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Molyneux: Games have failed to become another true entertainment form

Molyneux says Curiosity is nearing 2m users and he details unexpected behavior with penis pictures

Curiosity nearly killed the keynote at this year's Montreal International Game Summit. 22 Cans' debut mobile effort was so overwhelmingly popular upon its launch last week that the crush of people overwhelmed the studio's servers, putting the team into a crunch mode that scuttled founder Peter Molyneux's plans to appear at the show in person. Instead, Molyneux appeared via Skype, and gave the audience some perspective on just how much gamers' interest in the game outstripped 22 Cans' expectations.

“My assumption was that a few thousand people would start tapping away at the cube,” Molyneux said, perhaps adding a few thousand per day and reaching maybe 50,000 in a month. Instead, the game hit 50,000 players within three hours of launch. The userbase has also grown dramatically, with nearly 2 million players to date, and an expected 300,000 tappers each day. Together, those players have tapped half a billion cubelets.

As for what all those cubelets are hiding, Molyneux ruled out some things during his keynote.

"Back in the '80s, the dream that we all had in this industry was that we would be truly another form of entertainment. You know what? To a certain extent we failed on that dream"

Peter Molyneux

“I can reveal now exclusively that it is not a dead cat,” Molyneux said. “It's not a pile of money, or unfortunately, a trip on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. And most sad of all, it's not Half-Life 3.”

The demand for cube-tapping wasn't the only unexpected thing about Curiosity's launch. Molyneux said he was also surprised to see people carving their own sophisticated images into the cube, incredible and artistic images destined to be destroyed even as they were being created. He showed an exceptionally detailed picture of a woman holding an umbrella, a Space Invader, the Pokemon Mew, and other, less artistically ambitious creations.

“Far and away, the most number of single pictures have been penises,” Molyneux confirmed. However, there was an unexpected bright side to even that trend. Molyneux said there is a contingent of Curiosity players that has taken to redecorating the penis pictures, transforming them into other, more artistically acceptable images.

Clearly energized by his first foray into mobile development, Molyneux also implored the independent developers in the audience to take advantage of the new platforms to realize the potential of the gaming medium.

“Back in the '80s, the dream that we all had in this industry was that we would be truly another form of entertainment,” Molyneux said. “You know what? To a certain extent we failed on that dream. We failed in it because we've made some fantastic experiences for a very small number of people. Now is the opportunity to make fantastic, amazing, unique experiences, to use all this technology to make amazing, delightful, incredible worlds for millions of people.”

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Latest comments (7)

Andrew Animator 4 years ago
We failed in it because we've made some fantastic experiences for a very small number of people. Now is the opportunity to make fantastic, amazing, unique experiences, to use all this technology to make amazing, delightful, incredible worlds for millions of people
Hmm, The 8 million people playing minecraft or the 20 million people playing COD might suggest this already happened.

This feels like another, mobile development is the only way to reach a mass audience statement. It really isn't the 'only' way forward, or in fact anything new at all. Curiosity would have been a hit regardless or the platform it launched on, because much more importantly (than the platform), is that it was marketed incredibly cleverly.
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Victor Perez CEO, Games GI4 years ago
?? depressive ??
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
The headline doesn't match the article!!!

Also Angry Birds exceeded a billion downloads some time ago, what films or books can boast that? In fact it could be argued that gaming is now more of a true entertainment form than some of the older media.
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So let me get this right, PM could not present at the Montreal International Game Summit because of the pressure of the 'success' of the game launch - okay that works. Then he and his team go on Youtube to apologies for the difficulty to get on the game for customers, blamed on its 'success', but now we receive a request from PM for donations to build a better server approach to deal with the unexpected 'success' and that the management has failed to place a payment model in operation, so they have to depend on donations!

Look, the title of this article is wrong, the premiss postulated is incorrect - and it looks again like GamesIndustry.biz has given PM free publicity, while avoiding the row that is exploding on the forums about the whole credibility of PM and his skills at managing the 22Cans approach, desperately needing a business plan rather than depending on donations! If 22Cans tanks because of this shambles I think some in the media will have to take some of the blame.

In previous posts, I observed that PM needed to have the oxygen of publicity removed so that he can focus on the management of the 'success' of the project, and so we can have some other voices from emerging developers speak - some with less checkered histories, or questionable approaches to business. That seems to be ignored by GamesIndustry.biz for whatever reason I can't say - but I just hope this cult of personality is not a veiled attempt to set PM on a pedestal only to have it kicked away?
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 4 years ago
I was at the conference yesterday during the MIGS, and it was very interesting. I was curious about him as everybody said so much thing about his "Weird/Passionnate" way of describing what he is doing.

That's true he is a bit strange, especially when he speaks with closed eyes, but everything he said was stimulating. I really liked the questions/answers at the ends.
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I wish there were more Peter Molyneux articles!
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
I wish there were more Peter Molyneux articles!
Indeed. I can't get enough of the guy who went from Populous to Fable 3 (via Milo) in the space of 20-odd years. Maybe have him guest-edit GamesIndustry.biz, or have him interview himself?
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