After describing his plans to release 22 experiments on the way to a final game a couple of weeks ago, Peter Molyneux has revealed the first of these experiments to be released by his 22Cans studio, titled Curiosity. Speaking with New Scientist, Molyneux explained that Curiosity comprises a black cube that can be accessed by players (guinea pigs?) online. Every player will be viewing the same cube in real time. Each player can tap away at the cube, with each tap causing a small piece of the cube to fracture and break off. After a certain amount of taps, the cube will be cracked open, to reveal something that is, in Molyneux’s words, “truly amazing, absolutely unique.”
Only the player delivering the final blow to the cube will be able to encounter the contents of the cube. Molyneux explains that a big portion of the experiments lies in how news of the discovery will spread, how the player performing the final tap will convince others he was the victor.
Midway through the experiment, 22Cans will enable the purchase of upgrades to the chisel used to tap the cube. These will range from a $1 iron chisel, to a $77,000 diamond chisel, which will account for exponentially more taps when used. Referring to the diamond chisel, Molyneux said “It’s an insane amount of money. This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetization.”
I know Peter thinks he’s being revolutionary here, like when he introduced the dog in Fable II, but Ian Bogost already (unwittingly) performed this exact experiment, so Molyneux is a little late to the party. Molyneux also seems to be masking the study of nefarious monetization practices, presumably with a view to implementing some version thereof in the upcoming final game, as “understanding the players so as to create a catered experience,” which would be pretty shameful.
Molyneux has indicated that he hopes to release the final game in two years’ time. Although this first experiment would indicate otherwise, here’s hoping that it’s not just a money-grab freemium title for iOS.
[Image Source: Georges Seguin]