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Microsoft Owns Patent for In-Game Custom Soundtracks

One of the most wanted features missing from the Playstation 3 is the ability to use a custom soundtrack during gameplay. Movement has been made in this area with some games beginning to offer support, notably Super Stardust HD and High Velocity Bowling, but it's yet to be offered for all games. Though many expect the inclusion to come when Sony supports an in-game version of Playstation 3's cross media bar, the implementation of this feature might just stay with the developers, since Microsoft owns a patent for this very functionality.

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Silellak3216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

Huh, interesting. It would explain a lot.

If true, it's a shame. The custom soundtrack feature of the 360 is one of my favorites, and certainly one I use the most. I love streaming music directly from my PC, particularly during online play or racing games they have crappy modern music. No, I don't need two dozen rap tracks to race to, but thanks for asking. Songs from the Gran Turismo 2 or Vice City soundtrack? Yes please.

I was hoping by the time I picked up a PS3, Sony would have this feature too, but sounds like it might not happen. Of course, this is certainly not going to kill the PS3 - probably won't even cost them a single sale - as it has significant other features that the 360 doesn't, but it's still a shame.

Hell, Microsoft would probably be better off just charging Sony to use the technology. They'd probably get far more from that than they would from any extra console sales, as I doubt anyone is saying "I HAVE TO GET A 360 INSTEAD OF A PS3 SO I CAN PLAY CUSTOM SOUNDTRACKS IN GAMES OMG".

It's a nice to have. Not a deal breaker. Microsoft - license the technology to Sony, get some extra cash. Don't horde it and keep a nice feature away from gamers.

EDIT: I'm not sure why everyone finds this so hard to believe. I linked to the patent below:

http://www.google.com/paten...

They aren't patenting custom soundtracks for INDIVIDUAL games, but rather the sort of custom soundtrack integration that the 360 has. I'm not sure if you've ever used custom soundtracks on the 360, but basically, you can use your soundtracks for ANY game, and the in-game soundtrack is seamlessly replaced with the music from your soundtrack.

It's actually a pretty slick feature, which is why they likely patented it.

TheHater3216d ago

Maybe now people will understand why it taking them so long to make this feature available to the public

Violater3216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

maybe people shouldn't believe everything they read on the net.

no in game soundtrack makes me unhappy :(

San anto3216d ago

technically its the 1st of april in gmt april fools joke?

MikeGdaGod3216d ago

it won't make a difference to all those that want a ps3 but it will irritate the sh!t out of me until this gets resolved.

maybe they can implement it for the good games and leave it out on all the games they know no one will buy like Surfs Up, Harry Potter, and Fantastic Four games.

man MS loves those low blows

Silellak3216d ago

That occured to me too, but somehow I doubt Google is also in on this. Check out the link - the patent is quite real:

http://www.google.com/paten...

MrWonderful3216d ago

the rock smells something that smells like B.S. If this is a april fools joke im gonna take my foot turn it sideways and stick it straight up someones candy ass

socomnick3216d ago

sony fans sure do like petitions.

Lifendz3216d ago

cuz I remember reading how Microsoft also had a side deal with Immersion to keep Rumble technology exclusive to the 360 console. Yet here I am with my DS3 and...yeah...it rumbles.

Silly posters, don't believe everything you read. If there was a patent on this technology then why do some games have it at all? Did MS say it was okay for MLB 08 The Show, Bowling, and High Velocity bowling? No.

The problems is that use of in-game XMB, as Jeff from Podcast B3yond explained, is going to require a whole SPU dedicated to it. It's a SPU that Sony is going to have to take away from the developers. The good news is that the devs don't really know how to utilize all the SPUs anyway. The bad news is that it takes one from them in the future.

Patents..lol.

Real Gambler3216d ago

http://www.freepatentsonlin...

They basically patented pressing a button on a mouse. Pressing a button on a keyboard. Pressing a button TWICE on a mouse. All kind of goodies like that. This does not prevent people to make laptops. Keep in mind it's also mostly for the United States. So you could not import a PS3 with that feature, in the U.S. Big deal, you import it, without the feature, then download it.

Trust me, if they would enforce all their patents, the world would stop turning. It's a fine balance. They own over 100,000 patents. But most companies do as well. Windows is using illegally tons of patents from other companies...

They likely have patents on how fish swim too!

Being-in-Itself3216d ago

If Company A owns a patent, or patents, that, if licensed, would engender a respectable (or, simply respectable) sum(s) of money and that patent, or patents, was (were) being infringed upon, believe me, Company A will prosecute Company B, C, D, E, etc. -- this is likely especially true w/ a company like that of Microsoft; one which allocates in its annual budget an enormously large amount of money to the prosecution of said patents and the research performed by its legal team for the infringment of any particular patent the company owns. Willful infringment garnishes 3x the damages -- that's ALOT w/ almost any legit patent.

What do you mean mostly for the U.S. and the importing / downloading w/ the PS3, I'm confused? If it refers to the patent, its very likely that while Microsoft filed for this patent in the U.S. they also filed for the patent in handfuls of other countries, or, in the very least, the large international patent offices -- this would include Japan and any European country where one might import from. Filing patents like this in the long run becomes more economically feasible for the filer -- one has greater opportunity for their patent to be deemed legit and has a greater area of enforcement when made legit.

