(re: re: Old interview with Ken) I’m not sure when this interview was done — I looked up the release date for Lighthouse, and it said 1996 … which seems wrong to me. Sierra was sold in 1996, and Lighthouse was an old product by the time we sold the company.
Personally, what most interested me about this interview, was that at the time, I thought multiplayer gaming was going to be the biggest category. As it turns out, it really isn’t that big a business. I would be very surprised if online multiplayer games account for 5% of total game sales revenues — and, this is 10 years after that interview was done.
I can only think of two possibilities: a) I was wrong, or, b) no one has shipped anything multiplayer that was interesting enough to spend money on (in mass quantities).
I think the answer is a little of both, but mostly: I was wrong. Most people prefer to play games alone – making them multiplayer adds too much complexity. People don’t like thinking that the gaming world is changing while they aren’t there.
All that said, I would still do mutliplayer games – at least until I shipped one I thought was as good as could be done within the genre. I think what made Sierra special was that we liked to do things that were different. We were willing to take risks, and do things that others weren’t doing. Sometimes we were right, and sometimes we were wrong — but, we were rarely boring. And, if you think about it .. the goal was to have fun, not to do brain surgery … so, let’s say we were wrong from time to time, but we and our customers had a good time — what’s wrong with that?