Title:
Method and system for determining a frustration profile of a player on an online game and using the frustration profile to enhance the online experience of the player
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An online gaming website monitors indicators that a player waiting to play an online game is becoming frustrated, and generates a frustration profile for the player based on the indicators. The frustration profile is utilized to decrease the time that the player waits to play an online game, such as by changing the player's position on a queue for play of the game, or by offering an alternative game compatible with the player's gaming interests, which if selected by the player would decrease the player's waiting time.



Inventors:
Mceniry, Christopher A. (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/151701
Publication Date:
11/12/2009
Filing Date:
05/08/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HOWARAH, GEORGE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER, DAVID, LITTENBERG,;KRUMHOLZ & MENTLIK (600 SOUTH AVENUE WEST, WESTFIELD, NJ, 07090, US)
Claims:
1. A method for hosting online gaming: monitoring at least one indicator of frustration of a player waiting to play an online game; generating a frustration profile for the player based on the monitored indicator; and displaying an alternative online game to the player while the player is waiting to play an online game, wherein the alternative game is based on the frustration profile.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the alternative game is available for substantially immediate start of play.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the indicator includes at least one of a text entry and audio data the player supplies while in a chat room of a website hosting the online gaming.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the generating of the profile includes determining whether the text entry or the audio data includes a predetermined word or formative of the word.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the indicator includes sensor data generated at a gaming peripheral.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the sensor data includes data representative of a player depressing a button on the peripheral.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the frustration profile includes a patience value based on a maximum waiting time before the player becomes frustrated.

8. The method of claim 8, wherein the patience value is associated with a characteristic of an online game.

9. The method of claim 1 further comprising: transmitting targeted advertising to the player based on the frustration profile.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the alternative game is playable with relaxed criteria in relation to gaming criteria supplied by the player.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the relaxed criteria provides that the alternative game is playable with less players than a number of players for game play the player supplies as the gaming criteria.

12. A system for hosting an online gaming comprising: a monitoring module for monitoring at least one indicator of frustration of a player waiting to play an online game; a frustration profile module for generating a frustration profile for the player based on the monitored indicator; and a website interface for displaying an alternative online game to the player while the player is waiting to play an online game, wherein the alternative game is based on the frustration profile.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the alternative game is available for substantially immediate start of play.

14. The system of claim 12, wherein the indicator includes at least one of a text entry and audio data the player supplies while in a chat room of the website interface.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the profile is generated by determining whether the text entry or the audio data includes a predetermined word or formative of the word.

16. The system of claim 12, wherein the indicator includes sensor data generated at a gaming peripheral coupled to the website interface.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the sensor data includes data representative of a player depressing a button on the peripheral.

18. The system of claim 12, wherein the frustration profile includes a patience value based on a maximum waiting time before the player becomes frustrated.

19. The system of claim 18, wherein the patience value is associated with a characteristic of an online game.

20. The system of claim 12, wherein the website interface transmits targeted advertising to the player based on the frustration profile of the player.

21. The system of claim 12, wherein the alternative game is playable with relaxed criteria in relation to gaming criteria supplied by the player

22. The system of claim 21, wherein the relaxed criteria provides that the alternative game is playable with less players than a number of players for game play that the player supplies as the gaming criteria.

23. A method for hosting online gaming: monitoring at least one indicator of frustration of a player waiting to play an online game, wherein the player is on a queue waiting for play of the game; generating a frustration profile for the player based on the monitored indicator; and changing the position of the player on the queue based on the frustration profile.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the frustration profile includes a patience value based on a maximum waiting time before the player becomes frustrated and wherein the position of the player on the queue is changed based on the patience value.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein the position of the player on the queue is changed such that the position of the player on the queue is before the positions of other players on the queue having respective patience values exceeding that of the player.

