US20120302346A1 - Method of selecting a device profile for provisioning an amusement device - Google Patents

Method of selecting a device profile for provisioning an amusement device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120302346A1
US20120302346A1 US13480032 US201213480032A US2012302346A1 US 20120302346 A1 US20120302346 A1 US 20120302346A1 US 13480032 US13480032 US 13480032 US 201213480032 A US201213480032 A US 201213480032A US 2012302346 A1 US2012302346 A1 US 2012302346A1
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Prior art keywords
device
amusement
profile
profiles
server
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Abandoned
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US13480032
Inventor
William L. Layne, IV
Brennan MCTERNAN
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AMI Entertainment Network LLC
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AMI Entertainment Network LLC
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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
    • A63F13/70Game security or game management aspects
    • A63F13/77Game security or game management aspects involving data related to game devices or game servers, e.g. configuration data, software version or amount of memory
    • 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
    • A63F13/21Input arrangements for video game devices characterised by their sensors, purposes or types
    • A63F13/214Input arrangements for video game devices characterised by their sensors, purposes or types for locating contacts on a surface, e.g. floor mats or touch pads
    • A63F13/2145Input arrangements for video game devices characterised by their sensors, purposes or types for locating contacts on a surface, e.g. floor mats or touch pads the surface being also a display device, e.g. touch screens
    • 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
    • A63F13/70Game security or game management aspects
    • A63F13/79Game security or game management aspects involving player-related data, e.g. identities, accounts, preferences or play histories
    • 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
    • A63F2300/1068Features 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 being specially adapted to detect the point of contact of the player on a surface, e.g. floor mat, touch pad
    • A63F2300/1075Features 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 being specially adapted to detect the point of contact of the player on a surface, e.g. floor mat, touch pad using a touch screen
    • 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
    • A63F2300/50Features 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 details of game servers
    • A63F2300/55Details of game data or player data management
    • A63F2300/552Details of game data or player data management for downloading to client devices, e.g. using OS version, hardware or software profile of the client 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
    • A63F2300/50Features 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 details of game servers
    • A63F2300/55Details of game data or player data management
    • A63F2300/5526Game data structure
    • 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
    • A63F2300/50Features 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 details of game servers
    • A63F2300/55Details of game data or player data management
    • A63F2300/5546Details of game data or player data management using player registration data, e.g. identification, account, preferences, game history
    • A63F2300/5573Details of game data or player data management using player registration data, e.g. identification, account, preferences, game history player location

Abstract

A method of selecting a device profile for provisioning an amusement device, wherein the amusement device has a touchscreen, a memory and a controller. The method includes the steps of establishing a connection between the amusement device and a remote server over a network, transmitting a list of amusement device profiles from the remote server to the amusement device, displaying the list of amusement device profiles on the touchscreen, receiving a selection from the touchscreen of one of the device profiles in the list of device profiles displayed on the touchscreen and transmitting the selected device profile to the amusement device. The device profiles in the list of amusement device profiles are selected from a plurality of available amusement device profiles based on information associated with the amusement device. The selected device profile is used to provision the amusement device.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/490,908, filed on May 27, 2011, entitled “Selectable Machine Profiles,” the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Embodiments of the present invention relate generally to electronic amusement devices and systems. More particularly, embodiments of the present invention are directed to amusement devices capable of being provisioned with a machine profile received from a remote source and selected from a plurality of available machine profiles and related methods.
  • [0003]
    Amusement devices having electronic games for computers and touchscreens or other types of amusement devices are generally known. Amusement devices, such as game machines, which allow a user to select games from a video display are known, such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No.. 4,856,787, by Inventor “Itkis”, and U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,575,717 and 5,743,799, both by Inventor “Houriet, Jr., et al.”, the entire contents of all of which are incorporated by reference herein in their entirety, and each of which shows a touchscreen for making a game selection from a menu of games. Such game machines or amusement devices typically operate upon input of currency (i.e., coin, token, paper money, credit/debit cards or the like) and are installed in locations such as bars, restaurants, airports, shopping malls, video arcades, casinos, or the like. The game choices may include card games, sports games, games of skill, games of chance, action games, trivia games, or the like.
