Will Wright, the creator of blockbuster franchises from SimCity to The Sims, discussed the future of games at the GameHorizon Live event in a live webcast today. During his Q&A session, he said that the next-generation game consoles can become the “connective tissue” between games and other kinds of entertainment, such as video or music.
Wright said that he was inspired by the “Cambrian” explosion of games (as in the meteoric growth of life during that epoch in Earth’s history) that has come from indie game development on app stores for smartphones, tablets and other platforms.
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Google Glass excites him because it will be “a whole new thing to explore.” He said new kinds of input — multitouch gesture, mouse, and keyboard — will run into the problem of how to get into the “psychology of the player.” Certain kinds of input will become homes for genres within gaming, but he said, “I don’t see any one-size-fits-all.”
As for virtual reality (such as the Oculus Rift headset), he said he likes it and augmented reality. But he added, “There is the issue of how long I can wear it without getting sick.”
Wright cofounded Maxis and created games like SimCity. EA acquired Maxis in 1997, and Wright went on to create titles like The Sims and Spore while at EA. He left Electronic Arts in 2009 and set up a series of startups. His latest company is Syntertainment, which focuses on creative play and the interaction between entertainment and reality.
Wright has won multiple awards and was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame, and in 2007 he became the first game designer to receive a BAFTA award. For young game designers getting started, Wright advised them to study nongaming fields so they can get more creative inspiration. He was inspired in the past by the novels of sci-fi writer Stanislaw Lem.
Wright said he hopes to incorporate real world feedback from players and knowledge about their situation — such as location or tastes — in designing games.
“I’m very interested in how we build a game around a player’s life,” he said. “I want to figure out how to bring games back into everyday reality, games that intersect with players’ lives.”