It's been awhile since we've heard from Will Wright, the famed game designer responsible for the original SimCity franchise and The Sims. Since leaving Electronic Arts and the Maxis development studio he founded back in 2008, he's been involved with gaming startups—HiveMind and Syntertainment—but we haven't actually seen any games with his name in the credits for almost a decade.
That's because Wright's still busy developing his Next Big Thing. It won't be launching on PC and it doesn't even have a name yet, but Wright promises it will be something built for mobile devices that makes a "game" out of people's lives.
Wright, who spent much of his career pushing the boundaries of simulation on PC, still has a love for PC gaming. He talks about the stable platform PCs offer to developers and gives his thoughts on the evolution of second-screen gaming in this exclusive interview.
Game On: What are your thoughts on the current PC gaming space?
Will Wright: PC gaming has always been so much more steady to me. It evolved as a platform, but it doesn't go through generation cycles the way consoles do. I think that the fracturing of the games market over the last five or ten years has really had a much bigger impact on dedicated hardware, like handheld consoles and console games.
The PC has kind of been stable. It's always been a more adaptable platform, but it's also always been more ubiquitous. You see a lot of experimentation with the indie stuff happening on the PC. We're starting to see a lot of people developing either on the PC or mobile with smaller teams, smaller budgets and more experimentation.
We're getting a more diverse set of games as a result of all this, and a big part of that is also the diversification of the players. We're dealing with a much more diverse set of people playing games than we were 15 years ago, but I think the PC actually is still a great platform and in some sense is in a better place for the future than consoles are.
What impact has the rise of free-to-play games on PC like League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth had on the gaming market?
It's great from the consumer's point of view because rather than taking a risk and dropping forty bucks on a game and not knowing if you like it or hate it, free-to-play games have the opportunity to demonstrate value from the very beginning. Then it's a matter of once you demonstrate value, how can you slowly ramp players' interest up based on that. If I'm really hooked on a game I don't mind paying for it, especially after the game has demonstrated to me that I can get enjoyment from it.
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