Last week Riot Games was awarded Patent No. 8,636,589 on ‘Systems and methods that enable a spectator’s experience for online active games’. The patent in question covers the way self-moving camera works in Spectator Mode.
If you are familiar with the League of Legends spectator mode, you would know how this feature helps you keep track of the best moments of the match in progress automatically.
Riot’s patent essentially covers how the spectator mode keeps track of the best moments in the match based on the interest values around champions.
It not only prevents others from calculating those interest values but also from moving the camera around based on those interest values.
I am not an expert on how the spectator mode generally works in MOBAs like Dota 2 but in theory, Riot is preventing others from using similar system or at least the one they have claimed the patent for.
When we asked Riot about the matter, they forwarded us the joint statement of Brendon Beck and Marc Merrill explaining the need of patents and making it clear that the League of Legends developer has no interest in using the patents offensively:
We have no interest in using any patents offensively. The US patent system is broken and needs reform. Many gaming companies — including us — are getting attacked by patent trolls. Here’s some good background reading on the topic for those of you who are interested. Our default’s to collaborate. For instance, we’ve given everyone written permission to put our IP to a wide variety of uses.
Furthermore, they debunked fears that they would prohibit anyone from building the spectator mode feature, saying:
We won’t get in the way of anyone else building awesome spectator features, but we do want to make sure League of Legends players can always spectate freely. If you’re interested in having congress address patent reform, check out https://defendinnovation.org.
Riot’s stance on this matter reiterates their desire for a healthy competition and eSports growth. If you still have conflicting-thoughts in your mind, get yourself heard in the comments below!