US20080268929A1 - Game representing real sporting event with play call feature - Google Patents

Game representing real sporting event with play call feature Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080268929A1
US20080268929A1 US12/080,168 US8016808A US2008268929A1 US 20080268929 A1 US20080268929 A1 US 20080268929A1 US 8016808 A US8016808 A US 8016808A US 2008268929 A1 US2008268929 A1 US 2008268929A1
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play
game
system
further
player
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US12/080,168
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Kristopher C. Billmaier
James A. Billmaier
David P. Billmaier
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YOUbeQB
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YOUbeQB
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3272Games involving multiple players
    • G07F17/3276Games involving multiple players wherein the players compete, e.g. tournament
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting

Abstract

An online gaming system provides a virtual field representing a field of play for a live or simulated game, the virtual field including areas that may be operated in order to select a play prediction.

Description

    PRIORITY INFORMATION
  • This application claims priority under 35 USC 119 to USA provisional application No. 60/921,182 filed on Friday, Mar. 30, 2007, which is presently filed.
  • This application claims priority under 35 USC 119 to USA provisional application No. 60/966,563 filed on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007, which is presently filed.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Sports fans may be very enthusiastic about their teams and about competition in general. Attending live sporting events may provide sports fans with an outlet for this enthusiasm and may provide somewhat of a social setting. However, attending live events in time consuming and expensive, and can be aggravating due to traffic and crowds. Furthermore, the opportunities for participating in the actual game play are minor in live venues.
  • What is needed, then, is a system that provides sports fans a virtual platform to interact with other fans in a competitive environment.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • In the drawings, the same reference numbers and acronyms identify elements or acts with the same or similar functionality for ease of understanding and convenience. To easily identify the discussion of any particular element or act, the most significant digit or digits in a reference number refer to the figure number in which that element is first introduced.
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a system providing an interactive game representing a real sporting event.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an embodiment of site functions to support a football game implementation.
  • FIG. 3 is an illustration of an embodiment of a game page for a live or simulated football game.
  • FIG. 4 is an illustration of an embodiment of a schedule page.
  • FIG. 5 is an illustration of an embodiment of a teams page.
  • FIG. 6 presents an embodiment of a Quarterback profile page.
  • FIGS. 7 and 8 are illustrations of embodiments of official's pages.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • References to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” do not necessarily refer to the same embodiment, although they may.
  • Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words “comprise,” “comprising,” and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense; that is to say, in the sense of “including, but not limited to.” Words using the singular or plural number also include the plural or singular number respectively. Additionally, the words “herein,” “above,” “below” and words of similar import, when used in this application, refer to this application as a whole and not to any particular portions of this application. When the claims use the word “or” in reference to a list of two or more items, that word covers all of the following interpretations of the word: any of the items in the list, all of the items in the list and any combination of the items in the list.
  • “Logic” refers to signals and/or information that may be applied to influence the operation of a device. Software, hardware, and firmware are examples of logic. Hardware logic may be embodied in circuits. In general, logic may comprise combinations of software, hardware, and/or firmware.
  • Embodiments of the game system described herein may be implemented using logic on server and/or client devices, and possibly other devices as well. Logic may be distributed throughout the system. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that logic may be implemented and distributed in many ways, and the systems and procedures described herein are only examples of possible implementations.
  • FIG. 1 is an embodiment of a system providing an interactive game representing a real sporting event. The game is accessible to multiple players in different locations via one or more networks 102. The networks 102 may comprise various technologies, including but not limited to the Internet, wireless networks, and cable television networks. The game delivery architecture is such that additional players may be supported (i.e., the number of players supported is scalable) by adding additional hardware. Scalability is provided for by load balancing functionality 108, among other things.
  • The game may be implemented using one or multiple servers 110 111. The servers 110 111 provide various pages (such as a webpage or mobile device display screen) which may be presented by the system on game player devices 104 106. The servers 110 111 may also provide customer information for previously playing, currently playing, or future customers as well as other data. The data provided by the servers may be partially or completely comprised by a database 113. Several servers comprising the system functionality may share the database 113. Alternatively, portions of the data for the system may be on multiple devices and may be only partially shared or only locally available to a particular server. For example, the system may be implemented such that the web pages or display screen configurations are kept locally to each game server 110 111. This may be instead of or in addition to keeping a globally accessible (i.e., accessible to multiple system devices) copy of the display information. Besides multiple servers 110 111 which may provide game delivery functions, the system has other functions such as system administration features which may be implemented on the same or other servers.
