US20130090171A1 - Initiating and conducting a competitive social game using a server connected to a plurality of user terminals via a computer network - Google Patents

Initiating and conducting a competitive social game using a server connected to a plurality of user terminals via a computer network Download PDF

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US20130090171A1
US20130090171A1 US13/591,797 US201213591797A US2013090171A1 US 20130090171 A1 US20130090171 A1 US 20130090171A1 US 201213591797 A US201213591797 A US 201213591797A US 2013090171 A1 US2013090171 A1 US 2013090171A1
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game
scoring
method
participant
based
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US13/591,797
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Gregory W. HOLTON
Brian A. Holton
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Gregory W. HOLTON
Brian A. Holton
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Application filed by Gregory W. HOLTON, Brian A. Holton filed Critical Gregory W. HOLTON
Priority to US13/591,797 priority patent/US20130090171A1/en
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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
    • A63F13/45Controlling the progress of the video game
    • A63F13/48Starting a game, e.g. activating a game device or waiting for other players to join a multiplayer session
    • 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
    • A63F13/60Generating or modifying game content before or while executing the game program, e.g. authoring tools specially adapted for game development or game-integrated level editor
    • A63F13/63Generating or modifying game content before or while executing the game program, e.g. authoring tools specially adapted for game development or game-integrated level editor by the player, e.g. authoring using a level editor
    • 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
    • A63F13/795Game security or game management aspects involving player-related data, e.g. identities, accounts, preferences or play histories for finding other players; for building a team; for providing a buddy list
    • 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
    • A63F2300/556Player lists, e.g. online players, buddy list, black list
    • 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
    • A63F2300/60Methods for processing data by generating or executing the game program
    • A63F2300/6009Methods for processing data by generating or executing the game program for importing or creating game content, e.g. authoring tools during game development, adapting content to different platforms, use of a scripting language to create content
    • 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
    • A63F2300/60Methods for processing data by generating or executing the game program
    • A63F2300/63Methods for processing data by generating or executing the game program for controlling the execution of the game in time
    • A63F2300/636Methods for processing data by generating or executing the game program for controlling the execution of the game in time involving process of starting or resuming a game

Abstract

A system and method for initiating and conducting a competitive social game using a server connected to a plurality of user terminals via a computer network. The method includes receiving, from a user terminal of a game initiator, via the computer network, a selection of a game definition, the game definition comprising a determined scoring method for the game. The method further includes receiving, from the user terminal of the game initiator, a selection of at least one participant to be invited and receiving, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a game participation response. The method further includes receiving, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a scoring claim based on an activity documented by the participant.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to, and the benefit of, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/544,787, filed Oct. 7, 2011, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The disclosed embodiments relate to a initiating and conducting a competitive social game using a server connected to a plurality of user terminals via a computer network. In particular, the disclosed embodiments relate to receiving a selection of a game definition, receiving a selection of at least one participant to be invited, and receiving a scoring claim based on an activity documented by the participant.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Social media applications and online interactive sites represent a diverse and rapidly growing industry. The types of online games existing today are very specialized and often based on fictional scenarios. Examples are Fantasy Sports, video games, avatar based games, and social network extensions such as mafia wars. These games are escapes from your own reality and limiting in their application. wEcompete.com is intended to allow users to create their own games without restriction. The goal is to become the forum for real life situational games that are completely customizable. We want to bring real life social interaction back in the form of social network. Everyone jokes around with their friends, competes verbally, and makes statements indicating “I can beat you at . . . ”, “I'm a better . . . ”, “I want to lose weight, we should push each other”, “Let's see who can . . . ”. These are statements made daily and we want to be the destination to meet all needs and perform the calculations in determining the winners.
  • Fantasy Sports (e.g., My Fantasy League, ESPN, CBS Sportsline, etc.) are games where participants act as owners and build a team to compete against other fantasy owner's teams. The owners first participate in a draft where they take turns drafting real players or teams of a professional sport. The scoring is based on statistics generated by the players and/or teams. Statistical performance is converted into points, which are predetermined by the hosting site and are then compiled, totaled and the scores are automatically updated in real time to the league scoreboard. However, these types of games tend to be limited to sports and professional athletes and have no connection to “real life” from the standpoint of the game participants. Furthermore, these games tend to have predetermined point value systems and only limited user-customizable functions. Also, they tend to be cyclical and exist for only a predetermined amount of time.
  • A social network site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) is an online building of a network of people that share a common interest. Social Networking Sites are web-based with 100% of the activities and interactions being performed on the Internet. Social network sites are free to users and begin by the user setting up a profile complete with photos, videos and social and geographic status info. Privacy settings allow users to control who can view their profile by adding and accepting individuals to their “friend/follower” list. Social Network Sites are viewed and updated in real time and users can post entries or “status updates” to broadcast to their friend lists. However, such sites are primarily focused on communication and social networking, rather than implementing a full-featured gaming system. Furthermore, for typical sites, user-customizable functions are limited, and these sites do not offer unique and customizable scoring regimes for competitions.
  • Avatar-type online or mobile games are games that are played through a number of different online and mobile channels. The most common forms are browser based games but many can be played on mobile devices and as an application widget on social network websites. Many popular games are competition-based games where the user can choose to play the computer or invite friends to play online against friends. Avatar games are “non-gaming/non-competition” applications that allow users to meet and socialize in an online setting. Many of these games are free or can be downloaded for a small application fee, but some require monthly subscriptions or charge the user small fees for “virtual goods.” Some of these types of games require a paid subscription or payment to advance to further levels of activity, and some of these games are played without the use of other competitors, rather than presenting an open and widely-available competitive environment. Moreover, because these games are virtual games, they have no connection to real life vis-à-vis the participants. Furthermore, the scoring for these games tends to be preset and cannot be modified by game participants. Thus, these games do not offer unique, user-customizable scoring regimes for competitions.
