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U.S. Patent No. 7,677,973: Securing virtual contracts with credit
Issued March 16, 2010, to Leviathan Entertainment, LLC


Summary:

The ‘973 patent is designed to help insure a player’s cooperation and fulfillment of contracts in a video game. The invention allows a player to enter into virtual contracts in the game, contracts which are connected to a real-world bank account (through credit card information). Whenever a player defaults on a contract made in-game, he is fined in real-world money for the breaking of the contract. For all of you who get fed up with players quitting the game before a task is done, it seems this invention could be for you…if you’re willing to risk your money on your own virtual contracts.

Abstract:

The disclosure provides novel video game methods and systems. The disclosure includes methods and systems for allowing game players to secure in-game contracts using credit systems such as credit cards or other financial instruments. The disclosure further provides methods and systems for providing virtual and/or real world financial penalties to game players and/or player characters who default on in-game agreements.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method performed by a computer, the method comprising: providing, by a Video Game Central Server, a virtual environment that is accessible to one or more players; receiving, by the Video Game Central Server, credit card information from a player; receiving, by the Video Game Central Server, a request to enter into a virtual contract from the player; wherein the virtual contract includes a condition that requires the player to engage in an action other than accessing the virtual environment; guaranteeing, by the Video Game Central Server, the player's performance of the condition identified in the virtual contract with the financial instrument; penalizing, by the Video Game Central Server, the player if the condition is not met, by imposing a financial obligation on the credit card, where the condition is paying a periodic insurance premium for a virtual item; and maintaining, by the Video Game Central Server, the player's credit history by maintaining records of the player's contract obligations and rate of success in fulfilling the obligations.

Related Patents:

U.S. Patent No. 7,666,095
U.S. Patent No.7,645,194

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