26. A system for hosting an online gaming comprising: a monitoring module for monitoring at least one indicator of frustration of a player waiting to play an online game, wherein the player is on a queue waiting for play of the game; and a frustration profile module for generating a frustration profile for the player based on the monitored indicator, wherein the profile module changes the position of the player on the queue based on the frustration profile.

27. The system of claim 26, wherein the frustration profile includes a patience value based on a maximum waiting time before the player becomes frustrated and wherein the position of the player on the queue is changed based on the patience value.

28. The system of claim 27, wherein the position of the player on the queue is changed such that the position of the player on the queue is before the positions of other players on the queue having respective patience values exceeding that of the player.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In an online game, several individuals join one another, in cyberspace, to play a game whose features match the gaming objectives specified by each of the individuals. For example, an individual may desire to play one brand of game and another individual may desire to play another brand of game. Moreover, two individuals may want to play the same game but have different preferences, such as a particular game map or weapons.

In a typical online game implementation, an individual desiring to play an online game accesses, over a communications network such as the Internet, a communications network site, such as an Internet website, hosting online games. After the individual supplies identification information to the website, the individual (player) supplies his preferences for the type of game the player desires to play, such as number of players desired for game play, map, type of game, time length for game play, etc. Typically, the website hosts a number of games whose features match, exactly or approximately, the preferences specified by a player.

Oftentimes, after the player supplies preferences for game play, the website places the player into a virtual waiting room, where the player waits until a game satisfying the preferences is available for the start of play. The player, for example, may need to wait in the waiting room until a specified number of players who entered the waiting room have matching game preferences and, furthermore, for a hosted online game having features corresponding to the preferences to become available for the start of game play. The waiting room typically includes a chat room where players waiting to begin play of a game on the host website, in order to pass time, can interact, for example, by text messaging, or audio or video conferencing, with other players who are also in the waiting room and may be waiting for a game having the same or similar game features.

The length of waiting time for a game to start can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the popularity of the game, the minimum number of players to start a game, and the amount of criteria players desire to be satisfied in order to join the game. It has been found that, when the wait for a game becomes too long, such as more than a few minutes, some players become impatient and potentially frustrated with the online gaming experience. The frustration, for example, may cause the player to exit the waiting room of the host website. Furthermore, if the player experiences frustration many times when waiting to play online games, the player may stop playing online games altogether. Thus, the frustration a player experiences when waiting to play an online game may impact the success of a website hosting online games, or the viability of the entire online gaming industry.

Therefore, there exists a need for determining a frustration profile of a player waiting to start play of an online game and using the frustration profile to avoid the player becoming frustrated when waiting to play an online game and to ensure a positive overall online gaming experience for the player.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, indicators of the frustration of an individual waiting to play an online game are monitored and then evaluated to generate a frustration profile for the individual. The frustration profile is then utilized to decrease the waiting time of the player in a waiting room, which avoids the player becoming frustrated when waiting to play an online game and enhances the overall online gaming experience of the player.

In one embodiment, a communications network site, such as an Internet website, hosts a plurality of online games and individuals (players) access the website from a game console having communications capabilities to play an online game hosted on the website. To play a game on the website, a player at the console logs onto the website, at which time the player supplies the website with identification information and also criteria for a game the player desires to play. The website then places the player into a virtual waiting room, where the player waits until a game having the specified criteria is available for start of game play. The waiting room includes a chat room in which the player can communicate, such as by text entries or audio or video conferencing, with other players who also may be waiting in the waiting room for the start of a game. While the player waits in the waiting room, the website monitors indicators that the player is becoming frustrated with waiting. The website stores the frustration indicators information for the player each time that the player visits the waiting room, and when sufficient historical data has been stored, evaluates the indicators information to determine a frustration profile for the player. The frustration profile for a player may define a summary of observed behaviors that are indicative of when a player is experiencing frustration and, preferably, may define a waiting time in the waiting room of an online gaming room after which the player begins to experience frustration, or a patience value. After the frustration profile is generated, the website uses the frustration profile, and preferably the patience value, when the player is placed into the waiting room of the website, to attempt to improve the online gaming experience for the player.

