Sony granted patent for Death Stranding-style online environmental changes

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Before Death Stranding's release back in November 2019, Hideo Kojima claimed his new game was the first in a new genre: the Strand genre. The essence of the Strand genre is that while players are on their own solo journey, all playing the same character in a single-player narrative experience, they're never truly alone. Anyone else playing in the same area of the game as you who builds a bridge, trods a path, or leaves a cache of supplies will affect your version of the world, with those bridges or supplies available to you.

However, it's looking like it may be hard for other games to join this genre, based on a new patent granted to Sony. Filed in 2019, five months before Death Stranding's release, Sony's patent "Terrain radar and gradual building of a route in a virtual environment of a video game" was granted recently, on December 7. Though it does not mention Death Stranding or the Strand genre by name, it does describe the sort of collaborative world-building present in Death Stranding, and credits Hideo Kojima as its inventor.

The abstract describes it as “a method for influencing a gaming world of a video game” and goes on to describe a plurality of ways for a player to affect an environment, and how these effects can "cross-pollinate" via a "cloud gaming system." This patent, along with Norman Reedus reportedly letting slip in a Portugese interview that Death Stranding 2 is "in negotiations," seem to indicate that Sony and Kojima have lots of plans for this system and world.

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FAST6191

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Is the Dark Souls leave some graffiti for someone else not a clear precursor? Granted I would go all the way back to MUDs (multi user dungeons, aka what happens when you network a roguelike) and note that as a thing -- plenty of things getting dug, doors unlocked and more besides for that one).
I was under the impression you couldn't patent game mechanics.

Or else we wouldn't have fighting games.
I am not sure how I would cover limits of these sorts of things, and that is before the "we made a chip to do it" end run around a lot of that for places with less in the way of software patents (Japan and the US being the only places with them in any kind of serious capacity, everywhere else considers them antithetical to the idea of patents).
Fighting games is also more of a genre than a mechanic.
Going with videos for now



First guy did have another decent talk a few years later as well that I might as well link up
 

ov3rkill

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The patent system/law is broken. They need to to update this system to protect both patent owners and people who wants to use it. That way it will propel mankind through leaps and bound in technology and in whatever field they are using the patent. I'm all for technological advancement without the hindrance of patent trolls, etc. I could just imagine if it was like using the open-source license system, there would be a great advancement in different fields not just in video games. I wonder if Sony would grant other companies to use their system and if so, how much or maybe it's exclusivity perhaps?
 

Xzi

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That patent sounds vague as heck, and many long-standing games could fit under that definition. This feels slimy and competition stifling as heck.
Agreed, it's almost as bad as that patent preventing developers from putting in mini-games on loading screens.
 

ChibiMofo

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Patents get successfully challenged all the time. The unfortunate part is that you do have the upper hand if one is erroneously (or, as in this case, hllariously) granted. Not stifles tech innovation like patents for things that should be eligible for them. Thank you, Sony.
 

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