  • [0004]
    Due to their popularity, such amusement devices may be found in many locales (i.e., countries, provinces, states, cities, counties, parishes, municipalities, and the like) across the world. Many of these locales have adopted diverse laws and regulations with which amusement devices must comply in order to operate within the respective locales. These laws and regulations are distinct and often incompatible with one another, even where the locales may be geographically close, as is the case along the border of neighboring states. Thus, each amusement device must be equipped or provisioned with a device profile that complies with the laws and regulations and with general settings and preferences (e.g., language, local currency and the like) of the locale in which the amusement device is operating. Previously, this required the manufacturer to build and stock a wide variety of amusement devices, each suited for or targeted to each of the respective locales prior to deployment.
  • [0005]
    In addition, a locale may change its laws or regulations relating to games, currency or other issues relating to the amusement devices after the device is deployed, such that a previously provisioned amusement device is no longer compliant. For conventional machines, a machine owner/operator is typically required to send a memory device, which stores the profile of the amusement device, back to the manufacturer, rendering the unit inoperable when the profile must be changed due to a change in local regulations and the like. The manufacturer exchanges the old memory device for a new memory device having an updated device profile that complies with the changed laws or regulations for the particular locale. This is a time consuming process that may result in significant loss of revenue for the amusement device owner/operator.
  • [0006]
    It is desirable to design and deploy a system for provisioning amusement devices with a device profile and altering the device profile of amusement devices over a network after initial deployment of the amusement devices. It is further desirable to provide the owner/operator with one or more options of compatible profiles for the amusement devices.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0007]
    Briefly stated, one embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of selecting a device profile for provisioning an amusement device, wherein the amusement device has a touchscreen, a memory and a controller. The method includes the steps of establishing a connection between the amusement device and a remote server over a network, transmitting a list of amusement device profiles from the remote server to the amusement device, displaying the list of amusement device profiles on the touchscreen, receiving a selection from the touchscreen of one of the device profiles in the list of device profiles displayed on the touchscreen and transmitting the selected device profile to the amusement device. The device profiles in the list of amusement device profiles are selected from a plurality of available amusement device profiles based on information associated with the amusement device. The selected device profile is used to provision the amusement device.
  • [0008]
    In another aspect, another embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of provisioning a plurality of amusement devices, wherein each of the amusement devices has a touchscreen, a memory and a controller. The method includes the steps of storing a plurality of amusement device profiles at a server remotely located from the amusement devices, receiving by the server over a network a request for a profile from a first amusement device of the plurality of amusement devices, selecting at least one of the plurality of amusement device profiles based at least in part on information associated with the first amusement device and transmitting the selected at least one profile to the first amusement device over the network. Each profile of the plurality of amusement device profiles defines a plurality of settings for provisioning the amusement devices.
  • [0009]
    In a further aspect, another embodiment of the present invention is directed to an amusement device including an input/output interface configured to transmit a provisioning request to a remote server over a network, and receive one or more profiles from the remote server. The one or more profiles are selected from a plurality of available profiles based on information associated with the amusement device. A memory is configured to store the received one or more profiles. A display screen has a touchscreen configured to display information identifying the one or more profiles and receive a selection of one of the one or more profiles from an operator associated with the device. A controller is configured to provision the amusement device with the selected profile, wherein the amusement device is not operable by a user prior to the provisioning.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there are shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings:
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of an amusement device in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1B is a front perspective view of an amusement device in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1C is a front perspective view of an amusement device in accordance with a third preferred embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of an amusement system in accordance with preferred embodiments of the present invention that may incorporate any of the preferred amusement devices of FIGS. 1A-1C;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of steps for provisioning an amusement device from an initial inoperable state to an operating state in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, which may be employed with the amusement system of FIG. 2;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 is a sequence diagram illustrating steps for requesting, selecting and retrieving a device profile from a profile server in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, which may be employed with the amusement system of FIG. 2;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 4A is a sequence diagram illustrating steps for requesting, selecting and retrieving a device profile from a profile server in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, which may be employed with the amusement system of FIG. 2;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 5 is a view of an excerpt of a device profile in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, which may be employed with the amusement system of FIG. 2;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 6A is a sequence diagram illustrating steps for re-provisioning an amusement device upon detecting that the device has been moved to a new geographic location in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, which may be employed with the amusement system of FIG. 2;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 6B is a sequence diagram illustrating steps for re-provisioning an amusement device with an updated device profile in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, which may be employed with the amusement system of FIG. 2;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 6C is a sequence diagram illustrating steps for re-provisioning an amusement device with an updated device profile in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention, which may be employed with the amusement system of FIG. 2;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 7 is a schematic block diagram of various configurations of an amusement device system in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention; and
  • [0023]
    FIG. 7A is a schematic block diagram of a gaming location having a local server in accordance with a further preferred embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0024]
    Certain terminology is used in the following description for convenience only and is not limiting. Unless specifically set forth herein, the terms “a”, “an” and “the” are not limited to one element but instead should be read as meaning “at least one”. The words “right,” “left,” “lower,” and “upper” designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words “inwardly” or “distally” and “outwardly” or “proximally” refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center or orientation of the device, system, instruments and/or related parts thereof. The terminology includes the above-listed words, derivatives thereof and words of similar import.