In one embodiment, when players enter a waiting room, the website monitors the waiting times of the players waiting for start of a game having the same criteria and, based on the frustration profiles, respectively, of the players in the waiting room, changes the position of one or more of the players on a queue waiting for play of the game to avoid, as much as possible, the players becoming frustrated.

In another embodiment, when a player enters the waiting room, the website monitors the waiting time and proposes to the player, before the elapsed waiting time equals the patience value, an alternative online game whose criteria differs only slightly from that supplied by the player. The alternative game, preferably, requires a nominal waiting time before the start of game play, such that if the player decides to play the alternative game, the player is likely not to become frustrated.

In one embodiment, the frustration indicators are chat room inputs by a player while the player waits in the waiting room. The chat room inputs include, for example, textual entries made during instant messaging and words spoken during an audio conference.

In a further embodiment, during player registration with the website, software from the website is installed on the console to provide that the console transmits to the website frustration indicators generated at a gaming peripheral which is coupled to the console and a player uses to play an online game. The frustration indicators from the gaming peripheral include data generated at the peripheral while the player is in a waiting room and representative of motion of the peripheral or the force with which the player depresses buttons on the peripheral.

In another embodiment, the frustration indicators include data representative of the amplitude of audible sound and motion of the player which audio and video sensing devices at the console, such as a microphone and camera system, respectively, detect while the player is in a waiting room.

In a further embodiment, the frustration profile for a player is used for transmitting targeted advertising to the player.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the present preferred embodiments, which description should be considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference indicate similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a system in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of a process in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of a process in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows in block diagram form a preferred embodiment of a system 10. Referring to FIG. 1, the system 10 includes a game console 12 and a communications network gaming server site 14, where each of the console 12 and site 14 has communications capabilities and can be communicatively coupled to each other over a communications network 16, such as the Internet, via communication links 18 and 20, respectively. In addition, the system 10 includes an optional gaming peripheral 22 communicatively coupled to the console 12. Further, the system 10 includes an optional advertising communications network site 15, which is communicatively coupled to the network 16 via a communication link 21.

It is to be understood that each of the components in the gaming console 12, the network site 14 and the peripheral 22 which is described below as performing data processing operations is a software module or, alternatively, a hardware module or a combined hardware/software module. In addition, each of the data processing modules in the gaming console 12, the network site 14 and the peripheral 22 suitably contains a memory storage area, such as RAM, for storage of data and instructions for performing processing operations, and a processor for executing data processing instructions and processing data, in accordance with the present invention. Alternatively, instructions for performing processing operations can be stored in hardware in one or more memories in the gaming console 12, the network site 14 and the peripheral 22.

The game console 12 is a conventional device for playing electronic games, and includes a controller 28 which may be coupled to the conventional components of a keyboard 32, a camera 34, a microphone 36 and a mouse 30. In addition, the console 12 includes a conventional communications capability that a user can operate to establish a communications link with a remote communications device over a communications network, such as the Internet. Although the invention is illustrated below in connection with the gaming console 12, it is to be understood that the invention may also be implemented on any device capable of processing instructions and communications, such as a computer, PDA, laptop, handheld device, etc.

The gaming peripheral 22 is a conventional gaming device, such as a joy stick, compatible with online games hosted at an online gaming website, such as the site 14, and can be readily communicatively coupled to the console 12 by hardwire or wirelessly. The peripheral 22 includes a motion sensor module 40 and an input button module 42 including buttons 43A, 43B, 43C and 43D. The motion sensor module 40 is a conventional device including a sensor for detecting motion of the peripheral 22. The module 40, based on the motion detected by the sensor, generates motion data signals representative of the location and orientation of the peripheral 22 as the player moves the peripheral 22. The buttons 43 include or are coupled to conventional sensors for detecting depression of, and the amount of force with which a player depresses, a button 43. The module 42, based on the detection data collected by the sensors for the buttons 43, generates button depression data signals representative of the amount of force applied to, and the number of times the player depressed, the individual buttons 43.

