Moving The Industry Forward: Peter Molyneux Speaks
April 7, 2008 Page 2 of 5
You're talking about the contrast -- or, rather, say, the spectrum of enjoyment. A game that can be enjoyed by a broader spectrum of players, on a number of different levels. And that feels to me like that's a very contemporary question in development. Do you feel that it's something that has arisen recently, or maybe has gotten more focus? It's tough to deal with.
PM: You know, I suppose if I was being harsh, I would say -- and here we are, sitting at the Game Developers Conference; and I don't know how many people are going to come here this year, but last year it was twenty thousand? It was a ridiculously huge number of people...
Almost that many, yeah.
PM: I would say, to a great extent, we in the development community have really let this industry down. Because I wouldn't say there were exponentially more people playing computer games today than there were when Game Developers Conference first started. Fifteen years ago? Twenty years ago? It's been quite a while.
When it seems to me that the number of people that use computer games as entertainment isn't getting exponentially bigger. Although the market is getting bigger, and we're selling eight million units.
But I've been really thinking about, I remember back in the early eighties... when Clive Sinclair in England released the Sinclair Spectrum. And he famously said, "Every home in Britain will have one of these, and people won't watch television anymore, they will play computer games." That was a dream that was put forth in the seventies, when this thing had 1K of RAM -- and for a little while, we all believed that.
Now, there seems to be this big barrier that exists. And I was actually just in the shops, down here -- I'd forgotten to bring a shirt -- and I was talking to the bloke who's selling me a shirt, and he said: "Aw, I don't play computer games. Because I'm not good enough. I can't get my head round this thing. [Molyneux holds up an Xbox 360 controller.] Every time I do it, I hit my head against a wall." Now that's a huge failure. That's our failure. For not being really, truly as big as movies. Because we're not. Because we only sell -- what do we sell? Eight million?
Well it's funny, right? Microsoft came out and said Halo 3 was the biggest "entertainment launch" in history, by dollar revenue. More money than Harry Potter, more money than Spider-Man 3! Well, it's more money, but it's not more people.
PM: That's it. That's exactly right. You are exactly right. And I think we have confused ourselves with the success of what we've made. But is that truly success? Is measuring it by dollar value rather than by the consumer, by the number of people that consume and enjoy our games?
I'll go even further, and say that for the casual market, next generation hasn't happened yet. For the casual market, Peggle is where it's at, man! And that could've been done on a Commodore 64.
And, you know, I feel that it's my responsibility as a designer, to try and think of ways that we can bring people together. A lot of this is purely selfish reasons. My dream is to play a computer game with my wife. She hates video games.
That must be sort of, uh... (laughs)
PM: She loathes them. She loathes the computer games that I like, because it makes her feel stupid. She just doesn't feel cool, and that's why we put the co-op in.
And I would guess she's not stupid. (laughs)
PM: She's not stupid. She just doesn't like -- like anybody in this world -- she doesn't like to be made to look stupid. And when I give her the controller of a lot of games, she ends up, you know, being Master Chief or whoever, running against a brick wall and looking really dumb. That's what my dream is to get around; to get a game that everybody can play together.
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