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US20090291760A1 - Video Gaming Controller Bay for Mobile Devices - Google Patents

Video Gaming Controller Bay for Mobile Devices Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090291760A1
US20090291760A1 US12125361 US12536108A US2009291760A1 US 20090291760 A1 US20090291760 A1 US 20090291760A1 US 12125361 US12125361 US 12125361 US 12536108 A US12536108 A US 12536108A US 2009291760 A1 US2009291760 A1 US 2009291760A1
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Prior art keywords
mobile
video
device
gaming
console
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12125361
Inventor
Bennett Hepburn
Donald R. Boys
Mark A. Boys
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SoundStarts Inc
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SoundStarts Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/90Constructional details or arrangements of video game devices not provided for in groups A63F13/20 or A63F13/25, e.g. housing, wiring, connections or cabinets
    • A63F13/92Video game devices specially adapted to be hand-held while playing
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/02Accessories
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/12Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions involving interaction between a plurality of game devices, e.g. transmisison or distribution systems
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/20Input arrangements for video game devices
    • A63F13/23Input arrangements for video game devices for interfacing with the game device, e.g. specific interfaces between game controller and console
    • A63F13/235Input arrangements for video game devices for interfacing with the game device, e.g. specific interfaces between game controller and console using a wireless connection, e.g. infrared or piconet
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/30Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers
    • A63F13/32Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers using local area network [LAN] connections
    • A63F13/323Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers using local area network [LAN] connections between game devices with different hardware characteristics, e.g. hand-held game devices connectable to game consoles or arcade machines
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/30Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers
    • A63F13/32Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers using local area network [LAN] connections
    • A63F13/327Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers using local area network [LAN] connections using wireless networks, e.g. Wi-Fi or piconet
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/10Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterized by input arrangements for converting player-generated signals into game device control signals
    • A63F2300/1025Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterized by input arrangements for converting player-generated signals into game device control signals details of the interface with the game device, e.g. USB version detection
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/20Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of the game platform
    • A63F2300/204Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of the game platform the platform being a handheld device
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/40Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of platform network
    • A63F2300/404Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of platform network characterized by a local network connection
    • A63F2300/405Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of platform network characterized by a local network connection being a wireless ad hoc network, e.g. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Pico net
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/40Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of platform network
    • A63F2300/406Transmission via wireless network, e.g. pager or GSM
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/80Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game specially adapted for executing a specific type of game
    • A63F2300/8023Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game specially adapted for executing a specific type of game the game being played by multiple players at a common site, e.g. in an arena, theatre, shopping mall using a large public display

Abstract

A gaming console facilitating universal game control for mobile devices capable of video gaming includes a housing supporting a video graphics display area, a coupling interface and docking bay strategically located in the housing relative to the display area for docking and coupling to a mobile device, at least one video game controller interface conveniently located on the housing relative to the display area, and at least one mobile device control interface conveniently located on the housing relative to the display area wherein the gaming console with a mobile device coupled thereto serves as a video gaming station for playing video games accessible to the mobile device, and wherein the at least one video game controller interface is used to execute and play a video game instead of controls resident on the mobile device.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention is in the field of video gaming and video gaming devices and pertains particularly to a system and apparatus for adapting mobile devices with standardized controller features for gaming.
  • [0003]
    2. Discussion of the State of the Art
  • [0004]
    The Field of video gaming has grown tremendously over recent years and development continues. A variety of video gaming equipment and software is available on the market. Video gamers use console-gaming devices like an X-Box or Sony Play Station. Video gamers also use high-end personal computers running gaming software. For high-end video gaming, graphics acceleration, processing speeds, and high definition/resolution video screens are of significant importance. Over the decades, portable video gaming devices have been developed and marketed successfully with Nintendo Game boy, Nintendo DS, Sony Play Station, and Sony PSP among more notable models. The potential market for video gaming is much greater than the actual market. The dedicated gaming devices, although portable, still do not reach potential gamers that could swell the consumer base if persuaded to try gaming from a more familiar device that they most likely already own.
  • [0005]
    More recently, software providers have designed video games for hand-held mobile devices like smart phones and personal digital assistants (PDA). Many newer 3 G and 4 G mobile devices have sufficient processing power, data storage capacity, and screen resolution for video gaming. The I-Phone and I-Pod represent powerful platforms for which new games are being developed. These devices have 3-D accelerated graphics capabilities and sufficient storage capacity. Still, these devices that use touch screen Technology™ lack familiar controller features. Many types of hand-held or mobile devices including cellular telephones can support video gaming although limitations may exist relative to processing power, storage capacity and controller features available to those devices.
