchronized to the ingame progress status.

Advantages for game developers include:

    • possibility to expand the game play experience to time off the console; and
    • possibility to offer rewards for using preset ingame save points (simplifies game design and testing).

The invention can be implemented by at least two possibilities:

    • 1) the local application would contain protocol to communicate with a server; or
    • 2) the local application could save and access the status information in a separate database, and standard synchronization protocols and clients (such as SyncML, for example) would be used for synchronizing with a support server.

The standard's based solution using standard synchronization protocols and clients (such as SyncML) could be much better since:

    • the local application would not need to contain the communication protocol (saves memory space for the appliction content itself);
    • it would make much easier to communicate the solution to all the developers in the world;
    • it would make a nice argument for SyncML;
    • it would create the support business system quickly since it is standards based.

The SyncML solution can access data stored by a Java application (or similar application execution system environment) and synchronize it based on a trigger created by opening or closing the Java application.

With the present invention, at the end of a gaming session it is possible to send a status report to a server network. The server network can then send a Java application to a mobile handset so that the gaming session may continue while the user is “on the move”. An example given of an adventure game which consists of predefined “camp grounds” where the game character reaches a natural pause, e.g. the game character reaches a point where they may rest or has met certain in the game. The user can then send this information to a server where they will receive a Java application on the handset. The user can then train, rest, prepare for the next section of the adventure via the mobile handset. Any game play carried out on the handset can then be transferred back to the game console via the server. The invention allows the user to carry on game play in a portable environment. The present invention can relate to synchronization of data between two different devices, e.q. a gaming console and a mobile handset; but not necessarily to real time game play between two users operating the same game on separate platforms.

The mobile device need not have any resident software relating to the game being played on the console. The reception of a Java application on the mobile device may be the first time that the mobile device has received such software. Also, the received Java application need not be a copy of the console game, and may not provide the same functionality as the console game. The received Java application can be intended to be a subset, with limited scope or reduced features, of the main console game. The user may also wish to delete the application once the synchronized information has been sent back to the console. The mobile device does not need to have software resident in it associated with the software on the console. Software for running the game can be contained within the Java application along with the status information when it is sent from the server.

Furthermore, it is also possible to save an online multiplayer game position in a similar manner that is described above. After the multiplayer session, one or more of the players can then download the game to their mobile device(s) in for the transient mode gaming.

It should be understood that the foregoing description is only illustrative of the invention. Various alternatives and modifications can be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variances which fall within the scope of the appended claims.