Blitzed3216d ago

You can only patent the method or the apparatus used to implement that idea. I'm sure there are plenty of ways to deliver this feature. Considering the different architecture of the Cell, I am sure any method for delivering this feature will not infringe on MS' patent.

GameDev3216d ago

Blitzed is the only one with a clue so far, this patent is not worth the paper its printed on.

shine13963216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

Blitz is completely right...you can't patent ideas...like Microsoft WM player technologies/codes etc can patented but you can't patent the idea of playing music. think of this patent as a piece of software...bubbles for you...

gaffyh3216d ago

They've patented something that is pointless. The only way they could even act on that patent is if Sony made an EXACT copy of their system which they won't because the PS3 architecture is completely different to 360 architecture.

Stupid article.

wageslave3216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

@1.1

The problem with in-game features like those that are available in the Xbox 360 Guide (that provides custom music and a host of other features) has nothing to do with this patent.

Their are serious memory and CPU reservation issues relating to implementing these things.

See here:
http://ozymandias.com/archi...

http://arstechnica.com/news...

Electricear3216d ago

One of the fundamental requirements for a patent to stand up in court is for it to be proven as an original idea that was not public knowledge before. Seeing as games like Vib Ribbon violated this 2004 patent back in 2000 it can hardly be claimed that it is original. Also even if Microsoft were to try and force this issues, they would have to prove that the ps3 is just a game system and not a media center as they patent is specifically attempting to target game consoles. If you ask me there are so many holes in this patent that it would sink as quickly as Cisco's attempts to get Apple for trademark infringement with the iphone.

Richdad3215d ago

The patent is correct the fault is on mainly the patent stucture lastly Sony and Nintendo patented the Arrow keys commnad for Joy pad so MS had to make a different technique than orignal and its not that efficient.

The patent structure is such that all the company rush and make such patent that kills other to apply even small features. NOt just MS, Sony or Nintendo look at any other company LG, Toshiba all are doing that.

+ Show (15) more repliesLast reply 3215d ago
Lord Anubis3216d ago

eh, sadly they don't include a link to the patent. I was going to say why not run the sound track though the OS or game by game.

Silellak3216d ago

There is a link to the patent in the article.

It's also found here:

http://www.google.com/paten...

Utalkin2me3216d ago

The article said that if devs add the feature into the game it would be all right. But they just cant add it to the cross media bar. Doesnt sound to major to me just have the devs to add it to the games as a in game feature.

cartman3133215d ago

lol...You guys are so...ah nevermind...lol

EZCheez3216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

But it isn't an issue if Sony makes it happen in a completely different manner right? And considering they would have to because the XMB and OS is so different, I don't know if it could be seen as patent infringement.

There are all sorts of products that do the exact same thing. I just didn't think it was an issue if the end product was made to happen in a different way.

Here's an example. It's like saying Apple has a patent for a handheld music player with a touch sensitive interface. And then look at the Zune (I just bought one and love it). Can you honestly say Microsoft violated any patents? I doubt it.

Being-in-Itself3216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

You're absolutely correct - so long as Sony engineers a different manner in which to perform the same function, namely, in-game personalized soundtracks, its not patent infringment (though, that wouldn't necessarily keep Microsoft from trying to prosecute Sony). Keep it tied to XMB and they're likely all good.

Essentially, the way it all works is in the claims of the patent (you will see these w/ numbers representing each claim). If Microsoft's patent claims its invention does A by virtue of X, Y, Z then Sony would not be infringing by inventing an invention that does A by virtue of B, C, D - SO LONG as B, C, D are ENTIRELY unrelated to X, Y, Z. Per X, Y, Z B-D cannot even be in the very least obvious, its has to be entirely independent invention. Think of it like this, Microsoft has patented not the in-game personalized soundtrack but rather the means, or equation, if you will, that allows this. If Sony invents a different means / equation, they're all good.

Sony can always license the use of the Microsoft's invention but, AS WE ALL KNOW, this won't happen -- likely NO MATTER how profitable it may be to Microsoft.

Sony's best bet is to file a patent in U.S. (probably has a while ago, likely with its XMB related patents there's a claim(s) asserting music capabilities), where it is still VERY easy to get a patent made legit, that asserts different claims than Microsoft's patent and invents a different means / equation to the root of in-game personalized soundtracks. While this patent is going through the patent office, Sony makes the feature available noting *patent pending* .

TheExecutive3216d ago

youre exactly right. What a bunch of tools. Add a bell here a whistle there and bam you got a new formula.

Of course MS patented THEIR way of doing in-game music... so fricken what? they cant patent EVERY way.

GameDev3216d ago

to know what they have to say about Epic having custom in game music even when UT2k4 was out. Should they sue epic?? this whole premise is silly.

MorganX3216d ago

The patent isn't for the method or technology to implement the feature. It is a broad patent on the feature. Doen't matter how you do it.

