Does Patent Law apply to Videogames and Virtual Worlds?

 Patents are inevitable in any new technological space and the videogame and Virtual World space is no different.  Patents have been issued covering various aspects of videogame hardware and game play elements.  Currently there are various pending relevant patent applications covering everything from group-to-group entertainment in virtual worlds, financial institutions and instruments in virtual environments, securing contracts in virtual worlds, advice-tracking in virtual worlds and even providing counseling in virtual worlds.  Since the Virtual World industry is still in such a nascent stage no patents specific to this space have issued yet.