Posted by: drew | March 14, 2006

Spores and EA’s New Game Plan

Again with the nod to Frank at pseudorandom, where he talks of Will Wright’s new game, Spores. I remember hearing about the game at last year’s GDC in San Fran, but the more I learn about it now, the more excited I get.

An interesting fact is that according to BusinessWeek, EA is going forward with a new approach. They are moving away from big sport’s titles, and apparently focusing more on innovative games, such as Spores.

Video game giant Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS ) had a very simple formula for success: base a product on a popular sports or movie franchise, spend a fortune marketing it, and then push out a new version of that game year after year. The strategy netted big bucks with games based on the Harry Potter, James Bond, and Lord of the Rings movies, as well as with EA’S Madden NFL series. It also delighted investors with a reliable stream of revenue in the notoriously hit-or-miss video game business. In 2005, the company landed the No. 34 spot on the BusinessWeek 50 list of top corporate performers.

But now EA is stumbling, and a big part of its time-tested strategy is about to change. The company hopes that its next mega-franchise will revolve not around a football star, a boy wizard, or a dashing British spy, but…a microbe. The game is called Spore. Developed by Will Wright, the creator of SimCity and The Sims, it lets players design an invertebrate in its primordial stages and then guide its evolution until the creature’s offspring develop into a thriving civilization with cities, religion, and spaceships. EA’s ambitious goal is to create more such innovative, internally developed games while lessening the company’s dependence on professional sports and Hollywood movie franchises.

This sounds good to me. The games industry can always use more encouragement to be innovative.

Go below to see some screenies

From the Wired Article:

In Spore, the new masterpiece from Will Wright and Electronic Arts’ Maxis studio, players begin their evolution at the cellular level.

Once players have evolved from the cellular level, they must try to help their new creatures survive.

When players learn to control their creatures, they need to help a tribe of them evolve.

The next step beyond a tribe is a city.

After players have moved beyond the city level, they can take on entire worlds. From there they can try to conquer the solar system, then galaxies and beyond.

Kinda wierd how this blockquote formatting doesn’t stretch to fit images…I kind of like it. It almost looks stylish and intentional.


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