Update: Riot Files Patent for "Self-Moving Camera" for Online Spectators

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Update: Riot Files Patent for "Self-Moving Camera" for Online Spectators

League of Legends

The filing lists the camera as automatically following "interest values" around the playing field.

It's something of an understatement to say that League of Legends is popular. Recent statistics pegged the game as having more than 27 million daily players over the course of 2013. As if that weren't enough, the game even has its own world championship series and is a favorite of streamers and online spectators.

Developer Riot is apparently taking League's status as a spectator sport seriously with a new patent filing for a "self-moving camera" that can be used to follow "interest values" around the map without a need for human control. For League of Legends, this would most likely apply to players or objectives such as turrets and jungle camps.

In the filing for the patent, titled "Systems and methods that enable a spectator's experience for online active games," Riot states that there is an interest among viewers of any popular activity to watch organized tournaments and events. However, when it comes to League of Legends, "the current spectator experience is somewhat limited. Accordingly, systems and methods to enable an improved spectator experience would be desirable," Riot writes.

Over on Reddit, poster Esports-Patent-Atty, who identifies as a patent attorney and League of Legends fan, speculates that Riot could use this filing to prevent other MOBA games like DOTA 2 from using a similar feature. However, Esports-Patent-Atty lists that Riot has previously advocated against restrictive IP laws such as SOPA, so they may take a more liberal stance with this patent. Esports-Patent-Atty also notes that Riot has patent applications for their Tribunal and matchmaking features.

Update: Riot has posted on their website that they have no interest in using any of their patents offensively. "The U.S. patent system is broken and needs reform," Riot wrote. "We won't get in the way of anyone else building awesome spectator features, but we do want to make sure League of Legends players can always spectate freely."

Riot states that part of the reason for their patent applications is to protect themselves from patent trolls, who regularly make a habit of going after video game companies. Also worth noting is how Riot has previously given permission to its community to use its IP for fan projects that are either given away for free or only generate ad revenue.

Riot's post ends with a link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Defend Innovation project, which is designed to address U.S. patent reform.

Source: GameFront, Reddit, Riot

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Their spectator mode already does this. It's not very good though. Most of the time, a human hand is much better at capturing interesting moments. The Directed Camera just flops around. Maybe this patent indicates it will get better, but whenever I spectate, I never use it. It's just baffling trying to figure out why the computer deems this view so interesting.

Dota 2 has had an automatic camera that uses hidden values to reliably pick up everything of interest almost since its inception (along with a better spectator experience than LoL's in general). Unless I'm missing something, Riot is now proposing to patent a feature that they were behind several others in implementing?

But... DotA 2 already have a "self-moving camera".

Edit after the update:
I see their reasoning and i am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Candidus:
Unless I'm missing something, Riot is now proposing to patent a feature that they were behind several others in implementing?

Don't think you're missing anything.

That seems to be about how the American patent system works from all I've gathered.

Dota 2 already has this. Patent system sucks and needs to be reformed. Will this even go through, since it already exists elsewhere?

Man trademarks are one thing, but we really don not need patents creeping into video games. That could just literally criple the industry, especially the now thriving indy scene.

And I've never cared for MOBA's but are they basically admitting it's boring to watch? I mean I occasionally like watching Starcraft 2 matches, but I tried a MOBA once taking one titled 'best game ever' and my god was it dull. I suppose if you're hardcore into the game it's one thing, but unlike Starcraft I really can't see the entertainment value in it.

Riot Games did not invent a camera system that follows points of interest and can you even patent source code?

Success wasn't enough I see. All of a sudden I no longer desire to play LoL.

Other games have had a "points of interest" camera mode for eons. I'm sure any other company will contest this and will counter-cue if Riot gets their patent granted and tries to sue anyone with an existing system even if they put it in a game released after the patent date. Unless they have a very special algorithm they are specifically patenting, they are just being patent trolls themselves. If I made a game that just followed random players around or switched to a point where 2 opponents just engaged each other, they would have no grounds to sue me since that has been a staple of online games since the late 90s.

We'll see how this turns out. I don't really know if Riot is the jackass kind of company that throws their weight around, but most game developers don't patent something unless it's a new idea they came up with and really do want to use a country's patent office for its intended purpose.

