U.S. Patent No. 7,584,154: Arbitration of online game results using an arbitration server and method
Issued Sep. 1, 2009, to Microsoft


The ‘154 patent provides an arbitration service for online gaming. Prior to the game, players register with an arbitration server which retains a record of each player’s game information. At the end of the game the arbitration service receives information from all the players in the game. It then compares the information it gathered with the information the player’s submitted to check for inconsistencies. If no inconsistencies are found, the information is saved and the players move on to a new game. If a player is found to have disconnected during the game, his opponent will be declared the winner, and the quitting player may be subjected to a pre-determined punishment.


Official results for an online game session are determined by an arbitration server based upon reports received from each game console participating in the game session. The reports provide results for all of the players participating in the games session. Before starting the game session, each game console registers the players using it with the gaming service, so that a player who disconnects mid-game can be identified. If the results reported differ, predefined arbitration rules are applied to determine the official results. If a game console cannot report because it is being packet bombed, a different protocol is used to transmit a data packet to the arbitration service indicating that the gaming console is being packet bombed. While not required, the arbitration server can use historical data recorded for each player to apply the predefined arbitration rules in determining the official results.

Illustrative Claim:

1. In a computing environment comprising an online game service and a plurality of online game players playing a game at remote client computers that are connected to the game service, a method for automatically arbitrating at the game service a disputed outcome because of inconsistent game outcomes reported to the game service by the plurality of players, the method comprising steps of: requiring, at the game service, at the beginning of an online game session and prior to beginning the game, each of a plurality of players to register with an arbitration server at the game service; retaining a record at the game service of each player that agreed to play at the beginning of the game session irrespective of whether each player finished the game session; creating and storing at the game service a unique ID at the beginning of a game session for that session so that each registered player for that game session is identifiable as to that game session; determining, at the conclusion of the online game session played by the plurality of registered players, results for the game session independently at each client computer of the plurality of registered players which remains connected to the game service; recording the outcome of the game session with respect to all registered players independently at each connected client computers; creating a plurality of independent records of the same game session; receiving reports at the gaming service at the conclusion of the online game session played by the plurality of registered players from at least two client computers from the plurality of the registered players, each report received from a registered player including the outcome of the game session for all registered players, as independently determined by the client computer of the registered player; comparing, automatically at the game service, the results of all reports submitted to the game service to determine if any inconsistency exists in the outcome of the game session based on the results that were reported; declaring, if the game service determines that no inconsistency exists between the reports submitted to the game service, and if results are reported by all of the registered players, the outcome of the game session based on the results found in the submitted reports; and otherwise, applying at the arbitration server of the game service, if either an inconsistency exists in the results that were reported or if not all of the initially registered players for the game session submitted a report at the end of the game session, a predefined set of arbitration rules using any previously determined trust ratings stored at the game service for any of the registered players to determine the official results for the game session; and updating at the game service a trust rating for each of the registered players, based on events relating to how the game was played by each registered player, irrespective of whether a report was submitted by a player or not.

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