  • [0025]
    Referring to the drawings in detail, wherein like reference numerals indicate like elements throughout, there is shown in FIG. 1A a first preferred embodiment of an amusement device 10A. The amusement device 10A includes a controller U1 and a memory U2. The memory U2 can be any known or suitable memory device such as random access memory (RAM), read only memory (ROM), flash RAM, hard disk, optical disk, or the like. The amusement device 10A further includes a video display 12A that is operatively connected to the controller U1. The amusement device 10A is preferably a counter-top or table-top apparatus, but may be arranged in any configuration, such as free-standing, floor-standing, table mount, wall mount, pole mount, and the like without departing from the invention.
  • [0026]
    The amusement device 10A also includes at least one input component 14A that receives value in order to establish one or more playable credits. The value received may be at least one of currency, coins, tokens, chits, credits, credit cards/debit cards or the like. Although two input components 14A are shown, the amusement device 10A may include any number of input components 14A to give a user an option for payment, for permitting multiple players, or the like. Preferably, the amusement device 10A is made operable upon actuation of the input component 14A, for example, the user may only select and play an electronic game once value is received at the input component 14A and/or one or more playable credits are issued to the user. However, free selections may be offered at the discretion of an operator of the amusement device 10A.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 1B shows another or second amusement device 10B in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention. The second amusement device 10B also includes at least a controller U1, a memory U2, a display 12B, and at least one input component 14B. Preferably, the video displays 12A, 12B are touchscreen video displays configured to accept touch input.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 1C shows yet another or third amusement device 10C in accordance with a third preferred embodiment of the present invention. The third amusement device 10C is a portable device, preferably battery-powered, and includes at least a controller U1, memory U2, a display 12C, and at least one input component 14C. The third amusement device 10C is preferably usable with a docking station (not shown). The docking station preferably secures the device 10C until accessed by an operator or gameplay or the device 10C is paid for by a user. Release from the docking station may occur via an entry through the input component 14C, which is preferably a card reader. The docking station may also provide battery recharging and other services to the amusement device 10C.
  • [0029]
    For convenience, the amusement devices 10A, 10B, 10C will be referred to hereinafter simply as “amusement device 10,” the displays 12A, 12B, 12C will be referred to hereinafter simply as “display 12,” and the input components 14A, 14B, 14C will be referred to hereinafter simply as “input component 14.”
  • [0030]
    Turning now to the operation of the amusement device 10, the memory U2 preferably stores one or more application programs, such as electronic games, a music or video jukebox program, or the like, and a system control program. However, the one or more application programs may also be stored remotely. The controller U1 controls the touchscreen display 12 based upon the system control program retrieved from the memory U2 and based upon inputs from the touchscreen display 12. As used herein, the system control program refers to all of the software functions outside of the application program files including an operating system, a device profile, a display control, an input control, sound drivers, and the like. A device profile is a set of definitions or parameters that control the operation, functions and/or settings of the preferred amusement device 10 as described further herein. Though the device profile is described as being stored in the memory U2 of the amusement device 10, it should be understood that the device profile may also be stored remotely. Other input devices which may be connected to the amusement device 10 include a pushbutton(s), a trackball or touchpad, a mouse, a joy-stick, a foot-pedal, a voice recognition system, a keypad or keyboard, and the like. The input device is preferably the touchscreen display 12, but is not so limited, as described, the above-listed components may also be utilized as the input device.
