A new patent by Sony, entitled “Suspending State of Cloud-Based Legacy Applications” and first filed in 2012, was first published today by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The patent basically describes a way to introduce new content by suspending gameplay in an emulated game in a way that doesn’t require reverse engineering the game’s code. This would enable the company to add new content to classic games being streamed through the cloud. It would allow for “snapshots”, or triggers, to be used to suspend an emulated game and then inject new content into that game. It also opens up delivering games on platforms they weren’t originally designed for. Put simply:
“The present disclosure is related to video game emulation. Among other things, this application describes a method and apparatus for emulating a video game that includes generating snapshots that can be used for incorporating new content into the emulated video games.”
The patent itself states, “Finding new ways to play preexisting video games can increase the longevity of older games. Instead of replaying the same level or completing the same mission repeatedly, gamers often desire new challenges when replaying legacy games. In response to this need, game designers have begun to produce mini-games. Within a mini-game, the gamer can be instructed to complete new objectives or challenge their friends for high scores in a format that was not originally designed into the legacy game.” The mini-games referred to are ones that could limit the health you have during a boss fight, or place a limit on the number of lives you have. These are but two examples, as designers could use these mini-games for other modifications.
It should be understood that this patent deals with cloud based game streaming, and was originally filed on June 29, 2012 prior to Sony announcing that it had acquired cloud gaming service Gaikai. Sony has announced that it will use Gaikai to stream PS3 games to the PS4, a feature that is reported to be coming later this year. But the company has not indicated that they would use the service to do anything more than stream the games in their current form, so it’s a bit unclear as to what Sony will do if granted the patent.
For more on this, you can check out the article on NeoGAF for more detailed information.
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