Revealed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week, the application entitled "Automatically Generating a Book Describing a User's Videogame Performance" describes a system that would take data from a game, such as a unique character or performance from a game, and turn it into a book, e-book or comic book that the user could read or share. This story would be tailored to specifically represent the experiences of a gamer.
The concept is particularly interesting as video games become more advanced and offer players deep character customization, building an avatar in their own image or however they see fit. In addition, many games now offer players the ability to make complex moral decisions which often affect the outcome of the game.
"However, after completion of the videogame, the user's interaction with the game (and any story presented in the game) is complete," the patent application reads. "Further, the user may be unable to directly access the saved game file to view any data recorded throughout the game."
Apple's application specifically mentions and includes images from the Xbox 360 and PC title Mass Effect, which gives users the option of choosing dialogue for their character. Players can choose to help or harm others around them in a complex world where users are forced to make sometimes difficult moral decisions.
"In games such as Mass Effect, the selection of a dialogue response may make available additional or different dialogue responses," the application reads. "Thus, the entire conversation between the user's player character and the non-player character may be written into the recorded data... and may vary during each gameplay session."
Apple's invention would allow users to easily relive the experiences they created through a game, or share with others how their gameplay experience may have been different. Gamers could also quickly recall their experience rather than playing through the entirety of a game, which in some cases can take dozens of hours to complete.
"The recorded data may include character information, dialogue from the videogame, and results and metrics reflecting the performance of the user in the videogame," the application states. "The recorded data may be inserted into a narrative data structure and have pregenerated text. In some embodiments, the recorded data may be used as the basis for selecting among a plurality of pregenerated text."
The invention could even take into consideration how long a user takes to complete a puzzle in the game. That time, along with achievements, choices, conflicts, items collected and other events in the game, could be woven into the narrative.
Users could even purchase a physical copy of their own, customized comic book. The application describes a method to send the publication off to a server for printing.
Apple, in recent years, has become a major player in the mobile games market, taking an estimated 19 percent share in the U.S. However, portable games on devices like the iPhone and iPad are typically not as detailed and engrossing as those available for console systems like Microsoft's Xbox 360 or Sony's PlayStation 3.
But recent rumors have suggested Apple could get into the console business in a roundabout way, with an updated Apple TV allegedly running the iOS mobile operating system. If the new set top box has access to the App Store and third-party applications like the iPhone and iPad, it could make Apple a player in the console game market like Sony and Microsoft.
The application mentions games on both portable devices and consoles, mentioning systems made by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony in addition to its own iPhone and iPod touch.