Blizzard launched Overwatch in 2016 with a “play of the game” system that gives participants in a multiplayer match a chance to see the greatest moment from their last game. It’s a neat system that generally shows a ridiculous multi-kill or clutch moment, and Blizzard values it so much that it seeks to patent it.
Blizzard first filed its “play of the game” patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in December 2016, and it was published on the office’s website June 14. Contrary to reports by several other outlets, Blizzard has not been granted a patent for the technology yet, and the status of the application hasn’t changed since March 2017.
Claims in the application include the system Blizzard uses to choose “a particular play category from the plurality of play categories based on a top aggregated score.” In other words, Blizzard assigns hidden scores to different actions, and these are then ranked in order to determine the clip players see at the conclusion of the match. The application also makes mention of editing software used to modify video clips showing plays of the game in action, such as inserting an intro reel or slowing down time — this is possible with the in-game Overwatch video editor, and gives players an easy way to share their top plays with friends.
The application spells out the possible events that can trigger a play of the game. These include causing damage or healing an ally, saving an ally from death, preventing an objective from being captured, or being airborne while accomplishing a task. Not mentioned in the description are actually capturing objectives yourself, so you might want to focus on shooting enemies if you want to see yourself in the spotlight — of course, your team is also likely to lose if you avoid playing the objective entirely.
Regardless of whether or not Blizzard is granted all or part of its patent, we are unlikely to see this occur for at least a few years. In the meantime, we’ll almost certainly see Blizzard challenged by other developers trying to implement similar systems.
Overwatch is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
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