You mean that thing that Dota 2 has had for more than a fucking year?

Geesh, Riot sure are fucking shameless.

I mean, it'd be one thing if they just chose to ape Valve's very, very good spectator mode for Dota 2, and frankly it's about time, the spectator tools for League of Legends have been beyond pathetic for a long time.

But now they have the sheer bloody gall to come in and patent it.

Christ.

since when in-game mechanics can be patented ?
if that was the case id Software should make a patent claim for every FPS in existence and Bethesda would become the lords of modern gaming.

This seems pretty stupid. Shouldn't be able to patent something that already exists elsewhere.

Could anyone tell me, when Counterstrike was including an automatic camera for points of interest? I think I saw it there like 5+y ago!

That's ridiculous. From what I've heard, Dota 2 has had that feature for over a year, and I SERIOUSLY doubt it never existed beforehand.

Then again, according to this link, they're supposedly not interested in being dicks about it (despite the rather vague statement that "we want to be 'collaborative'"), so hopefully we won't see any more controversy over this.

http://www.riotgames.com/articles/20140206/1165/no-interest-using-patents-offensively

Flutterguy:
Success wasn't enough I see. All of a sudden I no longer desire to play LoL.

1. After Orianna's release, all champions were priced at 6300ip.
2. Then after that, skins began to get priced at 1350rp (despite Riot saying they were only going to have a single 1350 skin)
3. After that, they started releasing champions at around 7000ip for the first week of their release
4. Then, they started pricing up skins altogether

Riot games have been making their in game products more expensive for years now. They're not strangers to assholery. It wouldn't be that bad, but they've had no reason to price up any of their products at any point, they've never really been in any financial crisis.

Anyone who raises the "but it's free to play" argument just has no idea what they're talking about. A MOBA where you don't have access to most of the characters is not free to play, especially when league's system forces you to spend most of your IP on runes instead of champions.

mindfaQ:
Dota 2 already has this. Patent system sucks and needs to be reformed.

To be fair to the patent system, that someone is able to apply for a stupid patent does not suggest there's anything wrong with the system. It's only when stupid patents get granted that there's a problem.

As for whether this one is a stupid patent, I'm not sure that's actually as clear as it may seem. It's important to remember that patents are not granted for an end result, but for the method used to produce it. Just because someone else has camera that moves automatically does not mean it's not possible for someone else to patent a different method of doing that. Looking at the actual application, it involves a particular way of partitioning, transmitting and analysing data in order to allow monitoring for various different events, and to allow the camera not only to move around automatically but also introduce time delays, replays and so on differently for different spectators. I don't know enough about how other games have dealt with similar ideas to know if this is actually different and original enough to be patentable, but it's clearly far more than simply a moving camera.

Man, Riot's been trying real hard to be assholes lately. It's just dick move after dick move, becoming more shameless over time. At this rate, they'll just end up killing themselves eventually, and by then, I might even be happy about it.

2013 was the year I really started to get tired of LoL, as the year ended and we move into a new year things haven't improved. If I didn't have friends playing I wouldn't play it at all and I won't be spending any more money on LoL.

Eh, I don't really bother with spectator mode all that much. When I do, I do tend to leave on the automatic camera though. It does its job well enough. I don't know exactly how patents work, but I presume Riot is just patenting their own version of it... same reason why there are at least ten dozen Dyson clones out there. I know, video games and vacuum cleaners, but still.

Dexterity:

1. After Orianna's release, all champions were priced at 6300ip.
2. Then after that, skins began to get priced at 1350rp (despite Riot saying they were only going to have a single 1350 skin)
3. After that, they started releasing champions at around 7000ip for the first week of their release
4. Then, they started pricing up skins altogether

At the same time, they have been regularly reducing the prices on older content and improving the quality of ALL(not just new) content, both in the skins and champions departments.

Price increases are a convenient "riot is evil" argument when taken out of context, but the reality of it is that they are A: a buissiness, and B: working hard for those increases to be justified.

Sure, patent trolling(that's what it looks like to me) might not be something that'd look good on their resume, but even with the recent sreaming restrictions fiasco they still have plenty of goodwill backed up to be wasting on stupid things.