  • Location-based services which include limited game activity (e.g., SCVNGR, Foursquare, Gowalla, etc.) are offered through social networking websites that are available for, and most often used on, mobile phones. These sites and apps are part game and part gaming platform. Users of these sites sign up and create a user profile. They can invite and connect to friends via email and other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Once a person is signed up they are encouraged to go places, check-in, complete challenges and earn points and rewards. Your check-ins and challenges can be posted to Facebook and Twitter and you can receive notifications regarding your friends' activities. However, these location-based games tend to be non-competitive in nature—the focus is on discovering locations and places. User-customization is typically very limited. The games and challenges presented by these sites are of limited variety and are decided by the provider, and the rewards are determined by the participating businesses. Moreover, these sites do not typically provide any sort of universal results scoreboard.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The disclosed embodiments provide a competition and gaming platform which relates to real life social situations involving the participants. The platform is highly customizable to the user's preferences, with the potential for an almost unlimited number of games to be in progress simultaneously. Scoring may be based on claims made by the participants, and a “social scoreboard” provides a unique scoring mechanism that calculates all claims to determine the winner. Blogging, email, text message capabilities are provided to allow for constant interaction among the participants. Whether it is for business, personal, one-on-one, or a group, the disclosed embodiments bring real life social competitions to social media.
  • In one aspect of the disclosed invention, a system and method for initiating and conducting a competitive social game using a server connected to a plurality of user terminals via a computer network. The method includes receiving, from a user terminal of a game initiator, via the computer network, a selection of a game definition, the game definition comprising a determined scoring method for the game. The method further includes receiving, from the user terminal of the game initiator, a selection of at least one participant to be invited and receiving, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a game participation response. The method further includes receiving, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a scoring claim based on an activity documented by the participant.
  • Embodiments of the disclosed invention may include one or more of the following features.
  • The game definition may be selected from a set of established game definitions. The game definition may be established by receiving a setting of at least one game parameter from the game initiator.
  • The scoring method may be determined by a parameter which can be set to any one of at least three possible states, including a first state corresponding to an elimination based on received scoring claims, a second state corresponding to a total score based on received scoring claims, and a third state corresponding to a score after a determined duration based on received scoring claims. The scoring method may include a plurality of defined activities, each activity having a corresponding score. The plurality of defined activities, and corresponding score of each defined activity, are based on inputs received from the game initiator.
  • The scoring claim may require approval by a designated user before a score is granted to the participant who is the subject of the scoring claim. The scoring claim may require approval by other participants before a score is granted to the participant who is the subject of the scoring claim. The approval of the scoring claim by the other participants may be done according to a parameter which can be set to any one of at least three possible states, including a first state corresponding to a majority vote, a second state corresponding to a unanimous vote, and a third state corresponding to a defined percentage vote. All scoring claims may be accepted without requiring approval.
  • The game definition may include at least one notification parameter which controls notification of the at least one participant in response to a game event. The game event controlled by the notification parameter may be an invitation to a participant to join the game, a request for a vote on a scoring claim, an indication that a scoring claim has been approved, or an indication that a score has been granted to a participant in a game which does not require scoring claim approval.
  • A team creation request may be received from a participant to allow a team of participants to jointly participate in the game. The team creation request may include a team name and list of a plurality of participants to be included on the team, the plurality of participants being a subset of all game participants.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The above and/or other aspects and advantages will become more apparent and more readily appreciated from the following detailed description of the disclosed embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:
  • FIG. 1 is a flow chart for the process of creating a competition using the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow chart of a process for making a claim for points based on an activity performed by a user during a competition.
  • FIG. 3 is a flow chart depicting the different types of claims notifications sent to players.
  • FIG. 4 is a flow chart depicting the three major scoring options for the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 5 shows an example of a home page for the reality-based competition website from which the user can create a game or competition.
  • FIG. 6 shows an example of the initial game setup page for creating a game using the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 7 shows an example of a user selecting a category from a drop-down menu on the initial game setup page of the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 8 shows an example of the custom scoring page which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page.
  • FIG. 9 shows another example of the custom scoring page which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page.
  • FIG. 10 shows another example of the custom scoring page which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page.
  • FIG. 11 shows another example of the custom scoring page which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page.
  • FIG. 12 shows another example of the custom scoring page which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page.
  • FIG. 13 shows an example of an invitation email that potential participants will receive once a commissioner creates a competition.
  • FIG. 14 shows an example of an email notification that a player will receive when a claim has been made in a game hosted by the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 15 shows another example of a claims email notification that is sent to players of a game hosted by the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 16 shows an example of a claims notification email for an elimination game hosted by the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 17 shows another example of a claim email notification that is sent to players of a game hosted by the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 18 shows an example of a claim email notification for a game requiring player votes for every claim made.
  • FIG. 19 shows an example of the Welcome Page that the player is taken to when they accept an invitation to a game and have to create a user profile (only first time users will be taken to this page).
  • FIG. 20 shows an example of a reality-based game unique homepage.
  • FIG. 21 shows another example of a reality-based game unique homepage corresponding to example in FIG. 15.
  • FIG. 22 shows another example of a reality-based game unique homepage corresponding to example in FIG. 16.
  • FIG. 23 shows another example of a reality-based game unique homepage corresponding to example in FIG. 17, The Big Battle at Work.
  • FIG. 24 shows an example of a reality-based game unique homepage corresponding to example in FIG. 18.
  • FIG. 25 shows an example of the Crowning the Winner screen of the reality-based competition website.
  • FIG. 26 shows an example of a participant's personal dashboard.
  • FIG. 27 shows an example of the create a team page which a player can access from the player dashboard.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a flow chart for the process of creating a competition using a reality-based competition website. A user accesses the homepage of the competition website, e.g., via the Internet, and has the option to choose to create a custom game 110 or choose from a list of existing games 125. When selecting a custom game, users have the opportunity to create custom variables 115 for the competition to make the games unique to the users (e.g., game terminology, logos, game names, game details, etc.).
  • Once the variables are determined, the user can create custom scoring options 120 (e.g., duration, point total scoring or elimination, etc.). The creator then has the opportunity to customize claims and claim values that are used as the scoring mechanism of the game. Once the scoring is determined, the creator sets the notification preferences 130 and invites participants 135 by inputting their contact information and email addresses (or selecting them from a stored list) so they receive their invitations via email. Once the participants receive their invitations, they are prompted to accept the terms and conditions 140 in order to join the game. Once all participants accept or decline (or a predetermined portion of the participants), the game begins 145. The game continues until a winner is determined 150 based on claims made in relation to the terms and conditions set by the creator, who may be referred to as “the commissioner.”
