Blizzard is trying to patent Overwatch’s Play of the Game system

Blizzard is trying to patent Overwatch’s Play of the Game system

Blizzard’s patent for a “Play of the Game” highlight system was published by the US patent office earlier this month.

The application has yet to be reviewed by the patent office, and as such has not yet been granted. Blizzard first filed an abstract for the patent two years ago, looking to protect its means of storing and sharing highlights in Overwatch.

Filed on 9th December 2016, the patent description said: “a game server records events that occur within a match of a video game played using a plurality of game clients. After the match has concluded, the game server scores the events according to a plurality of criteria corresponding a plurality of play of the game categories. The game server then selects a play of the game category and determines the top aggregated score for the category.”

According to Dot Esports, the patent wouldn’t prevent other studios from creating similar highlight systems. But it protects the means by which those highlights are stored, rated, and evaluated for final showing. Competing systems can still display a “top highlight” at the end of rounds, but would have to develop their own means of acquiring them.

"This isn't trying to protect the Play of the Game concept overall," said esports attorney Ryan C. Fairchild "It's the in-game process for choosing and then posting the Play of the Game."

Blizzard aren’t alone in the business of legally locking-down game systems. The ongoing attempt by PUBG Corp to shut down battle royale competitors could set a worrying precedent for games development.

The patent application can be read in its entirety here.

Staff Writer

Natalie Clayton is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer and game developer. Besides PCGamesInsider and, she's written across the games media landscape and was named in the 2018 100 Rising Star list.