Naqel:

Dexterity:

1. After Orianna's release, all champions were priced at 6300ip.
2. Then after that, skins began to get priced at 1350rp (despite Riot saying they were only going to have a single 1350 skin)
3. After that, they started releasing champions at around 7000ip for the first week of their release
4. Then, they started pricing up skins altogether

At the same time, they have been regularly reducing the prices on older content and improving the quality of ALL(not just new) content, both in the skins and champions departments.

Price increases are a convenient "riot is evil" argument when taken out of context, but the reality of it is that they are A: a buissiness, and B: working hard for those increases to be justified.

Sure, patent trolling(that's what it looks like to me) might not be something that'd look good on their resume, but even with the recent sreaming restrictions fiasco they still have plenty of goodwill backed up to be wasting on stupid things.

They lower the price of old content which should have been low in price to begin with.

Also, the only parts of the game that I see improved since I started the game over a year ago are that Evelynn is no longer ridiculously underpowered, there're two new game modes (one of which could have been implemented a LONG time ago), and there's spectating.

Remember kids, Reddit as a source makes you look like you haven't done your homework..

http://www.riotgames.com/articles/20140206/1165/no-interest-using-patents-offensively Oh hey look an actual response posted yesterday on the subject..

I shouldn't have to remind people that time Sony and Microsoft where sued over patent violations because of there rumblepacks while nintendo(who had filed a patent for it's own) was not by one of these patent troll companies.

Dexterity:
Also, the only parts of the game that I see improved since I started the game over a year ago are that Evelynn is no longer ridiculously underpowered, there're two new game modes (one of which could have been implemented a LONG time ago), and there's spectating.

Several champions had all of their models redone from scratch at a much higher polygon count, nearly double the armature bones(more detailed animation), and extra flavor added to their various skins, all of those had to diferent degrees been also updated in terms of gameplay to better match the current standards. Most of those were old 450 IP champions, so that's work with close to no return in terms of monetization.

And that's just the so called "relaunch initiative".

You seriously have to not have touched the game for at least a year to not know about this.

mindfaQ:
Dota 2 already has this. Patent system sucks and needs to be reformed. Will this even go through, since it already exists elsewhere?

I'm no expert on US patent law, but I've seen enough stupid shit related to it to know that I wouldn't bet against it.

The US patent system is a broken mess that actively discourages innovation rather than encouraging it. At some point in history, I'm sure it worked pretty well, but it needs to be updated for the existence of software. Hell, I don't even think software should be patentable. Certainly not abstract concepts of things you could do with the right coding. It's utterly absurd and only hampers software development to have companies independently develop other methods of doing the exact same thing only to have to deal with constant lawsuits from patent trolls.

bringer of illumination:
You mean that thing that Dota 2 has had for more than a fucking year?

Geesh, Riot sure are fucking shameless.

I mean, it'd be one thing if they just chose to ape Valve's very, very good spectator mode for Dota 2, and frankly it's about time, the spectator tools for League of Legends have been beyond pathetic for a long time.

But now they have the sheer bloody gall to come in and patent it.

Christ.

league's actually had this feature since before DOTA2 launched and they're not going to be patent trolls themselves (and if they do, feel free to rage all you want). cooling your jets in the meantime might be recommended.

I like how everyone saying DOTA2 did it first doesn't realize LoL has had this camera feature in spectator mode before DOTA2 was even out.

How can they patent something that already exists? Valve has had this feature in dota 2 since it launched in beta years ago. A patent by definition is for a novel, non-obvious invention, and since Valve has already made it it's no longer novel.

Hopefully this patent will be denied on that basis.

mindfaQ:
Dota 2 already has this. Patent system sucks and needs to be reformed. Will this even go through, since it already exists elsewhere?

Weaver:
I like how everyone saying DOTA2 did it first doesn't realize LoL has had this camera feature in spectator mode before DOTA2 was even out.

Autodirector has been part of all source games since CS Source i believe and i am certain that it has been in TF2 since 2007 and it is pretty good too. So yeah good job Riot on trying to patent something that has been invented like 10 years ago or maybe even more.

I get the impression this is being done to stop some patent troll filing for it and then trying to sue the creators of LOL for also doing it.