  • If, on the other hand, the user decides to select an existing game 125, they are prompted to set notifications 130 and invite participants 135. Participants can accept the invitation by agreeing to the terms and conditions 140, and the game then begins 145. The winner is determined 150 based on the claims and the criteria previously established for the existing game.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow chart of a process for making a claim for points based on an activity performed by a user during a competition. After accessing the competition website, the user logs on to the user's account 205 with an established user name and password. The user then makes a claim 210 by adding information regarding the claim and submitting the claim.
  • The system determines whether predetermined or custom approval is needed 215 for claims, based on the parameters established by the creator of the competition at the time of set up. If predetermined or custom approval is needed, the claim is sent to the commissioner 220, who then approves or denies the claim 225 based, e.g., on subjective criteria established at the time the competition was set up. The scoring is updated 230 based on scoring parameters for the completion and whether the claim was approved or denied by the commissioner. The participants are notified 235 of the outcome of the claim based on notification procedures.
  • If, on the other hand, the system determines that predetermined or custom approval is not needed 215 for claims, then the scoring is approved 240, the scoring is updated 230, and the participants are notified of the claim 235.
  • FIG. 3 is a flow chart depicting the different types of claims notifications sent to players. Once a participant is logged onto their account 305, there are, for example, three different types of notifications they can receive. Custom notifications 310 allow players the freedom to write any type of claim, at any time of the day, and all other players are then notified 325. Fixed notifications 315 are reoccurring updates that are typically set up before the competition begins and are determined by the commissioner/creator. Automatic notifications 320 are notifications that are sent when a change (i.e., and “event”) takes place in the competition (e.g., scoring changes, players eliminated, etc.).
  • FIG. 4 is a flow chart depicting the three major scoring options for the reality-based competition/game. Users have the option to choose 405 from a scoring game, elimination game, or duration game. When the creator chooses an elimination game 410, this means that the last person remaining in the competition is named the winner. Players can be eliminated based on claims 415 that affect predetermined criteria that are set at the beginning of the game. When there is only one player remaining, then that player is determined to be the winner 440.
  • A scoring game 420 is a game that requires a certain number of points to be accumulated based on claims 425 that have been pre-selected by the commissioner/creator prior to the start of the game. The first person to reach that predetermined point value is named the winner 440.
  • A duration game 430 is a game that determines the winner after a predetermined time frame. During the specified time frame, players make claims 435 to accumulate points. At the end of the time frame, the player with the highest (or lowest) points is named the winner 440.
  • FIG. 5 shows an example of a home page 500 for the reality-based competition website from which the user can create a game or competition. The homepage 500 is accessed through the user's internet browser, e.g., by entering the appropriate uniform resource location (URL) in the address bar 505 of the browser or by clicking on a link in a related website or promotional email. The homepage 500 presents an introduction box 510 which includes a short description of the competition website, as well as buttons to allow the user to create a competition or game. The homepage 500 may also include advertisements 515, which may be dynamic advertisements that change according to user characteristics, such as location or the contact of stored browser data (e.g., “cookies”).
  • To set up a game or competition, the user selects “Create a Game” 520, thereby initiating a series of screens, discussed in further detail below, which allow the user to enter the necessary parameters to define a competition. Alternatively, the user may choose a particular type of game from an array of competition-type buttons 525 entitled “Create Your Own Game” the competition types may include, for example, “Social”, “Fitness”, “Charity”, “Sports”, “Office”, “Other”. These buttons make it convenient for experienced users to directly begin the setting up of a particular type of competition. There may also be a “Browse Games” button 530 which allows a user to begin browsing through the various available game types.
  • The homepage 500 also includes buttons which allow the user to perform various administrative functions like logging on and registering. Users accessing the website for the first time, for example, in response to an invitation to participate in a competition, click on the register button 535 to set up a registration. Users who have already registered may click on the “Sign In” button 540 and enter their user name and password to log onto the website.
  • FIG. 6 shows an example of the initial game setup page 600 for creating a game using the reality-based competition website. First a user, i.e., game creator, can select a category from popular, preloaded categories in the drop-down box 605, or the creator can type in their own unique category in the corresponding custom value section 610. Many of the games found in the preloaded categories 605 may be partner-sponsored games. Next, the game creator selects a name for the competition. The creator does this by either selecting from popular, preloaded game names in the drop-down box 615 or by inputting a unique game name in the corresponding custom value section 610. The game creator is then prompted to upload a game logo. This can be done by selecting from popular, preloaded game logos 620 or by uploading a unique logo in the corresponding custom value section 610.
  • Next, the creator chooses the method of scoring. The scoring section requires the creator to select a method from the drop-down box 625. A few examples of scoring methods are: “Custom”, “Elimination”, “Duration” and “Other”. Once the creator selects the method of scoring, he or she is directed to a new page which is described below in detail in connection with FIGS. 8-12.
  • After scoring is completed the creator selects the length of the game. They do this by either selecting from popular, predetermined game lengths from the drop-down menu 630 or by adding in a custom game length in the corresponding custom value section 610. Next the creator selects a desired means of game notification from the drop-down menu 635, which were described above in connection with FIG. 3. The creator also has the option to select their own unique means of notification by adding in custom notifications in the corresponding custom value section 610.
  • Further steps require the creator to decide how to crown a winner 640 and to accept the terms and conditions of the game 645. Crowing a winner is determining what kind of acknowledgement/prize the winner of the game will receive. This can be selected from the drop-down menu 640 of popular winner recognition awards, as shown, for example, in FIG. 25, or a custom prize can be included in the corresponding custom value section 610. Finally, the creator is prompted to select from the drop-down box of the terms and conditions 645. This requires the creator to review and agree to the terms and conditions of the reality-based competition website in order to launch the game and invite participants.
  • FIG. 7 shows an example of a user selecting a category from a drop-down menu 710 on the initial game setup page 705 (see also, FIG. 6, 600) of the reality-based competition website. For example, the categories may include: celebrity, charity, environment, fitness, food, hobby, holiday, music, office, social, sports, etc.
