Top 10 Gaming Patents: How Many Slowed Down Innovation?

from the go-through-the-list dept

rijit writes in to point to a list of the “top ten most important video gaming patents.” It’s clearly a pretty subjective list, but what’s most interesting is that as you read through the list you realize that almost all of the patents described were used by companies to hold back others from innovating. Is one company really harmed by having another company show a big arrow in the sky directing which way you should go in a video game car race? What was wrong with just letting the games and the consoles actually compete on the merits of what they put into the market? Reading through the list of patents (and the related lawsuits) it’s hard to see a single one that actually encouraged innovation — but there are plenty that clearly made it much more difficult and expensive for others to innovate.

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Comments on “Top 10 Gaming Patents: How Many Slowed Down Innovation?”

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Enrico Suarve says:

Re: Re:

To be honest I don’t think even this one has merit in a sane world

Why should Nintendo be the only people allowed to produce games for their platform (the same goes for all companies incidentally)

Sega weren’t republishing as far as I am aware – they were writing new games

In any other industry this would be pounced on and is totally anti competitive. why shouldn’t Sega produce a game for Nintendo? and once I’ve bought the console it should be my right to shove anything into it within reason (cheese toasties probably wouldn’t be a good thing)

Ford made my car but they don’t make the brake pads, tyres etc etc I have used over the years nor did they make the radio I installed

Having said that I recognise stealing the software from the patent office was probably a bad thing

rijit (profile) says:

Re: Re: by Enrico Suarve

I didn’t mean in my earlier post that it is a good patent, just saying it is the only one I see worth the paper it is written on.

If companies choose to restrict access to their devices I do not think it is a good thing, I hate being locked into anything, but does it lock out innovation? After all Nintendo fell to last place against it’s competitors in the past decade. If Nintendo had an open standard for anyone to use when they first entered the US market, would the video games market have come as far? Nintendo’s competitors had to innovate to get the lead, didn’t they? Is that not what a patent is meant to do, give you a lead on your competitors while they try and compete against you?

Enrico Suarve says:

Re: Re: Re: by Enrico Suarve

Fair enough – sorry about that – got the wrong end of a long stick!

I still don’t see how locking people out of your console helps even the console manufacturer

Sega didn’t innovate due to this – they stole and were slapped down for it. Sorry for opening up the thread to fanboys but I think lockout is one of the big reasons PCs are more widely distributed than Macs, Apples insistance on locking companies out at the beginning meant that more other companies got onto the PC bandwagon early on helping push it forward with more options and choice

I can’t help wondering what would happen if Sony/Nintento/Microsoft opening up one of theior platforms in this way

Mitch the Bitch says:

Ive been moaning about a company in San Jose Ca called Immersion Corp. that has strong armed the “Tactile Feedback” industry for over a decade with an overly broad unjust patent. Basically it says ANY device that connects to ANY computer which provides ANY tactile feedback is a patent infringement on Immersion Corps I-Force technology.


Since that time in the mid nineties the use of tactile feedback better known as force feedback for PC gaming has been under the thumb of this Company which does almost ZERO innovating and lots of suing. What innovation has taken place since this horrible patent was given? Nothing but a name chage of the actual API in over 10 years since this patent was granted. Is that innovative in any way?

Dr. Louis Rosenberg is the patent whore that owns this so-called comapny which has all but ruined an entire industry. This companies ONLY goal is to horde patents, PERIOD…

The really sad irony is that the horribly liberal Ca appeals Cts upheld this travesty of the patent system twice….

Dr. Louis Rosenberg you have given the ammo to all anti semites world-wide and you should be ashamed of yourself for destroying an entire industry for no reason except pure GREED… Your company harms the public. If you were in front of me right now I’d bitch slap your sad sack ass.


Anonymous Coward says:


Dont forget the frivolous patents:
Microsoft scored a patent that allows a player to gain points based on meeting goals in a game.

Kill a monster, score some points.
Shoot a basket, score some points.

Though this patent could never hold up in court, it could cost a small business a lot of money in legal fees to defend itself.

PhysicsGuy says:


oh, ok… the way he worded it sounded like they owned a patent on in-game points. that’s a little more understandable as to how they landed that patent.

about the pong patent though, that’s 100% understandable. that was waaay before anyone had any idea video games were going to be any kind of commercial success in any way, and it was originally played on a modified oscilloscope at the end of the 50s, although that wasn’t the one patented and it wasn’t called pong; that’s the name atari made famous. pong = patentable … pac-man would be a little harder to pull off though, considering the format for the arcade style machines that it was originally designed for had already done. the device in which pong was patented with was quite original when it came out…

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