So I found an interesting video from FORA.tv depicting Will Wright talking about how game design and Web 2.0 are intersecting (see the end of the post). Basically he touches on how he believes that most people are narcissistic by nature and the more you power you give a gamer to express themselves through their character or game, the more involved they get in the game. I kind of have to take his word for gospel on this one since he designed the best selling PC game of all time, The Sims.
He then goes on to speak about how Web 2.0 and the whole social networking craze links in to his theory. In my opinion services like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter are narcissistic in nature since they allow a person to create their idealized identity online. A person doesn’t have to deal with their broken down car, mass layoffs at work, or a pending breakup/divorce online. They can create as glitzy of a profile they want and let others think their lives are the greatest thing since sliced bread. They can also wallow in their own self pity and solicit the sympathy of others to boost their egos. People can do whatever they want on social networking sites and portray themselves however they want. That is why they are mega popular, and that is why Will Wright’s theory should be promoted to fact.
Will Wright’s point also applies to MMOs as well. They have exploded in popularity because they let people create an idealized online version of themself. Who cares if you are jobless 30 year old living in your Mom’s basement when you are a valued member of an elite WoW raiding guild? You can turn yourself into Superman if you want to. That is the allure of an MMO and what draws gamers to them like magnets.
So, Will Wright, you are a much smarter man then I. I mean the guy just left his job at EA to form a think tank.