Yesterday we presented a Microsoft patent report about "Omni-Spatial Gesturing and Glasses-Free 3D UI" which may very well go hand in hand with today's report. The revelations found in Microsoft's latest gaming patent covers components relating to an all-new virtual game controller interface for future tablets and smartphones running Windows OS. Yesterday we also learned that Sony will be adding Dual Shock 3 support to their smartphones starting with the Xperia SP. So it appears that Microsoft and Sony will eventually be extending their gaming rivalry through to future smartphones and tablets. Today's patent report takes a quick look at what's likely to be the first of many patents to come on the topic of new gaming interfaces, components, features and services related to Xbox gaming that's coming to future portables.
Microsoft Contemplates Moving Xbox Gaming to Tablets and Smartphones
Jumping right into the heart of Microsoft's patent we see patent FIG. 1 shown below illustrating an exemplary graphical user interface that can be rendered on a display of a mobile touch-enabled device.
Microsoft patent FIGS. 2-4 illustrate an exemplary user interaction with a mobile touch-enabled device to switch a mode of input represented by a thumbstick, which is included within an exemplary graphical user interface. This mode of input could be to put the game on hold or save, or to view a gaming menu or access gaming options and so forth.
Microsoft notes that the amount of tilting of the upper right corner of the mobile touch-enabled device can mimic squeezing a trigger of a conventional controller utilized with a video game console with varying degrees of pressure.
Patent FIGS. 6-9 noted below illustrate various exemplary orientations of the mobile touch-enabled device that can be utilized to manipulate operations in a game rendered on the display of the mobile touch-enabled device.
Patent FIGS. 10-12 noted above illustrate additional exemplary orientations of the mobile touch-enabled device that can be utilized to manipulate operations in the game rendered on the display of the mobile touch-enabled device.
Different sensors such as a gyroscope and accelerometer can be employed to detect the amount of tilt and the rotation of the mobile touch-enabled device.
Microsoft describes how the thumbstick will act as one does on a conventional game controller and various buttons will correspond as usual so that the gamers will be able to perform typical RPG first person shooter controls to perform crouching movements, walking, running and jumping.
An All New Interaction Analysis & Manipulation Components
Microsoft's patent introduces us to an all-new component that is for their multitouch device gaming controller called the "interaction analysis component" which is shown below as patent point number 1308. This component is able to receive a series of images from the device's camera. Further, the interaction analysis component can detect a gesture of a user from the series of images received from the camera (e.g., perform signal processing on the series of images, etc.).
Moreover, the manipulation component, noted as patent point number 1310 below, can control an operation in the game in response to the gesture of the user detected by the interaction analysis component. By way of illustration, the gesture can be the movement of the user's head (e.g., up, down, left, or right. etc.), a facial gesture (e.g., micro gesture such as gritting teeth, blinking, opening or closing a mouth, etc.), a hand gesture, or the like. By way of further example, it is contemplated that different gestures detected by the interaction analysis component can be utilized to respectively control different operations.
The Output Component Relates to Haptics Feedback
Pursuant to yet another example, the "output component," noted as patent point number 1302 above, can vibrate the mobile touch-enabled device to provide force feedback or "haptics feedback" to the game controller.
Although it appears that Microsoft is set on introducing advanced virtual triggers for first-person shooter games for multitouch devices, I think many would still prefer to have good old fashion mini physical triggers built right into the frames of mobile devices. But we'll have to see how this first generation of virtual triggers pans out before judging them.
Microsoft filed their patent application under serial number 252207 back in Q4 2011.
At the end of the day, time will tell how it all plays out, but for now, Microsoft is definitely gearing up to bring Xbox gaming to portables. This could be a great strategic move to distinguish their mobile OS from the pack and to boost sales for their supporting OEMs.
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