The communications network server site 14 includes servers and associated processors that perform data processing operations for implementing online gaming hosting functionalities, and also provide for the exchange of data between the site 14 and the console 12 over the network 16. In the illustrated preferred embodiment, the site 14 includes a controller 50 coupled to each of a website interface module 52, a frustration indicators log module 54, an indicators analyzer module 56, a frustration profile module 58 and a game and advertisement database module 60.

The website module 52 generates an interface for display at a monitor coupled to a game console used by a player to access the server site 14, and which facilitates exchange of data signals between the site 14 and a game console, such as the console 12. The module 52 modifies the interface, once a player accesses the site 14, for displaying an online game room, a waiting room and a game setting. The waiting room preferably includes a chat room in which a player in the waiting room can communicate with other players waiting in the waiting room, such as by text entries and audio and video conferencing.

Further, the interface of the module 52 facilities receipt by the module 52 of data streams transmitted from the console 12, and which the server site 14 uses as indicators of frustration of a player who is waiting to play a game hosted by the site 14. In one embodiment, the communications occurring in the chat room of the waiting room include text inputs supplied by the keyboard 32, and the words spoken by the player as detected at the microphone 36 during audio conferencing.

In another embodiment, the module 52 receives from the console 12 data representative of the amplitude of the audible sound detected at the microphone 36, and data representative of images detected at the camera 34, during audio and video conferencing, respectively.

In a further embodiment, the module 52 receives from the console 12 motion and button depression data signals generated at the peripheral 22.

The indicators log module 54 stores frustration indicator information for a player based on the monitoring of waiting time of a player in the waiting room by the controller 50, and also data streams the site 14 receives from the console 12.

The analyzer module 56 evaluates the indicator information stored in the log module 54 for a particular player, and assigns activity values for respective categories of the indicators, based on the characteristics of the individual indicators.

The frustration profile module 58 performs processing, based on data supplied by the analyzer module 56, to generate a frustration profile for the player. The frustration profile may define a summary of observed behaviors that are indicative of when a player is experiencing frustration and, preferably define a waiting time in the waiting room of an online gaming room after which the player begins to experience frustration (“patience value”). In a preferred embodiment, the module 58 includes a memory containing an activity value that corresponds to a condition of frustration for a particular category of an indicator. The module 58 performs processing to generate the frustration profile for the player, based on the activity value for the category assigned by the analyzer module 56.

The game and advertisement module 60 includes a memory containing the software and data for play of online games and also information characterizing the online games. In addition, the memory of the module 60 includes advertisement information indexed by patience value and also the characteristics of an online game.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, an online game server site, such as the site 14, monitors indicators of frustration of a player while the player waits in a waiting room of the site to play a game hosted by the site 14, stores the frustration indicator information in a memory and, after collecting sufficient historical frustration indicator information for the player, generates a frustration profile for the player. The site 14 then modifies the player's experience accordingly, so as to minimize the likelihood that the player will become frustrated. For example, if the site 14 determines that the player may be becoming frustrated, it may prioritize when the player joins a game so as to avoid the player waiting in the waiting room for a time exceeding a patience value defined by the frustration profile of the player, thereby improving the online gaming experience of the player. In another aspect of the invention, the player may be provided with online gaming alternatives, such as an online game having criteria similar to the gaming criteria supplied by the player and for which the waiting time is shorter, such that the time the player is in the waiting room likely would not exceed the patience value. In a further embodiment, the player may be provided with distraction content, such as game and movie trailers, mini-games, demos or targeted advertisements, for reducing the player's frustration, such that the player would be willing to wait longer to play a game.

FIG. 2 shows an exemplary process 100 for generating a frustration profile for a player of an online game, in accordance with the present invention. For purposes of illustration, the process 100 is described in connection with operations performed by components of the console 12, the peripheral 22 and the server site 14 of the system 10, as shown in FIG. 1.

