Microsoft has been granted its 5000th US patent for a new technology, specially designed for inclusion in Xbox 360 games, that will enable people from around the globe to join online games as spectator.
The milestone patent relates to a host of technologies that mirror the experience of viewing a sporting event broadcast, enabling people to tune in to online videogames and enjoy the gaming experience in real-time as a spectator rather than a player.
Featuring highlights, instant replays, and unique spectator controlled views of the action within a game or event, the technology enables the viewer to control one or more virtual cameras to select desired viewpoints, or an automated camera control to frame the action and perform specific cuts to best convey the story and action.
The patent also covers a portal such as a website to access spectator-related services such as schedules and information on multiple games and events, as well as the number of spectators and participants in each. The portal allows the spectator to find the most popular games to watch, preview the action, and then connect directly in real-time. Microsoft has stated that the technology will be featured in Xbox 360 games, bringing an additional online experience to its increasingly popular Xbox Live online gaming service.
Brad Smith, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Microsoft, commented: "The 5000th patent is a marker of the progress we have made in the past few years - building a high-quality, innovative and industry-recognized portfolio. Through patents, we are able to license our technologies widely to others in the industry, increasing the availability of our innovations and getting beneficial solutions in the hands of customers."
Microsoft is committed to achieving its goal of filing for 3000 patents each year, which is consistent with the average for IT companies of filing for two patents for every USD 1 million spent in research and development, according to a study by the National Research Council of the National Academies.