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U.S. Patent No. 6,955,605: Episodic delivery of content
Issued October 18, 2005, to Electronic Arts Inc.


Summary:

The ‘605 patent describes a method of episodically delivering entertainment content for a reality-based game to a plurality of users. An initial episodic game module is delivered, then subsequent episodic game modules are delivered at periodically scheduled intervals. The players can have the new content sent to them via email, or they may be given a website which will house the new content to be downloaded. Once downloaded, the player will be free to play the new episode just like they had the previous content.

Abstract:

A system, method, and apparatus are provided that allow episodic delivery of entertainment content to a user. More specifically, an application module is created with episodic content technology, which can be purchased as a CD-ROM or downloaded from a remote server. The application module contains a current episode of the game and a technology shell to allow future episodes to be downloaded and executed. The entertainment content delivery system is implemented through a centralized server that provides new episodes of the content available for downloading at regularly scheduled intervals to the users' computers. The current instantiation of the application module segregates technology components from content components of the application module to allow independent modification of either. Technological advancements are incorporated as they occur into the new episodes and are executed by the application module. An Internet-enabled game using the entertainment content delivery system communicates with users through various mechanisms, including e-mail, voice mail, fax machines, web sites, and the like.

Illustrative Claims:

1. A method of episodically delivering entertainment content for a reality-based game to a plurality of users, the method comprising: delivering an initial episodic game module to a plurality of user computers using a first transport mechanism, wherein the initial episodic game module comprises an initial set of technology for enabling an initial episode of content on a user computer; and delivering subsequent episodic game modules at periodically scheduled intervals to at least one user, wherein each subsequent episodic game module includes a content component, and wherein the content component of at least one of the subsequent episodic game modules comprises one of a clue or a task to be completed by the user and is delivered to the at least one user using a second transport mechanism different from the first transport mechanism.

17. A method of episodically delivering entertainment content to a plurality of users comprising: delivering an initial episode of content, wherein the initial episode comprises an initial set of technology for enabling an initial episode of content; delivering subsequent episodes at periodically scheduled intervals to at least one user; identifying a relevant current event news story; creating a false news story related to the identified news story, wherein the false news story links the content of the episode to the identified news story; and transmitting information regarding the current event news story to at least one user to provide additional information related to the episode content.

19. A method of episodically delivering entertainment content to a plurality of users comprising: delivering an initial episode of content, wherein the initial episode comprises an initial set of technology for enabling an initial episode of content; delivering subsequent episodes at periodically scheduled intervals to at least one user, wherein an episode requires a video file to be played by a user; and incrementally delivering data comprising the video file as part of a plurality of episodes to a user.

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