A recent patent application was brought to the public's attention on Bnet. The patent lends people to believe that Google may begin using YouTube to host some sort of online games. Google's patent, Web-Based System for Generation of Interactive Games Based on Digital Videos, was filed back in February, but was just published in December. The patent brings about the idea of interactive video clips that can contain link objects, which can be used to jump to specific parts of the video. This can sort of be understood like a DVD menu, where clicking on a certain choice will jump you to a certain scene of the movie.
Here's the patent description:
"A video may have associated with it one or more annotations, which modify the appearance and/or behavior of a video as it was originally submitted to an online video hosting site. Some examples of annotations are graphical text box annotations, which display text at certain locations and certain times of the video, and pause annotations, which halt playback of the video at a specified time within the video. Some annotations, e.g. a graphical annotation (such as a text box annotation) comprising a link to a particular portion of a target video, are associated with a time of the target video, which can be either the video with which the annotation is associated, or a separate video. Selecting such annotations causes playback of the target video to begin at the associated time. Such annotations can be used to construct interactive games using videos, such as a game in which clicking on different portions of a video leads to different outcomes."
As confusing as the above description is, it's very hard to ignore the possibilities implied. The ability to create games that jump in and out of videos would be possible. Not only that, but one could even create a game by just recording video clips and setting anchors at specific points in the video, giving each choice in the game a unique outcome. Bnet points out that this has the potential to allow anyone with a video camera and a basic video editing program to create games.
It will be interesting to see if this patent actually gets put to use. Big companies patent things all the time, and many of those patents never see the light of day. YouTube Games. Interesting indeed.