Will Wright, creator of pretty much all the Sim-Anything franchises (most notable for SimCity and The Sims), has praised Microsoft after the company reversed its controversial DRM policies.
“Gaming has had a long history of piracy, but you can’t use DRM at the expense of the customers,” said Wright.
“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.”
Wright also elaborated on the power of community feedback, specifically prior to the launch of a product.
“That part I think is great because that’s something that I’ve always believed in,” said Wright. “Getting the players very involved not just after the game ships, but even before and try to listen to them.”
Wright explained that the role of the customers should be greater than purely consumers, as they have a role to play in the development of a project.
“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.”
Microsoft clearly had to listen to their “co-developers”, the internet, regarding the Xbox One’s DRM reversal: Internet reacts to Xbox One Eighty.
The sub-text to Wright’s comments are glaringly obvious in light of the SimCity launch and DRM debacle. Wright is no longer at Maxis, and wasn’t involved in the development of the maligned SimCity. Post-launch, he had strong words against the “inexcusably” disastrous launch server issues, and said he easily predicted there would be a backlash over the always-online DRM implementation.