Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

Sony patents game pausing ads

By Rachel Weber

Sony patents game pausing ads

Fri 25 May 2012 9:45am GMT / 5:45am EDT / 2:45am PDT

Designed to stop and start game play while advert shows

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a patent for in-game advertising that pauses play.

Invented by Gary M Zalewski and filed last July, the patented system is designed to suspend "playing of the interactive content," display an advert and then resume the game again. Players will get a warning that their game is about to stop.


An example advert featured in the patent

The specific text of the patent describes it as such:

"A method for use in advertising includes initiating playing of interactive content, suspending playing go the interactive content, displaying an advertisement, and resuming playing of the interactive content."

In the small print it adds that this advert could be initiated by a server signal to make sure all players see it simultaneously, which should prevent multiplayer fans getting hit with an inappropriate advert and being disadvantaged. It also notes that the same advert could be played on multiple client devices.

While its easy to predict the outcry Sony would see if it introduced the system into triple-A titles, the scheme could work as part of a free-to-play business model.

From Recommendations by Taboola


Rodney Smith Developer

82 40 0.5
Can't wait for these!!!!!!

Posted:3 years ago


Andrew Animator

148 158 1.1
I didn't read past the first line. If I ever buy a game that has forced adverts which pause the game, I will stop playing games.

Posted:3 years ago

That sounds like something Sony would do. I think that this is a very bad idea. It is counter productive and it will ultimatlely lead to Sony losing customers, and the PS3 will start to fall into decline.

Posted:3 years ago


Posted:3 years ago


Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

517 547 1.1
How is this in any way novel? It's a synchronized pause.

Posted:3 years ago


Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,782 1,834 1.0
Most annoying thing evah!

But it's good business sense for Sony to patent it.

Posted:3 years ago

Lets hope its not blood y hair shampoo adverts, toothpaste, or mood enhancers...
whereas some classy 30s in game related to game ad would be interesting if there is a board to screen all these things...

Posted:3 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,274 429 0.3
This sounds like a good way to drive players nuts. Surely ads in loading screens or between levels (or in multiplayer lobbies) would be a bit better?

Posted:3 years ago


Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

960 187 0.2
So instead of having it in a loading screen or similar so it doesn't destroy gaming experience, it has to be right in the middle of a bloody game. I don't mind adverts and free to play, but a method like this? No way.

Posted:3 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,274 429 0.3
It could also be argued that an advert that puts you in a bad mood is not going to be the most effective sales pitch.

Posted:3 years ago


Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

517 547 1.1
The question isn't, "who wants adverts?", it's "how much don't we want adverts?", which is where the money is. Take Spotify or Grooveshark for example, you can happily use their service for free with ads, but if you can pay for them to go if they're that bad.

Still, I don't see how this is even patentable. What is novel about it?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 25th May 2012 1:56pm

Posted:3 years ago


Pier Castonguay Programmer

189 107 0.6
They better give games away for free if they do that.

Posted:3 years ago


Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer

43 8 0.2
No surprises. Sony are definitely on the dark side of this industry.

Posted:3 years ago

You can patent that? Surely that capability is already in the public domain...

Posted:3 years ago


Robert Swan Designer/Artist/Producer, Double Ace Game Studios

4 1 0.3
From a gamer's perspective, quite possibly the most insane/ridiculous/offensive concept I think I've ever encountered; even if utilised in a F2P scenario, the result would still be a title that no-one in their right mind would touch with a ten-metre cattle prod.

The oft-used Spotify analogy doesn't hold water either, simply because what you're listening to doesn't get interrupted in order to sell you stuff.

If this is the future of mainstream videogames, then quite frankly, you can poke it.

Posted:3 years ago


Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

517 547 1.1
You can patent that? Surely that capability is already in the public domain...
My point exactly. Of course this isn't just a patent, it's a foothold on ad supported gaming. It now means that when it is the norm we will be paying a royalty to Sony. Large corporations are happy with it (hence no opposition) and will go along paying for licenses to use the patented "technology", it's the indies and FOSS communities that will suffer. This nonsense is unjust and really needs to stop, it's making a mockery of the legal and judicial systems.
The oft-used Spotify analogy doesn't hold water either, simply because what you're listening to doesn't get interrupted in order to sell you stuff.
I wasn't saying that in justification, I'm just trying to picture it in my head, and it might be more acceptable than you might imagine. Yes I know, it sounds awful, playing a game and then halfway through being interrupted. I just think I've seen people tolerate much worse, it surely can't be any worse than someone demanding you pause your game while they flick over the TV channels and check the weather,etc.? and don't forget, we're talking about free. I don't mind watching a few ads - I need to keep up to date with what's what anyway. Ads are like news bulletins for status symbols and the latest fashions.

