Amazon has big plans for the gaming business. In 2014, Amazon launched Amazon Game Studios to develop and publish video games. It also acquired Twitch in 2014. Twitch is a unique company that focusses on live streaming video games, broadcasts of eSports competitions, and more recently, music broadcasts. Content on the site can also be viewed via video on demand.
PatentYogi’s expert patent search team discovered 7 patent applications filed by Amazon, within just one week, related to various updates to Twitch. The patent applications reveal that Amazon is developing fun updates for Twitch to increase spectator participation. All the 7 patent application are embedded in the post below.
Patent Application – US20170003740
According to this patent application, Twitch will allow spectators to interact with and affect a game being broadcast via inputs to and interactions with user interface elements presented on the spectating user interface. The spectators may affect or influence the game, objects within the game universe, events within the game, or the players in the game via the user interface elements on the spectating user interface. The spectators may become involved in the games being broadcast by influencing game play via the spectating inputs. Game play for the players may be enhanced by providing interesting variations in game play based on the spectating inputs. For example, as shown in the image below, the spectating community is allowed to select what type of adversaries (“Bugeyes”, “Androids”, or “Cyborgs”) are to appear at a level of the game based on community votes as shown in the “Votes” column.
Patent Application – US20170001112
This patent application reveals that Twitch will provide a virtual storefront for game-related content via which spectators will be able to view, select, and order, purchase, or otherwise obtain game-related content. The game-related content will include virtual game items or objects (e.g., digital representations of physical objects) such as in-game gear, clothing, weapons, characters, avatars, powers, and so on, that may be acquired for use within the games, physical items such as physical representations of virtual objects from within the games (e.g., physical swords, action figures, toys, etc.), and game-related physical merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, videos, or hats. Further, spectators may also use a “print on demand” service whereby 3D printing technology will be used to print physical objects based on input designs or specifications of game-related objects or items (e.g., in-game characters, weapons, vehicles, monsters, etc.). For example, as shown in image below, the spectator may select the “GET IT!” element to obtain a virtual DP9000 pistol for use within the Space Explorers game and to order or purchase a physical model of the DP9000 pistol from a game system provider, online merchant, manufacturer, or other entity.
Patent Application – US20170001111
This patent application reveals that Twitch will provide options to spectators to order, purchase, or otherwise obtain demo, trial, or full versions of games. It will also allow spectators to order, purchase, or otherwise obtain characters, avatars, gear, or other game content for participation in particular games. The obtained game content is downloaded to the spectators’ devices via the spectating system interfaces and broadcast streams. For example, as shown in image below, a spectator may place a request for a trial access to a particular game.
Patent Application – US20170001122
This patent application reveals that Twitch will provide an application programming interface (API) for game systems (referred to herein as a game system API). Further, a software development kit (referred to herein as a game system SDK) will be provided to game developers that may assist the developers in developing and programming games to support and interface with the game system API. The game system API and SDK will allow games executing on game systems to obtain various inputs from the game spectating system. Accordingly, the game spectating system may generate various game inputs based on spectating community inputs. The spectating community inputs include spectator participation statistics or metrics, spectator text chat inputs, spectator audio inputs, and spectating UI inputs.
Patent Application – US20170006074
This patent application reveals that Twitch will store audiovisual (A/V) content for broadcasts and also collect and store spectating data including spectator interactions with the broadcasts and broadcast content, and that expose the data and A/V content to consumers such as game developers, online merchants, or broadcasters. For example, as shown in image below, a dynamic heat map may be overlaid on the spectating interface that shows spectator activity relative to the game interface. The heat map indicates activity during a broadcast. While shown in grayscale, with darker shading indicating areas of higher activity, in practice the shading may be in color, for example with “hotter” colors indicating higher activity. The shaded areas correspond to regions or content of the spectating interface that the spectators tended to focus on or interact with during a broadcast. Spectator interactions with the spectating interface that are tracked and analyzed to generate the heat map include selecting a UI element, manipulating a UI element (e.g., by scrolling, clicking, sliding, turning, etc.), hovering (e.g., with a cursor) over or near a UI element, inputting to a UI element (e.g., entering text in a text box), and focusing on one or more UI elements (e.g., as detected via eye tracking technology).
The heat map also indicates items in a merchandising interface that spectators tended to focus on but not purchase (e.g., items 2 and 3), or tended to purchase more often than other items (e.g., item 1).
Patent Application – US20170003784
This patent application reveals that Twitch will generate game inputs based on spectating inputs. The spectating inputs include spectator participation statistics, text chat inputs, audio inputs, and spectator interactions with a spectating user interface. As shown in image below, the spectator input statistics are used to determine randomizing game inputs. For example, at a game level where enemies are spawned for the players to fight, a randomizing input from the spectating system based on spectator participation in broadcasts of the game may be used in determining the number, type, and strength of the enemies that are spawned.
Patent Application – US20170006322
This patent application reveals that Twitch will also provide rewards to or otherwise acknowledge participants in broadcasts. As shown in image below, the spectators are rewarded for participating in broadcasts. Broadcasters are rewarded for in-game achievements or for achieving levels of audience participation or support. Participants may vote on other participants to receive rewards. Rewards may include acknowledgment of participants via the user interface, virtual items such as in-game virtual gear, physical items such as game-related merchandise, and granting of benefits or privileges by the spectating system and game system such as special content for a broadcaster’s channel.
Further, these patent applications reveal that Twitch will allow interested consumers to see and hear what was happening during the broadcast(s) during periods of high and low activity. Accordingly, Twitch will provide a rich game spectating data consumer interface that shows game spectating metrics correlated with broadcast A/V content. As shown in image below, the user interface allows a consumer to query the spectating data module. Metric graph panes show plots of spectating metrics A and B, respectively, over time. For example, metric A may indicate audience size, and metric B may indicate an audience excitement or activity metric, plotted over time. Broadcast text chat replays the text chat from the broadcast. In addition, broadcast audio corresponding to the broadcast is also replayed via speaker(s).
Further, the patent applications reveal some special scenarios. As shown in image below, spectators may be fans of different teams, with different players on the different teams, and with two or more different game engine instances executing to support the different teams and players.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.
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