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Input Devices Patents XBox (Games) Games

Microsoft Files Patents for Virtual Game Controller 83

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the metro-version-of-catan-draws-ire dept.
SmartAboutThings writes "A newly discovered patent shows that Microsoft might be interested in developing virtual controllers for tablets and smartphones. A while ago, it didn't quite make sense why Microsoft would need such a piece of technology, but with the announcement of their Surface tablet, it suddenly takes on a new perspective." I think a few board games (Catan comes to mind) would be pretty playable on a moderately-sized, shared touch surface, with everyone's phone acting as their hand.
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Microsoft Files Patents for Virtual Game Controller

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  • Price Comparison (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:18PM (#40687907)

    So instead of buying a $40 board game, one needs a $1000 Surface-compatible computer and 2-6 smartphones.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:21PM (#40687925) Homepage Journal

      The only board game Microsoft understands in Monopoly.

    • I don't think so.

      Remember SmartGlass, announced at E3? I think this is the patent. Smartglass is a virtual game controller, and it is announced for Windows 8 tablets, Android, and iOS. So, perhaps a $199.00 Kindle Fire could be a controller.
    • by PetiePooo (606423)
      Or, to look at Apple products, a $99 AppleTV, and a selection of iPhones, iPads, and/or iPods touches, which many people already have.

      I don't know what Apple is waiting for. Seems like a simple thing for us to be sitting around the TV playing a game while we chat. Eg. Scrabble where the main board is up on the TV with the letters in each person's iPhone. When it's your turn, drag each letter off the phone and it appears on the TV to be positioned as desired. This would even work on many games in pass
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:19PM (#40687911) Homepage Journal

    That phrase right there communicates the state of the patent system. Finding out which patents exist take more research and effort than inventing the patentable items.

  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:21PM (#40687929)
    ...is how easy it is to find prior art. I've played at least three games on my crappy old droidpad that had controllers.
    • You assume that just because there is prior art that the Patent Office cares about that.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The patent referred to by TFA is either

      www.google.com/patents/US8049719

      www.google.com/patents/US8115732

      or

      www.google.com/patents/US20120105315

      The claimed subject matter is using a camera to detect the position of user's fingers against a background and then control a game using the same. Not sure how easy it would be to find prior art.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        ..so it's an eyetoy ? or like a bunch of other?

        iirc saw this used in some mobile phone control concept sw too.

        • by donaldm (919619)
          Actually from the article the Microsoft controller sort of looks like an oversized NES controller with a screen that can display the controls within the pressure sensitive display area around the main display screen. The iPhone and Android can do this now (sans pressure sensitive) with some games although the controls are actually on the main screen. Of course a controller being like an oversized NES controller I would expect a huge jump in people with RSI. Personally the Wii U's controller does not look al
  • SmartGlass (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AVIDJockey (816640) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:22PM (#40687937)
    This seem like it's a logical extension/feature of their SmartGlass [appleinsider.com] intiative.
  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:23PM (#40687949)

    I hope not. I'd rather play on a full screen TV with my surround sound system than squint at a tiny portalble or phone. But then I also prefer a full-sized desktop and a CD player (versus laptop or lossy MP3), and I know I'm in the minority. Things appear to be trending towards everything on a small laptop or phone device.

    • Count me in. I am not a huge console fan, if a console fan at all. The last one I got was a Wii and I hardly play it. No PS3 and no XBox.
      I do game on a PC though and I have it hooked up to a large HDTV w/surround sound and a powered sub that causes my neighbors to piss their pants a block away. I have laptops too, but I prefer those for business practical uses and not gaming. I would rather build a comp to my specs than have it go to some device that is pre-built with specs I don't like. WON'T ANYONE
  • So basically it's a combination of a virtual keyboard, like IPad, and a touch pad, like a laptop.
  • The problem with using a tablet as a game controller is that it involves one of two things. Either the player will have to keep looking down at the controller, something for which the Wii U demos have been ridiculed, or the player will end up missing a lot of on-screen buttons because the player's thumb can't feel whether it's over the on-screen button or not. Perhaps the only gestures that would work are the sort of gestures used on a trackpad, one for each thumb.
  • by zrbyte (1666979) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:34PM (#40688099)

    I'm all for gadgets, but why not just take the Catan board from the shelf and play?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why not just buy a magazine or newspaper instead of reading slashdot?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Why not just buy a magazine or newspaper instead of reading slashdot?