Referring to FIG. 2, in step 110 a player at the console 12 initially accesses the website generated by the interface module 52 of the server site 14 via the Internet 16. In step 112, the player supplies identification information to the interface module 52 as part of an initial registration. The module 52 stores the player identification information in memory. Alternatively, the module 52 plants a cookie at the console 12 when the player initially registers, and uses the cookie on the console each subsequent time that the player accesses the website module 52 to recognize the player and retrieve the corresponding identification information for the player from memory.

Further in step 112, when the player initially registers, the player may be required to download from the website and install on the console 12 a monitoring program. The monitoring program provides that data constituting frustration indicator information, which is generated at the console 12 and the peripheral 22 while the player is waiting in the waiting room, is automatically transmitted to the server 14 for collection by the module 52.

In step 114, the player submits criteria for an online game to the module 52. The criteria includes, for example, required number of players for a game, game map, type of game and length of a game. For highlighting the features of the invention, the process 100 is explained below for an exemplary embodiment where the player submits the following criteria: number of players is sixteen, length of game is five minutes and type of game is capture-the-flag. After the player submits the criteria, the module 52 places the player in a virtual waiting room, which is displayed on the monitor coupled to the console 12. The player waits in the waiting room until the module 52 notifies the player that a game having the specified criteria is available for start of play.

In step 116, when the module 52 places the player in a waiting room, the module 52 notifies the controller 50 of such event. The controller 50, in turn, begins tracking the time that the player is in the waiting room, which constitutes frustration indicator information. In addition, the controller 50 monitors data supplied by the console 12 to the module 52, which also constitutes frustration indicator information. The controller 50 indexes the indicator information supplied by the console 12 by elapsed time in the waiting room and source of the indicator information. The source, for example, is a chat room where the player supplies text entries via the keyboard 32 or spoken words via the microphone 36. Further, the controller 50 assigns an activity value for such frustration indicator information, in accordance with elapsed waiting time or interval of elapsed waiting time, and also an identifier of the source of the indicator (“category of indicator information”).

In one embodiment, the frustration indicator information includes data for determining the time that a player, who was in the waiting room for some period of time but exited the waiting room before entering a desired game, had been waiting in the waiting room.

In another embodiment, the frustration indicator information includes text entries, in other words, words, entered by a player during instant messaging in a chat room of the waiting room. In further embodiment, the frustration indicator information includes the words spoken by the player while participating in an audio conference in the chat room. The controller 50 includes voice recognition software in its memory for converting the audio information into words. The controller 50 assigns a text value according to the number of times the player uses a particular word or formative thereof during a time interval. For example, the controller 50 assigns a text value of three (3) where the player uses the word “wait” or “waiting” three times via text entry or in audio conferencing within a thirty second interval.

In another embodiment, the frustration indicator information includes button movement data generated at the button input module 42 of the peripheral 22. The button movement data includes data representative of how many times the button is depressed, and optionally the force with which the button has been depressed. For each of the button inputs, the controller 50 assigns a button depression value based on whether the button has been depressed during a time interval, and an optional button force value based on the amount of force detected at the time the player depresses the button. For example, the controller 50 assigns a button depression value of five (5) if the button is depressed five times during a one second interval. In a further embodiment, the controller 50 assigns a button force value of one (1) if the force with the which the player depresses the button over a five second interval exceeds a predetermined force.

In still another embodiment, the frustration indicator information includes audio amplitude data representative of the amplitude (volume level) of the words spoken by the player as detected at the microphone 36 while the player participates in an audio conference in the chat room.

In a further embodiment, the frustration indicator information includes image motion data representative of player movement at the console 12 while in the waiting room, such as during a video conference in the chat room. The controller 50 includes image motion analysis software in its memory for determining the amount of change in the image between one image frame and a subsequent image frame, and for assigning a motion value for the adjoining frames based on the amount of change. For example, the controller 50 assigns a motion value of five (5) if the motion from frame-to-frame exceeds a first predetermined level within a five second interval, and a value of ten if the frame-to-frame motion exceeds a second predetermined level within a five second interval.