Posted:3 years ago


Robert Douglas Studying B.A in Game Art and Design, Art Institute of Pittsburgh

18 4 0.2
If this is what Sony is planning for their future console ventures, well then this will be a poorly researched implementation of advert deployment and will not bode well for Sony's videogame business. The previously stated advert-injected via loading screens is a more suitable option (though no less annoying).

We game to get away from the real world for just a short while, who wants to be pestered in the one place that (even though there are in-game ads already) hasn't been fully taken over by ads? This isn't a passive TV or radio program where we are just the willing audience, we immerse ourselves in a game world for as long as we want and I sure as hell don't want that experience broken by a random advert that kills such immersion.

Posted:3 years ago


David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers

360 80 0.2
I don't see the way this can work, except during more natural pauses during a game. In-game ads work best when they work around the experience and this is very intrusive. But then again, this is a patent and not an announced implementation - I have my doubts this will ever be used.

Posted:3 years ago


Chris Tilton Composer, Chris Tilton Music

10 3 0.3
I don't see any way this can be used with anything that currently exists either, but perhaps it could be used in live multiplayer events. I could see a countdown, and then an ad showing up for everyone in a free to play starcraft-like live event competition. But that's the only thing I can think of where it could work.

Posted:3 years ago


Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 943 0.7
WTF!!!! Its just a horrible idea.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 25th May 2012 7:13pm

Posted:3 years ago


Craig Page Programmer

442 292 0.7
Hahaha I can't believe the patent office gave this to them. About half an hour ago in my game I'm programming, I decided it should pause itself at the start of early levels while it shows the button layout. Should I patent this too, and sell it to the trolls once it's approved?

Posted:3 years ago


Tom Plunket

8 1 0.1
Regardless of the effect this has on gamers, which isn't really the point of the patent, I fail to see how this isn't obvious. I mean, we've been playing non-interactive content in games for years and we pause the gameplay to do it. This is no different than a pre-rendered video playing that advances the story while the game is "paused."

Posted:3 years ago


Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

470 769 1.6
This is more for licensing, I'm willing to bet. As in, they're going to likely license this to more ambitious developers. Remember: SecuROM is a Sony product. They have patent hands in everything.

Posted:3 years ago

As far as Sony are concerned, they have a "loyal" fanbase and will manipulate them as far as they can. Whats wrong with a small Google style ad appearing somewhere on the screen, or a small image - while the game is running?

Especially during multiplayer, this does seem like madness. How do you know when the ad is ending and action restarting - they would need a "Ad ending in 3...2...1...".


Posted:3 years ago


Bill Garrison Studying Student, DigiPen Institute of Technology

69 89 1.3
"the scheme could work as part of a free-to-play business model."
This. In tandem with Sony's rumored streaming gaming service, this could mean a Netflix/Hulu equivalent for HD game consoles.

Posted:3 years ago


Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist/Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games

91 114 1.3
On the other hand, it might be a good thing. If Sony owns the patent, no one else will be able to pause games for ads.

Just stay away from Sony games.

Posted:3 years ago


Preet Basson Studying Mathematics with Statistics, University of Portsmouth

92 13 0.1
This is just one of many shady things both Sony & MS will do, but they will not innovate or move gaming forward. More reason why they are not the future.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Preet Basson on 27th May 2012 10:41pm

Posted:3 years ago


William Brown Aspiring Level Designer

20 0 0.0
The patent system as abused today is fundamentally flawed in its ability to evaluate concepts and ideas that should be patentable. A recent conversation with a friend reminds me of Dysons bladeless fan, IMO a true innovation and worthy of a patent. Then, on the flip side is Apples 'slide to unlock' feature. What next? A patent that covers the actual touching of a button or pressing of a screen?

Recent news featuring the google/MS patent battle highlights the inaneness of some of the patents that companies hold. Surely the patent and then sue system is effectively a zero-sum game whereby companies pay each another for licensing 'tech' with no financial gain in net terms.

Posted:3 years ago


Jeff Wilson

46 0 0.0
If they implement this - I shall never buy another Sony product

Posted:3 years ago


Brian Smith Artist

202 103 0.5
Great... Next we'll have to complete some surveys before we are treated to a games ending.

Posted:3 years ago

Apparently stopping me playing my game to shove ads in my face is such a good idea that it needs patenting.

THIS is how casual gaming ruins everything.

Posted:3 years ago


Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now