News Column

Patent Issued for Invalidating Network Devices with Illicit Peripherals

July 25, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Entertainment Newsweekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Harris, Adam P. (San Diego, CA); Schneider, Steve C. (San Diego, CA), filed on May 1, 2006, was published online on July 8, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8771061 is Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (San Mateo, CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates, generally, to network gaming and more particularly to systems and methods for validating game users and devices in a networked community of game players.

"Conventionally, users of electronic games compete with one another by selecting a two-player option associated with a particular electronic game via a single home gaming console. Accordingly, two players can play at the same time or one-at-a-time in order to compete for points or other awards associated with the particular electronic game.

"As electronic game consoles have become more popular and network technologies have become more pervasive, more options for head-to-head competition have become available. Some electronic game consoles are equipped with modems or other network connectors for allowing users to communicate over a network through the exchange of data related to the game. By communicating over a network, users can connect to various other users' gaming consoles either directly or via intermediate computing nodes (e.g., a central server or other game consoles in a network) and compete against those various other users while playing a network game.

"Disadvantageously, some users manipulate the network game in order to gain unfair advantages while competing with other users playing the same network game. For example, a user may slow or delay the rate at which the user's data is sent to other users so that the various other users do not receive the user's data in time to react appropriately.

"Unscrupulous users may employ an external hardware device that manipulates the generation of or access to certain game data whereby a game character may be endowed with special powers, abilities or attributes (e.g., lives, ammunition, and weapons) not genuinely earned during game play. Similarly, a game character may become impervious (e.g., invisible) to attacks by other game players.

"Certain software methodologies exist (either alone or in conjunction with the aforementioned hardware devices) wherein code is temporarily or permanently installed and/or modified in a gaming device allowing for similar advantages. Various other means and methods are known and employed by users in order to cheat or gain an unfair advantage during the course of networked `community` game-play.

"Cheating decreases user enjoyment of participating in a networked community game environment. For example, a particular user playing a network game without any illicit outside aides (e.g., cheat codes, hacks, and so forth) is at a distinct disadvantage versus a user who is making use of such illicit aides. The user who is not cheating may be overpowered, outgunned, or otherwise inferior in some respect to a user who is cheating regardless of the individual skills of those users. If the user who does not cheat is continually defeated by a user who does cheat--and often in quick and decisive fashion-the non-cheating user may lose interest in a particular game, a particular game network, or a particular product or service provider.

"This loss of interest adversely affects game developers and network service providers who will sell less game titles or find fewer users utilizing their network game services, respectively. As such, there is an inherent interest for game developers, service providers, and honest game users to identify and eliminate cheating in a network or community game environment."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention provides a system and method for passively validating network game users with respect to engaging in unfair or illicit game play (i.e., cheating).

"According to one embodiment of the present invention, one or more users in a network game environment are monitored to determine whether unfair, illicit or otherwise disingenuous game play has occurred or is in progress as reflected by certain data generated by the user's gaming device. Data is received from the one or more users by a passive validation node. The received data is evaluated by the passive validation node to determine whether the one or more users are adhering to one or more rules associated with a network game or are engaged in the aforementioned unfair, illicit or otherwise disingenuous game play.

"According to an additional embodiment of the present invention, a passive validation node will, after identifying the presence of unfair, illicit or otherwise disingenuous game play in the network as reflected by data generated by or residing at the user's gaming device, send or cause another node to send at least one query to the one or more users whose game play is in question. This query further determines and/or verifies whether unfair, illicit or otherwise disingenuous game play has occurred or is in progress as reflected by certain data residing at the user's gaming device. A response to the at least one query is received whereby it is determined whether the one or more users are valid users (i.e., not cheating). The response to the at least one query is indicative of the nature of game play in progress (i.e., whether the at least one user is engaged in unfair game play activity).

"Various embodiments of the present invention allow for passive validation of network game users to occur through server observations, peer observations, peer-group observations or a combination thereof.

"Additional embodiments of the present invention advantageously allow for identification of hacking or modification of game data stores or game console hardware through passive observation of gaming data passed through a network."

For additional information on this patent, see: Harris, Adam P.; Schneider, Steve C.. Invalidating Network Devices with Illicit Peripherals. U.S. Patent Number 8771061, filed May 1, 2006, and published online on July 8, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8771061.PN.&OS=PN/8771061RS=PN/8771061

Keywords for this news article include: Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.

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Source: Entertainment Newsweekly


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