  • FIG. 8 shows an example of the custom scoring page 805 which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page. The creator is first prompted to enter in different “claims” 810 that will be used to score various activities and actions by the players. Any number of different claims can be entered in the scoring section, and these are completely customizable by the game creator. For example, the claims may include “Attend a Phillies Game” and “Arrive after the first pitch”. For each claim that is entered, the creator assigns a scoring value 815. In this example, the scoring values are “+5” and “−2”, respectively.
  • Next the creator selects the way in which claims are approved 820 from a drop-down box. Once the method of approval is selected, there is a drop-down box which automatically populates with an extension of specific methods of approval 825 based on what was selected in the previous section. For example, if a creator selects the method of approval, as being “Vote Required by Players” the next drop-down box automatically populates with all of the ways players can vote, e.g., “Majority rules”, “Unanimous Vote” or “Percentage Vote”.
  • Finally, the creator has the ability to control the frequency of claims made by participants from the drop-down box 830. In this example, the frequency of claims selected is “Unlimited” meaning that players can submit any number of claims. Once all drop-down boxes are filled out, the creator then clicks the box to accept scoring options 835 to finalize this section.
  • FIG. 9 shows another example of the custom scoring page 905 which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box from the “create a game” page. FIG. 9 depicts several additional examples of scoring settings. As in the example of FIG. 8, the creator is prompted to enter various claims 910 which will form the basis for scoring the players. Any number of claims can be entered in the scoring section, and these are completely customizable by the game creator. In this example, some of the claims are “Trips to the Gym”, “Attend a Spin Class” and “Eat Ice Cream”. For each claim that is entered, the creator assigns a scoring value 915. In this example, the scoring values are “+5”, “+10” and “−4”, respectively.
  • Next the creator selects the way in which claims will be approved 920 from a drop-down box. Once the method of approval is selected there is a drop-down box that automatically populates with an extension of specific methods of approval 925 based on what was selected in the previous section. For example, if a creator selects the method of approval, as being “Vote Required by Players” the next drop-down box will automatically populate with all of the ways players can vote e.g., “Majority rules”, “Unanimous Vote” or “Percentage Vote”.
  • Finally, the creator has the ability to control the frequency of claims made by participants from the drop-down box 930. In this example, the frequency of claims selected is “One Time per Day,” meaning that each player can only submit one claim in any given day. Once all drop-down boxes are filled out to completion the creator then clicks the box to accept scoring options 935 to finalize this section.
  • FIG. 10 shows another example of a custom scoring page 1005 which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page. FIG. 10 depicts several additional examples of scoring settings. As in the example of FIGS. 8 and 9, the creator is first prompted to enter various claims 1010 which will be the basis for scoring the players. Any number of claims can be entered in the scoring section, and these are completely customizable by the game creator. In this example, some of the claims are “Working Overtime”, “Meet Your Quota” and “Complaint Filed”. For each claim that is entered, the creator assigns a scoring value 1015. In this example, the scoring values are “+100”, “+10” and “−50” respectively.
  • Next the creator selects the way in which claims will be approved 1020 from a drop-down box. Once the method of approval is selected there is a drop-down box that automatically populates with an extension of specific methods of approval 1025 based on what was selected in the previous section. For example, if a creator selects the method of approval, as being “Commissioner Approval Only” the next drop-down box will automatically populate with “Commish Approval Only”.
  • Finally, the creator has the ability to control the frequency of claims made by participants from the drop-down box 1030. In this example, the frequency of claims selected is “Two Times Per Day,” meaning that the participants can only submit a maximum of two claims in any given day. Once all drop-down boxes have been filled out, the creator then clicks the box to accept scoring options 1035 to finalize this section.
  • FIG. 11 is another example of the custom scoring page 1105 which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page. FIG. 11 depicts several additional examples of scoring settings. As in the example of FIGS. 8-10, the creator will first be prompted to enter in different claims 1110 that are the basis for scoring the players. Any number of claims can be entered in the scoring section, and these are completely customizable by the game creator. In this example, the creator has selected to “Allow Players to Create Claims”. For each claim that is entered, the creator assigns a scoring value 1115. In this example, because participants can also enter claims, the creator also allows players to enter suggested point values for the particular claims they have entered.
  • Next, the creator selects the way in which claims will be approved 1120 from a drop-down box. Once the method of approval is selected, there is a drop-down box that automatically populates with an extension of specific methods of approval 1125 based on what was selected in the previous section. For example, if a creator selects the method of approval as being “All Claims Accepted” the next drop-down box will automatically populate with “All Claims Accepted”.
  • Finally, the creator has the ability to control the frequency of claims made by participants from the drop-down box 1130. In this example, the frequency of claims selected is “One time per Week,” meaning that each player can only make one claim over a seven-day period. Once all drop-down boxes are filled out, the creator then clicks the box to accept scoring options 1135 to finalize this section.
  • FIG. 12 is another example of the custom scoring page 1205 which is presented to the game creator when they select from the scoring drop-down box on the “create a game” page. FIG. 12 depicts several additional examples of scoring settings. As in the example of FIGS. 8-11, the creator is first prompted to enter a number of claims 1210 that form the basis for scoring the players. Any number of claims can be entered in the scoring section, and these are completely customizable by the game creator. In this example, the creator has selected to “Allow Players to Create Claims”. For each claim that is entered, the creator assigns a scoring value 1215. In this example, the creator specified that all positive claims have a value of “+50” and all negative claims will have a point value of “−50”.
  • Next the creator selects the way in which claims will be approved 1220 from a drop-down box. Once the method of approval is selected, there is a drop-down box that automatically populates with an extension of specific methods of approval 1225 based on what was selected in the previous section. For example, if a creator selects the method of approval, as being “Vote Required by Players” the next drop-down box will automatically populate with the voting methods. In this example, the method is “Percentage Vote,” and the creator has suggested that 75% of players must approve in order for points to be given.
  • Finally, the creator has the ability to control the frequency of claims made by participants from the drop-down box 1230. In this example, the frequency of claims selected is “Unlimited” meaning that there are no restrictions on the number of claims that can be made by each player. Once all drop-down boxes are filled out, the creator then clicks the box to accept scoring options 1235 to finalize this section.