  • [0006]
    One problem with playing video games on hand-held devices like cellular phones or music players is that the devices were not originally designed to support video gaming from a controller perspective. Mobile gaming has not been well received in the market mainly because of a lack of standard game controller features that are typically provided on console device game controllers. Other limitations may include a lack of robust storage on many hand-held devices and lower video screen resolution typical of many hand-held devices like cellular telephones.
  • [0007]
    It has occurred to the inventors that video gaming from mobile devices might be much more prevalent than it is today if the issues of controller features, video display resolution, and storage capacity were solved relevant to a wide variety of existing mobile devices that already saturate the market. Therefore, what is needed is a universal, portable docking system for mobile devices that can be used to enhance the ability of those devices to be used for video gaming.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    The problem stated above is that offering video gaming for mobile devices such as music players and smart phones is desirable, but conventional control features on those mobile devices, and in some cases, screen resolutions and graphics processing speeds are not adequate for achieving the best experience of video gaming. Therefore the inventors searched the functional elements of video gaming devices and systems looking for elements that could be potentially harnessed to provide an enhanced video gaming experience for mobile devices, but in a manner that would not inconvenience users.
  • [0009]
    Every computerized mobile device that might be used for video gaming aside from its primary function or functions has a user interface panel, typically consisting of buttons and controls that are designed for execution of the primary function or functions the device was originally intended to fulfill. In an inventive moment, the inventors collaborated and realized that if universal controller features for playing video games could be universally applied to many different types of mobile devices that are capable of video gaming as a secondary function, enhanced gaming experience and expansion of the video game market for those devices might result.
  • [0010]
    The inventors subsequently conceived and implemented a video gaming console and docking bay for mobile devices that included one or more sets of universal gaming controller features that allowed user to dock their mobile devices to the console and use the universal control features of the console to play video games accessible to the mobile device thereby overriding typical mobile device control features. The result was that users could play video games more comfortably on the mobile devices in a manner that did not severely limit operation of the primary functions of those mobile devices docked to consoles.
  • [0011]
    Accordingly, in one embodiment of the present invention, a gaming console is provided to facilitate universal game control for mobile devices capable of video gaming. The gaming console comprises a housing supporting a video graphics display area, a coupling interface and docking bay strategically located in the housing relative to the display area for docking and coupling to a mobile device, at least one video game controller interface conveniently located on the housing relative to the display area, and at least one mobile device control interface conveniently located on the housing relative to the display area. The gaming console with a mobile device coupled thereto serves as a video gaming station for playing video games accessible to the mobile device, and wherein the at least one video game controller interface is used to execute and play a video game instead of controls resident on the mobile device.
  • [0012]
    In one embodiment, the coupling interface is a male universal serial bus (USB) interface connectable to a female USB port on the mobile device directly or through a USB interface adapter. In this embodiment the coupling interface connects to a mobile telephone, a hand-held computer, a music player, or a GPS unit. In some embodiments the gaming console has a power supply module for connection to a power source like a DC or AC power source. In another embodiment, the gaming console and docking station includes a battery charging interface adapted to provide electric charge to a mobile device battery or batteries.
  • [0013]
    In one embodiment the console includes a mobile telephony control button for initiating an outgoing telephone call; accepting and incoming telephone call; or rejecting an existing caller. In this embodiment a volume control may also be provided to enable user control of the video game audio as well as the audio output discernable from a docked mobile device.
  • [0014]
    In one embodiment, the gaming console further includes a wireless adapter enabling wireless gaming involving more than one gaming console. In one embodiment, the wireless adapter is a Bluetooth™ adapter or a wireless fidelity (WiFi) network adapter. In the embodiment using WiFi for two or more players, one console may be connected to the video gaming session over the Internet network.
  • [0000]
    In a variation of the wireless embodiment the video graphics of the game may be displayed on a television screen and the audio presented through an audio system of a home entertainment system. In one embodiment the console includes a video gaming display screen and a resolution converter for enhancing resolution of graphics display of a mobile device. In another embodiment, the video display area is a transparent window through which the display of a docked mobile device may be viewed.
