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A method for automated procurement of online assistance based on a user's emotional state in video games

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000030624D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Aug-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Aug-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 71K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Very often when using a piece of software, a user comes up against a particular task that they have difficulty completing. The prime example of this is within a video game -- any game player can relate to the scenario whereby having successfully completed the initial few levels of difficulty, they seemingly reach an impasse and feel that they cannot go any further. This article describes a system that allows for the detection of the potential impasse, and uses an automatic cry for help to put the user in contact with a mentor who has solved or can help to solve the problem.

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A method for automated procurement of online assistance based on a user's emotional state in video games

Very often when using a piece of software, a user comes up against a particular task that they have difficulty completing. The prime example of this is within a video game -- any game-player can relate to the scenario whereby having successfully completed the initial few levels of difficulty, they seemingly reach an impasse and feel that they cannot go any further. Over time, the user's morale will inevitably drop and this may lead to them abandoning the software altogether. In extreme cases, this may lead to loss of customer loyalty to the product or brand as a result. Unless one has an established community of peer users available to hand who have completed the level previously who can impart the benefit of their experience to the user, it is increasingly likely that many users will ultimately give up and abandon the game altogether.

An overview of a system that addresses these problems is shown below:

On the user 1 game console, the affective computing component derives the

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emotional status of the user during the game which can be captured by the games software.

  Within the game flow itself, a profile of the gameplay status can be derived quite simply based upon where the user currently is in the flow of the game (e.g. which "level") and how many attempts they have had at overcoming that particular hurdle.

  When the user's emotional state reaches a certain threshold (e.g. configurable by the user), the two profiles are combined to form a composite profile of gameplay and emotional status. This is in turn used to derive the target topic space on a pub/sub broker to which a message is published containing the contact details for user 1 for any responders to the message. In the example above this would be information relating to user 1 over subscription network. If contact were required by other means (telephone, e-mail) this can be done by another intermediary component such that the contact details wouldn't be published to the outside world in the clear. The contents of the message in that scenario can be some handle understood by the intermediary such that the connection could be made between the two users.

  Note that the use of pub/sub means that user 2 (i.e. a helper) can conceivably subscribe to help from other devices other than within the game context e.g. from a wireless device or desktop PC. In this way, user 1 now has access to a wide variety of helpers who get notified automatically (i.e. they don't have to close down applications during the game to go and get help).

  On the game console, the video game application contains an additional module that has hooks onto

the in-game status (current score or level)

input from...