  • FIG. 13 is an example of an invitation email 1305 that potential participants receive once a commissioner creates a competition. The invitation is received via email and is linked to the specific game URL 1310. When they first open the email, the potential players see a welcome frame 1315 that has a message from the commissioner, the creator of the game. This message can be a generic, pre-populated message or the commissioner can choose to create a custom introduction.
  • The players then have several options to choose from below the welcome frame 1315. For example, they can “Accept & Enter Game” 1320 or “Decline the Invite” 1325. Players who are already members of the competition-based website can select to “Sign In” 1330 to see other details of this game and any other games in which they are competing. There is an option to “Message the Commish” 1335 for any potential player who has a question prior to accepting or declining. This page also has a link to the Terms and Conditions 1340 of the reality-based competition website, as well as a link to the main home page 1345.
  • FIG. 14 shows an example of an email notification 1405 that a player will receive when a claim has been made in a game hosted by the reality-based competition website. The email begins with a text box 1410 containing the details of the claim that is being made. The text box 1410 will include the name of the player the claim concerns, as well as the points which are being claimed. Below the claim box 1410, there are several options that require player action because, in this example, the scoring method requires all claims to be voted on by the players. The player can then decide to “Approve Claim” 1415, “Approve Claim with Comment” 1420, “Deny Claim” 1425 or “Deny Claim with Comment” 1430.
  • The game in this example also has an option for a player to “Message the Commish” 1435 or comment on the group “Message Board” 1440. For example, a player can “Message the Commish” if the player has any issues or concerns regarding the competition. Any message to the commissioner will remain between the player and the commissioner. If a player wants to make a comment for the entire group to see, then the player can make a comment on the Message Board 1440.
  • FIG. 15 shows another example of a claims email notification 1505 that is sent to players of a game hosted by the reality-based competition website. The email notification 1505 begins with a claims box 1510 consisting of the claim and point values that are being made. Below the claims box 1510 is a series of buttons containing links. The first button, for example, indicates that the claim has been approved by the commissioner 1515, or in this case, the Fitness Guru. In this particular example, this button does not link to anything (i.e., it is solely an indicator) because this game only requires commissioner (i.e., “Fitness Guru”) approval. If a player wants to dispute a claim or ask a question to the commissioner, the player can select “Email the Fitness Guru” 1520 to pose their question. This question or comment is not public—it is only shared with the player and the commissioner. If a player wants to make a comment for the entire group of players to see, the player can do so by clicking the button for the “Message Board” 1525, or in this example, the “Fun Fit Message Board.”
  • FIG. 16 shows an example of a claims notification email 1605 for an elimination game hosted by the reality-based competition website. The email notification 1605 begins with a claims box 1610 which shows the claim and point values which are being made. In this example, the players are notified that the player in this claim is safe from elimination. Below the claims box 1610 is a series of buttons containing links. The first button indicates that all claims are accepted based on the honor system 1615 and will not link to anything because no further action is required, i.e., the button is solely an indicator in this particular example. A player who wants to dispute a claim can email the commissioner, or in this case, select “Email the Club Pro” 1620. All correspondence between players and the Club Pro are kept confidential. Players are encouraged to submit comments and trash talk on the game message board, or in this case, “The Caddyshack” 1625.
  • FIG. 17 shows another example of a claim email notification 1705 that is sent to players of a game hosted by the reality-based competition website. The email notification 1705 begins with a claims box 1710 showing the claim and point values that are being made. Below the claims box 1710 is a series of buttons containing links. The first button indicates that the claim has been approved by the commissioner 1715, or in this case, the CS Genie and no further action is required. This button does not link to anything because this game only requires commissioner approval, i.e., the button is solely an indicator in this particular example. A player who wants to dispute a claim or ask a question to the commissioner can “Summon the CS Genie” 1720 to pose a question. This question or comment is not public as it is only shared with the player and the commissioner, i.e., the “CS Genie” in this example. A player who wants to make a comment to the entire group of players can do so by clicking the button to link to the “Work Chat” message board 1725.
  • FIG. 18 shows an example of a claim email notification 1805 for a game which requires player votes for every claim which is made. The email begins with a claim box 1810 containing the details of the claim being made and the corresponding point values. The claim box 1810 will include the name of the player the claim is in reference to as well as the points that are being claimed. Below the claim box 1810 there are several options that require player action because, in this case, the scoring method specifies that all claims must be voted on by players. The player can decide, for example, to “Approve the Violation” 1815, “Approve the Violation with a Comment” 1820, “Deny the Claim” 1825 or “Deny the Claim with a Comment” 1830.
  • This game also has an option for a player to “Message the Commish” 1835 or comment on the group “Message Board” 1840. A player can “Message the Commish” with any issues or concerns the player may have. Any message to the commissioner will remain between the player and the commissioner. If a player wants to make a comment to the entire group, the player can make a comment on the “Message Board” 1840.
  • FIG. 19 shows an example of the Welcome Page 1905 which is presented to the player when they accept an invitation to a game so that the player can create a user profile. Only first-time users are presented with this page. The player can access the welcome page URL 1910 through a link provided by the invitation email or through the “Sign Up” link on the homepage of the reality-based competition website. If a first-time player links to the welcome page 1905 through the emailed invitation, they will be presented with the uploaded logo or image for the game 1915 that is uploaded by the commissioner.
  • The player is then prompted to create their user profile by creating a username 1920, adding their email address 1925, creating a password 1930, re-entering their password 1935, creating an optional team/player name for this completion 1940 and uploading an image 1945 that will be displayed in correlation with any player activity. There are also blank sections which allow the user to add any unique profile information 1950 that was not covered in the prior options. Once the player is satisfied with their profile they can select “Accept Profile and Get Started” 1955.
  • FIG. 20 shows an example of a reality-based game unique homepage 2005. The player can link up to the unique game page URL 2010 through their invitation email, or any subsequent notification email, or by entering the unique URL address into the browser. The basic layout of the unique game homepage 2005 includes status, standings, activities and links for actions. On the right side of the page, there is a game title 2015, followed by the player standings and current points 2020. Below the standings is an on-going feed with pending claims and recent activity 2025.
  • To the left of the status and standings section are action buttons, which may also be found in the notification emails. Using these buttons, a player can make a claim 2030 or protest a claim 2035. There is a live timer 2040 counting down the time remaining if the game is a duration game, i.e., has a defined duration period. There are also links to the message boards 2045, a link to email the commissioner 2050, and a link to upload a game application to your phone 2055.
