Will You Let Peter Molyneux Peek In Your Brain And Sell You A $78,000 Chisel?

Will You Let Peter Molyneux Peek In Your Brain And Sell You A $78,000 Chisel?

Game designer Peter Molyneux is a man with ideas — big ideas. And with his new startup, 22Cans, that isn’t stopping.

“Human beings can read emotion in faces down to a level of fidelity we can’t even dream of in games at the moment,” Molyneux recently told New Scientist. That, Molyneux thinks, he can change. And change it thanks to the power of social media.

Molyneux aims to bottle personal data shared via social media to tap into what players like and then create characters based on those preferences. In short, Molyneux wants to explore into your psyche and create characters you can relate with on an emotional level.

To do this, Molyneux is launching 22 experiments designed to tap the psyche of social media users. That data will then be used in the creation of his upcoming game, which he plans to release two years from now.

According to New Scientist, the first experiment is called “Curiosity”, and it puts you in a virtual room. In it, there’s a solitary black cube. Tap on it, and the cube fractures. Everyone playing the game at the same time taps on the same cube, causing more and more fractures to appear. After a large number of taps, it will finally open, revealing “truly amazing, absolutely unique”.

However, only the player who gets the final tap will get to see what’s inside it.

What 22Cans wants to do is see how the news of what’s inside the cube spreads — how the person will prove he or see saw what’s inside.

Moreover, Molyneux plans on allowing players to purchase in game gear to strengthen their tapping. For example, you can buy iron chisel (priced at 59 pence), which is 10 times more powerful than simply tapping. Or you can buy a one-of-a-kind diamond chisel. It’s 100,000 times more powerful and priced at £50,000 ($78,000).

“It’s an insane amount of money,” said Molyneux, adding, “This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetisation.”

Molyneux hopes that this experiment — and the other 21 he has planned — will help him better understand players. In turn, that will help him make a game that can connect with them in a deeper, more meaningful way.

“Saying ‘let me look at your Twitter feed’ is not enough — I’ve got to make people want to give it up.”

But will they? In a few weeks when the first experiment launches, Molyneux will see if gamers are will to “give it up” — or even shell out £50,000 for a virtual chisel.

The AI game that knows you better than anyone [New Scientist]


  • I liked Molyneux right up until I realised that Fable 3 was an awful, simplified, child’s game with incredibly poor design choices.

  • Good to see Pete’s got his new studio doing stuff. I like the idea really and it’s the kind of thing I’d expect of him. Don’t begrudge him for being different or ambitious, we need people like him in the games industry.

  • “Those are the best stories I can tell him – better than Harry Potter, better than anything else because they pull his life into the story”

    Yes, but there’s something to be said about good literature, new ideas and so on…. not to say that Harry Potter is award winning literature… but still.. there’s more to reading than just the words on the paper. How it relates is very individual.. how people connect is in different ways. Fabricating a story that is “perfect” in every sense sounds a bit too perfect for me.. I want something that is interesting.. not perfectly tailored to me.

    It is a lofty idea.. and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.. just that it isn’t the only thing.

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