In still a further embodiment, the frustration indicator information includes motion data generated at the motion sensor module 40 of the peripheral 22. The controller 50 includes motion analysis software in its memory for determining how much, the speed with which and direction that the player moves the peripheral 22 over time, based on peripheral location and orientation data generated at the module 40. The controller 50 assigns overall peripheral motion values corresponding to the extent and nature of the movement of the peripheral over time. For example, the controller 50 assigns a peripheral motion value of three (3) if the player moves the peripheral a predetermined distance within a five second interval.

In step 118, the controller 50 routes to the log module 54 the waiting time for a player before the player exits the waiting room prior to start of a desired game, and also activity values with the associated timing information, category of indicator information and characteristics of the game the player is waiting to play. The log module 54 stores such information in its memory each time that the player waits in the waiting room. After sufficient historical indicator information has been collected for a player, for example, the player has waited in the waiting room ten times for at least a predetermined time, such as five minutes, step 120 of the process 100 is performed.

In step 120, the analyzer module 56 generates composite activity values based on the information stored in the log module 54. For example, the module 56 computes a composite abort value, which is the average amount of time that a player in the waiting room remained in the waiting room before exiting the room prior to the start of play a desired game for the ten waiting room visits by the player. The module 56 then transmits the composite abort value to the frustration profile module 58. The module 58 stores the composite abort value in the frustration profile for the player as a patience value corresponding to a condition of frustration, and also optionally the characteristics of the game the player was waiting to play when the waiting time indicator information relied upon was being obtained.

In another embodiment, the analyzer module 56 generates composite activity values for a category of an indicator indexed by waiting time. For example, for each time that the player waited in the waiting room for a game, the module 56 sums the text values over various intervals of elapsed time, such as after one minute, two minutes, etc., up to five minutes. Then, for each elapsed time interval, the module 56 computes an average of the sums for the ten waiting room visits by the player and the average becomes a composite activity value. The module 56 then transmits the composite activity values with the respective elapsed time interval information to the frustration profile module 58. The module 58 determines, from a table of predetermined values, whether any of the composite activity values for the category for an elapsed time interval corresponds to a condition of frustration. If yes, the module 58 stores, in the frustration profile for the player, a patience value equal to the earliest elapsed time which marks the start of a time interval having a composite activity value corresponding to a condition of frustration, and also the characteristics of the game the player was waiting to play when the indicator information relied upon was being obtained.

FIG. 3 is an exemplary process 150 for utilizing a frustration profile of a player, generated in accordance with the present invention, to decrease waiting time for the player in a waiting room and, thus, enhance the online gaming experience of the player. For purposes of illustration, the process 150 is described below in connection with the system 10 of FIG. 1 and a frustration profile for a player generated as set forth by the process 100.

Referring to FIG. 3, in step 152, a player accesses the website of the server 14, registration information is collected, gaming criteria is supplied by the player and the player is placed in the waiting room, as described above in steps 110, 112 and 114 of the process 100. Then in step 154, as soon as the player is placed in the waiting room, the controller 50 begins monitoring the elapsed waiting time and also retrieves from the module 58 frustration profile information for the player. The profile information for the player, for example, includes a patience value equal to three minutes for a capture-the-flag type of game.

In step 156, the controller 50 determines whether the elapsed waiting time is nearing the patience value, for example, if the difference is less than one minute. If no, step 156 continues to be performed. If yes, the process proceeds to step 158.

