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Patent Issued for Wagering Game with Persistent Wild Symbol Reel Positions

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 Aoki, Dion K. (Henderson, NV); Vann, Jamie W. (Chicago, IL), filed on June 20, 2008, was published online on July 8, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8771054 is WMS Gaming Inc. (Waukegan, IL).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines, features, and enhancements available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator. Therefore, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to continuously develop new games and improved gaming enhancements that will attract frequent play through enhanced entertainment value to the player.

"One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is the concept of a 'secondary' or 'bonus' game that may be played in conjunction with a 'basic' game. The bonus game may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game, which is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome in the basic game. Generally, bonus games provide a greater expectation of winning than the basic game and may also be accompanied with more attractive or unusual video displays and/or audio. Bonus games may additionally award players with 'progressive jackpot' awards that are funded, at least in part, by a percentage of coin-in from the gaming machine or a plurality of participating gaming machines. Because the bonus game concept offers tremendous advantages in player appeal and excitement relative to other known games, and because such games are attractive to both players and operators, there is a continuing need to develop gaming machines with new types of bonus games to satisfy the demands of players and operators."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "According to one aspect of the present invention, a gaming system for conducting a wagering game includes a gaming system for playing a wagering game comprising a display including a plurality of symbol-bearing reels. Each reel includes a plurality of symbol locations having symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of the wagering game. In response to a certain event, at least a first symbol on the reels in a particular one of the plurality of symbol locations is altered to produce an altered function of the first symbol. The altered function of the first symbol at the particular symbol location is maintained for at least one subsequent play of the wagering game.

"According to another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a wagering game on a gaming system comprises a method of conducting a wagering game on a gaming system. The method comprises the acts of receiving a wager from a player to initiate play of the wagering game and displaying a plurality of symbol-bearing reels. Each reel includes a plurality of symbol locations having respective symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of the wagering game. The method further comprises, in response to a certain event, altering one of the symbols to change the function of the symbol in a particular one of the plurality of symbol locations. The altered symbol is maintained in the particular symbol location for subsequent plays of the wagering game.

"According to yet another aspect of the invention, a computer readable storage medium is encoded with instructions for directing a gaming system to perform the above method.

"According to a further embodiment, a gaming system comprises an input device for receiving a wager from a player to initiate a wagering game and a display for displaying a plurality of reels. Each reel has a plurality of symbol locations. The gaming system also comprises a controller operative to alter the function of a first symbol in a particular symbol location, to create an altered-function symbol, in response to a special event. The alteration of the first symbol does not alter the function of other like symbols that are not part of the special event. The controller is further operative to maintain the altered-function symbol in the particular symbol location for subsequent game play and to award a payout in response to the altered-function symbol being included in a winning outcome in the subsequent game play of the wagering game.

"Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below."

For additional information on this patent, see: Aoki, Dion K.; Vann, Jamie W.. Wagering Game with Persistent Wild Symbol Reel Positions. U.S. Patent Number 8771054, filed June 20, 2008, 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=8771054.PN.&OS=PN/8771054RS=PN/8771054

Keywords for this news article include: Entertainment, WMS Gaming Inc.

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Source: Entertainment Newsweekly


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