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Reader Comments (62)

Posted: Aug 12th 2011 4:44PM DevilSei said

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I'm hoping its just the name. The concept has been done multiple times before so if they tried to get that down as well, they'd lose (or at least I hope they lose) the patent before they go lawsuit happy against developers who have already done it.
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Posted: Aug 12th 2011 6:46PM Nandini said

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You can't patent a name or a term. (That's what registered trademarks are for.) Patents cover novel ideas and processes. If a patent is granted, it gives the inventor exclusive rights to use and license those ideas.

This article should probably make more clear that it's not the words "massively single player" that Nintendo wants to control, but the concepts covered in the patent application.
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Posted: Aug 12th 2011 7:02PM StClair said

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I'm honestly surprised that EA (owners of Spore and, according to many gamer, the Devil) didn't try it already. I know I've heard the term in conjunction with that game.
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Posted: Aug 12th 2011 5:04PM xenothaulus said

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I've been using that term for years to describe the kind of game I want. If I had known I could patent *words*, I would have all kinds of patents. *scowl*

Posted: Aug 13th 2011 11:03PM Avick said

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@xenothaulus
Don't feel bad; you can't. I imagine Nintendo has a specific method/specific technology to realize what this term means, and that is the meat of the patent.
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Posted: Aug 12th 2011 5:34PM Space Cobra said

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Yeah, this concept has been touched on before, by Nintendo and other companies in other games. The other companies were slowly working towards something like this (like EA and Bioware, for example) although Nintendo has had some earlier games (Animal Crossing).

So, a "closed social-media circle", more or less. Can't see others in your game, just their effects.

I do believe this is "dodgy" and would rather not have Nintendo file a patent for it. I hope other companies can point out there examples, but not sure even that will work.

Posted: Aug 12th 2011 5:41PM hereafter said

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This is something that we need more of, I think. Not because I've been clamoring for any of those features, but because there needs to be an acceptable means of creating a single-player experience with MMO-like systems. It seems like "Massively Single-player" is always used as an insult to MMOs where instancing or a solo-friendly focus affects the "massive" feel of the game. Perhaps making an official genre/sub-genre for that type of experience can allow them to become even better and more focused on their strong points instead of becoming watered-down in an attempt to appeal to MMO purists, and ultimately failing.

Posted: Aug 12th 2011 5:43PM (Unverified) said

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this sounds like patent bullcrap to me

Posted: Aug 12th 2011 5:51PM cforciea said

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Er, Spore already specifically called itself massively singleplayer. You can find it on the Wikipedia page for the game, for heaven's sake. The sad thing is that Nintendo will probably still be awarded a patent despite the prior art.

In conclusion, go screw yourself, Nintendo.

Posted: Aug 12th 2011 6:01PM Protoavis said

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@cforciea

*was about to make a comment about Spore*

It's pretty odd that you can patent a term that's already been in use by another entity.
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Posted: Aug 12th 2011 7:03PM StClair said

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@cforciea
See above comment about Spore, yeah.
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Posted: Aug 12th 2011 6:41PM DeadInside said

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This is crap. I'm sick of corporations patenting common phrases and letters. i, U, e, app. Some reviewer described WoW as "massively single player" back when Cata came out.

Posted: Aug 12th 2011 6:47PM Nandini said

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@DeadInside

It's not the words that are patented (you're thinking of trademarks). It's the ideas and concepts that Nintendo wants exclusive use of, which is even more nefarious in my opinion.
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Posted: Aug 12th 2011 7:36PM Borick said

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@DeadInside Trademarks are okay. Copyrights are necessary for software development (as are limits to copyright enforcement and forced expiration to the public domain).

Placing patents on software is the big bad here. Patents are intended for unique ideas that can be engineered into marketable products, and software patents have broadened the scope of 'original idea' to include things we've been doing in the public domain all along.

In today's world IBM would not have released the kernel architecture that allowed individuals to profit from developing software and operating systems.
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Posted: Aug 13th 2011 1:13AM cforciea said

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@Borick
The worst part of software patents is how many clearly awful applications (like this one) get approved. You're supposed to only be able to patent a novel, non-obvious construct, and given the number of games already using this concept (by name even) it is clearly neither. But the guy with the rubber stamp at the USPTO has never played Spore and probably won't be interested in even plugging the terminology into Google. They'll get the patent, and then some other developer could be forced to defend themselves in court the next time they put in an in-game leaderboard for a single player game, because that's close enough for suing. The hearing will be held in Marshall, Texas where the locals present won't have even heard of these newfangled compooters, and the defendant will settle out of court and agree to pay licensing fees just to make sure that they don't somehow get an injuction levied against selling their product.
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Posted: Aug 13th 2011 3:53AM Borick said

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@cforciea But but but... the judges in those underpopulated East Texas counties aren't /bought/, they're just the only experts we have on patent law!

I grew up in the area. There is a reason why all of the land is owned by the pulp wood companies, and a reason why most of the patent litigation in the country occurs there.
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Posted: Aug 13th 2011 1:18AM liliipanda said

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I remember there were lots of rumors that this was what Animal Crossing City Folk was going to be like, where the city would be a common area with friends, then the rest of the game would be heavily influenced by your friends but they wouldn't be there unless you invited them (what a disappointment).

I don't know if anyone here has ever listened to the Wiire, which was a review site and podcast for the Wii. They used to have a segment on the show specifically devoted to the ridiculous things Nintendo patents just in case they ever decide to use it or so that nobody else can use it. The patents are ridiculous and even funny sometimes. My point is that many of their patents are never used. If they get this patent, I hope that they at least put it to good use and not abandon it. The concept sounds interesting. I love playing MMOs, but some I play more on my own because I love the sprawling maps and exploring, so a "Massive Single-Player" game could be good if done right.

Posted: Aug 13th 2011 3:20AM kgptzac said

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Other than the patent part I think the idea, if executed well, could make MMO games more "massively multiplayer" again because of those who like to solo stuff will hopefully having more fun in these "MSP" games.

Posted: Aug 13th 2011 9:51AM danthe57 said

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didn't Will Wright refer to Spore as Massively Single Player in one of the tech demos, I think this patent may get thrown out

Posted: Aug 13th 2011 7:28PM Bhagpuss said

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Sounds interesting. Obviously it will depend on the execution, but worth keeping an eye on..

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