BANDWIDTH EFFICIENT DELIVERY OF GAMES
Publication Date: 2004-Jun-07
The IP.com Prior Art Database
The idea of the invention is to use communication technology to perform bandwidth efficient delivery of rented or purchased video games played on video game consoles (e.g., Xbox, Playstation 2, etc). Currently, purchasing or renting a game involves going to a store to perform the transaction. This is particularly cumbersome with regards to renting a game because the game typically needs to be returned in a week. Unlike a movie, which can be watched in a few hours, games typically take a long time to solve (20 or 40 hours or more). Thus it is difficult to actually "solve" or complete a game during a week's period and the user needs to return to the store to re-rent the game if he is interested in completing it. The idea of this invention is to use video on demand technology and modify such technology to deliver computer or video games. These modifications are explained for two scenarios: Scenario 1: Set top-based storage In this scenario, a user can request a game via a web site interface (alternatively, the interface can be via the television). When requesting a game, the user can choose an option to either rent or purchase the game. Renting the game will enable the user to play the game for a given time period, whereas purchasing the game will enable the user to play the game for an unlimited time period. The request for the game will be sent over the Internet to a central server that contains a digital library of games. The data for the game will be sent via the Internet to the local cache server that is nearest to the user. This transfer of the game data occurs over several hours (e.g., 12 or 24 hours) during times of low network usage (e.g., at night). Once the game is completely on a cache server it can be downloaded onto the user's set top box using a similar low network usage period. It should be noted that, if the game is popular, it might already be on the cache server and this reduces the bandwidth requirements and download time. Once the game is on the user's set top box in the home, the game can be played. In this scenario, the game is stored on the set top box's hard drive. See Figure 1, for a block diagram representing an embodiment of this scenario. Figure 3 shows a flow chart for implementing an embodiment for this scenario. Figure 4 shows a block diagram of the components used for implementing this scenario using a set top box. Scenario 2: Console-based storage This scenario is the same as scenario 1 except that the game is stored directly on the game console instead of on the set top box. The game console would perform file accesses directly from a hard drive in the game console. It should be noted that most gaming consoles on the market already have a broadband connection (currently intended for playing online games). See Figure 2, for a block diagram representing an embodiment of this scenario. Figure 5 shows a block diagram of the components used for implementing this scenario using a game console. When a game is purchased for either scenario (1 or 2), a user then can keep the game on the hard drive of a set top box or game console storing the game. Preferably, the digital rights management of the game is changed from a "rental" setting to a "bought game" setting. Otherwise, when a rental period expires, the game will automatically be disabled and deleted from the hard drive storing the game. Figure 1 discloses an exemplary system for transferring game information over a video on demand network to a set top box. Figure 2 discloses an exemplary system for transferring game information over a video on demand network to a game console. Figure 3 discloses a flowchart of a method for transferring game information over a video on demand network to a set top box. Figure 4 discloses an exemplary system for a set top box capable of receiving game information over a video on demand network. Figure 5 discloses an exemplary embodiment of a game console capable of receiving game information over a video on demand network.