  • Scalability to support various numbers of players which may be simultaneously using the game system may be accomplished at least in part by adding more servers as needed. Game work (i.e., game delivery needs as the live sporting event proceeds and the game players perform game actions) may be distributed by a load balancing feature 108. Load balancing 108 may be implemented within networking equipment, on the servers 110 111, or on separate equipment or a combination thereof.
  • The game player devices 104 106 may access the game using a network or multiple networks 102. The various networks 102 may be interconnected or not. Networks 102 which may be used include mobile networks, WiFi networks, the Internet, and any other wire-line or wireless networks which may provide connectivity between a game player and the game system.
  • Providing the game to the game player devices 104 106 may include using features of the devices 104 106 already present, such as a web browser or other instant messaging system. Web browsers supported may include Internet explorer, Firefox (Mozilla), and Safari, to name just a few examples. Providing the game to the game player devices 104 106 may include providing the game player devices 104 106 with a game playing application such as a Java applet. Examples of user devices 104 106 include differing mobile devices using one or multiple operating systems, PDA, tablet, personal or laptop computers, or specialized computing devices such as those providing GPS location functionality. All such devices 104 106 may comprise or have access to a communications interface, a display component or device, and a way for a person to input selections based on what is presented on the display. Game users may in most implementations be watching the live sporting event associated with the game simultaneously to accessing the game. At times, some users will be “signed in”, “logged on”, i.e., accessing the system when they are not playing the game at the time of a live sporting event in order to see how they or others (such as a group of players comprising a team) have done when playing or to sign up for playing. Users may access the game functionality from different devices 104 106 at different times.
  • Besides game users, other people may be accessing the game system. For example, an administrator using a device such as a personal computer 106 may use the network 102 or a local connection to access the game environment.
  • During a live game, plays that occur may be evaluated by a person and matched to play selections (from play selection choices which were presented to the players). The person or people making the evaluations are referred to herein as officials.
  • In some implementations, the game provided may not be based on a live sporting event but may be based on a simulated event as would be expected from the various live game players and their performance statistics and characteristics. Individuals such as game “officials” may still be performing functions such as game play evaluation, selection of the next play in the simulated game, determining if a simulated player should be sent in or removed from the playing field, etc. In these implementations, fantasy football statistics and other such features logical for a “fantasy” or simulated game may be provided.
  • Besides load balancing for scalability, the system will be designed for high reliability, with 99.9% reliability as an operating goal and a failover time of less than 2 minutes. This may be accomplished by hot spares or other reliability enhancing techniques. Failover capability may include the ability to move a game user being served from one server to another server invisibly (to them) after a server failure. In some implementations, a game user may be served by different servers as the game progresses, again, invisibly.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an embodiment of site functions to support a football game implementation. These functions may be embodied in web or display pages which may be presented to a game user, official, or administrator as needed.
  • The pages include a home (landing) page, a schedule page (up coming games), team pages (directory and team pages, for sports teams), leader board, trashtalk, game pages, administration login and pages, and official login and pages. Game users also have an associated “Quarterback Page” or QB page and pages for customization and personal information (My QB and profile management pages, their preferred team(s), billing information, etc.). The game includes multiple game user features such as the ability for game users to communicate with each other, post information for common use, play as a team, etc. including a “trashtalk” page with instant messaging and e-mail communications capability.
  • The game may be implemented such that differing types of users (game user, game team leader, administrator, official) have different privileges, i.e., ability to access pages or see or modify data.
  • The administrator pages may provide one or more administrators with supervisor privileges. Such privileges may include:
  • Tool for manually adding point spread to each individual game
  • Monitor official scoring of games
  • Monitor launch of any advertising video by the official.
  • A game presented on the Game Play page may represent either a real sporting event or a simulated game based on prior real sporting event statistics.
  • FIG. 3 is an illustration of an embodiment of a game page for a live or simulated football game. The game page presents a navigation bar 302 (see also FIG. 2) at the top of the page for navigating site features, an image representing the playing field 306, play selection choices with statistics 305 on how often these choices have been selected by the offensive team in the past, a challenge last play feature 307, a timeout feature 310, and advertising 309. The advertising has been placed much as it would be were a real stadium being viewed.