  • [0031]
    The amusement device 10 preferably includes an operating mode and a setup mode. When the operating mode is selected, a player or user is selectively permitted to access the application programs. When the setup mode is selected, the owner/operator is permitted to make system setup adjustments. Preferably, the amusement device 10 is initially placed in the setup mode, with the operating mode inaccessible prior to the machine being provisioned with a device profile. In the setup mode, the owner/operator may also make adjustments to game features and settings of the amusement device 10. Changes in the setup mode may be entered directly on the amusement device 10 using the touchscreen display 12, a keyboard, a mouse or the like. Alternatively, changes may be made on an associated computing device and transmitted or transferred to the amusement device 10.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of the preferred amusement device 10 described above. The touchscreen display 12 and the input component 14 are both preferably coupled to the controller U1. The amusement device 10 also includes a communications component 18, such as an Ethernet port, a wireless transceiver, an infrared (IR) port, or the like. Using the communications component 18, the amusement device 10 may communicate with other devices or file servers, access the Internet, communicate over wide area networks (WANs) or local area networks (LANs), or the like. For example, a first preferred amusement device 10 may connect with a second preferred amusement device 10 using the communications component 18. The second preferred amusement device 10 optionally includes all of the same components and features as the first preferred amusement device 10. Similarly, the preferred amusement device 10 may connect with a profile server (not shown) using the communications component 18.
  • [0033]
    In the set-up mode, the communications component 18 may be used for provisioning the amusement device 10, (i.e., device profiles, settings, updates and the like may be received from remote sources via the communications component 18). For example, settings may be received from a managing computing device (not shown). Where an owner/operator has a large number of amusement devices 10, it may be preferable to manage device settings for all the amusement devices 10 from a single location and to transmit such settings as necessary. Changes to settings may be made on a managing computing device and/or managing amusement device 10 and transmitted to one or more of the amusement devices 10 over a network (e.g., LAN, WAN or Internet) or direct connection.
  • [0034]
    The preferred amusement device 10 may be initially shipped in an unprovisioned state—that is, the amusement device 10 is devoid of any particular device profile. In this state, preferably only the set-up mode of the amusement device 10 is accessible by the owner/operator. However, even though the amusement device 10 is not provisioned, the device memory U2 is preferably preloaded with the system control program and a plurality of applications. The plurality of applications are preferably not accessible by the user until the amusement device 10 is provisioned with a device profile suitable for its locale.
  • [0035]
    Referring to FIG. 3, in one embodiment, upon power up, the preferred amusement device 10 performs a start-up procedure 301. In a subsequent step 302, the amusement device 10 attempts to determine whether a device profile is available within the contents of the memory U2 by querying the memory U2. The querying action is performed either automatically upon start-up or at the command of the device operator/owner. If a device profile is available in the memory U2, in step 303, it is determined whether or not the amusement device 10 has already been provisioned with the located device profile. If it is determined that the amusement device 10 has been provisioned with the device profile, in step 304, the amusement device 10 loads the operating mode. However, if it is determined that the amusement device 10 is not yet provisioned with the device profile, in step 305, the amusement device 10 preferably requests authorization to begin provisioning. Upon receiving authorization, the amusement device 10 is preferably provisioned with the device profile in step 306. In another embodiment, requesting authorization is not necessary and the amusement device 10 may automatically provision itself using the located device profile. Once provisioned, the amusement device 10 may return to step 304, load the operating mode and proceed with the operation.
  • [0036]
    Still referring to FIG. 3, if authorization to provision using the located device profile is not received in step 305 or if no device profile is located in the memory U2 of the preferred amusement device 10 in step 302, the amusement device 10 enters set-up mode 307. The set-up mode of the amusement device 10 preferably includes a graphical user interface for requesting and receiving a device profile from a remote source, such as a remote server or another related amusement device 10. Once in set-up mode, in step 308, the amusement device 10 preferably requests a device profile. In step 309, a device profile is preferably selected and, in step 310, the selected device profile is preferably received by the amusement device 10. Once the device profile has been received, the amusement device 10 is preferably either automatically provisioned with the selected device profile or authorization to provision the amusement device 10 is requested in step 305. According to the latter embodiment, upon receiving authorization, the amusement device 10 is provisioned with the received device profile in step 306 and the operating mode is loaded in step 304. If authorization to provision the device is not received, the amusement device 10 preferably returns to setup mode in step 307. The process for requesting, selecting and receiving a device profile from a profile server is described in further detail below with reference to FIG. 4.
  • [0037]
    Referring to FIG. 4, a sequence diagram showing steps for a preferred amusement device 10 requesting, selecting and retrieving a device profile from a profile server 41 is shown. The profile server 41 is a computing device preferably associated with a memory or database which stores a plurality of device profiles. The profile server 41 may be, for example, a central server, a regional server, or the like. Techniques for storing data on servers are well known in the art. For example, the device profiles may be stored in internal memory such as a hard disk drive, flash drive, an external memory such as network attached storage, or the like. The profile server 41 may be maintained by any number of entities, including a manufacturer, an original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”), a system designer, developer, administrator or operator and the like.