No matter, I smell a trade coming. Free use of in-game custom soundtrack patent in exchange for dropping Bluray licensing fees for Xbox 360. Works for me ...

butterfinger3216d ago

You can not have a "broad" patent. If there were such a thing as a "broad" patent, then we would not have all the legally downloadable music on our computers that we have today (among countless other things). If that was the case someone could just patent music in general, but we all know that would be ridiculous. Also, why would Sony ever want to trade the use of blu ray for custom soundtracks? That sounds like the most lopsided trade in history. However if you go over to engadget.com, there is another article confirming that you will get your BD on a 360, however, M$ is likely paying out the a$$.

MorganX3216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

You know why you have to click an object in IE to operate it? Because someone owns a broad patent to included plugins in a web page. Not ActiveX ming you, just inline plugins. Microsoft will go ahead and pay them use rights and the requirement to click the control first will be removed. Patents can be "broad" in scope. Patent law is not simple and broad patents and the litigation surrounding them is why most simply opt for a deal. Reference: http://arstechnica.com/news...

Sony does not have to use the exact technical methodology to infringe upon the professor's patent who claims right to Bluray. It really depends on the Patent.

Music itself is not patentable. Who can claim first use? Birds invented it... etc.

However, downloading it from a store using a particular methodology might be.

Regarding Xbox Bluray, it's April 1. And if it is true, terms have not been released and MS will pay whatever everyone else is paying and the cost will be passed on to the consumer so MS isn't paying anything. Sony is gouging the consumer much like Microsoft does with Windows licensing.

Why would Sony want to trade Bluray licensing, well, if MS does have a valid patent on ingame custom soundtracks, they'll trade to deliver their customers what they want. They might also get Windows Mobile licensing for the phone divisions as well. It's business. Sony and MS already have cross licensing deals. The consumers are the ones who dont' talk to the "other side."

wageslave3216d ago

@3.5

"there is another article confirming that you will get your BD on a 360, however, MS is likely paying out the ass. "

A) Sony doenst "own" bluray, it is owned by the BRDA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

B) Revenue from licensing doesnt go directly to Sony.

C) Microsoft would pay no more than any other firm to _buy and use_ a drive. Which, frankly, wont be much at all.

butterfinger3216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

I appreciate your points and a very good reference link indeed. I do, however, still believe PS3 owners will have customizable soundtracks and not at the cost of trading blu ray. Your facts about the broad scope of some patents is %100 infallible and I give you bubbles for that. You are an asset to N4G in the sense that you provide unbiased, well-supported facts.

As for 3.7 -

First of all, I never said Sony "owned" Blu Ray, so your statements pertaining to that are voided. Why would Microsoft have to talk to Sony at all about Blu Ray if it is simply owned by BRDA? Maybe it is because Sony is the largest member of BRDA and that is why everyone who mentions Blu Ray pretty much ties it in with Sony. Whether or not Microsoft pays Sony directly, Sony has a large say in allowing a company to use Blu Ray. Please don't post links to Wikipedia on here and expect myself or anyone else to take that as fact. Take a lesson from above.

MorganX3216d ago (Edited 3216d ago )

I also grant you bubbles for being open-minded. I will also concede that while broad patents have been issued, that was not the original intent of the patent office. They should be tied to specific technical implementations. They are really for "inventions." Many are calling for an overhaul of the Patent Office because of this.

Broad patents stifle innovation and ultimately the consumer suffers. Take the Eolas patent claim. Their broad patent would cover embedded Flash, Java Applets, etc. Who do they choose to sue? The one with the most money and visibility, and most likely to just settle - Microsoft.

Apple was recently sued by a company with a patent for digital downloads (iTunes), as a part of that settlement, Apple now owns the patent. It's too broad. Theoretically Apple could sue every digital media store for patent infringement... the patent office could definitely use an overhaul.

I agree with another poster though, it's probably technical issues/performance and not this patent that's preventing in-game XMB.

PS: Bluray in 360s will be worthless without a redesign. The fan's so loud you can't hear quiet passages on it. And the 'Box needs a new HDMI chip capable of bitstreaming or they'll have to internally decode TrueHD and Master Audio. My PS3 is silent. Can't wait to watch No Country for Old Men this weekend.

butterfinger3216d ago

and No Country for Old Men is amazing in 1080p and 7.1 surround:)

MorganX3215d ago

Sony confirms their first Windows Mobile Smartphone. I'm buying one as soon as they're availble. FINALLY! http://www.n4g.com/industry...

+ Show (8) more repliesLast reply 3215d ago
toughNAME3216d ago

we're just finding this out now?

millerlite3216d ago

The patent's not worth the paper it's printed on.

TwissT3216d ago

That's a kick in the pants.

Amanosenpai3216d ago

Not for SONY... for gammers in general... greedy (smart =() MS

MorganX3216d ago

Greedy smart like Nintendo. They won't allow Goldeneye on XBLA. Not that I care, but I would love to see Killer Instinct on XBLA, or PSN for that matter. While your'e at it, throw the original Donkey Kong on PSN or XBLA.

The business aspect of gaming is unfortunate. So many great games goign to waste being restricted to a single platform.