Popular Science has a fascinating and very long interview with uber-game designer Will Wright about all sorts of stuff readers here might find interesting. E.g., cooperative gaming, educational gaming, game development finances, strategies for integrating user-generated content, what went wrong with The Sims Online, and what WW thinks about Second Life (he's a fan). Here are a few snippets:
Q: Sims Online seemed like a slam dunk, got huge press, it was going to change the nature of gaming. And it still exists, but it wasn't the raging success people were expecting.
WW: I think that's actually the reason, because with The Sims, I think people love controlling this experience, and creating everything, and playing out these stories, and having the ultimate power to shape the experience and environment to whatever they want to. In an online game you can't even pause the game, or speed it up – you can't control time at all, because everybody has to be on the same time sync...<snip>
I find I don't subscribe to World of Warcraft – I appreciate what they did, but I have maybe a half hour to play, an hour to play, on my own schedule. I can't join a guild and make commitments...
Q: [T]o my eye at least, [feedback on player designs in Spore is] potentially the coolest part of the game.
WW: Looking at things like Pokemon and Neopets, and how much people kind of identify with these creatures, and they didn't even create them – they trained them or gave them some stats or whatever – but it was always Pikachu or whatever. In this case I want people to feel like they are Pokemon designers, Neopet designers, or Pixar designers, and the range of creatures is pretty astounding.
Q: But you're not looking at an economy where people sell what they've created, like in Second Life?
WW: Well, those economies that develop – there's no way for us to prevent them, first of all. If there's a reason for it to exist, as an external economy, they can always go do it on eBay, so I'm not saying we can prevent this from happening. There probably will be some sort of economy that we haven't quite figured out, where the most popular creature, or person, get some sort of reward, and we're not quite sure what form that reward will take yet.
Those are just to get you interested -- read the full interview here.
Thanks to blogger/CatchBobber Nick Nova for spotting this!