Work in progress. Feel free to contribute. -DrFrasierCrane
- 1 Transition from Worlds Chat to WorldsPlayer
- 2 Challenges During This Period
- 3 Height in Popularity
- 4 Slump in Popularity
Transition from Worlds Chat to WorldsPlayer
In 1998, Worlds Chat changed client to Java-based WorldsPlayer and added more features. Like its predecessor, it was released as a CD-ROM during its early days, but soon enough it was only available for digital download.
- The minimum configuration is a Pentium class processor, 300 MHz with 64MB of memory.
- The recommended platform is Pentium class processor, 400 MHz or faster, with 128MB or more (the more the better) of memory.
- Windows 98, 2000, NT, XP
- 100 MB free hard disk space
- Active Internet connection (cable or DSL for faster smoother operation)
Though you can no longer purchase VIP, at the time this was one of Worlds Inc.'s attempts at financing WorldsPlayer's development. VIP allowed access to customizable avatars, Articulated (3D) avatars, and special VIP rooms in certain worlds.
Teleporting & WorldsMarks
The introduction of having "bookmarks" aka WorldsMarks for worlds. It was also the release of the "Drive" button -- an alternative to using the directional keys for traveling through virtual space.
You can view Worlds scenes from six different perspectives or camera positions: First person view, Low first person, Waist, Shoulder, Head, Overhead, and Behind. You can also look up and down. The speed at which the camera turns as you move, can also be set by you to slow, medium or fast. WorldsPlayer saves your avatar view settings from session to session.
The Holographic (2D) avatars are available to everybody, but the Articulated (3D) avatars are only available for VIP users.
Around early 1999, users like Penumbraxx, JetJanitor, and many more discovered the way to customize avatars by altering the VIP avatar line in the
worlds.ini file located in the WorldsPlayer install location. Some users at the time did not understand the process, and understood it to be outside of the regular user interface. For that reason, you can find some messages on forums and personal sites that considered the concept of custom avatars being a sort of "hacking" of WorldsPlayer, though it was not technically a hack. Even during the time of Worlds Chat in 1994-1997, Worlds Inc. never discouraged users' creativity in customizing avatars.
Expanded Universe Map
Rather than having only different parts of the same space station in the teleport map, this new map had whole new worlds to explore, as well as the promise for more to be discovered.
- Green world dot indicates 'home' world.
- Red world dot indicates uninstalled world.
- White world dot indicates installed world.
Work in progress.
Challenges During This Period
By many accounts, Worlds Inc. and its subsidiary projects suffered the "dot-com crash" a bit earlier than other technology companies.
For example, in an effort to focus attention and resources on the Gamma project (known as WorldsPlayer today), Worlds Inc. fired the folks involved in the Active Worlds project at the beginning of 1997. Several of those creators decided to acquire the project under a new company named Circle of Fire Studios and continued growing Active Worlds completely separate from Worlds Inc. At this point, this article continues to focus on the development of WorldsPlayer, but more information about ActiveWorlds history can be found in the ActiveWorlds wiki and in Mauz's history.
Due to increasing funding shortfalls, Worlds Inc. also fired all full-time employees June 2001 but kept the platform online. Some of the employees remained as volunteers.
Height in Popularity
- Between 1998 and 2001 Worlds developed and launched the following worlds in revenue sharing partnerships with the following brands: Universal Pictures Animal House, Polygram, Hanson, David Bowie, NY Yankees, British Telecom, World Wrestling Federation, Aerosmith and Coca Cola China. It also included AOL Time Warner's Road Runner world being used to promote Worlds.com on nationwide cable affiliates. Britany Spears world also included AOL ads in it.
- February 6th, 2001 - Worlds.com in Rollingstone.com article, Aerosmith Album Extras
- Across all Worlds Inc.'s network of worlds, the registered user base reached over 1,000,000 by the end of 2001.
- August 3, 2000 Worlds filed additional claims as a continuance to their 1995 patent application.
- April 17, 2001 US Patent
6219045issued for "Scalable virtual world chat client-server system."
- Saying goodbye to Worlds Chat Gold avatars
- In July 1999, Hosts were introduced under SirGemini's leadership to help employees on Worlds with watching over and assisting users. This allowed for user-created events like Poetry, Trivia, Tours, and more to flourish.
- An official Community Leader Program and application was released in 2001.
Slump in Popularity
- February 20, 2007 patent
7,181,690issued as a continuation of patent
6219045for "System and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space."
- November 2007 Worlds signs a private development agreement with MTV.
- July 7, 2008 Worlds signed Rapper DMC of Run DMC to develop DMC World set to launch early 2009.