  • FIG. 21 shows another example of a reality-based game unique homepage 2105 corresponding to example in FIG. 15. The player can access the unique game page URL 2110 using a link provided in the invitation email, or any subsequent notification email, or by entering the unique URL address into the browser. The basic layout of the unique game homepage 2105 includes status, standings, activities and links for actions. On the right side of the page is the game title 2115, followed by the player standings and current points 2120. Below the standings is an on-going feed with pending claims and recent activity 2125.
  • To the left of the status and standings section are action buttons, which also may be found in the notification emails. Using these buttons, a player can make a “Fun Fit Claim” 2130 or protest a “Fun Fit Claim” 2135. There is a live timer 2140 counting down the time remaining if the game is a duration game. There are also links to the message boards 2145, a link to email the “Fitness Guru” 2150, and a link to download a game application to the user's phone 2155.
  • FIG. 22 shows another example of a reality-based game unique homepage 2205 corresponding to example in FIG. 16. The player can access the unique game page URL 2210 using a link in their invitation email, or any subsequent notification email, or by entering the unique URL address into the browser. The basic layout of the unique game homepage 2205 includes status, standings, activities and links for actions. To the right of the page you'll see the game title 2215 followed by the player standings, current points and players eliminated 2220. Below the standings will be an on going feed with Recent Claims and activity 2225 including posts to message boards 2245.
  • To the left of the status and standings section are the action buttons, which also may be found in the notification emails. Using these buttons, a player can submit their score 2230 or protest a recent score 2235 another player posted. Since in this example the game is an elimination game there is no live timer, but there is a link or indicator that shows how long the game has been in progress 2240. There are also links to “The Caddyshack” message board 2245, a link to email the “Club Pro” 2250, and a link to download a game application to the user's phone 2255.
  • FIG. 23 shows another example of a reality-based game unique homepage 2305 corresponding to the example of FIG. 17, “The Big Battle at Work.” The player can access the unique game page URL 2310 using a link provided in their invitation email, or any subsequent notification email, or by entering in the unique URL address into the browser. The basic layout of the unique game homepage 2305 includes status, standings, activities and links for actions. On the right side of the page is the game title 2315 followed by the player standings and current point totals 2320. Below the standings is an on-going feed with recent claims and activity 2325, including posts by the commissioner and players.
  • To the left of the status and standings section are the action buttons, which may also be found in the notification emails. Using these buttons, a player can submit their “Stats” 2330 and commend a co-worker's a recent score/activity 2335. This example has links for players to view updates to “Weekly Prizes” 2340 and “Yearly Totals” 2345. There is always a link to email the “CS Genie” 2350, and a link to download a game application to the user's phone 2355.
  • FIG. 24 shows an example of a reality-based game unique homepage 2405 corresponding to example in FIG. 18. The player can access the unique game page URL 2410 using a link provided in the invitation email, or any subsequent notification email, or by entering in the unique URL address into the browser. The basic layout of the unique game homepage 2405 includes status, standings, activities and links for actions. On the right side of the page is the game title 2415 followed by the player standings and current points 2420. Below the standings is an on-going feed with pending claims and recent activity 2425.
  • To the left of the status and standings section are the action buttons, which may also be found in the notification emails. Using these buttons, a player can “Make a Claim” 2430 or “Protest a Claim” 2435. There is a live timer 2440 counting down the time remaining if the game is a duration game. There are also links to the message boards 2445, a link to email “The Godfather” 2450, and a link to download a game application to the user's phone 2455.
  • FIG. 25 shows an example of the “Crowning the Winner” screen 2505 of the reality-based competition website. The game creator can select prizes from popular, preloaded prizes in the drop-down menu 2510. These prizes may include the following: the creator can enter their own prize to be awarded, they can award a virtual trophy, or they can select from partner-sponsored prizes if they are playing a partner-sponsored game. The partner-sponsored prizes will automatically populate in the Crowning a Winner drop-down box 2510 if the game creator is playing a partner-sponsored game. Some of these prizes could be discount codes to the partner's website, gift certificates or physical prizes that the sponsors can mail to the winners.
  • FIG. 26 shows an example of a participant's personal dashboard 2605. The left side of the dashboard displays the player's profile 2610 including, e.g., name, age, city, total competition wins and current competitions in which the player is participating. This section is completely customizable by the user and can show any statistics that the player wishes to show.
  • The right side of the page features several popular functions used in the games, including, e.g., options to send invitations, view game history, update user profile, form a team 2615, view standings and create a new game. The “Form a Team” function 2615 is an option in which the player can form a team with multiple players for a game. When a player proposes to form a team, the request will be sent to the Commissioner to be approved or denied, unless the Commissioner already specifies the team function during the set up process. Finally, the bottom right portion of the page provides links to all of the current competitions in which the player is participating 2620. Selecting any of these buttons will take the player to that corresponding game page.
  • FIG. 27. shows an example of the “Create a Team” page 2705 that a player can access by selecting the corresponding button on the player dashboard. Once this function is selected, the player is prompted to select the game in which the team is going to participate 2710. The player is then asked to choose a team name 2715. The player then selects a team captain 2720, who will have team claim approval privileges for actions made by the team. The team captain can be decided at the beginning stages of team formation or can be done after all players have accepted the invitation.
  • Next the player who is creating the team invites other players to join the team. This can be done by linking team members by search 2725, which is only available for players who are already members of the competition-based website. Alternatively, the player can invite new players 2730 who are not current members of the competition-based website by means of adding in their email address. Once players have been invited, the player selecting the team clicks the “Accept and Invite Teammates” button 2735 to finalize the selection process. At this point, the invitees receive an email, similar to that of FIG. 13, requesting their participation in the game as a team.
  • It can be seen from the detailed description above, that the disclosed embodiments provide a reality-based competition website which provides users with an entirely customizable platform to create their own competitions among friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances. This can be made available at little or no cost to the participants. The site offers customized setup for clients to create their own games, choose from existing templates, or even combine the two options in selecting their own unique competition. The site handles all the scoring, updates, time tracking, message boards, blogging, and other applicable functions to the games. The disclosed embodiments can thus provide a competition platform for real life experiences and interactions.