  • [0015]
    In another embodiment of the present invention the console includes a mobile device adapter jacket and coupling adapter used to ready a mobile device for docking to the console.
  • [0016]
    According to another embodiment of the invention, a system for portable gaming is provided including at least one gaming console facilitating universal game controller features for a mobile device capable of video gaming, including a housing supporting a video graphics display window, a coupling interface and docking bay for docking and coupling to a mobile device, at least one video game controller interface, and at least one mobile device control and a video game server accessible through a wireless network connection.
  • [0017]
    In one aspect of the system the video game server is a network server accessed via the Internet network using a wireless network connection initiated by a mobile device. In this aspect the wireless network connection is a WiFi connection, or a wireless cellular connection. In another aspect, the video game server is a cable or satellite network access box and the wireless network connection is a Bluetooth™ connection. In another aspect, the network access box is a video gaming box.
  • [0018]
    In one aspect of the system, the video game server is a mobile device docked to a gaming console. In another aspect, the video game server is a computer. In a variation of this aspect, the computer is a high-end gaming machine.
  • [0019]
    According to another aspect of the invention, a method is provided for adapting a mobile device to play a video game with universal game control including the steps (a) providing a gaming console facilitating universal game control for mobile devices capable of video gaming, including a housing supporting a video graphics display area, a coupling interface and docking bay for docking and coupling to a mobile device, and at least one video game controller interface, (b) inserting a mobile device having access to an executable video game into the docking bay of the gaming console thereby coupling the mobile device to the gaming console, (c) using one of the at least one video game controller interfaces, executing a video game on the mobile device, and (d) using one of the at least one video game controller interfaces for playing the video game.
  • [0020]
    In one aspect of the method, the mobile device is one of a cellular telephone, an I-Phone, a hand-held computer, a music player, or a GPS unit. In another aspect, in step (b) the mobile device is first coupled to an adapter before insertion into the docking bay. In one aspect, in step (b) the video game is accessible in storage on the device or on a network-connected server the mobile device is connected to.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES
  • [0021]
    FIG. 1 is a front view of a gaming console capable of coupling to a mobile device according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 2 is a right side view of the console of FIG. 1.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 3 is a front view of a gaming console capable of coupling to a mobile device using an adapter jacket according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating electronic components of the console of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating a gaming system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating a gaming system according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0027]
    The inventor provides a video gaming console capable of docking or coupling to a mobile device to enable the mobile device to play a video game using standard video gaming controller features. The gaming console also referred to herein as a docking station is described in enabling detail in the various embodiments described below.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 1 is a front view of a gaming console 100 capable of coupling to a mobile device according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a right-side view of the console of FIG. 1. Referring now to FIG. 1, gaming console 100 serves as a docking station for a mobile device such as a cellular telephone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a smart phone, an I-phone™, an I-pod™, a hand-held computer, an MP3 player, or a global positioning system (GPS) unit (mobile devices not illustrated).
  • [0029]
    Console 100, also referred to herein as a docking station, comprises a device housing 101. Housing 101 encloses circuitry of the console and supports controller features of the console and control feature for operating a mobile device that may be docked to and coupled with the gaming console. Housing 101 may be manufactured of a durable plastic or any other semi-rigid or rigid materials that may be molded or otherwise fabricated to produce housing 101.
  • [0030]
    Referring now to FIG. 2, console 100 has a docking bay 111 provided within the housing of the console for accepting a mobile device there for docking or coupling the mobile device to the console to enable console supported controls to be operated while playing a video game. Docking bay 111 may be adapted to physically accept one or more mobile device types such as an I-Phone™, for example.
  • [0031]
    A coupling interface 112 is provided within docking bay 111 for the purpose of coupling a mobile device inserted into the docking bay to the console for the purpose of enabling the control features on the console to be used to execute and control play of a video game loaded on or accessible to the mobile device. Coupling interface 112 may be a universal serial bus (USB) interface. Housing 101 of console 100 has a thickness dimension adequate for supporting docking bay 111.
  • [0032]
    Docking bay 111 has a depth, width, and length adequate for accepting specific physical models of certain mobile devices. In this example, docking bay 111 is open. In another embodiment a door or flip-up barrier may be provided to protect the inside of docking bay 111. Coupling interface 112 may be strategically located within docking bay 111 such that a mobile device fully inserted into the bay is successfully coupled to the console. In one embodiment, intermediary adapters may be provided to enable specific device types to be adapted for insertion into docking bay 111 and for coupling to interface 112.
