Square Enix has been granted a patent for a video game processing program that controls the progress of a video game using a virtual space corresponding to real-world map information and user terminal positional information. The program arranges objects in the virtual space, specifies objects based on positional conditions, and updates user information based on object attributes. The patent also includes a feature that gives privileges to users based on attribute information and history of previous privileges given. GlobalData’s report on Square Enix gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on Square Enix, video game monitoring was a key innovation area identified from patents. Square Enix's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Patent granted for a video game with virtual space

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Square Enix Holdings Co Ltd

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11654360B2) describes a computer-readable medium storing a video game processing program that controls the progress of a video game. The program arranges objects in a virtual space based on map information of a real space and associates each object with one or more attributes. It specifies an object that meets a positional condition with respect to the user's terminal and updates user information based on the attributes associated with the specified object.

The program refers to a storage that stores character information, including a character and its associated attribute information, to update the attribute information based on the attribute of the specified object. If the attribute information satisfies a privilege condition, the user is given a privilege. To determine the privilege, the program refers to a storage that stores history information regarding previously given privileges, ensuring that the user receives a different privilege from those in the history.

The patent also includes additional claims. Claim 2 states that the attributes associated with each object are based on information about the real space corresponding to the object's arrangement position. Claim 3 specifies that the attributes associated with the objects are selected based on the user's attribute. Claim 4 introduces the function of determining a destination based on user operation, with the arrangement of objects in the virtual space being influenced by the destination's position.

Claim 5 states that the user information update is based on the user's action history in the video game. Claim 6 adds that the update is also based on step number information calculated by the user terminal, indicating the user's number of steps in the real space. Claim 7 mentions that at least one attribute of the objects is associated with the object based on map information or point of interest (POI) information of the real space. Claim 8 specifies that a similar attribute is associated with a predetermined number of objects that satisfy a positional condition with each other.

Claim 9 states that the user information update includes updating the user's attribute or the attribute of the user's character based on the update result. The patent also includes a video game processing system (Claim 10) and a computer-readable medium for a user terminal (Claim 11) that perform similar functions as described in the previous claims.

In summary, this patent describes a video game processing program and system that arrange objects in a virtual space, update user information based on object attributes, and provide privileges to the user based on certain conditions. The program utilizes character information storage and history information storage to ensure the user receives different privileges over time.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.