  • As can be seen, the areas of the virtual field provided for user data display or advertising include a “Jumbo Tron” 303 (the display area with the lady drinking and the pizza advertisement). The play clock 304 has also been placed on the Jumbo Tron. The virtual field 306 may mimic the look of a particular stadium, team colors, or present team names. The Jumbo Tron 303 may be presented for both virtual field game representations and game presentations where actual sporting event video is being provided in conjunction with the game, such as on a screen or portion thereof as will be discussed further below.
  • A system as has been described provides a game to multiple players. The game comprises a game play page providing a representation of a sporting event including a playing field 306. The game may be played at the same time the sporting event is occurring. In some implementations, the sporting event which the game represents may be simulated. The game provides each game player with multiple possible plays 305. The multiple possible plays 305 correspond to possibilities for the next play which may next occur in the real sporting event, and are presented to the game player on the playing field 306 provided by the game. Each game player may select from the play possibilities 305, i.e. make a play call, (before the play at the sporting event occurs). After the play does occur in the sporting event, a third party, aka “referee” or game official, may select the play which did occur from the play possibilities. The game player may then be provided by the game which multiple possible plays from which to select for the next real play to occur at the sporting event. Game players who select the correct play are awarded points for their correct selection.
  • A game player may be provided with a selection of upcoming games by the game system, from which he may chose those games in which he intends to participate (the games will occur each occur simultaneously with a sporting event, as indicated above.). A game player may prior to initiating play for a particular sporting event, select his side in the event, i.e., his team. The player may then make, by selecting from the play choices 305, both offensive and defensive play calls which anticipate his team's behavior as the real sporting event occurs. A user (game player) may select favorite teams and/or rank teams in terms of his interest level. The game may display a conflict message based on the users preference for team. For example, if a user ranks Seattle as #1 and San Francisco as #2 and sporting events for the two teams are occurring at the same time, the user would be provided with a conflict warning so that he might chose the event he wished to participate in (via the game).
  • The game player's play call may be reviewed by a third party also known as an official and scored (given points) based on the third party's evaluation of how close the selected play was to the play run in the live event. Alternatively, the points to be awarded for a correct play selection may be selected prior to the play either by a person or by system calculation.
  • The game may maintain at least one sum of such points (a game score) which have been won by the player by making correct play calls over an interval of time, such interval comprising at least one of a portion of the actual sporting event, the duration of the sporting event, or a longer interval.
  • The sporting event which the game is representing may be a football game. A game score based on correct selection of offensive plays for the player's selected team may be used to provide the player with a “Quarterback rating” which reflects how closely the player's play calls match with the actual calls made by the quarterback of his team during the sporting event. Quarterback ratings may also be maintained over longer intervals of time. The Quarterback rating may be a percentage. The Quarterback rating may be determined by a third party based on a review of the player's game calls, or it may be calculated by the game.
  • The game may be provided to the player over a mobile device, on a device which uses the Internet to access the game, or presented on a television, to name just a few of the possibilities.
  • The playing field representation 306 provided by the game may be a graphical (i.e. virtual representation) or it may consist at least in part of a still image or video representation of the actual sporting event as the event is occurring.
  • A game player may change his play call selection one or multiple times prior to the cutoff time for selecting a particular play. The last play call selection the player makes for that sporting event play is the one he will be credited with. A play clock 304 may be provided. The play clock 304 is a countdown based on an interactive session tied to a moderator that starts a synchronized clock and scores points across a number of users.
  • Game Play Choices
  • The play choices 305 may be presented on the game as a grid which is overlaid on the virtual field 306 with a particular choice selectable either by clicking or speaking (i.e. the game may accept audible input).
  • The game may enable a game player who may provide audible play call input to define substitute words for each play call. For example, a long pass may be defined by a phrase like “Gooo doggie”. This feature enables a game player to provide input without other individuals (who may also be players) who are physically close hearing his selection.
  • The play choices 305 may be presented on the game as circular buttons which are overlaid on the virtual field 306 with a particular choice selectable either by clicking or speaking. Various play choices may be presented on parts of the playing field 306 as represented by the game to the player. Different sections of the field may represent different plays. For example, the bottom left square of the virtual field 306 represents the play call “Run Left.”
  • The play choices 305 may be associated a key press (for example, numbers 1-10 on a device may represent play choices 1-10) on a mobile device for the purposes of selecting a play call for a live event. Each button on the Mobile device is associated to a play that is synchronized with a live event. Example: button #1 is associated with a long pass. The user would select button #1 to call a long pass.