  • [0033]
    Referring now to FIG. 1, a video graphics display window 102 is provided on console 100 and is adapted to provide a user with visual access to a video graphics display screen generic to a mobile device fully inserted into the docking bay. Display window 102 may be open in one embodiment that is, without a hard or soft window covering. Display window 102 may have a hard or soft covering 109 provided that is transparent enabling a user to see through to the mobile device display. Covering 109 may be a soft polymer that enables a user to touch the video graphics display screen of the mobile device while it is inserted into the docking bay of console 100. Covering 109 may also be a hared transparent plastic covering or a glass covering.
  • [0034]
    In one embodiment of the present invention display window 109 may instead be a resident video graphics display screen that is used to display a video game instead of a video display screen resident on the mobile device. In this embodiment the user may view a video game in higher resolution than would be available on a mobile device.
  • [0035]
    Video gaming console 100 supports at least one video game controller interface for enabling a user to override the controls of a mobile device docked into and coupled with the console. A standard video game direction controller interface 103 is provided at a convenient location on housing 101. Controller interface 103 provides standard directional control and selection control during video game play. Controller 103 represents a standard controller interface that may be provided on any dedicated video gaming console. A standard action execution controller interface 104 is provided at a convenient location on housing 101.
  • [0036]
    Action interface 104 is a controller interface that enables programmable action buttons common to video game controller interfaces. Interface 104 has five buttons that can be programmed to provide action execution of video game features. In one embodiment shoulder triggers (not illustrated) may be provided on housing 101. Other standard controller interfaces typically provided to gaming devices may also be provided to console 100 without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention including plug-in controllers. A video game start and select interface 108 is provided at a convenient location on housing 101 of console 100. Interface 108 is adapted to enable game execution or termination and player selection. Other controls may be included in this interface such as game pause and game search functions without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0037]
    Gaming console 100 supports at least one mobile device control interface. A volume control interface 106 is provided at a convenient location on housing 101. Volume interface 106 comprises a two-button volume control that controls the volume output of a mobile device inserted into the console. A call button 105 is provided to console 100 and conveniently located on housing 101. Call button 105 overrides telephone call answer and reject controls typical of a mobile telephone. Other telephone functions can be represented such as call mute, call hold and call transfer. There are many possibilities. A headset jack is provided at a convenient location on housing 101 of console 100 to enable application of headset for video gaming and telephone use if the mobile device is enabled for telephony.
  • [0038]
    All of the console control features supporting game control or mobile device control while the device is docked to the console are wired through the console housing 101 to coupling interface 112. In some cases there may be more than one coupling interface provided within docking bay 111. In one embodiment console 100 has a power module with an input for alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). In one case console 100 may be plugged into a power outlet or jack using power cable 110. Other features not illustrated in this example may be provided to console 100 without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, some of which are described later in this specification.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 3 is a front view of gaming console 100 adapted for coupling to a mobile device 300 using an adapter jacket 201 according to an embodiment of the present invention. Gaming device 100 is illustrated in this example without some of the controller features illustrated above for the purpose of illustration of other features that may be provided. All of the aforementioned features of console 100 may be assumed present. In this example, console 100 may accept specific mobile devices directly into docking bay 111 (illustrated by broken lines) without any intermediate adapters. The console may be further adapted to accept additional mobile device types by providing an intermediate adapter. In this example adapter jacket 201 is provided for first accepting and coupling to mobile device 300 before being docked as a system into console 100 and coupling to interface 112.
  • [0040]
    Adapter jacket 201 may be manufactured of a flexible to semi-rigid or rigid plastic and is designed to accept mobile device 300 into a jacket opening. Jacket 201 is in a preferred embodiment translucent or transparent to enable viewing of the video display screen of the mobile device. However is a case where console 100 includes an overriding display screen, the jacket may be non-transparent or opaque.
  • [0041]
    Mobile device 300 has a coupling interface 302 provided on the side of the device rather than at one end of the device. Interface 302 may be a female USB port for example. Jacket 201 has a male USB interface 301 adapted to couple with interface 302 when mobile device 300 is fully inserted into the jacket. In this example mobile device 300 is illustrated as fully inserted into jacket 201 and coupled therein by broken outline.
