Nintendo applies for 'massively single-player' patent, mentions Wii 3D

Hardware maker lays claim to idea of a virtual world devoid of direct player interaction, suggests implementation on "Wii 3D video game console."

When it comes to online gaming, Nintendo has always insisted it would not follow the competition but would rather wait to pursue things in its distinctive Nintendo way. In a US patent application filed in early 2010 and published last week, Nintendo is claiming dibs on the idea of a "Massively Single-Playing Online Game."

The patent doesn't mention specific titles, but the treatment is reminiscent of Animal Crossing.

The patent gives a few examples of how such an idea could be implemented, starting with a single-player game in which the player's actions impact the characters and environment of other players enjoying the same single-player game. As the filing suggests, that would offer players some of the benefits of a traditional online world without a potential drawback inherent to massively multiplayer online games.

According to the patent application, "Those who want to play games that are more dynamic, not-based on Al and not-pre-scripted like multiplayer games, however, don't want to 'deal' with other people, appreciate the privacy it provides."

Nintendo offered more specific examples of the patent being put into use, such as a game with an economy affected by player demand for (and scarcity of) items. The company pointed to a purse in a fashion-centric game as one implementation of that, or perhaps oil in a global commodities trading game.

Another example given had one player spotting a pile of building materials in a virtual world and making a house out of it. Since the world is the same, the next player to happen along finds not a heap of lumber and tools, but a finished house (with the builder nowhere to be seen). Additionally, Nintendo's filing suggested that one player could gossip to a non-player character in the world, who would then pass it along to other players.

The application also covers one tweak to make the gameworld more traditionally multiplayer. If players have "friended" one another, they would be able to see each other and interact in the same environment.

The filing includes more eyebrow-raising information beyond the "massively single-player" concept. Specifically, it refers to an implementation of the idea on "a home video game system such as the Nintendo Wii 3D video game system, a Nintendo DS or other 3D capable interactive computer graphics display systems." While Nintendo has highly touted 3D in its 3DS handheld, the company publicly backed away from the idea of a 3D-capable successor to the Wii earlier this year, suggesting that the glasses currently required by 3D TVs would be a deal breaker for consumers.

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Discussion

146 comments
mr_gibberish
mr_gibberish

@crazymario1 Sorry I did not reply sooner to your reply. I was just saying I think it is weird that a totally new company has not made a new console in so long. Sorry I did not say no one has made a new console. I just find it strange how there has not been a fresh new company doing a console!

WitteKraai
WitteKraai

Nintendo will never, NEVER live down Virtual Boy. Yeah, that platform was terrible.

minty_cbo
minty_cbo

So? which commodity will be worth more? DK bananas? or some "stuper" mario shrooms? lamesauce..If anything goes 3d here..will be that stupid controller..heh..I still laugh at the fact..if you want an extra "pad" controller for the wii u..that you must use A 3ds..(hence the price drop on those things..) Well..maybe we'll see like..3ds XL by the time the wii u ships..(would make sense..can jack the price back up to $250, and the screen would ALMOST be the size of the wii u "pad") And @Unfallen_Satan so true.. (I have not even played guild wars..but I'm A diablo junkie..icwutudidthar)

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I don't see how the few examples in this news are patentable. For example, the idea of player-influenced economy has been around in numerous online games for a decade or more. My own favorite, Guild Wars, uses the very same concept. The price of crafting materials vary based on player transactions with NPC merchants. I confess I haven't seen another example with building material turning into a house but no builder in sight. However, I don't see how this concept materially differs from a MMO game where one player picks up a loot after a kill then drops another item he doesn't want (or maybe crafted from the loot), while another player who has opted not to see other players only sees the loot disappearing and another item reappearing. The code to hide all other player characters and cloak one's own isn't that hard to implement. I don't see how it's patentable. I have always found Nintendo to be quite innovative in gaming, both in hardware and software. But this particular patent seems like an act of desperation, attempting to own and capitalize on something others have already done. Going back to Guild Wars, you can experience the whole game minus the pvp arenas (and even a bit of that) playing on your own. Much of the time it's basically an online single-player game.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

Kinda how Demon's Souls did it? Also with Nintendo games it never feels like I am playing online. Like with Smash Bros Brawl it just felt like a laggy computer match the way everything is so anonymous.

