US20090011833A1 - Descending Qualification Community Game - Google Patents

Descending Qualification Community Game Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090011833A1
US20090011833A1 US12/166,916 US16691608A US2009011833A1 US 20090011833 A1 US20090011833 A1 US 20090011833A1 US 16691608 A US16691608 A US 16691608A US 2009011833 A1 US2009011833 A1 US 2009011833A1
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Prior art keywords
qualifying
game
community
outcome
gaming
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Abandoned
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US12/166,916
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Jerald C. Seelig
Lawrence M. Henshaw
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Atlantic City Coin and Slot Service Co Inc
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Atlantic City Coin and Slot Service Co Inc
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Priority to US94788807P priority Critical
Application filed by Atlantic City Coin and Slot Service Co Inc filed Critical Atlantic City Coin and Slot Service Co Inc
Priority to US12/166,916 priority patent/US20090011833A1/en
Assigned to ATLANTIC CITY COIN & SLOT SERVICE COMPANY, INC. reassignment ATLANTIC CITY COIN & SLOT SERVICE COMPANY, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: SEELIG, JERLAD C., HENSHAW, LAWRENCE M.
Publication of US20090011833A1 publication Critical patent/US20090011833A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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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
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes
    • 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

A community gaming system includes a community game server that compares gaming outcomes of gaming devices to determine whether the gaming devices qualify for a community game. For a first set of gaming devices, the community game server compares a gaming device outcome against a first qualifying outcome having a first qualifying probability. The qualifying probability is then modified and a second qualifying outcome based on the modified qualifying probability is used to qualify a second set of gaming devices. A community prize may be awarded to winning gaming devices in proportion to the qualifying probabilities for the respective gaming devices.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/947,888, filed Jul. 3, 2007, the contents of which is herein incorporated by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to gaming systems and devices and in particular to gaming systems providing community games.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Community games provide enhanced player excitement by increasing interactivity between players. In a community game, multiple players wager on linked devices. Certain gaming outcomes on a particular gaming device may qualify the gaming device to be eligible for participating in the community game and/or trigger progress towards a community prize event in which a community prize is distributed amongst eligible players.
  • SUMMARY OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION Advantages of One or More Embodiments of the Present Invention
  • The various embodiments of the present invention may, but do not necessarily, achieve one or more of the following advantages:
  • the ability to vary the qualification for a community game;
  • provide encouragement to players to qualify for a community game;
  • provide an option for a player to participate in a community game or accept a bonus game; and
  • provide the ability to apportion a community prize based on the qualification probability of a player.
  • These and other advantages may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification, claims, and abstract.
  • Brief Description of One Embodiment of the Present Invention
  • In one embodiment of the invention, there is provided a gaming system comprising a plurality of gaming devices and a community game server. Each gaming device is configured to allow a player to place a wager and play a game to produce a game outcome. The community game server determines whether a game outcome of a respective gaming device is a qualifying outcome for a community game. For at least one first gaming device, the community game server compares a game outcome with a first qualifying game outcome. For at least one second gaming device, the community game server compares a game outcome with a second qualifying game outcome.
  • In one embodiment of the invention, there is provided a community game server that compares a gaming outcome of a gaming device to determine whether the gaming device qualifies for a community game. For a first set of gaming devices to qualify for the community game, the community game server compares the gaming device outcome to a first qualifying game outcome. For a second set of gaming devices to qualify for the community game, the community game server compares the gaming device outcome to a second qualifying game outcome.
  • In one embodiment of the invention, there is provided a method for qualifying a plurality of players into a community game. In this method, a first player is qualified into a community game. A probability of qualifying into the community game is modified and a second player is qualified into the community game.
  • In one embodiment of the invention, there is provided a method for gaming comprising qualifying a first set of gaming devices into a community game using a first qualifying probability and qualifying a second set of gaming devices into the community game using a second qualifying probability. A community game outcome is determined and a community prize is awarded to at least one of the qualified gaming devices.
  • The above description sets forth, rather broadly, a summary of one embodiment of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and will form the subject matter of the claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is substantially schematic view of a community gaming system;
  • FIG. 2 substantially illustrates a gaming device; and
  • FIG. 3 substantially illustrates a community gaming method.
  • DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
  • The present invention comprises a gaming system. As shown in FIG. 1, the gaming system 10 comprises at least one gaming device 12 that is configured to allow players to place wagers and play a game. Multiple gaming devices 12 may be networked within an establishment or within several establishments as is known in the art. An example of a gaming device 12, shown in more detail in FIG. 2, includes a coin slot 11 for receiving wagers such as coins or tokens and a payout slot 13 through which winnings may be paid. A person skilled in the art will readily understand that the gaming device 12 is illustrative only and that many variants may be made. For example, the gaming device 12 may be configured to receive bills, casino tokens, credit cards or many other forms of payment. Similarly, winnings may be paid by tokens, tickets, credit or through other facilities of the gaming establishment.
  • A game display 15 displays a game outcome. The game display may include mechanical spinning reels, video reels, a poker card display or any other suitable game display apparent to the person skilled in the art. Additional displays 14 may display further game information, such as a progressive jackpot total.
  • The gaming devices 12 are operatively associated with a server 20, which may include components such as a processor 21, memory 22 and random number generator 23. While the random number generator 23 is shown as a distinct component, a person skilled in the art will readily understand that the random number generator may be embodied within the processor 21. The server 20 may be provided within the vicinity of the gaming devices 12 or may be provided elsewhere in the gaming establishment and communicate with the gaming devices 12 through a communication link (not shown), as is known. In an alternative embodiment, the gaming device 12 may be self-contained such that the functions of the server, in particular the memory 22 and the random number generator 23, are provided from within the gaming device 12.
  • Each of the gaming devices 12 are configured to operate a game program that allows players to place wagers and play games. The server 20 may store game programs and information, for example in memory 22, which can be downloaded to the gaming devices 12 and gaming devices 12 may transmit information to the server 20. A gaming device 12 may offer a plurality of different games. When a player selects one of the games, the selected game may be downloaded from the server along with game related information, such as pay tables which may also be stored in memory 22. Pay tables are used to determine the outcome of each game and they control the odds of winning a game and the amounts paid out. The gaming devices may be in one location, such as a casino, or they may be in different locations.
  • In one example of a typical gaming machine operation, when a player advances a wager and initiates a game, the random number generator generates a random number which is then compared to the pay table to determine the gaming outcome. The display is controlled to create a display, such as a combination of reels, that reflects the game outcome.
  • The system 10 may provide a community game that may be controlled by the central server 20. In a community game, a community prize may be awarded to each player of the gaming devices that are qualified to receive the prize. A community prize display 16 may be associated with each gaming device 12. Alternatively or in addition, a common community prize display 18 may be provided for all of the gaming devices 12, i.e. if the gaming devices 12 are all located in the same area.
  • In one embodiment, the server 20 includes a community game server 24. The community game server 24 determines qualifying criteria for a community game and whether the gaming outcome of a gaming device 12 qualifies the respective gaming device for a community game.
  • In one embodiment, a community game may be played in accordance with a method 100 illustrated in FIG. 3. At step 101, a first set of gaming devices are qualified into a community game using a first qualifying probability. At step 102, the qualifying probability is modified and then a second set of gaming devices are qualified into the community game using the second qualifying probability (step 103). When appropriate, such as once a sufficient number of gaming devices are qualified or a qualifying period has expired, the community game may be played and a community game outcome is then determined by the community game server (step 104). A community prize can then be awarded to one or more of the qualified gaming devices based on the community game outcome 105. While the community game server 24 is illustrated as a distinct component, a person skilled in the art will understand that the function of the community game server may be fully incorporated into the central server 20. Alternatively, the community game server 24 may be isolated from the functions of the central server 20.
  • Players may qualify to play the community game using different criteria. For example, a player may qualify if the player receives a certain outcome on the base game of a gaming device. The outcome may be the occurrence of a certain symbol, combination of certain symbols or certain symbols appearing a predetermined number of times. The present invention may require all players playing the gaming devices to qualify for the community game before the system runs the community game.
