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AN OVERBROAD PATENT FOR ONLINE GAME PROMOTION - This application from Gree seeks to patent the idea of cross-promotion of games in an online community, in other words promoting one game from within another game! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents HERE

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before June, 2011 that discusses:

  1. Promoting a 2nd game from a 2nd game maker to users of a 1st game from a 1st game maker; where
  2. Users of a 2nd game have previously been promoted another game by the 1st game maker

Basically, any kind of cross-game promotion between game makers.

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question. Only one piece of prior art per answer below. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual

EXTRA CREDIT - A reference to anything that meets all of the criteria to the question above AND ALSO uses a social graph, game level, game score to determine whether to promote a game.

TITLE: Cross-promotion of games

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] Displaying cross-game promotions among different game makers, comprising: promoting a 2nd game to users running a 1st game where other users of the 2nd game have previously been promoted the 1st game, basically trading promotion between two game makers.

  • Publication Number: US 20130151342 A1
  • Application Number: 13/530,067
  • Assignee: Gree, Inc
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating June 21, 2011
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through Dec 13, 2013

Claim 1 requires each and every step below: A method for cross-promotion of games, comprising:

  1. Transmitting, to a server, an indication that the first video game is running on the local computing device, wherein the first video game is made by the first game maker; and

  2. Receiving, from the server, an instruction to display a second message on the local computing device, wherein the second message promotes a second game maker, wherein the second message is received if a first message has been previously transmitted from the server to a remote computing device and has been previously displayed on the remote computing device; and

  3. Displaying, on the local computing device, the second message.

In English this means:

A method of cross-promotion of games, comprising:

  1. A local computer (desktop or mobile) tells the server that it is running a 1st game.

  2. The server gives the local computer instructions to display a promotion for a 2nd game, where

    • Other local computers have previously received instructions to promote the 1st game
  3. The local computer displays the promotion for the 2nd game

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to the June, 2011.

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming a method using all of the steps above AND ALSO uses a social graph, game level, game score to determine whether to promote a game..


"Online Gaming Cross-Promotion" screen shots from the Applicant


What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.


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6 Answers 6

Ridiculous. There have been SDKs for doing in-game advertising for other games since 2005 at least. Double Fusion was one of many companies doing this:

http://www.develop-online.net/news/28399/New-Double-Fusion-tech-puts-game-ads-in-existing-titles

Adscape and Massive Incorporated created similar SDKs in the same time frame. Here's a huge list of prior art that should kill this patent:

http://notesnews2007.blogspot.com/2007/10/adscape-media-patents.html

Oh and hey, check this ancient site for BiDamic, which turned into Adscape. "Bidamic’s patent pending solution allows for dynamic advertising in video games, making permanent one-time ad placement in games obsolete... The customization features of Adverplay allow for ad campaigns that can be tailored to demographic, location, genre, time of deployment and more." Copyright 2002. There's your social graph element of claim 2, which should knock out the rest of the dependent claims.

http://web.archive.org/web/20050208120452/http://www.bidamic.com/

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OpenFeint did this in 2009. In fact, the OpenFeint logo is being used in Fig 1 of the patent application. Their business model was cross-promotion of games; they were acquired by GREE in April 2011 for ~100 million. So if there was no prior art before June 2011, GREE would have no reason to have acquired the company.

Reference: industry press article on OpenFeint, April 2009. http://techcrunch.com/2009/04/17/indie-iphone-app-developers-rallying-around-openfeint/

Article on the acquisition, including the briefing from OpenFeint (dated April 21, 2011): http://www.148apps.com/news/breaking-openfeint-acquired/

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This has been the modus operandi of every flash games web site for many many years, which is where I would look for prior art.

Take for example kongregate.com : this is a web site which does not make most (perhaps any?) of the games which it provides; it is not principally in the role of being a game maker. Instead, when you load the web site (thus telling the server that you are downloading the first game, which runs automatically) the site also recommends other games based on that same title, and displays them underneath the game that is being played. Those games are not generally made by the same person who made the first game.

I am not sure how you would perform an historical "snapshot" of this, but here's an idea: The Internet Archive has crawled (downloaded and stored for later use) images of how Kongregate.com worked from 2005 on. Just to take 2007 as an example, a crawl shows this game, while beneath it are promotions for several "recommended games" which were not made by that same game developer.

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Applifier has done this by linking and promoting newly launched games from already established games. Here applifier is a third party linking the new games and old games developed by different publishers.

http://www.bbgsite.com/socialgames/content/2010-09-13/applifier_reaches_55m_users_for_social_game_cross_promotion.shtml

http://www.applifier.com/how-it-works/

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A recent cross game promotion by EA for games developed by two different developers: http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/dragon-age-2/1145400p1.html

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