Legion:
I get the impression this is being done to stop some patent troll filing for it and then trying to sue the creators of LOL for also doing it.

They released a statement saying exactly that: they're not interested in chasing after other people using the function as well, but they don't want to deal with patent trolls who do. Whether they're telling the truth or not is another story, but I'd like to think they're not dumb enough to go back on their word.

bringer of illumination:
You mean that thing that Dota 2 has had for more than a fucking year?

Geesh, Riot sure are fucking shameless.

I mean, it'd be one thing if they just chose to ape Valve's very, very good spectator mode for Dota 2, and frankly it's about time, the spectator tools for League of Legends have been beyond pathetic for a long time.

But now they have the sheer bloody gall to come in and patent it.

Christ.

Well actually if you consider other games, Valve's TF2 and CS:S both have these features (not sure about CS1.6 though)

Naqel:

Dexterity:
Also, the only parts of the game that I see improved since I started the game over a year ago are that Evelynn is no longer ridiculously underpowered, there're two new game modes (one of which could have been implemented a LONG time ago), and there's spectating.

Several champions had all of their models redone from scratch at a much higher polygon count, nearly double the armature bones(more detailed animation), and extra flavor added to their various skins, all of those had to diferent degrees been also updated in terms of gameplay to better match the current standards. Most of those were old 450 IP champions, so that's work with close to no return in terms of monetization.

And that's just the so called "relaunch initiative".

You seriously have to not have touched the game for at least a year to not know about this.

Actually, I last played the game last week because some friends wanted to play. I haven't spent money on the game in at least a year.

When they started upping the prices of skins and champions, and with me going to university, I couldn't afford it anymore.

Dexterity:
Anyone who raises the "but it's free to play" argument just has no idea what they're talking about. A MOBA where you don't have access to most of the characters is not free to play, especially when league's system forces you to spend most of your IP on runes instead of champions.

Just wanna address this statement here. I don't know what game of League you've been playing, but the one I play Runes are completely useless until level thirty. Meaning you have roughly 20-25 levels of acquiring IP to spend on champions before you have to start saving for runes. With only a year and a half of League under my belt, and only around 700 wins, I have over half the roster easily in my possession, and have spent "real money" on like 5, tops. Hell, I'm currently sitting on 9000 IP, because no one that's out really catches my interest. This includes having all the Runes and Rune Pages I really need. So don't give me that bollocks about "not truly free to play", it has exactly what it needs to be fully functional. Yeah, at level 30 when you're just grinding IP for new champs (after the point you probably have most if not all the cheaper ones) it's kinda a slog, but by then most people should be more focused and less concerned about having access to as many champs as possible.

As to the main topic at hand:

Yeah, I have a little concern. This is, after all, the company that banned specific games from appearing on their pro's streams, so I'm not sure I'd put it past Riot to use this to get at the competition. That being said, it's a much better prospect than someone else filing this patent and suing the crap out of League and DOTA2 for "t3h monehs", because frankly Riot's past with IP laws is a very pleasing one.

Also, people, bitching on the internet doesn't do anything to help the situation, and with the promises made there's we should have some assurance that Riot will do the right thing. Save the internet rage for when Riot starts using it to bully DOTA, if it happens.

MrPhyntch:
Just wanna address this statement here. I don't know what game of League you've been playing, but the one I play Runes are completely useless until level thirty. Meaning you have roughly 20-25 levels of acquiring IP to spend on champions before you have to start saving for runes. With only a year and a half of League under my belt, and only around 700 wins, I have over half the roster easily in my possession

So it took you a year and a half to get around half of the roster? In a game where counter picking and lane choices are quite important? Taking almost two years to be able to choose so little of the roster isn't a good thing, I don't know why you're trying to argue that it is.

And the IP you get from level 1-20 needs to be used on runes. Quintessences cost about 1000-2000ip each, and you need 3 per rune page. Considering that on my main account I have about 5 different quintessence types for all of my champions, that's a lot of IP, much more than I could have ever gotten from playing level 1-30. Let's also not forget about the red, blue and yellow runes that you need. Again, I have about 5 different types of each one, and different combinations due to having about 10 rune pages.

Runes are designed to be an IP sink so players have a reason to spend RP on champions, they always have been and always will.

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