Title:
Heterogeneous system for the real-time award and fulfillment of prizes using networked electronic devices
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The system integrating video game applications played on networked electronic devices, using Internet accessible servers. The preferred embodiment integrates advertising and brand marketing within game play, with instantaneous, real-time awarding of skilled and non-skilled based prizes, product discounts and free products and services. Fulfillment of the awarded prizes can be processed at retail and online stores that connect to these same Internet accessible servers.



Inventors:
Momoda, Gerald S. (Mountain View, CA, US)
Moore, Richard E. (San Jose, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/724928
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
03/15/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GALKA, LAWRENCE STEFAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gerald S. Momoda Jr. (Mountain View, CA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A system for networked electronic devices, comprising a plurality of video game applications and a plurality of Internet accessible servers, whereby a registered user of a networked electronic device may redeem a prize from a sponsor in real-time at a retail and online location.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein said networked electronic device comprises mobile phones, personal digital assistants, portable audio players, portable video players, desktop and laptop computers, home and portable game consoles.

3. The system of claim 1 wherein said user of said networked electronic device using said plurality of video game applications must provide personal information to establish an account and become a registered user.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein said plurality of video game applications are downloaded and/or can be pre-loaded onto said networked electronic device.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein said plurality of video game applications have contest rules.

6. The system of claim 1 wherein said plurality of video game applications can be played as often as desired, but frequency of obtaining a win is determined within contest rules.

7. The system of claim 1 wherein said registered user plays said plurality of video game applications attempting to achieve a pre-determined goal/objective on said networked electronic device.

8. The system of claim 7 wherein pre-determined goal/objective on said plurality of video game applications on said networked electronic devices can be both of a skilled and a luck based nature.

9. The system of in claim 7 wherein said registered user achieves said pre-determined objective on said plurality of video game applications on said networked electronic device, thereby recording a win, and thereby said registered user becomes a winner.

10. The system of claim 1 wherein said plurality of Internet accessible servers validate said plurality of video game applications of the registered user.

11. The system of claim 9 wherein said win on said plurality of video game application are validated on said Internet accessible servers in real-time.

12. The system of claim 9 wherein said winner is sent a winning notification to said networked electronic device in real-time. Said winning notification can also be sent and redeemed by other methods, comprising electronic data transfer using said networked electronic devices, email and conventional mail.

13. The system of claim 12 wherein said winning notification comprises a unique and secure image or data having a means to be securely transmitted over Internet accessible servers in said real-time for identifying said registered user of said plurality of video game applications on said networked electronic devices as said winner.

14. The system of claim 12 wherein said winning notification comprises a method having a means to securely authenticate the said winning game on said plurality of video game applications, on said networked electronic devices, by said registered users and said winners.

15. The system of claim 9 wherein said winners bring said winning notification to said retail and online location having a means to perform a validation and a fulfillment function, to award said winner said prize.

16. The system of claim 1 where said prize is identified in said contest rules.

17. The system of claim 12 wherein once said prize is redeemed, said winning notification is immediately deactivated in real-time to prevent reuse and unauthorized redeeming of said prize, thereby violating said contest rules.

18. The system of claim 1 wherein said sponsors utilize said plurality of video game applications for the purpose of said registered users redeeming said prize at said retail and online location for advertising and promotional purposes.

19. The system of claim 1 wherein said plurality of video game applications is designed to contain related game play, graphics and audio as exists in the sponsor's related advertising campaign in television, print, radio and online media to create a congruous advertising message.

20. The system of claim 1 wherein said registered user of said networked device plays said plurality of video game application to achieve said winning game and redeem said prize at said retail and online location.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO OTHER APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/782343 filed 2006 Mar. 15 by the present inventors.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The subject embodiment relates generally to a system for video game applications whereby players can win and redeem prizes in real-time.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The video game industry will shortly celebrate a forty-year anniversary. During these “two score” years, many entertainment and interactive activities have appeared in the consumer realm—cable TV, game systems, VCR, mobile phones, Internet, DVD, streaming audio, streaming video, iPods, Tivo, pervasive device networking and even more variety of Internet based activities and entertainment.

The dynamic of consumer marketing has changed; some would say evolutionarily, others revolutionary. What is true is that former types of marketing and consumer engagement—be it print, radio, or TV—are forever changed, have less impact and are less connected with consumers. There are simply more forms of entertainment and different daily segments of information and interaction, essentially more consumer choice options, for any one form to have the same historical influence as existed ten, twenty, thirty or forty years ago.

