Sim City creator and Maxis founder Will Wright has said Microsoft’s licensing policies reversal is indicative of a broader, positive trend towards getting gamers involved in shaping their experiences.
“It was interesting watching the Microsoft thing. I thought it was very impressive how responsive Microsoft was to that,” Wright said in a conversation with CNN.
“That part I think is great because that’s something that I’ve always believed in – getting the players very involved not just after the game ships, but even before and try to listen to them.”
Wright said he believes games are trending towards an area of particular interest to him – “baseline communities of people playing the game and doing a lot of cool stuff peer-to-peer, whether it’s content sharing or competition or forming social connections”.
“I tend to think of the fan base, especially the hardcore fan base, as co-developers. These people with a passion for your project are going to go out and sell your game to other people and pull other people in,” he said.
“The more they feel like they have some ownership over the process and they’re not just kind of customers, the better. To see a company like Microsoft actually sit back, listen, and understand the fans and respond to them is impressive. For a company that size to be that responsive is great. These companies are the ones that obviously keep us in business and allow us to make games.”
That said, Wright acknowledged that the noisy 5% aren’t always representative of the other 95% of a designer’s potential player base, and said that understanding the kind of feedback the Internet provides is important.
Wright’s latest project is yet another new start up called Syntertainment; we’re not super sure what it’s up to but suspect its a continuation of the work that Hivemind was pursuing before it was stymied by legal troubles.