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Will Wright Gets Personal With Hivemind

| 17 Nov 2011 16:01
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Sims creator Will Wright is working on a new idea called Hivemind that aims to turn invasion of privacy into a brand new kind of game.

What if, instead of you learning how to play a game, a game learned how to play you by customizing itself to fit your personal tastes, interests and experiences? That sounds like what Wright has in mind with an idea he calls "personal gaming," in which games tailor themselves to individuals in order to make their real lives more interesting.

"Rather than craft a game like FarmVille for players to learn and play, we learn about you and your routines and incorporate that into a form of game play," Wright told VentureBeat. Among the many things the game could learn about you and work into itself are your location, the locations of your friends and how much money you've got kicking around.

And if that strikes you as just a wee bit creepy, well, Wright doesn't think that's a problem. Young people are more open to the idea of sharing personal information than older generations, he explained, and if you "entice" them with the promise of entertainment, they'll happily hand it over.

The goals seem pretty vague at this point but Wright said that once Hivemind has harvested enough data on a player, it can begin to make meaningful suggestions for entertainment options. "It blurs entertainment, lifestyle and personal tools. With that data, the world and the opportunities for entertainment become more visible to you," he said. "If we can learn enough about the player, we can create games about their real life. How do we get you more engaged in reality, rather than distract you from it?"

It could also work as a sort of matchmaking service, he continued, putting together people with similar interests and also opening up opportunities to crowdsource real-life problems. Players could send messages to friends asking them for help with a specific task, or provide assistance to friends who make requests of their own.

Hivemind is also the name of the new startup Wright created to develop the project, which will operate alongside his other company, Stupid Fun Club. Stupid Fun Club is more of a think-tank, he said, while Hivemind is intended to be an operational game company; the two will function independently, although ideas created at Stupid Fun Club could end up being incorporated into Hivemind. He also hopes that the announcement will attract interest from other developers and help build it into a big, talent-heavy operation. "We want to do this in a very big way," he said.

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