  • The play choices 305 may be presented as an overlay of a video of the live event, such as provided on a computer or other digital device's display or on a television (TV) screen. When provided on a TV screen, the TV remote or some other device may be used to select the play choice. A portion of the screen may be overlaid with a grid items, circular buttons, or graphics such as a translucent graphic that each represents a play to be called. For example, there may be a presentation of play call choices 305 in a small grid provided on the upper left hand portion of a screen where the main image of the screen is the presentation of the actual game.
  • Coaching may be provided in conjunction with play choices. Coaching consists of providing users with information as to the likelihood of a particular play choice being what will occur in the real sporting event. Coaching may be generated by a recommendation engine that gives feedback to user on the play that they should select given a specific down and distance for a specific team. This could be based on historical data from users (which may be tracked on field), game play data from previous games for a particular team (i.e.: what does Seattle historically run on 3rd and 3?) or feedback from third party pro coach.
  • The overlay of play choices 305 on a screen may appear, disappear and reappear based on a third party's decision to invoke such an action. In between plays of a live event a translucent graphic may overlay the screen and allow a user to select a play based on what they believe will be called in a live event. The graphic will disappear at a third party's discretion.
  • The system may provide feedback on a correct play call. For example, the system may provide a crowd roar for correct play, stadium does the wave. Thus for example the player selects a play, which is defined as correct by an official, and the stadium reacts with feedback
  • Feedback can be based on the user's personal profile. For example, the profile indicates that user plays with Notre Dame and a fight song is play at a correct play call. A user is able to select and or provide feedback for correct play calls or scores for their team. The game may allow users to select and play or present from the users own digital media collection or to purchase from a third party or the game site itself.
  • Offensive and defensive play choices may be defined. Offensive choices may include run right, run left, run middle, short pass right, short pass left, short pass middle, long pass, or trick play. Special team play may include field goal and punt. The game system may support game users, one or more third parties as described above, and one or more administrators. The game system may provide a way of accepting and administering advertising content.
  • Instead of choosing a play call from the play call selection 305, the game player may select a Virtual timeout 310. A set quantity (for example, 6) timeouts may be provided for an entire game. Selection of a timeout may result in the game player automatically receiving the points he would have received had he made the correct play call for that play. If a player has a play selection but does nothing and the play clock 304 expires (i.e., he can no longer make his selection as the play is now occurring in the real game or simulated game), the game system may automatically choose to award the player timeout points and decrement the remaining timeouts available to this player by one.
  • Other features available to the game user may include:
      • Virtual timeout—results in points for the end user.
      • Virtual Salary. A scoring mechanism that totals players points and assigns a dollar value to that player. The virtual salary is dynamic and is updated throughout the course of games/seasons dependant upon the players point total results.
      • Virtual Stadium purchase. The ability to buy and sell virtual stadiums similar to the concept of Second Life.
      • Virtual Team purchase. The ability to buy and sell virtual sports franchises similar to the concept of Second Life.
      • Virtual Skybox or Season Ticket purchase.
  • Multiple Player Features
  • Instant messaging may be provided as an overlay on a virtual sports arena. A user may submit a message on a virtual field. This message may be displayed on the virtual field and is preset for the whole audience or a select portion of that audience to see. Players may identify “friends” to participate in group features such as instant messaging displays.
  • A game player may challenge the call 307 of a play that is judged by a third party and win that challenge based on a specific percentage of users challenging the play. If the challenge is considered a win, game players who issued the challenge may be awarded points. For example, if 100 users are playing a particular game and 10 of those do not agree with the call deemed correct by the third party and challenge that call, they will be awarded a certain amount of points because the pre-set percentage barrier for a challenge was broken.
  • An overall point total score based on a players participation in a team or based or a city fan base may be calculated from individual game players play calling. For example, a city has 100 users participating in a certain game. These user points are tracked compiled and ranked against different cities fans who are participating in other games.
  • Points may be awarded to players based on amount of instant messages submitted on a virtual field. A user is awarded points to their total score for a particular game or season based on the amount of messages that they submit while participating in a game. Players may organize themselves into groups, or teams. Game players organized into a team may call their own individual plays and the team play is submitted either by the team “leader” or based on the play with the highest percent of users calling that given play.