In step 158, the controller 50 uses the frustration profile of the player to minimize waiting time for the player in the waiting room and, thus, avoid the player becoming frustrated. In one embodiment, based on the patience values for respective players in the waiting room waiting to play a game having the same criteria, the controller 50 changes the position of a player on a queue waiting for play of the game, based on the frustration profile and the amount of time the player already has been waiting on the queue. For example, a first player having a small patience value is moved to a higher position on the queue than a second player who is already on the queue and was placed on the queue before the first player, and where the second player has a larger patience value than the first player. Thus, the positions of players on the queue are changed to provide that players who are likely to become frustrated with waiting after a relatively short waiting time are given priority for play of the game over players whose patience values are larger and, thus, can wait longer in a waiting room before becoming frustrated.

In another embodiment of the embodiment of the invention, in step 158 the controller 50 retrieves gaming information from the game module 60 based on the criteria for the online game supplied by the player. For example, the game module 60 supplies gaming information for games whose type is the same as selected by the player. The gaming information further includes number of potential players and minimum numbers of players for game play. The controller 50 then performs a matching algorithm to match, as closely as possible, the gaming criteria supplied by the player with the criteria of games also hosted by the site 14 and for which the player would have little or no waiting time based on the availability of other players for play of the game. For purposes of illustrating the invention, the website hosts a game which has the type criteria supplied by the player and, in addition, can be played with a minimum of ten players, and further such game is available for immediate play and nine other players are waiting to play a game with such criteria. The controller 50, hence, selects such game as an alternative game, and transmits control signals to the module 52 causing a pop-up window to appear on the display and present the player with the alternative game and its criteria. The player can accept the alternative game, and start play almost immediately. Thus, based on the frustration profile, and in particular the patience value, the controller 50 determines whether and when to offer a player waiting for the start of a game in a waiting room an alternative game having criteria similar to that initially supplied by the player, in the event the player waits in the waiting room for a time approaching the time the player would start to become frustrated.

The patience value and the gaming criteria constitute temporal and situational information, respectively, that provide an indication of whether and when a player would experience frustration when waiting to play a certain type of game, and are used, in accordance with the present invention, to avoid a player becoming frustrated when waiting in a waiting room and improve the overall online game playing experience of the player, such as by prioritizing the position of the player on a waiting queue for a game or presenting an alternative online game to the player, having similar criteria, before the player becomes frustrated with waiting.

In a further embodiment, while elapsed waiting time is being monitored and the condition in step 156 is not satisfied, the controller 50 retrieves advertising information from the module 60 whose gaming criteria correlates to the frustration profile of the player, and causes the display of targeted advertising banners on the display coupled to the console 12 while the player is in the waiting room.

In a further embodiment, the server site 14 transmits the frustration profile information and associated contact information for the player to the advertising site 15. The site 15, for example, purchases such information from the site 14, and uses the frustration profile information to target the advertising of products and services to the player, such as by sending emails to the player concerning products and services determined to be of interest based on the player's frustration profile or causing the display of targeted advertising banners, trailers, mini-games or other distraction content on the display coupled to the console 10.

Referring to FIG. 1, in a further embodiment of the gaming peripheral 22, the peripheral 22 includes a physiological sensor module 44 coupled to the controller 28 of the game console 10. The physiological sensor module 44 includes a contact surface that would be in contact with the skin of a player, such as the player's palm or fingers, when the player holds the peripheral 22 to play a game. The module 44 includes sensors coupled to the contact surface for detecting physical phenomenon, such as electrical impulses beneath the player's skin or moisture. The module 44 further includes conventional hardware and software for generating data signals representative of the detected physical phenomenon, such as amplitude and frequency of the electrical impulses and moisture level. The controller 50 includes electrical signal analysis software in its memory for determining, for example, the level of neural activity in the portion of the player's hand contacting the surface. Further, the controller 50 assigns a moisture level activity value based on the moisture level, and also a neural activity value based on the level of neural activity, detected while the player is in the waiting room. For example, the controller 50 assigns a moisture level of one (1) if the moisture level exceeds a predetermined level at any time during a five second interval. The activity values generated from such frustration indictor information would be processed to generate patience values in a manner similar to that described above for step 120 of the process 100.

Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.