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Molyneux: 'Big Barrier' To Games Reaching Mainstream

Molyneux: 'Big Barrier' To Games Reaching Mainstream

April 7, 2008 | By Staff

April 7, 2008 | By Staff
More: Console/PC

Talking as part of an in-depth new Gamasutra interview, Lionhead co-founder Peter Molyneux has been questioning the reach of games, suggesting that there's still "a big barrier" to accessibility, and that the game market "isn't getting exponentially bigger".

When discussing his new title Fable 2 and the state of the market in general, given attempts by the game to add accessibility to the traditionally fairly 'hardcore' role-playing game genre, Molyneux ruminated:

"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."

Continuing on this theme, Molyneux, who has been creating games since the 1980s and designed seminal 'god game' titles including Populous and Black & White, adds:

"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?"

However, the UK-based developer added as part of the in-depth Gamasutra interview, which also covers a host of other issues related to Fable 2 and the state of gaming:

"You know, I think you can already see that games are being made that are making inroads in [bridging casual and core games], but unfortunately, they're not quite as obvious. Maybe they are, when you think about it. Wii Sports is a huge step to bring casual gamers and hardcore players together."

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