  • [0038]
    Still referring to FIG. 4, the amusement device 10 contacts the profile server 41 over a network by transmitting a request to connect. In one embodiment, the network is the Internet and the amusement device 10 communicates with the profile server using a communication protocol such as TCP/IP, FTP, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) or the like. In other embodiments, the network may be a LAN, WAN, dedicated connection or the like.
  • [0039]
    Preferably, as part of the request to connect, the profile server 41 requires, and the amusement device 10 provides, log-in information to the profile server 41. Methods of logging in on a network are known in the art, and any such method may be employed in this system. In one embodiment, the profile server 41 may cause a webpage having a log-in screen to be presented on the display 12 of the amusement device 10. Log-in information may include, for example, a user name and password of the amusement device operator 42, a serial number, a media access control (“MAC”) address or any other unique identifier associated with the amusement device 10, security questions and the like. Preferably, upon receiving the log-in information from amusement device 10, the profile server 41 identifies the requesting amusement device 10 by performing an authentication to determine whether the provided log-in information is valid. Validity of the log-in information may be determined by, for example, comparing it to information stored in a database for an account associated with the amusement device 10. The account may be unique to the amusement device 10 or may be unique to the owner/operator 42 in the case where the owner/operator 42 manages a plurality of amusement devices 10. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that any acceptable authentication or validation procedure/mechanism may be employed for the association of the amusement device 10 and profile server 41.
  • [0040]
    Upon determining that the log-in information is valid, a connection between the amusement device 10 and the profile server 41 is preferably established. As part of establishing the connection or subsequently thereto, the profile server 41 identifies the requesting amusement device 10 and the locale associated with the requesting amusement device 10. The locale of the requesting device 10 may be determined based on geographical address information, IP address information, global positioning system (“GPS”) coordinates information and the like. In one embodiment, the profile server 41 may cross-reference the log-in information with location information for the account associated with the log-in information. In other embodiments, including those where log-in information is not required to retrieve the device profile, the location of the amusement device 10 may be automatically determined based on IP address geolocation, GPS coordinate information and the like. In yet other embodiments, the location of the amusement device 10 may be manually provided to the profile server 41, for example, by the owner/operator inputting address information. Preferably, the profile server 41 cross-references the determined geographic location information against a database of locales to identify the locale associated with the amusement device 10. In one embodiment, the locale database may be the United States Postal Service's directory of Zip Code information. In other embodiments, the locale may be determined based on granular segments such as municipality, city, state, province, county and/or country information and the like.
  • [0041]
    Though a log-in process as discussed above is preferable, the discussed techniques for provisioning the amusement device 10 are applicable to the case where no log-in information is required. In that case, the preferred amusement device 10 may query the profile server 41 without providing log-in information prior to establishing the connection between the amusement device 10 and profile server 41. Once the connection is established, the profile server 41 determines a locale associated with the amusement device 10 using the geolocation techniques discussed above.
  • [0042]
    Once the locale associated with the amusement device 10 is identified, the profile server 41 identifies one or more device profiles associated with the locale. The profile server 41 transmits a screen listing the identified device profiles to the amusement device 10 and the amusement device 10, in turn, displays the listing of identified device profiles to the owner/operator 42, who selects one of the device profiles for downloading to the amusement device 10. The owner/operator 42 preferably uses the touchscreen display 12 of the amusement device 10 to select one of the listed device profiles. Upon receiving the selection from the owner/operator 42, the preferred amusement device 10, and particularly the controller U2, requests the selected device profile from the profile server 41. The profile server 41, in turn, retrieves the requested device profile from its memory and transmits it to the amusement device 10. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the amusement device 10 requests authorization from the owner/operator 42 to provision itself with the received device profile. Upon receiving authorization from the owner/operator 42, the provisioning process is initiated.
  • [0043]
    In another embodiment, as shown in FIG. 4A, upon transmission of the requested device profile from the profile server 41 to the amusement device 10, the selected device profile is automatically downloaded to the amusement device 10, such that the amusement device 10 is automatically provisioned with the selected device profile, without the owner/operator 42 having to provide authorization for the provisioning.
  • [0044]
    Preferably, in the case where the profile server 41 only identifies a single device profile associated with the locale of amusement device 10, the profile server 41 may automatically transmit the identified device profile to the amusement device 10. Once received, amusement device 10 may provision itself with the received device profile automatically or upon receiving authorization from the owner/operator 42 to do so.
