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Method and apparatus for facilitating collectable items in a virtual environment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000200642D
Publication Date: 2010-Oct-22
Document File: 1 page(s) / 39K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A common pastime for children and adults is the process of collecting all desirable items from a common set. Current examples of this include football stickers, stamps, coins, etc. The key point to collecting physical items is that there is only a finite number of items and the user has to spend time finding items and swapping with other users in order to complete their set. This is emphasised in games which use this strategy to enhance enjoyment such as football stickers. Users can only buy new stickers in packs, which conceal the identity of the stickers within. The user has to purchase these packs without knowing whether they will contain their missing stickers. As the user amasses duplicate stickers, they will attempt to swap these with other users to mutually satisfy their missing items. As mobile phones are becoming increasingly prevalent amongst young people, it's natural that gamemakers will want to incorporate this technology into their products. However, a number of issues exist that make transferring their paradigm to the virtual environment problematic. With virtual items, illegal copying could easily reduce the need of anyone to buy the item. Users could also begin to transfer their stickers over the Internet without having to meet, which would makes the process of completing your sticker album extremely simple and reduces the fun involved with collecting.

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Method and apparatus for facilitating collectable items in a virtual environment

The solution herein describes a platform for incorporating mobile phone technology into the traditional sticker collection paradigm without removing strategy elements that maximise a user's enjoyment.

    Users can now purchase e.g., stickers at anytime using mobile Internet technologies, rather than having to physically visit a retail outlet. This hugely improves the market for users, previously restricting it to those who lived within access to supported retailers.

    Users won't have to carry around a cumbersome collection of stickers and instead can use their virtual wallet. Risks factors including accidental damage or loss and theft of the collectable items is eliminated.

    Illegal copying and distribution of the items is handled by centralising the storage of the items into a virtual wallet, held on the distributor's server.

    The product would incorporate a cross-platform mobile phone application, installed and controlled through a centralised application store. The application would allow the user to purchase virtual sticker packs, which would automatically be downloaded to the phone. The user would still be unable to see which items were contained within the packet. On receiving a new sticker pack, the user would have to use their interface to simulate the manual flicking through process, identifying each item. If the item is new, the user could then attach this to their virtual stick...