  • [0042]
    Adapter jacket 201 has wiring provided thereto that routs interface 301 to a male interface 303, which is in turn adapted to couple to interface 112 when the mobile device with jacket is completely inserted into console 100. The adapter circuitry and wiring of jacket 201 may be installed during a molding process. Adapter jackets may be manufactured for specific mobile device models having different mechanical interfacing requirements. Jacket 201 is universal in that it is adapted to dock to and couple to console 100 regardless of the variant interface coupling made between a mobile device and the jacket. The interface wiring and circuitry of the jacket provides an interface jumper to the coupling interface 112 of the console unit. In this way, a wide range of different but similarly sized mobile devices may be docked to gaming console 100.
  • [0043]
    In one embodiment of the invention, console 100 may be manufactured with different docking bay designs for docking to different mobile device types or footprints. One may be provided for standard music players, another may be provided for standard cellular telephones, another may be provided for smart phones, and so on. Jacket 201 may also be provided accordingly depending on which device type a user wishes to work with. A few combinations in design may be provided to handle most mobile device type configurations. In one embodiment, gaming console 100 may include an eject mechanism for enabling a user to physically eject a docked mobile device from the console.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating electronic components of console 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention. Housing 101 of console 100 is adapted in various embodiments to support electronics. Console housing 101 is logically illustrated in this example. A circuitry board 401 may be provided to console 100 in order to support various circuitry and components that might be provided to the device.
  • [0045]
    Some components illustrated in this example are described above with respect to the aforementioned embodiments of the invention. Such components shall retain their same element numbers and shall not be re-introduced. Circuit board 401 may support a microprocessor 402. Microprocessor 402 may be provided to support certain functions and feature of console 100 that may not be available on a mobile device docked to the unit. In one embodiment console housing 101 has a display screen window as described earlier in the specification. In another embodiment the console housing supports a video display screen and circuitry that overrides the display of the mobile device once it is docked.
  • [0046]
    In the latter of the above-mentioned embodiments circuit board 401 may include video display circuitry 404, a memory (MEM) based graphics accelerator 403, and sound or audio circuitry 410. Sound circuitry 410 may be a soundcard and video display circuitry 404 may be a video card. In this embodiment video and audio data from an inserted mobile device is boosted and enhanced for higher definition video and richer audio. Housing 101 may include a video/audio output to a system or to another device. Video and audio output from console 100 may be streamed or sent to a home entertainment center or other entertainment device or system having a graphics display and speaker units.
  • [0047]
    In one embodiment a charging interface 405 is provided on circuit board 401 so a mobile device may be charged while it is in use on the console. Board 401 further includes supporting circuitry like game controller circuitry 406 and mobile device interface circuitry 408. Circuitry 408 enables mobile device controls 105 and circuitry 406 enables gamer controls (103, 104). In one embodiment a wireless adapter circuitry 409 is provided to console 100 to enable wireless communication between consoles and between consoles and other systems. The added circuitry and components for video/audio output, graphics acceleration, and wireless communication are optional features. Minimally all that is required to facilitate a mobile device and to enable standardized game play (from controller perspective) is a coupling interface like interface 112, and the controller circuits for accepting overriding control of the mobile device for game playing and other generic functions particular to the mobile device.
  • [0048]
    It is noted herein that wireless adapter circuitry 409 may be a standalone feature supporting Bluetooth™ and/or wireless 802 protocols (WiFi) or extension circuitry for extending the generic wireless capabilities of the mobile device in certain situations. Power input jack 412 may accept power input from a system or wall-based power source such as an AC outlet. A speaker or system of speakers (not illustrated) may also be provided as an option for use with sound circuitry 410 to provide a better audio output than would otherwise be the case if gaming on the mobile device alone without the console of the present invention.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating a gaming system 500 according to an embodiment of the present invention. System 500 includes a home entertainment system display 505 used for displaying a video game 506 during play. Other components of a home entertainment system may include a set-top box 504 and/or a video gaming box 503. The illustrated home theater may be a cable-assisted system or a satellite-based system as illustrated by satellite transceiver 507. A data network 500 is made accessible to the home theater through set top box 504 and cable or satellite connectivity.