  • [0045]
    In another embodiment, in the case where the profile server 41 identifies multiple device profiles that are applicable to the locale of the amusement device 10, the profile server 41 may transmit all of the identified device profiles to the amusement device 10, instead of first transmitting the list of identified device profiles. In either case, preferably, each device profile includes a brief description that may be used to differentiate the respective profiles from one another to allow the owner/operator 42 to select the appropriate profile for the amusement device 10.
  • [0046]
    If the entire set of identified device profiles is transmitted to the amusement device 10, the amusement device 10 preferably stores all of the transmitted device profiles in the memory U2. Once all of the device profiles are received and stored, the selection and provisioning process discussed above may be used to select one of the device profiles and to provision the amusement device 10. Once provisioned, the amusement device 10 may query the owner/operator 42 to determine whether to continue storing the device profiles in the memory U2 for future re-provisioning or to delete the unused device profiles from the memory U2. If the owner/operator 42 chooses to keep the device profiles in the memory U2, the owner/operator 42 may enter setup mode in the future and re-provision the amusement device 10 with any one of the other device profiles without having to re-establish a connection with the profile server 41.
  • [0047]
    In one embodiment, the preferred profile server 41 may transmit a recommendation of one of the identified device profiles that is displayed to the owner/operator 42 together with the listing of device profiles. The recommendation may be made by emphasizing the recommended device profile by, for example, highlighting or changing the appearance of the recommended device profile in the list. The recommendation may also optionally include a brief explanation of why the profile is being recommended (e.g., a profile that is defined with preferences of corporate headquarters of restaurant chain). The profile server 41 may also sort the list of device profiles such that the most relevant (or closest matching) profiles appear at the top and the least relevant profiles appear at the bottom of the list.
  • [0048]
    Device profiles will now be described in further detail. Each device profile preferably includes preferences and settings targeted to a particular locale, venue, owner/operator and the like. A locale is preferably a geographic area having a set of uniform laws and regulations. Thus, where laws and regulations for amusement devices 10 are uniform for an entire country, the locale may be the country. However, as is typically the case in the United States, where laws and regulations may be passed on a state, city and/or municipal level and the like, locales may preferably be more specific. For example, in the United States, locales may be segmented based on zip codes, cities, counties, townships, towns, boroughs and the like.
  • [0049]
    Device profiles may also define more specific settings and preferences, for example, whether each game stored in the memory U2 of the amusement device 10 is active or not; game pricing options; currency options; game appearance options; game play options; system options; score-keeping options; network play options; language options; prize options and the like. It should be understood that even though a single locale may have uniform laws and regulations, there may be more than one device profile associated with the single locale, each device profile varying certain preferences and settings to conform with varying requirements of different venues, the owner/operator 42 and the like within the locale. Thus, for example, if State A forbids electronic gambling games, all device profiles associated with State A will disable electronic gambling games. Further, if City B in State A also forbids erotic games, whereas State A overall has no such prohibitory laws or regulations, only device profiles associated with City B will disable both electronic gambling games and erotic games. Even further still, a restaurant chain (“Chain”) in City B may wish to display a particular welcome screen on all of their amusement devices 10. Thus, a device profile for the Chain in the locale City B would disable both gambling games and erotic games, and also display the desired welcome screen. Thus, it is evident, that any of the owner/operators 42 may have a large number of device profiles that are applicable to the single requesting amusement device 10 from which to choose.
  • [0050]
    Referring to FIG. 5, an example of an excerpt of a device profile is shown. The device profile preferably includes a date 30, a part number 31, a file name 32, a checksum 33 and a brief description 34. A game list 35 is preferably provided with the device profile. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 5, games 1-8 are defined in the game list 35, wherein each game preferably has a play value, a continue value (if any) and whether the game is active in the given device profile. The device profile preferably defines a language list 36, which also preferably indicates which languages are active, thereby providing a language definition for the particular device profile. In the preferred embodiment, the underlining of FIG. 5 signifies that the language is enabled in the device profile and the language list 36 or that French, Italian, Dutch, German, Spanish, Chinese, French Canadian and English (USA) are enabled, while Portuguese is disabled in this preferred embodiment. This preferred embodiment is not limiting and additional, less, the same, different or other varieties of languages may be included, excluded, activated and/or deactivated. Further, coin defaults 37 are preferably defined and a coin to credit conversion chart or credits & value table 37 a and a channel definition list 37 b are preferably provided. The device profile is not limited to having each of the above-listed components or any one of the above-listed components. For example, an alternative device profile may include only a single game for the preferred amusement device 10.
