Will Wright expands into "play industry" with 3 new projects

Future is broader than console and social gaming, says Sims creator

Will Wright has confirmed he is currently working on three projects within his new Stupid Fun Club venture, one of which he hopes will be released in the coming year.

One of these projects is toy related, the ex Maxis co-founder told Venture Beat, and two are games. And while he didn't go into detail about exactly what they are, he did reveal his view that the gaming industry is evolving and expanding into what he calls the "play industry".

"We are taking the games industry into other areas," Wright said. "We are expanding what we call the 'play industry'. Games are limited in some ways. Play can be applied to so many different kinds of experiences."

The future of games is going to be a lot broader than both console and social gaming, Wright predicted. "Those are both experiences where you sit in front of the screen. They're very structured activities. I'm thinking much broader than that."

Wright left EA to start Stupid Fun Club in April this year. EA took a minority stake in the the company, but Wright says they're an equity partner that doesn't require any liquidity. He also revealed that, following the cutting back of Maxis staff earlier in the year, he took on several of its former employees. "With the exception of one or two, [these] are people I have been working with for more than ten years."

The industry veteran admits to talking to Jordan Weisman following his new Smith & Tinker venture as the two companies are "pursuing something broadly similar in terms of cross-media entertainment."

Every product Wright's company is working on has a web component, he continued. "The web is like the connective tissue in entertainment today."

"The opportunities are there when you get outside of one industry and see the creative possibilities between industries. The world is evolving and everyone is connecting in interesting ways now."

He also revealed how web communities still appeal to him after the huge following The Sims generated. "I was always impressed with that with the game industry

"If you got a lot of people involved with the experience, how much effort the fans would put into it. You give them tools and they run with them. We want to take that model into other areas."

Of the three projects he's currently working with, one could be commercialised within the next six months to a year, he confirmed.

Wright is scheduled to appear as a keynote speaker at the upcoming Engage! Expo at the Toy Fair Show held in New York in February.

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