Riot Games New Patent Could Change eSports Spectating Forever

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m., Feb. 7:

Riot Games has issued a statement on its website stating the company has no intention of using its patents “offensively.”

According to the post from studio founders Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill, Riot wants to ensure that its users have spectating abilities, but the company won’t be using its patent to stop other developers from doing the same. The post is pretty straight-forward on Riot’s stance on so-called “patent trolls,” and answers the early speculation about what Riot might do with its new patent. Read the full story here: “Riot Games: ‘No Interest in Using Patents Offensively’.”

Original story below:

Riot Games is one of gaming’s spectator kings right now, without a doubt. Riot is up to 28 million daily players in League of Legends, and the Season 3 World Championships had over 32 million viewers online last year, along with thousands in attendance at the Staples Center, and that number should grow during the now-happening Season 4.

Now, Riot has filed for a¬†been granted a new patent that could change how a match is viewed by the spectating public. According to this filing with the USPTO, “Systems and methods that enable a spectator’s experience for online active games,” Riot wants to take spectator control and immersion to a level beyond a standard Twitch or lolesports stream. The patent outlines a self-moving camera, one that could follow “interest values” around without the need for constant human oversight (meaning some Riot Games employee controlling the in-game camera with a mouse and keyboard). These interest values are game players and objectives, so the camera could seamlessly focus on, and move around, champions, as well as float to map objectives, like Jungle targets.

There’s a healthy Reddit thread about the patent, found here, started by “Esports-Patent-Atty,” who claims to be a patent lawyer by day, and a League of Legends devotee by night. He or she poses the most important question in the thread: What will Riot do with the patent, now that it’s been awarded?¬†Esports-Patent-Atty points to Riot’s fairly liberal history on patents and IP, and hopes this latest patent and its enforcement will follow that behavior. However, there is always a chance of Riot using the patent to block similar self-moving cameras in rival games, like Valve’s DOTA 2, and Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm.

What do you think of the patent move? And how do you think Riot will use the patent? Leave your thoughts down in the comments.

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2 Comments on Riot Games New Patent Could Change eSports Spectating Forever

Chris

On February 7, 2014 at 10:53 am

I think Riot will use it to protect their spectator mode:
http://www.riotgames.com/articles/20140206/1165/no-interest-using-patents-offensively

Esports-Patent-Atty

On February 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm

One correction to your article. They were granted a patent already on the technology, and didn’t merely file for it.