Will Wright—creator of the SimCity series, The Sims, and other assorted explorations of simmery—abandoned his work in video games a few years ago, leaving his babies in the hands of EA. But how well are EA performing as adoptive parents? While Wright generally praises the mega-corporation for the way they've nurtured his unique concepts, he apparently felt the same way about SimCity's always-online DRM that the rest of us did, calling the initial unplayability at launch "inexcusable." Oh, and according to Wright, the games industry as a whole is not fulfilling its potential, either.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz , Wright confessed to his unease with the DRM.
"I kind of did predict there'd be a big backlash about the DRM stuff," he said. "That was basically inexcusable, that you charge somebody $60 for a game and they can't play it. I can understand the outrage. If I was a consumer buying the game and that happened to me, I'd feel the same."
He also points out that SimCity's weird status as both an online and an offline concept added further weight to the complaints. "I don't expect to play World of Warcraft on the airplane, because my perception is it has to be on the 'Net," he said. "SimCity was in this very uncomfortable space, like the uncanny valley, almost; [it was caught] between was it a single-player game or was it a multiplayer game?"
"I feel bad for the team," he adds. "It's a good game; I enjoy playing it a lot."
In the same interview, Wright also expresses some concerns with the games industry as a whole.
"I think we have an extremely powerful medium here at our disposal, and I think we've only realized a small fraction of its potential. It wouldn't take too many things to really impact a lot of people. Relative to what we have as a medium, with what we could be doing with it, we're falling way short."
Sounds like Wright's still got his finger firmly on the pulse of gaming, even if he's not actively putting games out there himself any more. Still, it's kind of depressing that a visionary like Wright can't do more than point out what's wrong with the industry—if only he had more active participation than just commentating. If he had any part in the newest SimCity, I bet he'd totally be keen to address its current lack of subways. Oh well—at least the industry's slowly learning, with the newly announced Sims 4 allowing offline play .