SimCity creator and industry legend Will Wright has applauded Microsoft for listening to their fans and consumer criticisms of the Xbox One's initial policies regarding DRM and used games, but has also warned against the dangers of placing stock too much in th vocal internet minority.
"That's something that I've always believed in -- getting the players very involved not just after the game ships, but even before and try to listen to them," said Wright. "The kind of games I'm interested in, and actually the way games are going, is they're becoming far more baseline communities of people playing the game and doing a lot of cool stuff peer-to-peer, whether it's content sharing or competition or forming social connections. I tend to think of the fan base, especially the hardcore fan base, as co-developers. These people with a passion for your project are going to go out and sell your game to other people and pull other people in. The more they feel like they have some ownership over the process and they're not just kind of customers, the better."
"To see a company like Microsoft actually sit back, listen, and understand the fans and respond to them is impressive. For a company that size to be that responsive is great. These companies are the ones that obviously keep us in business and allow us to make games."
Of course, Wright recognises that there can be downsides to placing too much stock in internet noise, particularly given that sometimes it's a small fraction of gamers making the most noise.
"On the other side there's the Internet thing where 5 percent of the people are making all the noise," he explained. "Sometimes they represent the other 95 percent, sometimes they don't. A lot of times the 5 percent are asking for ridiculously elaborate features, and as a game designer you know that's going to make the game inaccessible to everybody else. There are these people that want you to push a franchise in a super hardcore direction, and therefore we're going to close it off to 95 percent of the players, so you have to understand what kind of feedback that they're giving you. But when it's something that's 5 percent representing the other 95 percent that will probably feel the same way, then I think it's really valuable." [CNNMoney via Games Industry]