Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
September 21, 2014
arrowPress Releases
September 21, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Molyneux unveils  Curiosity , a social experiment with $77K in-app purchase
Molyneux unveils Curiosity, a social experiment with $77K in-app purchase
June 7, 2012 | By Mike Rose

June 7, 2012 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    54 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



Industry veteran Peter Molyneux is set to release the first experimental title from his new start-up 22 Cans in the next few weeks, as part of his look into how social media can be used within games.

Curiosity will present players with a small room that contains a black cube, Molyneux told New Scientist. Every player online is looking at the same cube, and as players chip away at the cube, it will become smaller and smaller until it breaks apart.

However, only the player who dealt the final blow will be able to see inside the cube. The idea is that this player will then spread the news of what was inside the cube to other players via social networking.

There is a twist. When the cube has been chipped away a fair amount, a number of special in-app purchases will be made available, allowing users to purchase special stronger chisels for money.

One diamond chisel will be made available for £50,000 ($77,400), and will essentially ensure that the purchaser is the person who breaks open the cube, says Molyneux.

"It's an insane amount of money," Molyneux said. "This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetization."

This is the first of 22 experimental games, Molyneux revealed, and each will attempt to explore the psychology of social media in video games.

Molyneux left Microsoft and Lionhead earlier this year to start his own independent outfit alongside former Lionhead chief technical officer Tim Rance.


Related Jobs

Infinity Ward / Activision
Infinity Ward / Activision — Woodland Hills, California, United States
[09.20.14]

Producer - Infinity Ward
Infinity Ward / Activision
Infinity Ward / Activision — Woodland Hills, California, United States
[09.20.14]

Senior AI Engineer
Infinity Ward / Activision
Infinity Ward / Activision — Woodland Hills, California, United States
[09.20.14]

Lead Tools Engineer - Infinity Ward
Infinity Ward / Activision
Infinity Ward / Activision — Woodland Hills, California, United States
[09.20.14]

Senior Tools Engineer - Infinity Ward










Comments


Jim Perry
profile image
WTF?!?

Chris Nash
profile image
I believe the social experiment has already begun. See below...

Chris Christow
profile image
Wow! What is that? A game for billionaires' idiot children?

Keith Burgun
profile image
Isn't that what all videogames are?

Lalleve Julien
profile image
"This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetization" ... which happens to be a money-making exercise.

What a lucky coincidence !

Fergus Watson
profile image
The trouble with the £50,000 price mark is that if you're evenly remotely considering spending that amount on something so trivial, you're probably so rich that it isn't going to mean much to you anyway. So it becomes less about the psychology of monetization and more about someone who doesn't value money coming in and using it as entertainment.

If it was set at something more around the £1,000 mark, something which for the average player is still a huge amount but not outside the realm of possibility to spend on something ... then it would have more impact, IMO.

Ali Afshari
profile image
I'd imagine someone who can afford a $78K in-game item also likes to hunt humans for sport...the contents of the cube, whatever they may be, will not satisfy this kind of person.

Joe Cooper
profile image
What if the contents are coupons to Molyneux's human hunting grounds?

Aleksander Adamkiewicz
profile image
Jenga with money.

Not sure if want.

E McNeill
profile image
It's possible that this will be genuinely exploitative, but right now it just looks like an interesting examination (and possibly satire) of monetization, just as Molyneux indicates. I'm fascinated.

I'll be watching from the bleachers.

Steve Cawood
profile image
So would the player get a refund after buying that chisel? I can't think of anything that's gonna be in that cube being worth £50,000

Eric Geer
profile image
Trying to be brilliant...but...

There are plenty of people with plenty of money that would be willing to just toss money at this to throw the whole "social experiment" to the wind.

"This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetization."

Yea......

Benjamin Quintero
profile image
...and someone will pay it. suckers...

John Trauger
profile image
Wait...I have a Kickstarter idea!

Arjen Meijer
profile image
There must be something very extraordinary inside that cube. I'm wondering how the other chisels will be affecting the "game", still surprised nobody's mentioning that it's pay to win.

E McNeill
profile image
And the alternative to that is pure grinding. I hope that the thing inside the box is a free spin of a slot machine or something, just to put a cherry on top of the whole thing.

Arjen Meijer
profile image
The alternative to that alternative is making a fun game you enjoy playing. Who knows, chipping off cube bits might be considered fun...

Paul Szczepanek
profile image
I bet the cube contains Milo's corpse.

Eric Geer
profile image
Let the speculation begin!

Eric Geer
profile image
What if as said "This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetization."

What if it is a return receipt for everyone that paid something. And it shows a list of the contributers and amounts. So in the end no money is made and no money is lost.

Kevin Baker
profile image
@Eric

Going with your idea, it'd be interesting if it showed all the money people spent on it and gave the player the choice of what to do with it. I'm sure it'd be very interesting from Molyneux's point of view to see what that player decides to do. Do they return the money back to everyone? Do they donate the money? Do they keep it for themselves? Or any combination really. Based on what they do, they may lie about what they saw.

Definitely looking forward to reading about how this turns out.

Megan Swaine
profile image
So you'd have to be a pretty rich person who also really, really cares about being THE FIRST to know what's in the box?

I mean, in the Internet age, everyone's going to find out eventually anyway, right? Whether they play the game or not.

