Nintendo Applies For Baffling "Massively Single-Player" Patent

| 15 Aug 2011 14:44

In a characteristically unexpected move, Nintendo has made a grab for a seemingly oxymoronic patent on the idea of a "massively single-player online game."

Gamespot reports:

The patent gives a few examples of how such an idea could be implemented, starting with a single-player game in which the player's actions impact the characters and environment of other players enjoying the same single-player game. As the filing suggests, that would offer players some of the benefits of a traditional online world without a potential drawback inherent to massively multiplayer online games.

According to the patent application, "Those who want to play games that are more dynamic, not-based on Al and not-pre-scripted like multiplayer games, however, don't want to 'deal' with other people, appreciate the privacy it provides."

The Gamespot piece then goes on to offer specific examples, such as "a game with an economy affected by player demand for items" and a world in which one player constructs a house from a pile of wood, and the next player to enter that same area finds the results of the prior player's industriousness, as opposed to the same pile of wood.

Gamespot also takes special care to note that the patent makes mention of a "Nintendo Wii 3D video game system" before pointing out that Nintendo previously decried the notion of 3D glasses in a gaming machine. Of course, Gamespot fails to mention that this patent was originally filed in 2010, well prior to Nintendo's finalization of the Wii U, perhaps in an era in which the firm was still exploring the possibilities of a 3D console.

If it seems that I'm repeatedly reiterating the idea that Gamespot is the primary source on this story, there's a reason for that. I spent half an hour on the US Patent Office website searching for this "massively single-player online game" patent application with no success. I'm not suggesting that Gamespot fabricated this entire idea, but nowhere in the report does the site link to the supposedly publicly available patent document.

In fairness, it's entirely possible that the labyrinthine USPTO website simply stymied all my efforts to find the patent application. That's possible bordering on probable. However, I still thought I'd mention this and let you all decide for yourselves what sort of stock you should put into this tale.

Source: Gamespot

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