TL;DR – “Riot now has a patent on the self-moving camera. Riot should take care in enforcing its patents in the future, and consider the effects of their patents on Esports.” – Esports-Patent-Atty via Reddit
Apparently Riot saw it necessary to claim the rights over (what I thought to be) a standard feature of esports games, that being spectator mode… To clarify, I’m pretty sure this is just a specific feature of their League of Legends spectator mode that creates certain values for different players and areas of the map that a camera will automatically move to during a spectated match to show the spectator the most interesting action in real-time. That’s what I feel like this is about, and definitely not “spectator mode” as a whole. Riot obviously didn’t invent “spectator mode,” and if they are trying to patent this feature in order to control the MOBA genre, or if they are planning to use this patent to hold other esports games back, then I take SERIOUS issue with this. I do however realize that that is a pretty valuable feature they developed, and as a business, Riot has to defend their proprietary designs and systems.
From reddit: (OP)
On Jan. 28, 2014, the US Patent office granted Riot Games patent No. 8,636,589. The patent can be found here for anyone interested: Google Link (contains a PDF link to the patent document).
The patent appears to cover the way the self-moving camera works in spectator mode. The claims (i.e. monopoly) of the patent prevent others from calculating “interest values” around champions (aka avatars), and moving the camera around based on the interest values. So in theory, putting business concerns aside, and assuming the patent is valid, other MOBAs such as DOTA2 or Blizzards MOBA are prevented from using the same self moving camera.
I think Riot has been pretty respectable in general (let’s be honest, they’re not as bad as EA – READ MORE), but what they do with this patent remains to be seen. Cross your fingers for Esports! Let us know what you think about this, and if you come across any updates to this information. We’ll be staying posted as well.