  • Trash Talk
  • The game may enable the user to provide Trash Talk. Trash talk is user submitted content associated with a live event that may be displayed on a virtual field. Trash talk may be associated with the entire live event, may be designated as associated with a particular player (such as a quarterback), or may be associated with a particular play choice (for example, comments on how well a team performs a long pass). Text messages from mobile devices may be presented as trash talk.
  • Trash talk may be provided to a game user in a pop up window or trash talk from a selection of users (possibly a random selection) may be displayed on the game field representation, for example, as text displayed on the Jumbo Tron 303. The trash talk displayed may be varied either by the game user (for example, by scrolling) or by the game (for example, by presenting one user's trash talk on the Jumbo Tron 303, then another's, etc.).
  • The trash talk page may provide the user with a description of trash talk features. In addition, it may prompt users to agree to a set of terms (such as no obscenity or pornography) prior to providing the feature. The trash talk page may have a forum for users to present comments. The trash talk page may enable the submission of instant messages or e-mail. The trash talk feature may include providing the user with points based on the quantity of trash talk instant messages or other items submitted.
  • Videos and Pictures may be provided by users as trash talk. For example, crowd shots of the game might be submitted by users who are watching the game in the audience. Users may be allowed to present virtual signs “#1 hands”, D-Fence signs.
  • Instead of text trash talk user's may submit trash talk verbally, i.e., Audio Trash Talk. Some game implementations may enable text submitted trash talk to be presented to users audibly as an option.
  • All content, for example text, audio, video, or still images, submitted as trash talk may be examined by the game providers and only a selected portion may be presented to other game users. Trash talk may be submitted prior to or during the sporting event.
  • Trash talk may be submitted to be presented only to selections of other users, for example, those designated as “friends” or those on the same user game team or those geographically close.
  • The game user may have the ability to respond to, i.e., talk back to either verbally or in some other manner, a user who has provided trash talk. As a means to accomplishing this, a hyperlink to the submitter's QB page may be provided in conjunction with the trash talk.
  • A game player may be able to submit SMS messages from a mobile or other device. A certain number of messages must be submitted to get a virtual “wave” started. The game may provide a status bar to show how close a game player team is to starting a wave. Also the game may award Endorsement points for each user who submits messages.
  • Quarterback rating based on play calling on a static video game type system. A rating is assigned to a user based on the outcome of their play that they call that are associated with a static video game such as John Madden Football.
  • Advertising
  • Advertising 309 may be presented on the representation of the playing field a.k.a. the virtual field 306 that is being synchronized with a live event. Advertisements may be presented on places on the virtual field 306 to mimic the look and feel of a normal football stadium. Video advertisements may be played on a virtual “Jumbo Tron” 303. Video advertisements may be played back on the virtual field's Jumbo Tron 303 while a player is calling plays that are being synchronized with a live event.
  • The game system may include a feature to cause an automatic ad start based on the official selection of a certain action such as an ad being launched in conjunction of the start of a quarter or change of possession.
  • The same advertising may not be presented to all game players. Local advertising or personalized advertising may be provided based on location or some other user characteristic. Data presented on the screen may include product placements. The virtual field 306 may mimic the look of a particular stadium, team colors, or present team names.
  • Game capability may include an advertisement recommendation engine based on location of teams or other team or game player (of a particular sporting game) characteristics. For example, the user is playing with Chicago and is also a Notre Dame fan. The system may know this and as such promotes Notre Dame while the user is playing with Chicago. The advertisement recommendation engine may consider other information when selecting advertisements to display on a particular screen, such as, whether it is multicasting, whether a minimum number of advertising recipients as per an agreement have been selected, the time of day, etc.
  • The game player may be able to select a particular advertisement presented on the virtual field 306, with such selection resulting in the launch of a separate (possibly third party i.e. generated by a party other than the game delivery system) page providing additional information about the items advertised.
  • Entertainment and Personalization
  • Halftime entertainment may be provided on a virtual field. The halftime entertainment may be synchronized with the sporting event. Halftime entertainment may include virtual cheerleaders, video playback or graphics displayed on a virtual field 306.
  • The virtual stadium 306 may display personal photos and videos from the game player's hard drive or from personal services that the user has subscribed to such as Youtube, flicker, etc. The game play field 306 may, for example, launch a given users particular YouTube videos.
  • Scheduling
  • FIG. 4 is an illustration of an embodiment of a schedule page. When a user selects Schedule of Games they will be taken to the specific Schedule of Games page. The Schedule of Games page may list college and pro teams weekly games that the game system encompasses. Once users select a game they may be taken to that particular game play page. The Schedule of Games selection may be one square right of Home on the Navigation bar.
