Blizzard Patent for ‘Overwatch’ Scoring Method Published (Correction)

Blizzard Entertainment’s patent application recognizing its Play of the Game method of scoring and displaying scores has been published, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The abstract of the patent, submitted Dec. 9, 2016 and granted June 14, 2018, describes the manner in which several events during a match are recorded and then revealed, showing the time stamp for when the events occurred. A “sliding window” then passes over the recorded events, picking one category and then choosing the top player for said category before displaying a replay of the event selected.

The manner in which players can then share the selected clips to social media is also included in the patent.

Within the patent, the various Play of the Game winning categories are also listed with descriptions, perhaps intended to prevent copycats from imitating the exact iteration of scoring methods and categories of “Overwatch.” For example, the Life Saver category in which players who save teammates from imminent death are recognized, or the Shutdown category in which a player prevents a powerful attack from the enemy team.

The intent behind the Play of the Game feature is to showcase the most exciting moments that might be missed in the fast-paced matches, so that teammates can enjoy them together afterward. The feature has gone through revisions over the years, as players have complained that characters dealing damage get recognized far more often than support or healing characters. Other complaints were that the algorithm would sometimes catch random, completely un-noteworthy instances of players wandering around the map.

In an interview with Waypoint last year, lead designer Jeff Kaplan talked about their ongoing plans for “Overwatch’s” Play of the Game feature, primarily tweaking the algorithm to pick better moments. In the interview, Kaplan mentioned new categories at that time, Sharpshooter and Life Saver, and how they wanted to improve the camera tracking when capturing these moments to make the playback more cinematic, among other features.

“I would say that we’re at about a 70% of where we want Play of the Game to be,” Kaplan said. “It catches a lot of cool stuff, but it’s nowhere near as awesome as I think it will be some day.”

Whether or not Play of the Game is quite where the developers want it to be at this point is up for debate, but now that they have secured a patent, Blizzard can concentrate on perfecting it.

Activision Blizzard, the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment, came under harsh criticism in 2017 for filing and then being granted a patent which would purposefully match expert players with lower-skill level players in multiplayer titles, such as “Destiny 2,” in order to encourage the less-skilled player to make micro-transaction purchases of weapons or other boosters. However, Activision Blizzard claimed that this was an exploratory patent, and not being used in any of their titles.

Other than that PR snafu, patenting core gameplay mechanics is generally a good idea for publishers looking to protect their assets. In 2017, “Overwatch’s” characters and core gameplay were clearly copied by Chinese title “Heroes of Warfare,” for which Blizzard sued 4399EN GAME, the creators.

And Blizzard is certainly not the only publisher taking action against copycats. On Friday, Bethesda filed a law suit against Warner Brothers for their “Westworld” mobile game, which they claimed was a “blatant ripoff” of “Fallout Shelter.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the patent was granted on June 14, 2018. This is the publication date, and the patent has not yet been granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Publication automatically occurs 18 months after filing a patent, and thus does not indicate that a patent will be granted.

More Gaming

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Releases Updated Switch With Better Battery

    Nintendo just refreshed its wildly successful Switch game console, but the company isn’t giving existing Switch owners many reasons to upgrade: The renewed game console comes with a better battery that guarantees up to 9 hours of game play, while otherwise sticking with the same design and features of the original Switch. The new model [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    U.S. Consumers to Spend $26 Billion on Music, Video Subscriptions This Year

    U.S. consumers are expected to spend a combined $26 billion on music and video subscription services this year, according to new estimates from the Consumer Technology Association. That’s up from $20.4 billion in 2018, and nearly twice the amount spent on such services in 2017. Propelled by the continued success of Apple Music and Spotify, [...]

  • Gears 5 - Xbox Game Studios

    'Gears 5' Will Exclude Smoking Depictions After Concerns Raised by Youth Anti-Tobacco Org (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Gears 5,” the forthcoming installment in the “Gears of Wars” third-person shooter game franchise, will be a smoke-free establishment. The game, set for Sept. 10 release, comes from Xbox Game Studios and game developer The Coalition. The decision to remove all smoking references from “Gears 5” came after not-for-profit anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative approached Turner, [...]

  • Amazon Game Studios - Lord of

    Amazon Teams on 'Lord of the Rings'-Prequel Massively Multiplayer Game

    Amazon announced plans for a massively multiplayer online game set in J.R.R. Tokien’s Middle-earth — but in an era well before the events in “The Lord of the Rings.” Amazon Game Studios has teamed with Leyou Technologies, a Hong Kong-based games company. The companies will jointly develop the free-to-play game for PC and console platforms, [...]

  • Nintendo Switch Lite

    Nintendo Launches Switch Lite Handheld-Only Game System for $200

    Nintendo Switch is getting a cheaper, more colorful little sibling: Switch Lite, a device designed specifically to play Nintendo Switch games in handheld mode. The Switch Lite system is set to ship Sept. 20 at a suggested retail price of $199.99 — $100 less than the flagship Switch, which works in both handheld and TV-connected [...]

  • Walter Scopely Strictly Business Podcast

    Listen: How Scopely Turns TV Hits Into Video Game Gold

    “Star Trek,” “The Walking Dead” and “Wheel of Fortune” are more than just iconic TV brands; they’re the intellectual property powering mobile games on course to reach $100 million each. And they’re all produced by Scopely, a Los Angeles-based video game business led by co-CEO Walter Driver, who has made a specialty of adapting from [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content