  • Upon entering the site, visitors are able to build a game unique to their group by choosing from various terminology options which describe each part of the game, or by typing in custom game variables to meet their needs. The user may construct every detail of the game from the name, to the method of scoring, to the duration or stakes of the games. Play may be set for a defined period of time or a specified point total to determine the winner. There also may be head-to-head matchups in a league setting or elimination games.
  • Once a user creates a game, they may enter the email addresses and/or phone numbers of the participants into the tool or select them from a stored list. After agreeing to the terms and conditions, an email is sent to all the participants asking them to join the game. The email will offer a chance to join or deny the request. Each game may have its own web page that can be logged into manually for updates. The user can set parameters for update frequency via email, phone applications, or text messages.
  • The gaming options are endless and will be ever-changing with the times and technology and may employ smartphone applications, attachments, sound bites, uploads, etc. A few game examples are: scavenger hunts, pub crawls, office productivity, weight loss, bachelor/bachelorette parties, Who's the Man?, charitable acts, going green, hooking up, party fouls, selfless acts, who among your friends is the most extreme, who's attended the most concerts, sporting events, team challenges, anything you want to keep track of in a competition setting.
  • As discussed above, the manner in which scoring is kept is also customizable through “The Social Scoreboard.” Examples include making claims via email/text message relating to the participant, or another participant, worth positive or negative points. Users can choose to accept all claims on the honor system, designate a claim judge who makes the verdict, or even use an interactive voting system sent via email where the majority rules or designated percentage.
  • From the Home page a user may select “Create a game/Competition.” In this manner, the user can choose to use an existing game or customize their own. For example, existing games may include: Office Productivity, Fitness Challenge, Props vs. Violations, Who's the best golfer, Team Challenges, Settling Bets between friends/family.
  • The person creating the game may be the “Commissioner” or owner of the game. They will be responsible for governing the game and will have options to make adjustments and updates when needed. They will have more detailed privileges, such as resetting the game, adding/removing participants, etc. The commissioner's duties do not have to rest with the person who created the game, but most of the time they will be. The Commissioner's email address and name will be entered to begin creating the game.
  • When creating a unique game, the user is prompted to fill out game variables in the setup process. They will have the option to type in their own verbiage or select from drop-down menus. Everything from the name of the game down to the manner in which they refer to “points” or other parts of the game is customizable.
  • The user also determines the duration of the game. They can chose a day, a year, one week, or even a shorter time period, such as five hours. The user may select the duration from a drop-down menu, or they may type in a date/time range.
  • The user also determines the manner in which scoring is calculated. The games are interactive over email/text and based on claims made by participants. Claims and values can be predetermined in the setup process, or participants could be allowed to type in freely point values and their reasoning. The game creator may also choose the way in which scoring is approved. There are several options in the drop-down menu, such as: all claims/points are accepted on the honor system; all claims must be approved by the Commissioner; or claims are either approved or denied based on an interactive vote by the participants.
  • The Commissioner may have an option to select frequency of game updates relating to game “events,” e.g., every time a claim is made, every time a claim is approved or denied, weekly, daily, etc.
  • After the Commissioner has gone through the steps of game setup, they can invite participants. The user fills out the names and email addresses and/or phone numbers of all the people they would like to join the game or selects the participants from stored lists which have been entered previously. After entering the participant info and accepting the terms and conditions, an invitation email is sent out to each of the participants. The Commissioner will have an option to introduce the game in the email with verbiage, photos, parameters of the game, etc.
  • In the invitation email, invitees have the option to accept or decline the invitation. If accepting, the invitee is prompted to set up a Game Profile and register. There are customizable options to make their profile unique. Each participant creates a login in for their profile. The participant is then able to log in at any time to check updates, standings, message boards, upload logos, bios, team name, etc.
  • When the commissioner is ready to start, he or she commences the game so it will begin immediately or at a predetermined date/time. The Commissioner has control over many aspects of the game and may, for example: reset a game, add players, kick people out, add/change rules, etc.
  • The game continues until a winner is determined according to the determined parameters. The winner of the game may receive a customized virtual trophy, congratulatory email, may address the other participants, or may be commended in any manner, as determined in the setup process. The competition may also be customizable as to which participants are recognized at the end of the competition/game, e.g., top three finishers receive recognition, or negative recognition for losing a competition.
  • As discussed in detail above, game participation may be interactive over email, the personalized game page, and phone applications. Claims are made about real life instances that are can be defined during the setup process of the game. For example, if a user is having a golf competition with his friends, and the object of the game is to have the best score for a season, the user could set up the game so that participants make a “claim” to submit their score for a given day. As a further example, if a user were having a fitness competition, a participant could submit a claim that he deserves fitness points for attending a spin class that day. A further example would be work productivity among a user's team. The user can set up the customizable competition through templates and participants may interact as frequently as they like.
  • Once a game has been created and the participants have accepted an invitation to join the game, many different types of interactions are possible. Various parameters and rules are addressed during the game setup process and are managed by the Commissioner of the competition. For example, the “commish” could setup a game in which participants can make as many claims as they want, at any time, and worth as many points as they like. Alternatively, the Commissioner could put restrictions on the frequency of claims or only allow specific claims which the user can choose for specified amounts of points or values.
  • Participation may also include message boards, picture uploads, a game page with updates and standings, or any other game attributes added by the commissioner. This part of the game is entirely customizable as well so users can make whatever they would like of it.
  • There may also be existing games for users to choose to play. The website may provide predefined game templates, in which rules, and scoring methods are already determined in order to make the setup process simple. Users can simply select a game from a category of interest, select the duration of the game, and invite participants. These may be produced for the most popular categories and may be updated and improved to keep people coming back to interact.
  • A “Social Scoreboard” may be provided as a scoring mechanism. The Social Scoreboard allows participants to determine the scoring method for their competitions by selecting from different types of scoring methods, e.g., a scoring game, an elimination game, or a duration game.
  • In an elimination game, participants are eliminated throughout the game based on the predetermined claim rules set by the Commissioner. In a scoring game, participants acquire points through claims made throughout the game based on the rules, and a winner is determined once reaching the specified point level. In a duration game, participants acquire points through claims made throughout a game for a specific amount of time determined by the commissioner. A winner is determined at end of the defined timeframe.
