Monday, July 24, 2006

Wii to use digital distribution for game development



I have just come across a new patent, detailing a digital distribution platform like the Virtual Console to be used for the development of games. The patent is entitled Method and apparatus for secure delivery and evaluation of prototype software over a network. Here are the details:
Before software is provided in its final form to end-users, it goes through a development, testing, and evaluation process. As the software moves through various stages of the process, it is oftentimes desirable to send that software to parties other than the developers to execute and experience (hereafter "third parties"). (...) Although it is possible to bring such third parties to the physical plant of the software developer and carefully control the conditions under which third parties evaluate the prototype software, it may be more convenient and efficient to have third parties test prototype software away from the developer's physical plant. (...)

One security approach is to load the prototype software into a secure "lock box," and have a developer employee physically deliver the prototype software to the third party evaluator. (...) The time and expense associated with this approach are significant. Moreover, there is always a risk that the prototype software may be lost, stolen, or otherwise misappropriated despite precautions and preventive efforts.

The technology described below overcomes these problems. The technology securely delivers software over a network to an evaluation site and monitors the evaluation of the software at the delivered site also via the network.
The actual technicalities are hardly interesting: the patent mentions multiple encryption as well as authentication. The question is, though, how such a process may impact upon the industry.


If implemented correctly, this technology could significantly change the relations between Nintendo and its partners, whether publishers or developers, by allowing for a more flexible presentation schedule. Game presentations would no longer be limited to physical visits of company representatives. Previewing the latest software build could be arranged anytime.

By making it more flexible, this technology may also speed up the development process significantly. Finally, it enables smaller developers to participate, since driving down logistical barriers also drives down costs.

But it may go beyond that. I have played a few preview copies on debug GameCube consoles and know that Nintendo is more protective about preview titles than any other manufacturer. The consoles are usually permanently shut by a metal bar that is screwed into its side. Debug consoles are usually accompanied by Nintendo representatives at all times. Hardly ever are such consoles given to journalists permanently.

I, for one, hope that a digital distribution network for games in development could also benefit the media trying to evaluate a preview build. As far as publishers and developers go, this technology will undoubtedly prove to be a revolution.

Source: US Patent & Trademark Office

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have my doubts that this technology will be a revolution in the industry. Digital Distribution has been around for several years, i-tunes is the best example but movies and games have also have been attempting to take a crack at it. Half Life 2 used this method along with a few others (I personally feel that they are plagued by DRM).

Now if they use this to download small demos and add-ons (such as X Box Live, yes I know it’s Microsoft but it is the only thing regarding Xbox that is turning a profit) This would be a great way for Nintendo to advertise upcoming games and expand upon existing games.

P.S.
I could be wrong but isn’t this old news, virtual console capibility pretty much confirmed this already, it seems like an obvious step to offer full games and demos for the Wii.

Falafelkid said...

Hi Anonymous.

Digital Distribution has been around for several years, i-tunes is the best example but movies and games have also have been attempting to take a crack at it. (...) It seems like an obvious step to offer full games and demos for the Wii.

You misunderstood the patent. This concerns Nintendo being able to preview a game that is still in development through a secure connection online, without some representative having to pick up a physical storage medium (like a CD) at the studio and carrying it to the publisher.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about that. I should of read the entire patent instead of skimming through, my fault there.

I thought they used secure FTP or VPN to show updated builds of a project, it's been a while since they would need to physically pick up the project. But I do see the uses of this technoloy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Falafelkid, I was wondering if you could tell me where you got your "Rated F" ESRB Avatar in your Blogspot profile?...did you make it yourself? Many Thanks and great job with the blog...its the best source for Wii info on the net. :)

Anonymous said...

It sounds like it could be used for testing the games too. Beta copies of a game might be downloaded by people who signed up when they were browsing Nintendo.com with the Opera browser on the Wii and all they need to do is play the game and look for bugs.

