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MS wins online multiplayer legal battle

Your headsets are safe.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Playing Xbox games online is no longer under threat – if it ever was - following Microsoft's victory in a legal battle over multiplayer gaming.

A US district court judge chucked a case out against Microsoft that claimed the US console manufacturer infringed a patent for multiplayer gaming, Gamasutra reports.

In 1994, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Harold Milton Jr. filed the patent 'Apparatus and method for electrically connecting remotely located videogames'.

He called it a system "for two or more players playing the same video game to compete with each other without using the same physical video game which alleviates the necessity of proximity of the players". Forward-thinking bloke, that Milton.

In 2004, after the dinosaurs had been made extinct, Milton filed suit against Microsoft and Sony, accusing the console manufacturers of infringing on the patent with Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and sought royalties and an injunction against their continued use.

Sony settled out of court with Milton last April, but Microsoft stood firm.

Last week, the judge made it all worthwhile when he ordered Milton to pay Microsoft's legal fees. Bet that'll burn a hole in his wallet.

The judge didn't like the term "electrical connection", and decided Xbox Live uses nothing of the sort.

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