  • FIG. 5 is an illustration of an embodiment of a teams page. The Navigation bar may comprise a “Teams” button that when selected takes the user to the Teams page. The Teams page may list college & professional teams encompassed by the game system. Selecting a team name from the list page may take the user to that teams particular page. The Teams button may be one square right of the Schedule of Games button on the Navigation bar.
  • The Teams page may list college and professional teams that Project ND covers along with the week's scheduled games. For example, the list may include professional teams and the following colleges: Notre Dame, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia, LSU, Southern California, Florida, Oklahoma, Auburn, Texas, Florida State, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Clemson, Nebraska, Miami, and Virginia Tech.
  • Specific Team Page
  • Each of the teams listed may serve as a link to a page for the particular team that may contain advertising links as well as leader boards for users of each particular college or NFL team. The team's page may contain a drop down menu of college and professional teams available through the game system so that users can easily navigate between pages.
  • Teams Page—Leader Boards
  • The game may provide a leader board for the top 5 users for the season and for the previous game for the particular team. The main section of this page may have the following statistics, which may update throughout games and seasons, listed for the particular team:
  • Total game system players using the team
  • Total combined plays called for the users
  • Total-combined points scored by a user
  • Percentage of correct play calls
  • The Leaderboard page may also be accessed by a button on the Navigation bar.
  • QB Page
  • FIG. 6 presents an embodiment of a Quarterback profile page. The Quarterback profile page may in some embodiments comprise the game user's personal profile page. A QB profile button may be present on the Navigation bar.
  • The following user statistics may be available on the profile page and may update automatically as the user participates in games throughout the course of the season.
      • Percentage of correct calls
        • Overall
        • By game
        • By Quarter
      • Game points the user has accumulated
        • Overall
        • By game
        • By Quarter
      • Teams that the particular user plays with and their statistics for each.
      • User's full name
      • User's age and birthday
      • User's email
      • User's IM Address
      • A facility to enable the user to post pictures (e.g. “Post your best tailgate Picture”)
      • A facility to invite others to join a team comprising the user. Users may have the ability to enter in email address of those individuals who might like to participate in the game system.
      • Virtual Salary: Each player may be assigned a Virtual Salary as a combination of their total point called correctly plus other points awarded through inviting others to join the game system, as well as total number of unique visitors to a player's page in a given week. The Virtual Salary is a scoring mechanism that totals player's points and assigns a dollar value to that player. The virtual salary is dynamic and is updated throughout the course of games/seasons dependant upon the players point total results.
      • The user's Quarterback rating based on play calling on a field associated with a live game. A rating is given to a user that is associated with the user's call of plays based on a live event. These calls may then be judged by a third party and a percentage based rating assigned to the user based on the amount of calls deemed correct by the third party. The Quarterback rating may also be applied to play calling on a static video game type system. A rating may assigned to a user based on the outcome of their play that they call that are associated with a static video game such as John Madden Football.
  • FIGS. 7 and 8 are illustrations of embodiments of official's pages. One page (FIG. 7) may be provided to enable an official to log on, at which point the official may be presented with a page such as the one illustrated in FIG. 8.
  • An officials' page may comprise the following:
      • Playclock—A countdown based on an interactive session tied to a moderator that starts a synchronized clock and scores points across a number of users.
      • A “Snap Clock” button that will count down from a number, such as 3, after an official has started it to end the users play calling time period.
        • A facility for the official to manually advancing “downs”.
        • A virtual playing field comprising play calls, similar to what game players see. The official may determine the correct play call based on the game he is viewing and select the appropriate play call, then select the “Submit” button.
        • For plays that are stopped prior to the snap of the ball or just after snap due to penalty, the official may have the ability to select an action that will make the game player's screen flash “No Play.”
      • Official's ability to change quarter manually may cause the presentation of an advertisement (e.g. on the Jumbo Tron) on the Game Play page.
      • Official's ability to change possession from one team to the other manually may also launch an advertisement to be presented on the Game Play page.
      • The Official may have the ability to cause an ad to be presented on the video screen of the Game Play page at any time.
      • The Official page may have an ad counter
      • The Official page may have the ability to automatically have advertising start based on the official selection of a certain action such as an ad being launched in conjunction of the start of a quarter or change of possession.