  • [0050]
    A plurality of gaming consoles 509 (1-n) is illustrated in near vicinity of the home theater and connected wirelessly via a wireless gaming network 508 to one another and to set top box 504 and/or gaming box 503. In one embodiment each gaming console (GC-1 through n) is cabled to set-top box 504 or to gaming box 503 for the purpose of receiving power to charge mobile devices docked therein. In another embodiment the consoles are not tethered to any system but may be optionally plugged into a power source for device charging purposes. In this system consoles 509 (1-n) may all be playing a video game that is displayed on system display 505 for better viewing.
  • [0051]
    A video game server is available in network 501 for storing and serving video games on demand. In one embodiment consoles 509 (1-n) are all connected to gaming box 503 playing game 506 serve3d by gaming server 502 on demand in real time.
  • [0052]
    In another embodiment game 506 is stored in gaming box 503 and is served on demand from gaming box 503 by individual ones or all of consoles 505 (1-n) connected on network 508. In still another embodiment any one of consoles 506 (1-n) may be a game server and game 506 may be resident on one of those mobile devices docked into a console the console functioning as a player and a game server. In this embodiment the consoles may be wirelessly connected to the set top box 504 and may use display system 505, which may be a high definition television, to provide a universal view of the game while users are playing the game. If one of the consoles has a mobile device connected to a game server on a network, that console may function as a game server and be recognized by other consoles as such in the network. System 500 is characterized by the flexibility of incorporating mobile device capabilities for game playing and by flexible locations for accessing video games to play on the devices. All instances of game service in this example provide video game streaming to either set top box 504 or to gaming box 503 resulting in display of the game and controlled access to the game by any or all of the consoles connected to the local network (508).
  • [0053]
    In one embodiment multiple games may be played simultaneously on display system 505 using a split screen or multiple window technology that recognizes consoles 509 1-n as network nodes connected to the system by tether or by wireless network 508. Nodes GC-1 and GC-2 may be engaged in one game while nodes GC-3 and GC-n may be engaged in play of another game.
  • [0054]
    One with skill in the art will also appreciate that consoles 509 1-n may also engage one another in a multi-player gaming session without using any home theater components whatsoever. In such an embodiment one of the consoles would function as a game server and the other consoles would connect via Blutooth™ or other wireless network method to the game server console. Software on the server device may be provided to enable other devices to control play through their consoles. The game may be stored on and executed from the mobile device docked to the game server console. The display and progression of the game may be communicated wirelessly to all of the console displays of the consoles engaged in playing that game.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a video gaming system 600 according to another embodiment of the invention. System 600 includes an Internet network 601, a WiFi network 602, a cellular network 603, and a Bluetooth™ network 604. Gaming console 1 (GC-1) and gaming console 2 (GC-2) recognize each other over a Blutooth™ connection. Either console may connect to the other one via Bluetooth™. The mobile devices docked in the gaming consoles may access Internet 601 via different wireless networks. For example, GC-1 accesses network 601 via WiFi network 602. GC-2 accesses network 601 via Cellular network 603.
  • [0056]
    A gaming server 605 is provided within Internet 601 and is adapted to serve video games on demand to either mobile device docked to GC-1 or GC-2. In this simple system a user operating GC-2 may connect over cellular network 603 to gaming server 605 in network 701 to access a video game on demand. GC-1 may connect to GC-2 over Bluetooth™ network 604 and play the game accessed by the mobile device docked in GC-2. GC-2 is a game server and game player while GC-1 is a game player. The roles may be reversed. Moreover, a video game may be stored on either mobile device docked to the consoles, in which case either console could execute a video game stored locally and the other device can play over the Bluetooth™ connection without either mobile device being connected online or to any other network. The number of consoles that can engage in a gaming session in this manner is limited only by the rules of the video game served by one of the consoles.
  • [0057]
    It will be apparent to one with skill in the art that the video gaming controller bay of the invention may be provided using some or all of the mentioned features and components without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It will also be apparent to the skilled artisan that the embodiments described above are exemplary of inventions that may have far greater scope than any of the singular descriptions. There may be many alterations made in the descriptions without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Claims (26)

  1. 1. A gaming console facilitating universal game control for mobile devices capable of video gaming comprising:
    a housing supporting a video graphics display area;
    a coupling interface and docking bay strategically located in the housing relative to the display area for docking and coupling to a mobile device;
    at least one video game controller interface conveniently located on the housing relative to the display area; and
    at least one mobile device control interface conveniently located on the housing relative to the display area;
    wherein the gaming console with a mobile device coupled thereto serves as a video gaming station for playing video games accessible to the mobile device, and wherein the at least one video game controller interface is used to execute and play a video game instead of controls resident on the mobile device.