Within this reality of variety, the “same” solutions have been attempted with these new models and forms—injecting advertisements in streaming video and audio, banner header and footer advertising splashes on web sites, sponsored links on search result pages, product placement in games and all forms of “streamed” media.

Advertisers, who once scoffed at games and charged hefty fees for games to include their logos, now find their roles reversed and now are the ones paying to be seen by millions of game players. Microsoft purchased Massive in 2006 and Google plans to purchase Adscape in 2007, both companies specialize in dynamic in-game advertising.

What appears missing are fundamentally new ways of communicating and marketing to consumers that leverages networking, mobile devices (mobility) and interactivity.

Consumers now expect a higher level of engagement and interactivity—any new consumer device must have some type of interactivity, or games, to be considered novel and interesting.

Increasingly, new devices are networked, personal and mobile. One mobile game and prize publisher is Atlas-Mobile. Players compete weekly in high-score competitions where winners receive prizes comprising of gift cards, CDs and DVDs. At the conclusion of each weeks contest, winners are mailed their prize. Prizes are redeemable at participating locations. The intent is to encourage play of certain games, but have only been mildly successful.

Why is this? It is a lost opportunity to engage a potentially new customer to a specific product now. Gift cards arrive sometime in the future (hopefully), are generally transferable, and perhaps lost. This means the winner may not actually use or be the user of the card. If the merchant is collecting marketing information on the spending habits of the winner, there is at best a fragile connection to the source activity and communication to the actual consumer. One could say the feedback loop between marketer and consumer is questionable.

What if the need and opportunity to market and communicate with consumers could leverage this personal mobility and introduce consumer “call to action” opportunities that results in both more effective consumer communication and direct engagement by consumers with the goods and services being offered?

The first embodiment of our invention describes a system of real-time award and redemption. We live in a society of instant gratification. It is a strong belief of the inventors that a system whereby game players can play, win and redeem a prize in real-time is far more fun, exciting and compelling. For example, players before dinner (even on the way there) can download and try to win a free meal. If they win, they can drive to the restaurant that night and redeem their prize. There's no need to wait weeks for the prize coupon to arrive. The connection between consumer and marketer is timely and measurable.

In current interactive marketing models, corporate sponsors pay for their trademarks and logos to be pasted into a games title screen and perhaps their products are inserted in game play (i.e. Jeep). Consumers/players purchase and play the games for entertainment value and perhaps for gift cards, CDs and DVDs.

As part of the invention we see a much different business model where those in the value chain each benefit. Games will be designed with game play designed pertinent to a sponsoring company's advertising campaign and will be promoted as such. Games could be heavily discounted to the consumer and in some cases be free. Sponsors will include the game as part of their traditional advertising. Players will want to win prizes, so the branded game advertising is pull-oriented, more cost effective than television advertising, delivers interactive impressions (higher recall than static ads) that are measurable (downloads, number of plays, winners, etc) and will bring additional traffic to locations because winners must redeem prizes at retail and online store locations.

Consumers/players will play more because it is purposeful, and not just to win something, but to win something instantly, and be able to redeem it in real-time. This is instant gratification and now. This type of gaming is predicted by the inventors to be highly entertaining and motivating within the youth/teen market especially. Sponsors can place time restrictions on redemption so as to obtain marketing feedback on new products.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

This one embodiment defines a system for networked electronic devices, comprising a plurality of video game application and a plurality of Internet accessible servers, whereby a user of a networked electronic device may redeem a prize in real-time. The group of devices comprises mobile phones, personal digital assistants, portable audio players, portable video players, desktop and laptop computers, home and portable game consoles.

A video game application is downloaded onto a registered user's device and can also be pre-loaded onto a user's device. Registered users play the video game attempting to obtain a pre-determined goal/objective on the networked electronic device. If the registered player obtains the pre-determined goal/objective on the device, the player records a winning game.

A plurality of Internet accessible servers validates the video game application of the registered user. If validated, the winner is sent a winning notification to the networked electronic device. The winning notification comprises a unique and secure image or data that can be securely transmitted in real-time. This process is to authenticate the networked electronic device and the winning game.

The winner brings the winning notification to a participating location having the ability to validate and redeem the prize. Once the prize is redeemed, the winning notification is simultaneously deactivated in real-time to prevent reuse and unauthorized redeeming of prizes.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

1. FIG. 1, Functional Diagram describes a reference implementation of the invention broken down by functional components. In several cases, multiple instances of a function can be replicated to increase capacity of the system and eliminate single points of failure (increase system robustness).