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

When I read massively single-player I thought of Just Cause. X)

namdar
namdar

Well its better than coming out with something like virtual boy

Tedd_216
Tedd_216

@Oni_Taedo I agree 100%.

drjones96
drjones96

3D is a gimmick. Always has been. Just let it die like Jaws 3D so we can all get on with our lives.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

I think I would rather just have a huge single player game and leave out the online, soon to have servers turned off, requirement to the game. I prefer to play huge single player games like this without fear of the publisher / developer moving on. Long live Morrowind and Oblivion.

ZeldaGeek56
ZeldaGeek56

If they do it right (which Nintendo typically does) then this idea could be interesting. And the 3D Wii, they better bundle that with Wii U or else they wont sell a lot of Wii U...

DEEROV
DEEROV

Another new innovation!!! Can't wait :)

CoolDuckGamers
CoolDuckGamers

I like this multiplayer idea and hope to see and most of all be able to play it very soon! I'm very excited to have this option in my nintendo games aslong as I don't have to pay any monthly subscription to Nintendo. I don't mind buying games with this "Massively Single-Playing Online Game idea but paying for them again and again will drive me into the arms of a different game system, except maybe not into it's arms because I don't know if I would like it's arms? But what mean is that I would not play Nintendo games anymore.

svaubel
svaubel

Massively.. single player? Huh? Does not compute. Interested to see how they pull this off though.

Oni_Taedo
Oni_Taedo

@warhawk-geeb They've been on the right direction for a while now, it's us gamers that have been screwing up. We've all been tricked into thinking online multiplayer and HD visuals are the best things around (the HD visuals are nice), and have entirely abandoned the concept of fun, that is evident in that the only console this entire generation with any good exclusives is the Wii. Now, knowing that gamers will not change how they think (they think?), Nintendo has no choice but to go off the right path, and go towards online.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

If Nintendo grabs the more traditional XBL style of online gaming,AND they implement this single-player-but-you-can-still-affect-or-be-affected-by-other-people style,I think that would be good.Then we get both worlds.

HappyBB
HappyBB

Nintendo is good at innovation. This I gotta give credit to it.

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

The old republic is going to be a giant online single player game with multiplayer elements... lol

megakick
megakick

The problem with MMORPG is that you can't change the world because many players would be missing out and wouldn't know WTF is going on. Where is the lich king why can't I raid Ice Crown Citidel? Oh because a raid already killed lich king 2 months ago :( Rinse and Repeat. That is why MMORPGS get boring much of it is static and unchanging...

da_chub
da_chub

this is kind of like what guild wars was like... I think it is a good idea if implemented right in some types of games...but will it replace MMOs like idk...WoW? No.

McDog3
McDog3

I would like to see more games with this idea, I like large broad games but people? Not so much. lol

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Okay, Someone get a big stick and poke Nintendo back in the right direction..

Khasym
Khasym

@xgalacticax There's plenty of good games out there, for single player RPG's: Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout, ME. And there are great games for MMORPG's(not gonna list them all and start that war) What nintendo is doing, is combining the worst aspects of both. You're still gonna be on a server that has resources, but now, you can't ask that one guild that's always monopolizing the resources either to join them, or to back off. You share the world, you just don't share the community, so griefers have more anonymity. As for Nintendo, you have to understand that they have a legacy for forging new paths, but do so at the consumer's considerable expense. Nintendo has burnt a lot of bridges in the past with gadgets, games and game ideas, that cost a lot, and didn't work out. So yes, a lot of people are jaded when they hear Nintendo's "setting a new standard" in things.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

It is an awesome idea. Other people ruin the fun of most multiplayer games for me anyway. I mean, you try to be serious in a game and some noob just won't play properly (left 4 dead is a good example). People on this site are the most negative bunch I've ever encountered in my life. And of course, Nintendo is that company that everyone goes WTF from the things they do. Before you know it, their competitors try to do the same thing.

