In a recent interview with GamesIndustry, The Sims creator Will Wright said that cloud gaming will be the future of the industry. That's because consumers typically own more than one Internet-connected gadget: a desktop PC, a laptop, a console, a smartphone and/or a tablet. Having a title that's accessible on all these devices at any time will be much more "sticky" than something consumers are forced to mainly play on a desktop PC or iPhone. Even more, cloud-based games will hit a much broader group of players.
During the interview, he also indicated that free-to-play may be the way to go for future titles, as gamers will more than likely take a bigger risk in trying something new than with $60 retail titles. F2P games allow players to pay for the content they want -- if they don't like the game, they can move on to something else having lost nearly nothing.
"There's very little risk in trying something new, as opposed to spending 40 bucks on a game and maybe you'll like it and maybe you won't," he said. "I think people were a lot more risk-averse under the old model, the shrink-wrap model. It has its pluses and minuses; it is bringing in a much wider group of players than we had before. The demographics are expanding, which long-term I think has to help."
As pointed out, there were many sequels at E3 2012 back in June, but very few new IPs in the AAA space. That's because publishers may be much more risk-averse to spending twenty or thirty million dollars on a title. New IPs will likely stem from a Zynga-type environment where very little is invested -- start small and try to grow it up. This type of approach encourages experimentation, he said.
"I think before the only thing people were willing to bet on were sequels; that was really the only predictable genre," he said. "Now the fact that you can do a game for an extremely low cost, put it out there and see if it gets any traction is going to encourage more diversity."
One of the key issues of development is learning from the audience as Mojang showed with Minecraft. The studio released an alpha and slowly built the current product with the help of the Minecraft community. The Mass Effect 3 scenario where the community complained to the point that BioWare released a new ending is a perfect example of developers needing to listen to their customers. Still, game creators should see their original vision carried through until the end, and let both the developer and consumer shape the product thereafter.
"I think you should listen to the market," he said. "But a lot of times with a brand new experience, when you start describing it to people before they can experience it they'll say it sucks, or 'we've never seen anything like it so we can't really envision playing it in our head'. I think there's still a lot of room for someone with an artistic vision that's not going to survive focus groups, but if a person holds true to that vision you're going to end up with something that wouldn't exist otherwise."
To read the entire interview, head here.