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Videogame Gurus

February 23rd, 2006 · No Comments

WSJ writes: “Videogames are reshaping the entertainment business. But the moguls who make them are still largely unknowns.” One of those profiled is Sim City creator Will Wright.

It’s not exactly the backlot at Paramount Studios, but in a glass-walled office in an industrial neighborhood down the block from Pixar in Emeryville, Calif., the videogame industry’s equivalent of Steven Spielberg is hatching what some think could be the next blockbuster. The game designer is 46-year-old Will Wright, who created The Sims, a hugely popular game where players design characters and let them loose to interact.

In 1987, Mr. Wright co-founded Maxis, which was bought by Electronic Arts a decade later for $125 million. Now he is putting the final touches on one of the most eagerly anticipated new videogames. It is Spore, a game that will let players control the development of life forms as they progress from single-celled organisms to complex societies — basically putting the player in charge of evolution. There’s a big legacy to live up to: the Sims franchise has sold more than 58 million games, with sales of well over $1 billion.

Mr. Wright has something of a mad-scientist image. One side project is a group, the Stupid Fun Club (www.stupidfunclub.com), that builds robots that may end up as part of a reality TV show, including one that pelts observers with ping-pong balls.

Tags: Software

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