      • The game may have a facility for preventing players from submitting a play call after the official play clock has expired.
      • The facility may have a facility for multiple officials (e.g. as in gymnastics competition), in which a majority of officials (e.g. ⅔) choose one play that is the play that is deemed correct.
  • The following pages, not herein described, may be available from the Home Page of the YOUbeQB embodiment of a football sport game.
  • Sign Up
  • First time users of the game system may be provided with the option to sign up as members.
  • Users may not be required to sign up or sign in to play. When a user does not sign up but instead chooses to go directly to game play, their awarded points may still be compiled for a given game. Players may then have the opportunity to sign up at any time while playing. If a player does sign up by the end of the game, their points may nonetheless be captured and stored. If they do not sign up, the compiled points may be erased.
  • Leader Boards
  • The system may maintain leader boards as follows
      • Season Overall—lists top 5 overall points leaders by user screen name (e.g. college season+professional season=total)
      • Weekly Pro—lists top 5 overall points leaders by user screen name for previous week's pro games.
      • Weekly College—lists top 5 overall point's leaders by user screen name for previous week's college games.
  • The player's points per team game and overall points per season may be tracked. If a user selects a particular Leader Board, the user may be taken to the Leader Board page. All leader boards may list NFL teams by city and all colleges by school name. The Leader board may also present a category that displays an overall point total score based on a cities fan base calculated from individual player's participation and play calling on a virtual field. For example, a particular city may have 100 users participating in a certain game. These user points may be tracked compiled and ranked against different city's fans who are participating in other games.
  • Trash Talk
  • The Trash Talk button on the Navigation bar may take players to the Trash Talk page. The Trash talk page may provide a description of the Trash Talk functionality. In addition it may prompt users to agree to a set of terms prior to allowing users to Trash Talk. The Trash Talk page may support the trash talk features as described earlier in this document. The Trash Talk page may also have a Forum present for users to post comments.
  • The Trash Talk may also have the functionality to award points to players based on amount of instant messages submitted on a virtual field. A user may be awarded points to their total score for a particular game or season based on the amount of messages that they submit while participating in a game.
  • Virtual Salary
  • Each player may be assigned a Virtual Salary as a combination of their total point called correctly plus other points awarded through inviting others to join the game system as well as total number of unique visitors to a player's page in a given week. The Virtual Salary may comprise a scoring mechanism that totals player's points and assigns a dollar value to the player. The virtual salary may be dynamic and updated throughout the course of games/seasons dependant upon a player's point total results. A player may also receive salary points via endorsements from other players, for example, a player may receive endorsement points for inviting other players to join, for Trashtalk, and so on.
  • Those skilled in the art will appreciate that logic to implement the features described herein may be distributed throughout one or more devices, and/or may be comprised of combinations of instructions in memory, processing capability, circuits, and so on. Therefore, in the interest of clarity and correctness logic may not always be distinctly illustrated in drawings of devices and systems, although it is inherently present therein.
  • Those having skill in the art will appreciate that there are various vehicles by which processes and/or systems described herein can be effected (e.g., hardware, software, and/or firmware), and that the preferred vehicle will vary with the context in which the processes are deployed. For example, if an implementer determines that speed and accuracy are paramount, the implementer may opt for a hardware and/or firmware vehicle; alternatively, if flexibility is paramount, the implementer may opt for a solely software implementation; or, yet again alternatively, the implementer may opt for some combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware. Hence, there are several possible vehicles by which the processes described herein may be effected, none of which is inherently superior to the other in that any vehicle to be utilized is a choice dependent upon the context in which the vehicle will be deployed and the specific concerns (e.g., speed, flexibility, or predictability) of the implementer, any of which may vary. Those skilled in the art will recognize that optical aspects of implementations may involve optically-oriented hardware, software, and or firmware.