  2. 2. The gaming console of claim 1 wherein the coupling interface is a male universal serial bus (USB) interface connectable to a female USB port on the mobile device directly or through a USB interface adapter.
  3. 3. The gaming console of claim 1 wherein the coupling interface connects to a mobile telephone, a hand-held computer, a music player, or a GPS unit.
  4. 4. The gaming console of claim 1 further including a power supply module capable of connecting to a direct current (DC) power source or to an alternating current (AC) power source.
  5. 5. The gaming console of claim 4 further including a charging interface accessible via the coupling interface for charging the battery or batteries on a connected mobile device.
  6. 6. The gaming console of claim 1 wherein the at least one mobile device control interface enables call initiation, call answer and call reject.
  7. 7. The gaming console of claim 6 wherein there is an additional mobile device control interface enabling volume control on the mobile device.
  8. 8. The gaming console of claim 1 further including a wireless adapter enabling wireless gaming involving more than one gaming console.
  9. 9. The gaming console of claim 8 wherein the wireless adapter is a Bluetooth™ adapter or a wireless fidelity (WiFi) network adapter.
  10. 10. The gaming console of claim 9 wherein in WiFi mode with two or more players engaged, one or more of the players may be engaged over the Internet network.
  11. 11. The gaming console of claim 9 wherein the wireless adapter enables game display on a home entertainment television screen and audio through a home entertainment audio system.
  12. 12. The gaming console of claim 1 wherein the video graphics display area is a video display screen coupled with a hi-definition graphics accelerator for enhancing lower resolution graphics display of a mobile device.
  13. 13. The gaming console of claim 1 wherein the video display area is a transparent window through which the display of a docked mobile device may be viewed.
  14. 14. The gaming console of claim 1 further including a mobile device adapter jacket and coupling adapter for readying a mobile device for insertion into the docking bay of the console.
  15. 15. A system for portable gaming comprising:
    at least one gaming console facilitating universal game controller features for a mobile device capable of video gaming, including a housing supporting a video graphics display window, a coupling interface and docking bay for docking and coupling to a mobile device, at least one video game controller interface, and at least one mobile device control; and
    a video game server accessible through a wireless network connection.
  16. 16. The system of claim 14 wherein the video game server is a network server accessed via the Internet network using a wireless network connection initiated by a mobile device.
  17. 17. The system of claim 16 wherein the wireless network connection is a WiFi connection, or a wireless cellular connection.
  18. 18. The system of claim 15 wherein the video game server is a cable or satellite network access box and the wireless network connection is a Bluetooth™ connection.
  19. 19. The system of claim 18 wherein the network access box is a video gaming box.
  20. 20. The system of claim 15 wherein the video game server is a mobile device docked to a gaming console.
  21. 21. The system of claim 15 wherein the video game server is a computer.
  22. 22. The system of claim 21 wherein the computer is a high-end gaming machine.
  23. 23. A method for adapting a mobile device to play a video game with universal game control including the steps:
    (a) providing a gaming console facilitating universal game control for mobile devices capable of video gaming, including a housing supporting a video graphics display area, a coupling interface and docking bay for docking and coupling to a mobile device, and at least one video game controller interface;
    (b) inserting a mobile device having access to an executable video game into the docking bay of the gaming console thereby coupling the mobile device to the gaming console;
    (c) using one of the at least one video game controller interfaces, executing a video game on the mobile device; and
    (d) using one of the at least one video game controller interfaces for playing the video game.
  24. 24. The method of claim 23 wherein the mobile device is one of a cellular telephone, an I-Phone, a hand-held computer, a music player, or a GPS unit.
  25. 25. The method of claim 23 wherein in step (b) the mobile device is first coupled to an adapter before insertion into the docking bay.
  26. 26. The method of claim 23 wherein in step (b) the video game is accessible in storage on the device or on a network-connected server the mobile device is connected to.
US12125361 2008-05-22 2008-05-22 Video Gaming Controller Bay for Mobile Devices Abandoned US20090291760A1 (en)

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