  • In one embodiment, a player who has qualified to play a bonus game is then given an option of deferring his or her bonus game and the subsequent awarding of a bonus award. Rather, the player may be allowed to play or participate in a community bonus game that may award a larger prize. If the player decides not to participate in the community bonus game, the player may play his or her individual bonus game and immediately be awarded any prize provided by the bonus game.
  • In another embodiment, a player who has qualified to play an individual bonus game is allowed to play that bonus game. If the player qualifies to receive a bonus prize, the player is then given the option of deferring awarding of the prize at the time the player is qualified. Instead, the player may take a chance on receiving a larger community prize later.
  • In one embodiment, the system of the present invention provides for a descending qualification community game. Under this system, the probability for qualifying to play or participate in a community game decreases as more players qualify to play in the game. For example, the requirement for a first player to qualify for a community game may be receiving three predetermined symbols. These symbols may be presented in the outcome of the base or primary game of a gaming device. The frequency with which the symbols are presented may be controlled by the primary game's pay table. Once a player has received the three predetermined symbols and becomes the first player to qualify to play the community game, the requirement decreases to two predetermined symbols. The probability of receiving three predetermined symbols is less than the probability of receiving two of the predetermined symbols. Thus, the next player to receive the two predetermined symbols will become the second player to qualify to play the community game. The qualification requirement may then decrease to one predetermined symbol for a third qualifying player.
  • Another embodiment is provided in Table 1. In this embodiment, a first set of ten gaming devices must receive a star to qualify for the community game. The next set of ten players must receive a cherry and a third set of ten players must receive a diamond to qualify for the community game. The probability of receiving a star is 0.1, of a cherry is 0.15 and a diamond is 0.25 in each outcome of primary game.
  • TABLE 1
    Player Qualification Requirement Probability
     1-10 Star 0.1 
    11-20 Cherry 0.15
    21-30 Diamond 0.25
  • In another embodiment, as seen in Table 2, the qualifying game outcome is a cumulative game outcome in which players must receive a plurality of different symbols in a predetermined amount of time. For example, the first group of players to qualify for the community game may be required to receive three community game symbols in five minutes. The next group of players may be required to receive two community game symbols in five minutes or they may be required to receive the same number of symbols in a longer time period. In this embodiment, a timer and the number of community symbols the player has received in the relevant time period may be displayed to the player. An advantage of this embodiment is that faster play is encouraged, which increases revenue to the system operator.
  • TABLE 2
    Qualification Requirement
    Number of Period of
    Player Symbols Time Probability
    1 3 5 minutes 0.1 
    2-5  3 7 minutes 0.15
    6-10 1 5 minutes 0.25
  • The present invention also provides an embodiment in which the qualification requirements increase. The probability of occurrence of the qualification requirements for the first group of players will be the lowest. The probability of occurrence of the qualification requirements for the second group of players will be higher.
  • At some point, qualification for the community game will be closed. This may occur when a predetermined number of players qualify or when a predetermined time period has expired. For example, once the first player qualifies to play the community game, other players must qualify within ten minutes. After the qualification for the community game has closed, the community game is initiated. The outcome of the community game may include awarding a prize to the qualifying players. The prize may be a fixed amount that is divided among the qualifying players or it may be a multiplier that multiplies a prize that a player has received in the player's primary game.
  • In another embodiment, as seen in Table 3, the prize is proportional to or weighted by the probability of each qualifying player's qualification requirement. For example, if the first qualifying player's qualification requirement was twice as high as the rest of the qualifying players' qualification requirement, the first qualifying player may be awarded a prize that is twice the amount of the rest of the qualifying players. Multipliers may also be proportional or weighted according to the qualification requirements.
  • TABLE 3
    Qualification Fixed Proportion
    Player Requirement Probability Prize of prize Multiplier
    1 Star 0.1 $50   20% 4
    2-10 Cherry 0.2 $25 8.89% 2
  • Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the embodiments of this invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.

Claims (26)

1. A gaming system comprising:
(A) a plurality of gaming devices, each gaming device configured to allow a player to place a wager and play a game to produce a game outcome;
(B) a community game server configured to:
(a) determine whether a game outcome of a respective gaming device is a qualifying outcome for a community game;
(b) determine a community game outcome;
(c) wherein determining whether a game outcome is a qualifying outcome comprises:
(i) for at least one first gaming device, comparing the game outcome of the first gaming device with a first qualifying game outcome;
(ii) for at least one second gaming device, comparing the game outcome of the second gaming device with a second qualifying game outcome.
2. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the first qualifying game outcome has a different probability to the second qualifying game outcome.
3. The gaming system of claim 2 wherein the community game server is configured to distribute a community prize to at least one gaming device qualified for the community game.
4. The gaming system of claim 3 wherein the community game server is configured to distribute the community prize to a plurality of gaming devices that are eligible to receive the community prize.
5. The gaming system of claim 4 wherein the community game server distributes the community prize to eligible gaming devices dependent on the probability with which the respective eligible gaming device qualified for the community game.
6. A community game server that compares a gaming outcome of a gaming device to determine whether the gaming device qualifies for a community game, wherein:
(A) for a first set of gaming devices to qualify for the community game, the community game server compares the gaming device outcome to a first qualifying game outcome;
(B) for a second set of gaming devices to qualify for the community game, the community game server compares the gaming device outcome to a second qualifying game outcome.
7. The community game server of claim 6 wherein the first qualifying game outcome has a lower probability than the second qualifying game outcome.
8. The community game server of claim 6 wherein the first qualifying game outcome has a higher probability than the second qualifying game outcome.
9. The community game server of claim 6 wherein at least one of the first qualifying game outcomes and the second qualifying game outcome comprises a cumulative game outcome.
10. The community game server of claim 9 wherein the cumulative game outcome comprises a predetermined number of symbols within a predetermined period of time.
11. The community game server of claim 10 wherein the first qualifying game outcome comprises a first predetermined number of at least one predetermined symbol within a predetermined period of time and wherein the second qualifying game outcome comprises a second predetermined number of at least one predetermined symbol within the predetermined period of time.
12. The community game server of claim 10 wherein the first qualifying game outcome comprises a predetermined number of at least one predetermined symbol within a first predetermined period of time and wherein the second qualifying game outcome comprises the predetermined number of the at least one predetermined symbol within a second predetermined period of time.
13. The community game server of claim 6 wherein for a third set of gaming devices to qualify for the community game, the community game server compares the gaming device outcome to a third qualifying game outcome.
14. The community game server of claim 6 wherein at least one of the first set and second set comprises a single gaming device.
15. The community game server of claim 6 wherein at least one of the first set and second set comprises a plurality of gaming devices.
16. The community game server of claim 6 wherein the game outcome is a game outcome of a primary game of the respective gaming device.
17. A method for qualifying a plurality of players into a community game, the method comprising:
(A) qualifying at least a first player into a community game;
(B) modifying a probability of qualifying into the community game; and
(C) qualifying at least a second player into the community game.
18. The method of claim 17 wherein qualifying at least a first player into a community game comprises creating a first qualifying game outcome having a first probability and wherein qualifying a second player into the community game comprises creating a second qualifying game outcome having a second probability.
19. The method of claim 18 comprising creating the first qualifying game outcome on a first gaming device and creating the second qualifying game outcome on a second gaming device.
20. The method of claim 17 wherein modifying the probability of qualifying comprises modifying a qualifying game outcome.
21. The method of claim 20 wherein modifying a qualifying game outcome comprises modifying a qualifying number of gaming symbols of a gaming device in a qualifying period.
22. The method of claim 20 wherein modifying a qualifying game outcome comprises modifying a qualifying period in which to obtain a qualifying number of gaming symbols at a gaming device.
23. A method for gaming comprising:
(A) qualifying a first set of gaming devices into a community game using a first qualifying probability;
(B) qualifying a second set of gaming devices into the community game using a second qualifying probability;
(C) determining a community game outcome; and
(D) awarding a community prize to at least one of the qualified gaming devices.
24. The method of claim 23 wherein the second set of gaming devices are qualified into the community game after the first set of gaming devices are qualified into the community game.
25. The method of claim 23 wherein awarding the community prize comprises distributing the community prize to the first set of gaming devices and the second set of gaming devices dependent on the first qualifying probability and the second qualifying probability.
26. The method of claim 25 wherein gaming devices that qualified for the community game with a higher probability receive a lower proportion of the community prize.
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