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"
“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.”