- December 11, 2008 - Worlds retained Lerner David Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP (LDLKM), to enforce Worlds' patents.
- December 24, 2008 - Lerner David Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP files patent enforcement action against NC Soft on behalf of Worlds.
- April 2, 2010 - Lerner David Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP settles patent enforcement action against NC Soft on behalf of Worlds.
- May 14, 2011 - Worlds 4th US patent
7,945,856is issued over prior art presented in NC Soft litigation
- December 20, 2011 - Worlds 5th US patent
8,082,501is issued over prior art presented in NC Soft litigation
- February 12, 2012 - Susman Godfrey LLP signs agreement to represent Worlds Inc. in patent enforcement actions.
- March 27, 2012 - Worlds 6th US patent
8,145,998is issued over prior art presented in NC Soft litigation
- March 30, 2012 - Susman Godfrey LLP files patent enforcement action against Activision Blizzard on behalf of Worlds Inc.
- April 17, 2012 - Worlds 7th US patent
8,161,385is issued over prior art presented in NC Soft litigation
- March 26, 2013 - Worlds 8th US patent
8,407,592is issued over prior art presented in NC Soft litigation
- October 3 2014 - The Markman hearing for the patent infringement suit by Worlds Inc. against Activision Blizzard, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Activision Publishing, Inc. (Activision Blizzard et al) (ATVI), was held to address various aspects of the infringement suit claims.
- January 28, 2014 - Worlds 9th US patent
8,640,028is issued over prior art presented in NC Soft litigation.
- June 26, 2015 - Worlds receives a favorable Markman Order from Judge Denise Casper of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on June 26 the related to its patent infringement lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Activision Publishing, Inc. (Activision et al)
- August 18, 2015 - Worlds 10th US patent
9,110,567is issued over prior art presented in NC Soft litigation
- November 30, 2015 - The USPTO institutes an Inter Party Review (IPR) on Worlds patents as filed by Bungie Inc. Worlds formal response due March 15, 2016, oral arguments before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) scheduled for August 10, 2016 with a final ruling to issue by November 30, 2016.
- February 11, 2016 - U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper entered order granting Motion to Stay pending IPR proceedings for 3 months. Counsel to file joint status reports.
- Mar 16, 2016 - Worlds Inc. filed replies to the six Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) instituted by the United States Patent & Trademark Office's (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) at the request of petitioner Bungie Inc. The Worlds patents subject to the IPRs are also at the center of a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Worlds against Activision Blizzard Inc. et al. According to the LA Times, Bungie Inc. has a multi-year contract with Activision and Activision has a seat on Bungie's board of Directors.
- November 30, 2016 - The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) validates six patent claims by Worlds Inc. following Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) review of World's seminal technology that has been fundamental to the development of massively multiplayer online role-playing gaming (MMORPG) into a $20-billion dollar industry. Validated claims were: Claims 4, 8, 13, and 16 of Patent 7,181,690 B1 - IPR2015-01268 and claims 5 and 7 of Patent 7,493,558 B2 - IPR2015-01269. Awaiting the PTAB's final ruling on case
# IPR2015-01319for patent
- Dec 1, 2016 - The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTAB) validated six patent claims by Worlds Inc. following Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The validated claims were: Claims 4, 8, 13, and 16 of patent
7,181,690B1 - IPR2015-01268 and claims 5 and 7 of patent
7,493,558B2 - IPR2015-01269.
- January 12, 2017, February 7, 2017, and January 30, 2017, respectively, the Company appealed the outcomes in IPR2015-01264, IPR2015-01319, and IPR2015-01321 to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”). These three cases have been consolidated.
- January 22, 2018 - the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) has scheduled oral arguments for March 9, 2018
- March 9, 2018 - Worlds Inc.’s (OTCQB:WDDD) oral argument in its appeal of three Inter Partes Review (IPR) decisions issued in 2016 from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Patent Trial & Appeal Board (USPTO PTAB), was held before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). All three of the judges handling Worlds’ appeal, Chief Judge Prost, Judge O’Malley, and Judge Taranto, were in the majority opinion in an earlier case, Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp., in which the CAFC confirmed that patent owners could appeal whether an IPR petition was filed too late under the law.
- Sept. 7, 2018 - The latest win for Worlds came on Sept. 7, 2018 when the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a favorable ruling on Worlds’ behalf in the matter of Worlds Inc. v. Bungie, Inc. The ruling, written by the Chief Judge of the CAFC, vacated the USPTO’s Patent and Trial Board’s invalidity rulings against three of Worlds’ patents, and remanded these cases back to the PTAB with instructions to re-evaluate whether Bungie was permitted to even file its petitions for inter partes review (IPR) of Worlds’ patents.
Work in progress.