A look at the protected inventions behind Mass Effect, Tekken, Final Fantasy, Katamari Damacy, and...Pikmin DS?
Xbox 360 Achievements
Excerpt from the patent: Systems and method for providing a game achievements system where players are rewarded with game achievements based on mastering certain in-game facets of the games they play. Each game achievement may be conveyed in a profile as a badge or trophy, title, description, date, etc. Players may also accumulate points based on game achievements. A display interface may be made available such that a player may see his achievements and total points, as well as those of others.
What it means: Filed nearly a year before the Xbox 360's November 2005 launch, this one is actually pretty straightforward with its description. What's less straightforward is how Sony is using its very similar Trophy system for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. Unfortunately, companies are under no obligation to disclose who they've licensed their patents to, or which products are covered by which patents. As a result, it's not clear if Sony licensed the rights to use Microsoft's system for its own product, if the two companies came to some other agreement for Sony to use it, or if Microsoft has just decided not to pursue a patent violation suit for whatever reason.
Don't expect either company to volunteer that information, either. A Microsoft representative told GameSpot, "While we don't comment on specific patents, it's important to note that Microsoft has hundreds of pending and issued game-related patents." A Sony representative did not return GameSpot's request for comment.