2. FIG. 2, Process Events illustrates events or actions that occur in completing the process described in this application. Some of these events directly engage the end user, such as an instant message, others occur in the background as part of the process which implements the described patent, such as Player Account Creation by the Player Account Creation Application.

3. FIG. 3, User Experience Flow illustrates the end user flow, or steps that the end user can experience in the reference implementation of the invention. As there are multiple possible “call to action” communication approaches to end users, this diagram indicates several possible “call to action” methods, pre-loaded games on networked electronic devices, print ads, radio ads, and television ads. Other end user call-to-actions are possible and contemplated in this invention.

4. FIG. 4, System Components illustrates the physical components used to implement this invention in the reference implementation. These are tangible items which perform some part of the operation described in this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Detail of Preferred Embodiment

The preferred embodiment of the heterogeneous system for the real-time award and fulfillment of prizes using a plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) and Networked Electronic Devices 12 is illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, and described in the text that follows. Although the following focuses on a particular embodiment of the invention, the claims appended to this application should not be interpreted as limited by the particular details disclosed in connection with that embodiment.

In FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, the System 6 introduces an innovative approach to a plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) and the awarding of prizes. As illustrated on FIG. 1 Functional Diagram and referencing FIG. 2, the invention combines several user activities with Networked Servers 34, 40, 42, 44, 46, 50a through 50n and a plurality of Game Servers (48a through 48n) running custom software applications that implement the invention.

In FIG. 4, the System 6 is comprised of several heterogeneous parts, each contributing functions to the overall system of claim 1. The system is accessible through Networked Electronic Devices 12 comprising mobile phones, personal digital assistants, portable audio players, portable video players, desktop and laptop computers, home and portable gaming consoles.

In FIG. 2, the system begins with a user on an Accounts Server 44, completing a User Account Creation Application 66, defines his/her user profile to become on FIG. 3 a Registered User 9. The Registered User 9 then downloads a Video Game Application (34a through 34n) to a Networked Electronic Device 12.

Registration can be accomplished via Text Message 57 from their Networked Electronic Device 12 or via a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) Session 59 over the Wireless Network 32 in FIG. 4 via their Networked Electronic Device 12.

Another embodiment is by Electronic Mobile Device Manufacturers, Computer Manufacturers or Service Providers. Games will be pre-installed on devices before purchase by users. On first use of each pre-installed Video Game Application (34a through 34n) a user will complete a registration process to become a Registered User 9.

Sponsors can also make their games available on a plurality of Retail Servers (50a through 50n). Sponsors will also make games available from their Sponsor Servers 40.

Registration information associates the specific Networked Electronic Device 12 with a Registered User 9 account and is an important security measure to ensure integrity of the System 6 and to prevent violation of the Contest Rules 26. The collected information will also provide added statistical value to the sponsors, whose branded games will be played on the System 6.

Downloaded Games 10 are published from a plurality of Game Servers (48a through 48n) directly to Networked Electronic Devices 12. A plurality of Retail and Online Stores (52a through 52n) or Sponsor Partners 38 may access System Servers 42, 44, 46, 48 and a plurality of Game Servers (48a through 48n) for publishing to Registered Users 9 directly through their Sponsor Servers 40 or plurality of Retail and Online Locations (52a through 52n) as well.

The plurality of video game applications (34a through 34n) can be customized to include sponsor brands, trademarks, jingles, product images and other branding messages.

Using Networked Electronic Devices 12, Registered Users 9 will play a plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n). Registered Users 9 participate in skill-based game playing sessions attempting to achieve pre-determined goals/objectives as specified in the Contest Rules 26. A Winning Game 16 is achieved by achieving a pre-determined goal/objective.

Registered Users 9 may play the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) as often as desired, but the number and frequency of obtaining a Winning Game 16 is restricted by the Contest Rules 26 and is managed by Accounts Server 44, a plurality of Game Servers (48a through 48n), a plurality of System Servers 42, 44, 46, 48 and Sponsor Servers 40.

As the Registered User 9 achieves a pre-determined goal/objective, the Networked Electronic Device 12 communicates over the network to a Contest Server 42. Contest Servers 42 validate the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) achievements based on Registered User 9 profile information received from the Networked Electronic Device 12 and the Registered User 9 data stored on Account Servers 44.

One-time and special awards are verified via messaging between Contest Servers 42 applying the Contest Rules 26. Contest Rules 26 are securely stored on Contest Servers 42 and these rules can be easily updated or expired as desired by Sponsor Servers 40.

