Microsoft Lands Milestone 5,000th PatentThe patent, which covers technologies that will be featured in Xbox 360 games, brings new innovation to online gaming by allowing consumers to tune into a video game much as they would a sporting event broadcast. Obtaining its 5,000th U.S. patent marks Microsofts progress in developing innovations and opening the doors over the past three years to its multibillion-dollar research and development efforts. "The 5,000th patent is a marker of the progress we have made in the past few years — building a high-quality, innovative and industry-recognized portfolio," said Brad Smith, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Microsoft. "Through patents, we are able to license our technologies widely to others in the industry, increasing the availability of our innovations and getting beneficial solutions in the hands of customers." A system for generating a spectator experience in real time from a game or event, such as highlights, instant replays, and unique views of the action within a game to enhance the experience for spectators rather than players. Using viewing controls, a spectator can control one or more virtual cameras to select desired viewpoints or an automated camera control to frame the action and perform specific cuts to best convey the story and action. The game and in turn the spectator experience may vary as a function of participant interactions and other contributions to the game based on real-time spectator activity. A portal such as a Web site to access spectator-related services such as schedules and information on multiple games and events as well as the number of spectators and participants in each. The portal allows the spectator to find the most popular games to watch, preview the action, and then connect to the desired game or event. Call me cynical, but how many people enjoy watching others play? A prime example is Project Gotham TV on Project Gotham Racing 3. I cant think of anything more boring than watching other people race around a track, Ive used the function once and was glad to get back to racing my own car. Perhaps, with first and third person shooters, it may provide a useful insight into why some players are better than others. Well have the chance, for the first time, to be able to watch these players, learn tips, tricks, and even discover secret areas, and glitches. The new technology could potentially narrow the gap between amateur and professional Xbox gamers.