The Point - The Patent That Gave Us 20 Years of Loading Screens

In 1995 Namco secured a patent for loading screen mini-games, but 20 years later it's about to run out. Danny investigates it's effect on the industry, and what this might mean for the future of loading screens.

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The Point
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final_lap

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It's tacky gimmick when you think about it, and prob won't affect the industry much, unless the minigame relates to the game somehow. For example some games give you something to read, such as a journal entry, so maybe something along those lines, like a map or in-game object you can interact with, or something simple.

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tchanah

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Still no Auxiliary games :'(

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Wensea10

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This is another great episode, loading periods in games do not annoy me in games as long as they are not extremely long.

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Kratier

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I LOVE THIS LAGGY PLAYER THAT TAKES FOREVER TO LOAD

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X-RS

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Fuckin A! My man Jacky Estacado ;)

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scarred_fox

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thanks Danny!!! learned something new!!!

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xtiansk8

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I remember having Test Drive for Ps2 << LINK REMOVED >> I remember this game had you play Pong on the loading screen. I hope these guys got a lawsut or something, cause to my perspective, I believe that is indeed an auxiliary game implemented on the loading screen.

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gameofthering

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I don't think it'd be worth it now. Games load so fast these days, that you don't even get a chance you read the hints on the loading screen.

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veryDERPY

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man...mass effect definitely could've used something during the elevators. i could beat contra by the time it's loaded

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simonbelmont2

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Has anyone figured out what the music is that starts playing about three minutes in?

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RobGrizz

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Great video. Believe it or not, but this loading screen issue has been a thorn in my side for decades.

Now I know!

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BigBadDogIV

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So remind me again. What exactly do we have in place to prevent this same thing from happening again. You know considering that most of the people who deal with the laws on what can and can not be patented are more biased against gaming then they were 20 years ago.

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Diaketh

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@BigBadDogIV: The main issue here is that Danny is right - the patent should never have been granted in the first place. One of the basic requirements for a patent to be granted is that the invention is novel, i.e. there is a strict requirement that it is new in some way and that no one has done it before.


Furthermore, the legal status of software patent is incredibly complex with the rules differing quite lot between different countries and jurisdictions. Among those the US is one of the generous jurisdictions as far as software patents go (or patentable subject matter in general for that matter) which naturally complicates things. I very much doubt that the discussions of software patent is affected by any potential prejudice against games by US lawmakers.


The core is that if any competitor so wished (i.e. if they felt they could make more money by having mini games instead of loading screens) they would have taken namco to court over the lack of novelty of the invention. Instead namco had to pay a lot of money (the cost of retaining a patent increases a lot for each passing years) for a minor novelty.

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DrunkenPunk800

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Test Drive on the PS2 had Pong during the loading screen, so I doubt this patent is real.

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Brando008

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Great episode as always Danny!

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KaelUnlimited

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Cool topic - I've been missing out all these years and never knew! A-holes.


Thanks for the interesting content and great production quality Danny & team.

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JohnnyHalo666

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Sometimes, when not feeling too lazy, I'll do push up or dips while loading is going on; this definitely helped me not become too out of shape.

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Infinity_Gauntl

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@johnnyhalo666:


I look at porn, so when the game starts I'm clear headed.

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Xentros

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That's insane that is actually a "patent". People might as well patent dinner rolls prior to the meal and entry-ways to houses. It's a miracle that tech evolved as much as it did with this kind of malarkey.

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pheria

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Test Drive (XBOX) and Onechanbara (X360) seemed to be able to do it. What makes them different?

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X-RS

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@pheria:

I too wonder this, did they pay a fee?

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johnd13

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Damn you Namco! Give me back the years I wasted on loading screens!

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Gwarpup

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@johnd13: Yes because of course playing Galaxian is just SO much more productive than picking your nose, clipping your nails, doodling, reading something, or you know..anything else?

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PingNotPong

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Namco needs the patent to make money cause the crappy games they make are not selling well.

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naomha1

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It would be super not hilarious if Namco Bandai patented it again for another 20 years....

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JohnyMyko

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Speaking of loading screens, you should definitely check this other video about the topic that Danny did for Escape From Mount Stupid. It's really great too!

<< LINK REMOVED >>

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cooltoast

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I've been wondering this forever. There used to be a racing game on PS2 in early 2000s where you could play pong while the game loaded. The game was by Atari can't remember what it was called.

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pheria

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@cooltoast: Test Drive. I was thinking about the same game.

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Bavoke

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pattent are more missused or have bad advantages now a days then what they are actually designed for, a real shame and something that really needs to be reworked

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TigusVidiks

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oh God. Wipeout was so gorgeous... and now it's just ugly.

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Psionacles

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My next PC in under 2 years im going to use an M.2 SSD, will probably have speeds of upto 2GB/s then.... consoles still running 5400rpm drive 80MB/s read lmao

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