Anonymous said...

hm, isnt that risky?
i'm sure this is just a question of time until someone can hack this "secure" internet-connection and catch all the data.

and BAM we have beta-versions of games available in the internet...

Anonymous said...

What is the best Choice ?

Wii360 ???

WiiPS3 ???

Anonymous said...

...consider that (what I understand) an low-end-developmant-GameCube-kit cost around 1500 Euro this new service from Nintendo might help those "third party" hehe..or like a guy like me, to securly, be avaliable to delivery my game concept to the more senior developers/puplishers to Nintendo and/or their preffered alies.

My sweet dream might come true :P

...if they decide to bring it upon us big-minded-but-emty-pockets-people, this is surely a revolution Fala!

/silver

Letsan said...

It sounds like it could be used for testing the games too. Beta copies of a game might be downloaded by people who signed up when they were browsing Nintendo.com with the Opera browser on the Wii and all they need to do is play the game and look for bugs.

That's what it seems to me. Don't think they will use that technology to distribute beta software between Nintendo and developers. Maybe they will use it to test games trough Wii owners, so they don't have to pay to debuggers and testers. At the start of the patent, it says: "Before software is provided in its final form to end-users, it goes through a development, testing, and evaluation process. As the software moves through various stages of the process, it is oftentimes desirable to send that software to parties other than the developers to execute and experience (hereafter "third parties")."
For me, that's another way to say that they will distribute the software to thir-parties for development, testing and evaluation purposes, trough the network. Third-parties are in this case for me Wii owners. They already have enough technology to send this kind of software in beta stages trough companies.

used cisco said...

Maybe Letsan is on to something.

If they could develop a technology that would allow them to get Wii owners to beta test software, (not just any Wii owner but special Nintendo online members with lots of games registered, etc) and then the software could register and report and lockups or framerate slowdows and report back to the home system. These could be time based tests and used to get feedback. While some might complain that nintendo is using us to playtest, I think many would be proud of the priviledge.

Anonymous said...

The whole gaming market sucks ! I dislike the whole situation. Too much secrecy, too much lyings and too much boring games. I hope the Wii is going to change the whole situation ! I miss the good old days !

Raphael said...

Too much secrecy?

Here we go! ;-)


"PRESS RELEASE

[...] Perhaps the secret to
the launch information for
Wii is somehow encoded in
the text of this news item.
You might want to pore
over it for a few hours
before staying up all night
to debate phraseology and
comma placement with your
friends online. Or maybe
it's all just a scam to get
you to read the other games
we have launching this fall.
One of the two."

Read the whole PRESS RELEASE
It´s official!

Here it is:
http://www.gfdata.de/archiv07
-2006-gamefront/nintendowii.txt

source: www.gamefront.de

Anonymous said...

Can anyone encode this ? Has anyone find anything ?

Anonymous said...

Text :

"An enhanced version also will be a launch title for Wii."

They are speaking about Zeda, but its interesting to read : enchanced !

But i think the Wii will launch at
11 th November ! Wii = W 11 , you know history showed us, that the 11 th of a month is always hot !

Anonymous said...

Raphael, Joystiq unraveled Nintendo's riddle-filled press release, and they concluded that the Wii will launch on October 2nd. That sure rivals Falafel's rcent headline of "The Wii will launch in November, after all."

Check out the whole thing at http://gonintendo.com/?p=4013#comments

Anonymous said...

Wii to launch at Oct 2. according to(joystiq)


Wii = V V 1 1

= 5 5 1 1

= 10 2

= Oct 2

or you can place a zero
at end of two oct 20


To those concerned:

Don't rule this out yet.
Man! That formula for blu_luminoth puzzle is working and in effect.

Damn.

dont reply, you know who to PM



+Samurai Aran+

Anonymous said...

ahh... yes

blu_luminoth*

a puzzle for only a few*

Anonymous said...

To the two above

It could still change at the last minute...

Its their call.

Anonymous said...

Sssssshhhhh....


+Samurai Aran+