  • The foregoing detailed description has set forth various embodiments of the devices and/or processes via the use of block diagrams, flowcharts, and/or examples. Insofar as such block diagrams, flowcharts, and/or examples contain one or more functions and/or operations, it will be understood as notorious by those within the art that each function and/or operation within such block diagrams, flowcharts, or examples can be implemented, individually and/or collectively, by a wide range of hardware, software, firmware, or virtually any combination thereof. Several portions of the subject matter described herein may be implemented via Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), digital signal processors (DSPs), or other integrated formats. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that some aspects of the embodiments disclosed herein, in whole or in part, can be equivalently implemented in standard integrated circuits, as one or more computer programs running on one or more computers (e.g., as one or more programs running on one or more computer systems), as one or more programs running on one or more processors (e.g., as one or more programs running on one or more microprocessors), as firmware, or as virtually any combination thereof, and that designing the circuitry and/or writing the code for the software and/or firmware would be well within the skill of one of skill in the art in light of this disclosure. In addition, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the mechanisms of the subject matter described herein are capable of being distributed as a program product in a variety of forms, and that an illustrative embodiment of the subject matter described herein applies equally regardless of the particular type of signal bearing media used to actually carry out the distribution. Examples of a signal bearing media include, but are not limited to, the following: recordable type media such as floppy disks, hard disk drives, CD ROMs, digital tape, and computer memory; and transmission type media such as digital and analog communication links using TDM or IP based communication links (e.g., packet links).
  • In a general sense, those skilled in the art will recognize that the various aspects described herein which can be implemented, individually and/or collectively, by a wide range of hardware, software, firmware, or any combination thereof can be viewed as being composed of various types of “electrical circuitry.” Consequently, as used herein “electrical circuitry” includes, but is not limited to, electrical circuitry having at least one discrete electrical circuit, electrical circuitry having at least one integrated circuit, electrical circuitry having at least one application specific integrated circuit, electrical circuitry forming a general purpose computing device configured by a computer program (e.g., a general purpose computer configured by a computer program which at least partially carries out processes and/or devices described herein, or a microprocessor configured by a computer program which at least partially carries out processes and/or devices described herein), electrical circuitry forming a memory device (e.g., forms of random access memory), and/or electrical circuitry forming a communications device (e.g., a modem, communications switch, or optical-electrical equipment).
  • Those skilled in the art will recognize that it is common within the art to describe devices and/or processes in the fashion set forth herein, and thereafter use standard engineering practices to integrate such described devices and/or processes into larger systems. That is, at least a portion of the devices and/or processes described herein can be integrated into a network processing system via a reasonable amount of experimentation.
  • The foregoing described aspects depict different components contained within, or connected with, different other components. It is to be understood that such depicted architectures are merely exemplary, and that in fact many other architectures can be implemented which achieve the same functionality. In a conceptual sense, any arrangement of components to achieve the same functionality is effectively “associated” such that the desired functionality is achieved. Hence, any two components herein combined to achieve a particular functionality can be seen as “associated with” each other such that the desired functionality is achieved, irrespective of architectures or intermedial components. Likewise, any two components so associated can also be viewed as being “operably connected”, or “operably coupled”, to each other to achieve the desired functionality.

Claims (18)

1. An online gaming system providing a virtual field representing a field of play for a live or simulated game, the virtual field comprising areas that may be operated in order to select a play prediction.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the virtual field further comprises:
areas comprising identifiers of play choices and statistics associated with the play choices.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein the virtual field further comprises:
an appearance of one or more of a particular stadium or team colors.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the virtual field further comprises:
a virtual jumbo tron.
5. The system of claim 1, further comprising:
the gaming system providing either live or logical officials to match play predictions with actual plays.
6. The system of claim 1, further comprising:
the gaming system providing for users to challenge play calls by the officials.
7. The system of claim 1, further comprising:
the gaming system awarding player points based at least in part upon correct play predictions.
8. The system of claim 1, further comprising:
the gaming system providing a rating that reflects how closely a player's play predictions match with actual plays in the live or simulated game.
9. The system of claim 1, further comprising:
a play clock.
10. The system of claim 1, further comprising:
the game system providing a trash talk feature.
11. An online gaming system providing a control overlay for a field of play for a live or simulated game, the field comprising areas that may be operated in order to select a play prediction.
12. The system of claim 11, wherein the virtual field further comprises:
areas comprising identifiers of play choices and statistics associated with the play choices.
13. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
the gaming system providing either live or logical officials to match play predictions with actual plays.
14. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
the gaming system providing for users to challenge play calls by the officials.
15. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
the gaming system awarding player points based at least in part upon correct play predictions.
16. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
the gaming system providing a rating that reflects how closely a player's play predictions match with actual plays in the live or simulated game.
17. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
a play clock.
18. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
the game system providing a trash talk feature.
US12/080,168 2007-03-30 2008-03-31 Game representing real sporting event with play call feature Abandoned US20080268929A1 (en)

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