Sony Wants To Add New Content To Older, Streaming PlayStation Titles

While Sony has yet to implement a Gaikai-based streaming strategy on the PlayStation 4, we all have a general idea of what’s coming: Streaming older PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 titles, as well as newer PS4 titles, via your internet-connected console.

A patent is adding another piece to that puzzle, as Sony wants to add new, never before played content to streamed titles. According to theĀ United States Patent & Trademark Office (h/t to IGN), Sony filed for a patent back in June 2012 that details emulation suspension, as well as adding content to older, emulated titles. The first part is easy: Sony wants to take “snapshots” of emulated titles, meaning when play stops for any number of reasons (you pause/quit, the developer wants to add new content in), there’s a save-state of sorts.

The latter component is related to adding new content to older titles, with new content being referred to as “mini-games” in the patent, more often than not.

Below is a chunk of the patent that details the mini-game approach. Whenever Sony starts streaming games in 2014, expect a few new twists on some old classics, for sure.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0005] The present disclosure is related to video game emulation. Among other things, this application describes a method and apparatus for emulating a video game that includes generating snapshots that can be used for incorporating new content into the emulated video games.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Finding new ways to play preexisting video games can increase the longevity of older games. Instead of replaying the same level or completing the same missions repeatedly, gamers often desire new challenges when replaying legacy games. In response to this need, game designers have begun to produce mini-games. Within a mini-game, the gamer can be instructed to complete new objectives or challenge their friends for high scores in a format that was not originally designed into the legacy game. Further, since the mini-game is derived from a legacy game, the gamer already knows the characters and basic components of the game, and is therefore more likely to play the mini-game.

[0007] Mini-games often do not begin at traditional starting points that were used in the original game. For example, the mini-game may begin near the end of a level, just prior to facing a final opponent, or the boss of the level. A boss is an enemy-based challenge which is found in many video games. Bosses are generally seen at the climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage or level. Due to the climactic nature of fighting a boss, mini-game designers may choose to use this section of the game as their starting point. In order to make the mini-game more challenging than the original version, the game designer may also want to limit the number of lives a player may use, or change other game parameters such as the amount of health the main character has remaining Other game scenarios may be chosen as starting points for a min-game. For example a mini-game may begin with the game player being the batter in a baseball game where there are two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the batter’s team is down by one run.

[0008] However, in order to generate mini-games that start with these specific circumstances a game designer must reverse engineer the underlying code in each game and then rewrite the code to enable the mini-game to start under these specific conditions. This process is time consuming and expensive, because it may require multiple engineers to redevelop a single legacy game. Additionally since mini-games are shorter than full-length games, there is a need to produce mini-games in larger quantities.

[0009] It is within this context that aspects of the present disclosure arise.

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