Recent Patents and the Story of Microsoft’s Xbox One


xboxThere have been reports that the Sony Playstation outsold the Microsoft Xbox One by a 2 to 1 margin, but TIME reports that these numbers really aren’t particularly honest or informative. The reports that the Playstation is outselling the Xbox One by a 2 to 1 margin come from a study, or at least observations, of sales leading up to Christmas on eBay. But online auction sales from a single retailer are hardly appropriate to gauge what really happened in the broader marketplace.

All that is known for now is that both the Sony Playstation and the Xbox One were in extremely high demand and sold out this holiday season. Both of these game consoles will be around for a while, and both have a long  history and patent portfolio behind them. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the Xbox and some of the recent patents behind the device.

The Xbox

The story of the Xbox video gaming brand, which is owned by Microsoft, begins when the original Xbox console was first introduced on November 15, 2001 in the United States. This was Microsoft’s first foray into the video gaming world.

Microsoft’s latest endeavor, called Xbox One, brings together multiplayer experiences through Xbox Live and a variety of entertainment offerings to provide gaming experiences today but will also be scalable into the future. The new-generation Kinect, incorporated into the Xbox One, offers improved voice and motion control, seamlessly responding to your commands and gestures and making new gaming experiences possible.

Those within the patent and innovation industries may recall that the IPO Educational Foundation awarded the inventor of Kinect, Alex Kipman, with the 2012 National Inventor of the Year Award. Kinect, which is undoubtedly  most closely associated with the Xbox brand, allows users to control video games and gadgets (such as robots) through the use of controller-free motion. In other words, the movements the user makes are mimicked by a game or robot without the need to physically interact with a joystick or controller. Kinect also supports voice commands as well.  The technology could well revolutionize any number of remote activities as it matures, allowing for superior human control of machines from afar.


Microsoft already has a massive patent portfolio, but it has continued to increase in recent weeks. In a search of recently issued patents, we found a trio of patents relating to online gaming through Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE network, including methods of using gamer profiles on multiple consoles as well as validating untrusted games for inclusion on the LIVE network.

Indeed, even more gaming options will be available to users of Xbox LIVE as a result of U.S. Patent No. 8607324, entitled Untrusted Gaming System Access to Online Gaming Service. This patent protects a system of validating games offered by untrusted systems so as to allow them on the Xbox network while preventing hacked modifications or cheating within the game environment. The portability of gamer profiles is enhanced by U.S. Patent No. 8602897, titled Extended and Editable Gamer Profile. This development allows gamers to access their personal profiles through different Xbox consoles, a service that hadn’t been offered up to now. Also, U.S. Patent No. 8597125, issued under the title System and Method for Configuring Game Data About Players, offers a more complete system of synthesizing data about a gamer’s online gaming use. This system makes it easier to compile data from different games in order to get a more complete sense of a player’s skill and preferences rather than determining skill on a game-by-game basis.

But the Xbox isn’t the only gaming innovations Microsoft seems to be pursuing. Virtual reality worlds more generally continue to be a focus, and in this recent sampling, a couple of other Microsoft patents show where the company may be heading. For instance, U.S. Patent No. 8594467, titled Interactive Virtual Display System for Ubiquitous Devices, protects a system of using a mobile device to interact with a wearable thin client, such as digital glasses, to create a virtual display through the mobile computing device. Finally, we also took a look at U.S. Patent No. 8600779, issued under the title Advertising with an Influential Participant in a Virtual World. This system is designed to improve the ability to advertise within massively multiplayer online (MMO) worlds, although it should be noted that the excessive length of Claim 1 may make this patent incredibly narrow in its protections.

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