Sony patent concerns cloud-based game emulation

Friday, 3rd January 2014 10:51 GMT By Dave Cook

Sony has filed a patent for technology that concerns the emulation of games over the cloud, and taking snapshots of the games in question to produce new rule-sets and modifiers.

The patent was filed in 2012 but was published today under the title, “Suspending state of cloud-based legacy applications.”

It concerns, “An emulator configured to operate on a network,” and reads, “Finding new ways to play preexisting video games can increase the longevity of older games. Instead of replaying the same level or completing the same missions repeatedly, gamers often desire new challenges when replaying legacy games. In response to this need, game designers have begun to produce mini-games.

“Within a mini-game, the gamer can be instructed to complete new objectives or challenge their friends for high scores in a format that was not originally designed into the legacy game. Further, since the mini-game is derived from a legacy game, the gamer already knows the characters and basic components of the game, and is therefore more likely to play the mini-game.”

The patent suggests that these ‘mini-games’ could be something as simple as changing up the rule set of an existing title to create new challenges.

Sony’s patent continues, “The mini-games may be made by providing an emulator with game inputs that bring the emulated game to a certain point where the mini-game will begin. A snapshot may be generated according to aspects of the present disclosure and that point may be used as the used as the starting point in the future mini-game.”

Throughout the document, these rule-sets and modifiers are applied to an existing game via what Sony calls ‘a snapshot,’ that can be applied over a network. Further on in the filing, Sony writes, “Game designers may then develop a script and combine it with the snapshot and triggers to produce the mini-game. Therefore, in order to design mini-games in this manner, there is a need in the art for a method of quickly generating snapshots.”

This could be where the cloud comes in.

It’s unclear exactly what this technology would be used for and if it has anything at all to do with Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai’s cloud streaming tech, but we’ll keep an eye on the matter moving forward.

Any wild guesses folks?

Via IGN.



  1. FeaturePreacher

    I certainly hope Gaikai offers a monthly subscription option to play all the titles offered. Perhaps that could be a way for great, but less popular titles to exist when users don’t have to think about price per game.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. fengato

    This streaming stuff is certainly not for me. I want new games, better frame rates, faster response times, sharper visuals. Hope sony haven’t invested too much in this scheme.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. Eregol

    A lot of people like retro gaming though, and there has been uproar both these past generations for lack of backwards compatibility.
    Sony are just covering their bases. Gaikai covers more than just old game streaming anyway.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. FeaturePreacher

    Would it be for you if you only had to pay $50 or less for a ps+ subscription and then $30/month to access all games released on the ps4? That is if Sony mandates all ps4 games as Gaikai compatible.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. game_on

    Patent? It seems only existing technology, how can a patent be approved for this?

    #5 12 months ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @5 I’m sincerely not being harsh here – as the patent is hard to understand – but do you understand what the patent is for? It’s the application of specific game rule-sets on existing legacy games that are being emulated over the cloud.

    Can’t think of an existing service that does that.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. game_on

    Well I’m not sure, but as far as I know cloud computing is existing technology, emulating legacy games is existing technology. Combining those two and the specific game rule-sets, to me it just looks like programming code. Maybe no existing service does it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s revolutionary new technology that can be patented. But I probably don’t understand all the ins and outs and English not being my native tongue doesn’t help either. Maybe if I would see it working I would understand it better, but for now I’m just surprised about the patent.

    #7 12 months ago

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