  • [0051]
    Preferably, once the amusement device 10 has been provisioned with a device profile of the owner/operator's 42 choosing and within the requirements of the appropriate locale, the amusement device 10 will comply with all preferences and settings defined in the selected device profile. Thus, the amusement device 10 will preferably be fully compliant with all laws and regulations of the locale in which the amusement device 10 operates. However, the device profile may need to be re-provisioned with a new or updated device profile in the case where the amusement device 10 is moved to a new locale or when new laws or regulations are passed that affect the selected device profile of the amusement device 10.
  • [0052]
    Referring to FIG. 6A, in one embodiment, the amusement device 10 may automatically monitor its locale for such changes. Locale monitoring may be performed through, for example, IP address geolocation, GPS coordinate tracking and the like. When the amusement device 10 determines a change in its location, the amusement device 10 notifies owner/operator 42 that the current device profile may be non-conforming and the amusement device 10 may unprovision itself from the current device profile. The techniques for requesting a new device profile described above may then be used to request a new device profile from the profile server 41. In another embodiment (not shown), the profile server 41 may monitor the position of the amusement device 10. Upon determining that the location of the particular amusement device 10 has changed, the profile server 41 may send a signal to the amusement device 10 unprovisioning the amusement device 10 from the selected device profile. Preferably, the signal is only sent when it is determined that the change in location is such that the locale of the amusement device 10 has also changed. In yet another embodiment, the owner/operator 42 may be relied upon to select a new device profile any time the amusement device 10 is moved to a new locale.
  • [0053]
    In the case where a law or regulation for a locale is changed, the profile server 41 may send a signal to the amusement device 10 notifying the owner/operator 42 that an update to the selected device profile is available. The profile server 41 may than automatically transmit the updated device profile. An updated device profile may also be created and become available for transmission to the amusement device 10 when one or more of the settings or parameters of an existing device profile needs to be altered, supplemented or removed.
  • [0054]
    Referring to FIG. 6B, in one embodiment, upon receiving authorization from owner/operator 42, the amusement device 10 re-provisions itself using the updated device profile. In another embodiment, the notification of the availability of an updated device profile is transmitted prior to the device profile being transmitted to amusement device 10. In this embodiment, the updated device profile may be retrieved by the owner/operator 42 by entering the set-up mode and going through the steps for selecting a new device profile, as described above.
  • [0055]
    In yet another embodiment, referring to FIG. 6C, authorization from the owner/operator 42 is not required and the updated device profile is automatically transmitted to the amusement device 10. Thus, the amusement device 10 re-provisions itself upon receiving the updated device profile from the profile server 41, without authorization from the owner/operator 42.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 7 illustrates schematically various embodiments of implementing an amusement system 1000 including one or more amusement devices 10. A gaming location 8 may, for example, house one or more amusement devices 10 that may each be individually in communication with a central server 21. The central server 21 manages the user accounts, including the money deposited by a user for obtaining the playable credits, preferably deposited in the input component 14. The central server 21 is preferably configured to withdraw at least a portion of the deposited money not used to obtain playable credits after the predetermined amount of time. The central server 21 may route the withdrawn money to the appropriate receiving entity (e.g., operator, owner, or the like).
  • [0057]
    The gaming location 8 may also have a central communication hub 22, enabling communication between all of the amusement devices 10 housed therein with the central server 21. In another alternative arrangement, as shown in FIG. 7A, the gaming location 8 may house its own local server 23, which perform all of the functions listed above with respect to the central server 21 for all of the locally housed amusement devices 10. Further, the central server 21 may be housed in a gaming location 8 and need not be remote to every amusement device 10. Alternatively, one of the amusement devices 10 may function as a master amusement device 10 and generally act as a central server 21.
  • [0058]
    Though the procedure for requesting, selecting and retrieving device profiles has been demonstrated as taking place through the amusement device 10, the present disclosure is not so limited. In other embodiments, the central communication hub 22 or the local server 23 may perform the recited functions instead of the amusement device 10. For example, the device profiles may be received by the central communication hub 22 or the local server 23 and transferred to the amusement device 10.
  • [0059]
    The amusement devices 10 may be connected to their corresponding servers 21, 23 through conventional communication configurations, such as a LAN, WAN, or the like. In one preferred embodiment, the amusement device 10 may connect to the server via the Internet. It is thus understood by those skilled in the art that the amusement system 1000 is not limited to the arrangements described above, and may include any configuration wherein a user account for obtaining playable credits is maintained.