Registered Users 9 are notified immediately on their Networked Electronic Device 12 if they achieve an award via a Winning Notification 20. If Registered User 9 registration settings have been so selected, the Registered User 9 will also receive notification to their email address contained on the Accounts Server 44.

Award 16 notification is done by Text messaging 57 or by application data transmission from Award servers 46 or by Phone Call 62 to the Registered User 9 by a system service (using IVR—Interactive Voice Response) and communicating the Registered User Win 28.

In FIG. 1, a Registered User Win 28 can be redeemed in real-time, via a plurality of Retail and Online Locations (52a through 52n) as shown in FIG. 2, using a plurality of Retail Servers (50a through 50n) as shown in FIG. 1. Prizes are in the form of products and/or services, or credits that are accrued and later redeemed for products and/or services. If permitted by the Contest Rules 26, Registered Users 9 may be allowed to Print Winning Notification 21 and send via conventional mail. Contest Rules 26 may also permit Winning Notification 20 on the Networked Electronic Device 12 to be redeemed by way of electronic data transfer to Retail and Online Locations (52a through 52n).

To authenticate Awards 24 one of the plurality of Retail and Online Servers (50a through 50n) pass the Award Notification 20 displayed on the Networked Electronic Device 12 to the Award Verifier Server 46.

Award Verifier Server 46 responses are then displayed from one of the plurality of Retail and Online Servers (50a through 50n) on the cash register or other Retail and Online Locations (52a through 52n) display screens.

The Award Verifier Server 46, when generating a correct Registered User Win 28 notification, also communicates to the Contest Server 42 to register the award redemption and updates the remaining awards.

Once the Registered User 9 redeems Award 28, the Award Verifier Server 46 is updated to immediately Deactivate Winning Notification 25 to prevent reuse and unauthorized redemption of Prize 24, a violation of the Contest Rules 26.

The System 6 will create a new genre of interactive video gaming, uniquely appropriate and effective at validating effectiveness at increasing downloads and number of video games played. The objective is to work with sponsors, who provide the prizes and benefit from the exposure of advertising impressions, specifically advertising messages. The plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n), which can be termed “interactive commercial advertising”, will be permission-based, meaning the user requests them.

The plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) will be designed in collaboration with the sponsor. It is the goal for the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) to be simple to play and better suited for casual gamers playing on a variety of Networked Electronic Devices 12. It is the intention to lower the intimidation level felt by non-gamers towards video games. However, as players become more skilled, the game difficulty of the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) will evolve as well. The plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) can incorporate and advertise a sponsors products, trademarks, brand images, icons, mascots and characters.

The Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) can be short in time duration (mini-video games), and better at meeting the limited attention span of casual gamers. The mini-games can be played impulsively when moments of spare time are available. While mini-games are the preferred embodiment, the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) without regard to time duration and/or overall length can also be used in conjunction with the system.

Each Video Game Application (34a through 34n) will require Registered Users 9 to complete and/or obtain a pre-determined goal/objective in order to win. For each Video Game Application (34a through 34n), the goal/objective and rules will be clearly stated to the Registered User 9. A combination of methods will be used to communicate a win or loss to the Registered User 9, comprising graphics, audio and SMS (text messaging to the phone).

When a Registered User 9 achieves the goal/objective in a plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n), it is a Winning Game 16. The Networked Electronic Device 12 transmits information in real-time to the host computer and validates the Networked Electronic Device 12 as being registered, validates the Video Game Application (34a through 34n) session, then authenticates the win. If all are validated, the host computer transmits a Winning Notification 20 back to the Registered Users 9 Networked Electronic Device 12. A secure image and/or text message accompanied by an audio announcement is one method which can be used to communicate a Winning Notification 20 back to the Registered User 9. The secure image and/or text message includes a unique one-time use code for the Registered User 9 of a Winning Game 16 to redeem at Retail and Online Locations 24.

Once the one-time unique code is received on the Registered Users 9 Networked Electronic Device 12, it is saved until used to redeem the prize and/or credited to the Registered Users 9 account, or it expires. A security procedure will validate that the Registered User 9 is the same as the owner of the Networked Electronic Device 12. Contest Rules 26 can be modified to maintain system security and objectives of the sponsor. Expiration dates for the redemption of prizes will help drive a sponsor's advertising program and meet specific goals and objectives. For example, a fast food chain sponsor who launches a new menu item wants to measure how many people try the new product in its first month of availability. Data on how many of a specific Video Game Application (34a through 34n) were downloaded (unique users), played (sessions, impressions), wins (potential repeat customers, new customers), Registered User Wins 28 redeemed (winners of games actually visited Retail and Online Locations 24 to redeem their prize), additional purchases, up sells and other data will be easily available. The System 6 in FIG. 4 will provide real-time statistical information for the promotional period.

The plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) installed on Networked Electronic Devices 12 will display secure images (visual or non-visual) or other secure methods. The images will have the ability of be digitally read, scanned or hand-entered into a networked computer at a sponsors Retail and Online Locations 24 for validating Awards 28 and real-time redemption of prizes. Winning Games 16 achieved via type networked home and portable game consoles belonging to the family of Networked Electronic Devices 12 can have the Winning Notification 20 delivered to a Registered User 9 email account (to be printed) or delivered to their registered Networked Electronic Device 12.

It is important to repeat that a Winning Game 16 is acknowledged and validated in real-time, providing instant gratification for the Registered User 9. Prizes 24 awarded will be in the form of products and/or services, discount coupons and credits/points that are accrued towards the purchase of future products and/or services. Prizes for the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) will be determined by the participating sponsor and other authorized parties. The plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) Contest Rules 26, regulations, legal disclaimers will be available on the Internet 30, at participating locations and can be requested via mail. Registered Users 9 may have the option of printing Winning Notification 20 receipts to printers using their Internet accessible Networked Electronic Devices 12.

The System 6 will support communication to a Registered Users 9 Networked Electronic Device 12 via the Internet or through a wireless communication connection to the Registered Users 9 Networked Electronic Device 12. A variety of communication methods will be used, comprising SMS (text messaging), Interactive Voice Response (IVR) using the cellular phone call network, Wireless Network 32 and WAP Data Network (a low level “Internet” access provided by mobile phone service providers). Email is also used to notify users of awards and prizes. This range of communication methods is unique to the system.

Registered Users 9 will be able to access the System Server 44 via a standard Internet 30 browser to access their account to review current standings and view any Registered User Wins 28 they have won.

It is the belief that real-time award will encourage more frequent play of a plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) and drive large numbers of players to the System 6 and the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) in general. Sponsors will benefit via branded messaging in the form of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n). Consumers will be motivated to play more because it is purposeful, meaning there is something to gain from playing. Players will access low cost and free of charge Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) and/or subscribe to a variety of plan offerings. Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) offering rewards are more effective in retaining interest and generating impulse play. Sponsored promotions offering rewards will have expiration dates, requiring the continual need for new Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) and promotions.

This is an entirely new system for the promotion and advertising campaigns conducted by companies throughout the world. Principally leveraging the growing power and pervasiveness of Networked Electronic Devices 12, the System 6 can integrate with mobile service provider networks, sponsors promotional systems, and unique system contest servers.

The System 6 integrates the activity and award history of every Registered User 9 across all brands and Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) played. This integration supports multi-brand campaigns and strategies for a global company's product lines and enables cooperative cross-brand marketing, contest and advertising programs. The interactive nature of the System 6 plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) provides marketing campaigns a unique means to multiply brand and product impression effectiveness. The real-time redemption nature of the System 6 has the utility to bring in additional traffic and customers who might not otherwise be patrons.

The System 6 provides a variety of redemption delivery systems determined first by the sponsor, then selected by the Registered User 9 based on preference. The sponsor may change or update the allowed delivery methods and also update security features at any time, or on a pre-selected schedule to insure accurate and valid redemption and prize awards.

For integrated advertising and/or contest campaigns, System Servers 42, 44, 46, 48 can also reference Sponsor Servers 40 to time and control the plurality of Video Game Application (34a through 34n) promotions to the sponsors advertising campaign schedule. Additionally, the plurality of Video Game Application (34a through 34n) features can be tailored and released per the sponsor's campaign schedule.

Centralized award and prize system servers can support Registered Users 9 based on usage amounts (e.g. “Frequent Flyer” programs”). Cross-branding and multi-brand award rules will also be supported. Time-based and time-released campaigns will be integrated within the rule systems on System Servers 42, 44, 46, 48 to integrate prize/award schedules with a sponsor's campaign schedule.

The System 6 establishes a Registered User 9 profile when the user first interacts with the System 6 by way of a User Account Creation Application 66. Registered User 9 interactions and brand impressions will be tracked to provide usage and user metrics, useful in validating the benefit and uniqueness of the System 6. Furthermore, it will provide metrics to sponsors for the optimization of benefits in marketing campaigns and contest strategies.