  • As discussed above, scoring is based on “claims” from participants in the game. Claims could be positive, negative, or represent anything which can impact the score. The scoring of claims and their values are customizable, and are established during the setup process. A player can make claims about themselves or other players in the game to determine scoring. The Commissioner will have the opportunity to label claims with their own terminology. For example, in a competition for Man of the Year, the Commissioner could label points “Man Points” and if a player received a claim that would take points away, it could be called a “Violation.”
  • During the setup process, the user may select the particular claims which will be used for the game. The user can enter specific claims and their associated value, or the user may leave the claims up to the participants to enter at the time they make the claim. In other words, the Commissioner could set the values of the claims, or they could even leave it open to the person making the claim.
  • A defined approval process for the claims helps ensure the validity of the scoring. For example, the Commissioner can set the game up so that only he or she has authority to approve claims so that they count towards the scoring. Alternatively, the game may be set up based on the honor system, so every claim is accepted. As a further alternative, a game may be setup so that an email is sent to all the participants for a claim, and the participants have an interactive vote whether to accept or deny the claim. The Commissioner can setup the parameters for the vote, such as, for example, majority rules, everyone must agree, 80% of participants agree, etc.
  • As discussed above, the manner in which the winner is determined is also decided during the setup process. The Commissioner can select a specified point value for the winner (i.e., a “scoring game”), a specified length of the game where the person with the most points when the game concludes is the winner (i.e., a “duration game”), or a game where the winner is the last one remaining in the game after people have been eliminated, or even a league or bracket style competition (i.e., an “elimination game”).
  • Other options for game customization may be provided. For example, a participant or game initiator can adjust notification frequency or turn notifications on/off. As discussed above, the user creates a profile and can modify the appearance of the user's “dashboard”. The game may also allow for ad hoc team creation and customization (e.g., name of team, logo, etc.).
  • Although example embodiments have been shown and described in this specification and figures, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made to the illustrated and/or described example embodiments without departing from their principles and spirit.

Claims (25)

What is claimed is:
1. A method for initiating and conducting a competitive social game using a server connected to a plurality of user terminals via a computer network, the method comprising:
receiving, from a user terminal of a game initiator, via the computer network, a selection of a game definition, the game definition comprising a determined scoring method for the game;
receiving, from the user terminal of the game initiator, a selection of at least one participant to be invited;
receiving, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a game participation response; and
receiving, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a scoring claim based on an activity documented by the participant.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the game definition is selected from a set of established game definitions.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the game definition is established by receiving a setting of at least one game parameter from the game initiator.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the scoring method is determined by a parameter which can be set to any one of at least three possible states, including a first state corresponding to an elimination based on received scoring claims, a second state corresponding to a total score based on received scoring claims, and a third state corresponding to a score after a determined duration based on received scoring claims.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the scoring method comprises a plurality of defined activities, each activity having a corresponding score.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the plurality of defined activities, and corresponding score of each defined activity, are based on inputs received from the game initiator.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the scoring claim must be approved by a designated user before a score is granted to the participant who is the subject of the scoring claim.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the scoring claim must be approved by other participants before a score is granted to the participant who is the subject of the scoring claim.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the approval of the scoring claim by the other participants is done according to a parameter which can be set to any one of at least three possible states, including a first state corresponding to a majority vote, a second state corresponding to a unanimous vote, and a third state corresponding to a defined percentage vote.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein all scoring claims are accepted without requiring approval.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein the game definition further comprises at least one notification parameter which controls notification of the at least one participant in response to a game event.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the game event controlled by the notification parameter is an invitation to a participant to join the game.
13. The method of claim 11, wherein the game event controlled by the notification parameter is a request for a vote on a scoring claim.
14. The method of claim 11, wherein the game event controlled by the notification parameter is an indication that a scoring claim has been approved.
15. The method of claim 11, wherein the game event controlled by the notification parameter is an indication that a score has been granted to a participant in a game which does not require scoring claim approval.
16. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving from a participant a team creation request to allow a team of participants to jointly participate in the game.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the team creation request includes a team name and list of a plurality of participants to be included on the team, the plurality of participants being a subset of all game participants.
18. A system for initiating and conducting a competitive social game, the system comprising:
a server comprising a processor and memory, the server being connected to a plurality of user terminals via a computer network,
wherein the server is configured to:
receive, from a user terminal of a game initiator, via the computer network, a selection of a game definition, the game definition comprising a determined scoring method for the game,
receive, from the user terminal of the game initiator, a selection of at least one participant to be invited,
receive, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a game participation response, and
receive, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a scoring claim based on an activity documented by the participant.
19. The system of claim 18, wherein the scoring method is determined by a parameter which can be set to any one of at least three possible states, including a first state corresponding to an elimination based on received scoring claims, a second state corresponding to a total score based on received scoring claims, and a third state corresponding to a score after a determined duration based on received scoring claims.
20. The system of claim 18, wherein the scoring method comprises a plurality of defined activities, each activity having a corresponding score.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein the plurality of defined activities, and corresponding score of each defined activity, are based on inputs received from the game initiator.
22. A computer-readable medium storing a computer program which when executed on a processor performs a method for initiating and conducting a competitive social game using a server connected to a plurality of user terminals via a computer network, the method comprising:
receiving, from a user terminal of a game initiator, via the computer network, a selection of a game definition, the game definition comprising a determined scoring method for the game;
receiving, from the user terminal of the game initiator, a selection of at least one participant to be invited;
receiving, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a game participation response; and
receiving, from a user terminal of the at least one invited participant, a scoring claim based on an activity documented by the participant.
23. The computer-readable medium of claim 22, wherein the scoring method is determined by a parameter which can be set to any one of at least three possible states, including a first state corresponding to an elimination based on received scoring claims, a second state corresponding to a total score based on received scoring claims, and a third state corresponding to a score after a determined duration based on received scoring claims.
24. The computer-readable medium of claim 22, wherein the scoring method comprises a plurality of defined activities, each activity having a corresponding score.
25. The computer-readable medium of claim 24, wherein the plurality of defined activities, and corresponding score of each defined activity, are based on inputs received from the game initiator.
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