Jason Canam
profile image
I think that it is really about being THE ONE who gets to witness the inside of the cube, which is a remarkably unique event in this case.

And it's really about how much value you place on that experience. I would love to have such a truly unique experience.

That being said, even if I had unlimited funds, I wouldn't purchase the Diamond chisel, I would feel far too self-conscious about ruining the game for everyone else (regardless of how badly I would want it).

Finally, could you imagine if the person who saw the inside never revealed its contents? That would be remarkable in itself.

I think this truly is a great psychological experiment, and I'll be watching it closely, for sure.

Eric Geer
profile image
@Jason---It could turn out like Jason Rohrer's Chain World

Eric McVinney
profile image
Wanna know what's inside THE ONE? The Ark of the Covenant.

Chris Nash
profile image
@Jason---The person who is THE ONE, as you put it, will actually be THE FOURTEENTH or something because obviously Peter Molyneux and his team already know (and have known for sometime) what is the piece of entertainment that has been hidden. I just wonder if a hacker/pirate will break in before an honest player does.

Simon Ludgate
profile image
Assuming the diamond chisel instantly finishes the game and that someone will buy it, then the game will end with the use of the diamond chisel. Therefore, the question is not who will chip away at the cube, but who will buy the diamond chisel. Thus, the only players who ought to have any interest in the game are those considering buying the chisel, and the game is about who manages to buy it when it goes on sale.

From that perspective; I'm out.

Eric Geer
profile image
Not necessarily.

There is potential that since the experience will be shared in the end, that it could just be a grind and no body will pay anything.

$77K is a lot of money---and for a single unknown experience...it is possible that no body will put up money for the diamond chisel.

Carlo Delallana
profile image
The ridiculously priced "instant win" chisel is essential to the social experiment that has already begun even before we've played the game. 22 Cans has placed a monetary value on the contents of this community cube and we're already going through a range of responses from curiosity and shock to apathy and cynicism.

Jeff F
profile image
Correct, he has already received what he wants in this social experiment..it has nothing to do with "who opens this imaginary box".

Jim Perry
profile image
I can't imagine that what he wants is for people to wonder if he's gone insane or not. :\

E McNeill
profile image
Jim: I think his defining characteristic is just that he doesn't care whether people think that or not.

Nooh Ha
profile image
Can't believe that nobody has mentioned the word gambling yet...

Doug Poston
profile image
Looks like somebody played too much "Cow Clicker". ;)

IMHO Molyneux is the Andy Warhol of the video game industry. I mean that in a good way. :)

Cordero W
profile image
I know what's in there. A bunch of 0s and 1s.

Ramin Shokrizade
profile image
I see what he's doing and I'm not going to ruin the punch line. If he has that much money to spend on monetization experiments, I would love to have lunch with him. My oldest monetization design from 2009 was valuated at $150,000 plus royalties by the world's top game development professor last year. I might be able to save him some time :)

Les Player
profile image
Maybe cheaper to buy the company 22 Cans!

Christopher Thigpen
profile image
Cocaine is a helluva drug...

Joe Cooper
profile image
Spoiler alert. It contains "disappointment".

dana mcdonald
profile image
There will be a cat in the box. The real question is whether the cat is dead or alive.

Ben Schlessman
profile image
I love this guy. I wish more developers could be more like him and just, ya know, try stuff like this :)

John Evans
profile image
The only way to win is not to play.

Jeremie Sinic
profile image
What if what's inside is worth more than the $77,400?

Carlo Delallana
profile image
what would the original paper design documents to Dungeon Keeper be worth?

Jeremie Sinic
profile image
Haha, I wonder, but I like to think the buyer would get his money worth because THAT would actually be a big surprise :)

Mikhail Mukin
profile image
How about also selling some tools that reinforce the cube? Maybe selling some "Ultimate Shield" for $77,400 that negates effect of one Diamond Chisel? :)

What can be inside the cube...
Another cube (2 cubes?)?
A sphere that gives everybody money (till it is broken) as you hit it?
A check for $77,400 (after tax :)?
Big random number, that might not mean anything but will keep people guessing...
Account # for some cancer research organization, where the money could have been spent better?


Guessing is the fun part :)

Luca Alesini
profile image
"Big random number, that might not mean anything but will keep people guessing..."

42, maybe? :>

Tjien Twijnstra
profile image
Lovin' it :)

brad coleman
profile image
I hope it contains another cube that requires another chisel...

Marc Hebert
profile image
Well, since most of the design was given away, thought I might as well do my own version: http://squeezingpixels.com/CuriosityParody/ The difficulty is set to Hell level so it will take an insane amount of tapping to see what's inside the cube.

Chip away! :)

Martin Sabom
profile image
Obscene and stupid.

Ian Bogost
profile image
I went ahead and implemented this in Cow Clicker.

https://apps.facebook.com/cowclicker/cow.aspx

Dan Robinson
profile image
How long is it before online casino Golden Palace, buys the diamond chisel?

Ernest Adams
profile image
There's a place in the world for John Cage's musical piece 4'33", and there's a place in the world for Cow Clicker; but once the joke has been told, there's no real need to tell it again. I'd rather listen to Mozart or Muddy Waters, and play StarCraft or Civilization.

If I'm going to waste my increasingly-precious time doing something that offers me no benefit whatsoever, I'd rather waste it doing something of some benefit to another:

http://www.galaxyzoo.org/


none
 
Comment: