Will Wright, creator of The Sims, is moving beyond mere pixels, and taking gamers with him. Instead of letting you play god and housing designer to a group of non-sentient AI, his newest game will actually play games with your life with a little help from GPS, cloud storage, and your friends.
If it sees that you go to car shows frequently, it will mold the game accordingly. The more the game finds out about you, the more it’s going to be customized to your life. If you share absolutely nothing with it, you’ll be left with what should be a very generic, but perhaps mildly entertaining game.
It’s going to be able to tell whether it’s day or night, and where you’re at. If you allow it access, it can even use information from purchases you make and how much money you have. It really points to being mobile by the fact that it will also interact with Google Maps and point out places you may want to journey to. If it gets really in-depth, you may even see events in your area pop up through the game.
HiveMind will theoretically be able to solve problems you may have by tapping into the network of those around you who are playing. Wright hasn’t fleshed that part out (at least to the press), but it’s an interesting theory. Maybe you need the cheapest price for repairing your brakes, or to even decide if it’s your breaks that need fixed. It seems like it will run off of the unfailing ideology of crowd sourcing an individual’s problems to get the best answer. Like a human-driven search engine, HiveMind will let you find what you need, as long as you give it enough data.
Before the conspiracy theorists chime in with ideas on how we’re one step away from any science fiction dystopia you can think of, give Wright a little credit. Every single thing the game learns, it learns from you. You have to give it permission to do anything. It won’t sneakily grab your credit card information or your first born child.
However, in the days of LulzSec and Anonymous, users might be a bit spooked about putting information about themselves online. It’s a hurdle Wright and his team will have to overcome if they want to be successful. Users are pretty tired of being tricked and finagled into adding more and more data about themselves online (a la Facebook’s dubious privacy settings), so it will be a challenge to convince them to join in.
HiveMind sounds more like an augmented reality than an actual game, but we all know that if anyone can make paying taxes fun, it’s Will Wright. The ‘game’ sounds a bit all over the place right now (tracking fitness, solving your problems, knowing what time of day it is), but a lot of the hype is resting on Wright’s rather substantial laurels. We can all sit back and wait for him to make sense, and fun, out of what would be our standard daily lives.