DaylightX
DaylightX

A patent eh? A few years too late. EA already done it with Spore a few years back, where while not directly playing with other players, creations by other players r automatically downloaded into your world. They even went as far as to calling it a "Massive Single-player Online Game". And as mentioned by a few before, Demon's Souls already runs elements of this patent already as well, with it's message system. It would be rather strange if this patent actually gets granted. An exaggerated example, it would be like someone applying for a patent on the mechanics of breathing and having it granted.

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

Wii 3D? Damn Nintendo you used to churn the odd upgraded console but now you're just adding gimmicks and pushing them out the door as quick as possible

LtReviews
LtReviews

How can they patent this? It's way to generalized to the point this has been done a ton of times. Are they going to really try and sue people over this?

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

huh? why? a wii 3d what would it been? at least wii u is better.

SteveTwo
SteveTwo

Sounds like a patent cash-grab. It'll get challenged in the courts if it goes through. The idea of single player games connecting to MMO-type servers without the MMO is not a new idea, not a new idea at all.

jerry601
jerry601

It seems a little bit like Demon's Souls.

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

Nintendo, yet again, trying to revolutionize their products.

Sn00pyBrown
Sn00pyBrown

Im still waiting for the wii to rock me

boobush
boobush

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

THE_DRUGGIE
THE_DRUGGIE

I'd say the first Massively Single-player game that I can remember was the .hack// game series.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

you know that kid at school who deliberately did stupid things just to be different? that's nintendo...

Acetoxic
Acetoxic

what? i guess i'm too stupid to understand this why the hell did i read this...

Acetoxic
Acetoxic

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

pH347m3
pH347m3

Hmmmm, not sure what to think about this.

jhcho2
jhcho2

So....Nintendo refuses to adapt to online interaction for some wierd reason, and now they patent an 'MSO' concept. It's like travelling back in time where internet was a norm but actual online interactivity wasn't.

Khasym
Khasym

Wow. Bad enough that Nintendo has it's head up it's own rear now. They want to travel back in time, and stick it's head up there in the past as well. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?! All the grief associated with farming mats and recipes, all the grief that comes from downed servers and patches to fix problems, And only my friends list to play with?!?!

niblackninja
niblackninja

am i tripping or is this just the biggest pile of BS i have ever heard

Zevvion
Zevvion

It's a good idea. I don't like playing with other people that much either. But the name is a little strange. Massively single player... makes me think about an incredibly fat guy playing single player.

jedediahpelland
jedediahpelland

Hmm, trying to understand what this means and all I can think of is Demon Souls. I suppose that could be catogorized as a "massivly single player online game"

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

It would be kind of cool if this had something to do with Nintendo's online setup for the Wii-U and was based on Animal Crossing. Like you would use the Mii's to move around the world and there was an actual eShop or Online Market that you walked your Mii's into to go shopping and if your friends were online they would show up in your world and walk around too. It would be a fun and easy way to party up. If you wanted to watch Netflix there was a movie theater type place to move your Mii into. There could also be built in games in that world itself like Mii Plaza on the 3DS. Those games could offer rewards that allowed you to purchase upgrades and customization's to make your world your own design, or you could just buy them with real money. Do that and get rid of the friend codes Nintendo and the Wii-U online setup would be t1ts.

the09system
the09system

Wow.....that's.....GENIUS. Why hasn't anybody thought of this before??!!!! It's basically an MMO where the player's actions TRUELY affects the gaming environment for everyone else, instead of just resetting for the next person.

SgtSilock
SgtSilock

@svaubel A massive game that is single player, why is it so hard to 'compute'?