  • [0060]
    The amusement device 10 may also include other functionality and features such as music jukebox, video jukebox, multimedia player, Internet browsing, broadcast media viewing, time based rental mode, non-prize tournaments, prize-based tournaments, head-to-head competitions, prize-based lotteries, ticket dispensing, prize dispensing, debit/credit card charging, phone card dispensing, e-mail, photography, placing customer orders, communicating with other amusement devices, and the like.
  • [0061]
    The preferred amusement device 10 may also provide for remote or local access for accounting and/or bookkeeping purposes. The amusement device 10 may include a local connector for uploading to a hand-held or portable computer or removable memory for receiving accounting or other data. The amusement device 10 may include accounting and bookkeeping screens accessible by an operator through set up screens and/or through password protection.
  • [0062]
    It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.

Claims (18)

  1. 1. A method of selecting a device profile for provisioning an amusement device, the amusement device having a touchscreen, a memory and a controller, the method comprising:
    a) establishing a connection between the amusement device and a remote server over a network;
    b) transmitting a list of amusement device profiles from the remote server to the amusement device, the device profiles in the list of amusement device profiles being selected from a plurality of available amusement device profiles based on information associated with the amusement device;
    c) permitting display of the list of amusement device profiles on the touchscreen;
    d) receiving a selection from the touchscreen of one of the device profiles in the list of device profiles displayed on the touchscreen; and
    e) transmitting the selected device profile to the amusement device, wherein the selected device profile is used to provision the amusement device.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein the transmitted profile of step (e) is selected based at least in part on a geographic location associated with the amusement device.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
    f) transmitting log-in information associated with the operator to the remote server prior to step (b).
  4. 4. The method of claim 3, further comprising:
    g) determining a geographic location associated with the amusement device based on the log-in information.
  5. 5. The method of claim 1, wherein the amusement device is not operable by the user prior to provisioning with the selected device profile in step (e).
  6. 6. The method of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of profiles is an XML file.
  7. 7. The method of claim 2, further comprising:
    f) re-provisioning the amusement device in response to the amusement device being moved to another geographic location.
  8. 8. The method of claim 2, wherein the location is selected from the group consisting of a municipality, a city, a county, a province, a state and a country.
  9. 9. The method of claim 1, wherein the selected device profile of step (e) includes at least a game list, a date, a part number, a file name, a checksum, a description, a language list and a coin default.
  10. 10. A method of provisioning a plurality of amusement devices, each of the amusement devices having a touchscreen, a memory and a controller, the method comprising:
    a) storing a plurality of amusement device profiles at a server remotely located from the amusement devices, each profile of the plurality of amusement device profiles defining a plurality of settings for provisioning the amusement devices;
    b) receiving, by the server over a network, a request for a profile from a first amusement device of the plurality of amusement devices;
    c) selecting at least one of the plurality of amusement device profiles based at least in part on information associated with the first amusement device; and
    d) transmitting the selected at least one profile to the first amusement device over the network.
  11. 11. The method of claim 10, wherein the information associated with the first amusement device of step (c) includes at least a geographic location of the first amusement device.
  12. 12. The method of claim 11, wherein the geographic location is selected from the group consisting of a municipality, a city, a county, a province, a state and a country.
  13. 13. The method of claim 10, wherein the information associated with the first amusement device of step (c) includes at least operator log-in information.
  14. 14. The method of claim 13, further comprising:
    e) identifying a location associated with the first amusement device based on the operator log-in information.
  15. 15. The method of claim 10, wherein transmitting the selected at least one profile of step (d) further comprises transmitting a description of the at least one profile to the first amusement device.
  16. 16. The method of claim 15, wherein the at least one profile is comprised of a plurality of profiles.
  17. 17. An amusement device comprising:
    a) an input/output interface configured to:
    (i) transmit a provisioning request to a remote server over a network, and
    (ii) receive one or more profiles from the remote server, the one or more profiles being selected from a plurality of available profiles based on information associated with the amusement device;
    b) a memory configured to store the received one or more profiles;
    c) a display screen having a touchscreen configured to:
    (i) display information identifying the one or more profiles, and
    (ii) receive a selection of one of the one or more profiles from an operator associated with the device; and
    d) a controller configured to provision the amusement device with the selected profile, wherein the amusement device is not operable by a user prior to the provisioning.
  18. 18. The amusement device of claim 17, wherein the information associated with the first amusement device includes at least a location of the first amusement device.
US13480032 2011-05-27 2012-05-24 Method of selecting a device profile for provisioning an amusement device Abandoned US20120302346A1 (en)

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