Game companies doing game company things | Updates currently irregular

Comic 74: Loading Patent

So here's something I just learned recently - Namco has, since 1995 and up until now, held a patent on "interactive loading screens" in games (especially for minigames) Which, honestly, is a ridiculous thing to be able to patent. So, of course, I made a comic about it :D

(Also, for anyone interested, there's now a game jam dedicated just to these kinds of loading screen minigames. I'm considering making something for this...)


by ProfEtheric at 27th Nov 2015, 2:23 AM

Somehow, I DOUBT they all agree...

But seriously, that WAS a ridiculous patent... smh


by Zanreo at 27th Nov 2015, 2:29 AM

Haha, they'd probably try getting away with something similar if they could...
But yeah, I'm sometimes surprised at the ridiculous stuff you're able to patent.

by junoro at 27th Nov 2015, 4:37 AM

Wow, that's really something! So did Splatoon find a way around this by letting you play that squid jump game on the wii game pad, instead of on the actual loading screen? I hope a lot of games make good use of this patent ending!

by Zanreo at 27th Nov 2015, 4:55 AM

Maybe, I thought of Splatoon's game when reading about this and wondering how Nintendo got around this... Probably some clever loophole, either that or Namco allowed them just this once. And yeah!

by TheMario360 at 27th Nov 2015, 4:58 AM

Wouldn't the online waiting rooms in Smash count as interactive loading screens as well?

by Zanreo at 27th Nov 2015, 5:17 AM

Possibly, but seems like it was mostly about minigames. Anyway, good thing this is over...

by NeilKapit at 27th Nov 2015, 5:45 AM

The person who patents gameplay hints during loading screens, of course, retains their financial empire.

by Zanreo at 27th Nov 2015, 11:38 AM

Yeah, what's the next thing... patenting different difficulty levels in games?

by azureXtwilight at 27th Nov 2015, 1:25 PM

I'd kill them of they patent a specific type of game

by Zanreo at 27th Nov 2015, 1:29 PM

Yeah, at least leave the game genres alone!

by MadJak91 at 27th Nov 2015, 3:12 PM

And you think patenting smartphone shapes is weird...

Patent trolling is a problem.
You should be required to show that you actually utilize the patent AND really need it for your business.

by Zanreo at 27th Nov 2015, 5:28 PM

Next thing you know they'll be patenting game genres and use of background music...

And yeah, if you're gonna get a patent it shouldn't be something as basic and simple as this, and it should be for something you actually use. I've seen so many people trying to sue Nintendo (and others) over making similar things to some basic, vague patent they claimed years back but never did anything with and just waited for some company to use so they could sue them themselves...

by MadJak91 at 27th Nov 2015, 7:27 PM

The moment someone successfully patents a genre (does not need to be games) is the moment when the system failed miserably.
Wait a moment. There is the big deal over the super hero term.
OK, but now I am confusing copyrights, patents and trademarks... Uh... So much to keep up with...

Exactly that.
Refresh my memory but there were quite a few patent trollings against Nintendo.
About lockout chips, about sounds chips, about some other chip, about the Wii remote etc. etc.

by Zanreo at 27th Nov 2015, 7:36 PM

They did indeed get a bunch of patent trolls for stuff like that... and not a single one of them had actually used the patent for something themselves. Of course, Nintendo won.

by MadJak91 at 27th Nov 2015, 7:40 PM

OK, sorry for the spam.

Yes. I mean that is a good way to attempt some leeching. Cannot fight any other way? Try patenting nonsense and hope they step on the mine and keep the money rolling. Did not happen. Heh.

by melaredblu at 28th Nov 2015, 8:31 AM

Wait, it only just expired? But Splatoon has a minigame you can play while the game loads/waits for the next fight. Isn't that the same thing? How did Nintendo get past the patent before it ended? Am I misunderstanding absolutely everything? Probably.

by Zanreo at 28th Nov 2015, 8:57 PM

Yep... I suspect either some kind of clever loophole, or being allowed for this game for whatever reason?

by Dollipop at 28th Nov 2015, 9:30 PM

These characters are 10/10

by Zanreo at 28th Nov 2015, 9:37 PM

Thanks! I have fun drawing and designing them :D

by Therazan at 29th Feb 2016, 4:18 PM

Funny, how the loading screen in the latest Assassin's Creed lets you do LESS things that it used to.

by Zanreo at 29th Feb 2016, 4:36 PM

Haven't played it, but yeah, that's weird...

by Ajax at 12th Aug 2017, 9:27 PM

Nintendo patented the sanity meter in horror games, so she doesn't get to say stuff like that.

by efejotart at 30th Sep 2019, 1:05 PM

Hmm, I'm a bit late to the party, but I remember No More Heroes had a minigame and that was from Marvelous. Maybe they had to pay a small fee or something or it wasn't that strict?

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