The challenge with this kind of growth is to keep these new gamers interested in games and sustain this momentum. We need to keep them coming back to new games and fresh ideas. Time will tell whether this growth is one cycle in the industry or if it is something that is permanent.
What keeps you excited about coming to work every day at Firaxis?
I really enjoy making games; it's just fun. It's like taking a lumpy piece of clay and turning it into something very cool. Every day is part of that process. Not knowing exactly where we are going and figuring it out step by step is just a challenge.
It's almost like the "one more turn" phenomenon in Civilization. It's looking to that next thing we are going to add to the game and seeing how we can just make it better. The fun for me is really not knowing from week to week what cool thing we are going to add, getting a chance to play with everything and tweak everything and just getting to see a game grow before your eyes.
Where do you see the game industry five years from now?
I imagine we'll have different technologies, another cycle where they're brand new and you're experimenting with a lot of different ways of using this technology. That happened with the CD-Rom, with multiplayer on the Internet, and it's now happening in the early stages with social gaming and mobile gaming. In five years we'll have social gaming figured out with different genres. We'll have different kinds of social games and everyone will understand the rules and the interface. Mobile is probably a technology we haven't gotten the most out of.
Where do you see opportunities for mobile games?
Mobile games now are five minute quick gaming fixes. When you look at all the technology in a smartphone, the connectivity, the GPS, the camera, there are all sorts of things that could be integrated into a gaming experience that we haven't thought of yet. I have a feeling that we will start to explore more of what's possible in the whole space. Who knows what the technology will be. The iPad is a beautiful piece of hardware that does really cool stuff. We're still tyring to catch up in terms of game design and how to take advantage of it.
What role will PCs play in the future?
If history is any guide, the PC will just continue to be a strong platform for gaming. We'll see a new generation or two of consoles—maybe your watch might play a game, I don't know. I think gaming will continue to go wherever technology goes. It'll be a fun five years.
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