The System 6 will incorporate partners to comprise a value chain, including sponsors, service providers, device manufacturers, video game developers/publishers and users/players (customers).

Sponsors are defined as any person, group, and/or public and private entity that wish to advertise/promote itself through the use of the System 6. Sponsor benefits include the promotion of products and services, by way of images, corporate messages (both graphic and audio), etc. through the System 6 innovative marketing approach. Advertising will be better targeted, as it is requested and launched by the Registered User 9 to start a Video Game Application (34a through 34n) play session (except pre-loads). The interactive nature of the advertising will create a value-added advertising impression and simplifies the metrics for measuring advertising effectiveness. It creates opportunities for advertisers to create relationships with people who were unreachable through traditional approaches. The System 6 will expose the product or service to people who might not otherwise be aware of its existence. The real-time nature of play/win and prize redemption will drive customers to sponsors Retail and Online Locations 24. The potential for a quick response in time from the call-to-action (Winning Notification 20) to a new or repeat customer (Registered User Receives Award/Prize 24) is highly desirable for advertisers. In cases where prizes for winning are free items, opportunities for up sells are created. For winners who use a competitor's product or service, the System 6 creates an opportunity for brand switching. Periods of exclusivity with selected sponsors will create opportunities of competitive advantage for them.

Service providers are defined as any public or private entity that provides services for Networked Electronic Devices 12 that include the usage of their network and the sale of electronic data. With the opportunity to win products and services, it creates a powerful way to increase data revenues. System 6 has the potential to broaden the current base of people who play Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) on their Networked Electronic Devices 12. In countries where users of Networked Electronic Devices 12 pay by time, an increase in timed usage is highly desirable to service providers. The system will create new opportunities for types of usage plans. Periods of exclusivity with selected service providers will create added value for them.

Device manufacturers are defined as any public or private entity that participates in the manufacturing, selling, and marketing of Networked Electronic Devices 12, including mobile phones, personal digital assistants, portable audio players, portable video players, desktop and laptop computers, home and portable game consoles. An increase in the demand for “video game friendly” and technology-enabled devices (e.g. 3D graphics, larger screens) will consequently increase the demand for new designs to meet the demand.

Game Developers/Publishers are any public or private entity that participates in the development, publishing and distribution of the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n). Small developers have turned to aggregators because they have relationships with providers that assist in obtaining deck placement. The System 6 will create new business opportunities, especially for smaller developers/publishers who cannot afford the demands of ever growing development budgets for console, PC and portable gaming machines. It will create new opportunities for creativity in the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) designs, which has taken a backseat to conservative recycled designs of the past. An objective of System 6 is to create shorter, mini-games, which will translate to lower development costs and shorter development cycles. While mini-games are the preferred embodiment, the plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) without regard to time duration and/or overall length can also be used in conjunction with the System 6. With the inclusion of sponsors, service providers and device manufacturers participating in development costs, there will be improved opportunities for return-on-investment for developers/publishers by the formulation of alternative development funding strategies.

Players are any person(s) who play a plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) with the opportunity to win prizes comprising products, services and/or credits that can be accrued towards the purchase of future goods and services. The System 6 provides a purposeful plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) play, meaning players will have opportunities to win products, services and/or credits. Unlike current prize oriented gaming platforms, the System 6 enables instant gratification through real-time winning and redemption of prizes. The plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) prices will cost less to players than what current business models allow. It is an objective to include free games, whose costs are borne by the sponsors, service providers and device manufacturers, who are among the beneficiaries of System 6.

Though the preferred embodiment of System 6 is focused on a plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n), it has other applications as well. Companies can implement direct-to-customer opt-in promotions and incentives without using a plurality of Video Game Applications (34a through 34n) as a delivery mechanism to try new products or obtain discounts. It is believed that System 6 can be a powerful tool in obtaining new customers and retaining existing ones.

Another potentially powerful embodiment is a television and/or Internet and/or Networked Electronic Device 12 based “game show.” Qualified players can participate from anywhere and prizes can still be awarded and redeemed in real-time. Players are not limited to being in-studio and the “super reality” nature of it is popular today. Our claim is an integrated approach to combining a live broadcast with Networked Electronic Devices 12. System 6 maintains a player's session, enabling the player in real-time to move from one terminal to another as one moves from a physical location to a mobile one.