        Are you seriously comparing a board game with a newspaper? ... Wow. Just wow.

    • by jader3rd (2222716) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:51PM (#40688271)

      why not just take the Catan board from the shelf and play?

      Game setup and tear down time. Also, I remember when I was a kid there was a while when all of my siblings liked playing Monopoly on our home computer (I forget if it was win 3.1 or win 98). Anyway, in between all of the hectic things which went on in the house there were multiple saved games on the computer. Each file name had the names of the players in the title. When we'd find time to play, we'd find the file name with the kids that could play, and resume the game where it last left off. As players would rotate in and out, we'd just switch the file to the latest game that had those players.

    • by flitty (981864)
      No kidding. Catan is more fun when you get to tweak the rules to your liking. We play a variant where you play explorers, starting with some basic goods and flipping over tiles as you go. It leads to very uneven games where one player wins quickly, but it's still lots of fun, and keeps people interested in playing, rather than the standard variant where one person can pull ahead early and then the game isn't fun while you sit with no ability to even play the few cards you get. We also never play with the
      • My family always played Scrabble with 11 letters each instead of 7, or maybe 12- however many filled up the tile holders. You got a faster moving game, better words and scores. Much more fun.

    • by jansifae (175417)

      I'm all for gadgets, but why not just take the Catan board from the shelf and play?

      What about playing in a car? It seems to me that virtual pieces being displayed on a LCD screen would be less prone to jostling then the real board.

      Or what about on a camping trip where compactness is a desired feature? A single tablet could hold alot more board games then you'd normally have room for in the car.

      • I'm all for gadgets, but why not just take the Catan board from the shelf and play?

        What about playing in a car? It seems to me that virtual pieces being displayed on a LCD screen would be less prone to jostling then the real board.

        Fair enough, although I myself have always been a fan of 'road-trip bingo'

        Or what about on a camping trip where compactness is a desired feature? A single tablet could hold alot more board games then you'd normally have room for in the car.

        Board games (most of them, anyway) don't require constant power/charging. IMO, if you're in constant need of an electric source, you're not really camping.

    • by andcal (196136)

      Because the kids lost 2 of the white roads and 1 of the blue cities. And probably some of the soldier cards. And one of the dice.

    • the computer is the perfect gamemaster, it knows the rules and wont let you make moves that aren't in the rules.

      the more complex the board game is the bigger of a deal that really is.

  • 1) Release Surface Tablet
    2) Buy ATVI
    3) Make WoW an exclusive for said tablet
    4) Profit!!

  • I'm going to patent the Virtual^N Controller. Any controller in the window of another controller will be covered. (:-)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think a few board games (Catan comes to mind) would be pretty playable on a moderately-sized, shared touch surface, with everyone's phone acting as their hand.

    The handling of physical playing pieces, rolling dice, peeking at cards, etc is part of what makes board gaming so much fun. And some of that would be lost with such a setup.

    I do, however, see the potential for new games built around such a setup. You have a chicken and egg situation though of how you get both the game and the infrastructure. Maybe,

  • WHAT THE HELL USPTO? Who is working there? Do they just rubber stamp everything?!

    How is there not already prior art for this? The iPhone alone has hundreds, THOUSANDS of apps which already do this.

    There is absolutely nothing involved in this patent that is not trivial and ALREADY IMPLEMENTED.

    This is a patent which absolutely, unequivocally should have been denied.

    Freaking patent system in this country is a joke. We need tort reform immediately. This is way out of hand.
    So, what, now MS gets to
  • "everyone's phone acting as their hand"

    Took me awhile to realize you meant hand of cards

    .

  • Somebody better go get a patent for playing an air guitar before one of these corps do.

  • At first glance the idea is a total rip-off of PSXDroid and a multitude of other emulators available for iOS and Android.

    But if you look at the patent detail one of the concepts is to add a pressure sensor beneath the capacitive touch glass, which allows you to not only sense where the input is coming from, but also the amount of pressure being applied - thus allowing an analog input using the capacitive touch display. That could give new capabilities for gaming.

    But, most of the claims in this patent have a

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