Conference Keynote Speakers

Conference Keynote Speakers Will Wright

Will Wright, widely acknowledged for creating the simulation video game realm, unveiled the highly anticipated Spore in September 2008. Spore is a “universe in a box” that allows players to create a species and guide it to sentience, helping it build a society, develop its culture, and explore an infinite cosmos of worlds created by other players. Fans eagerly embraced the creation tools in Spore and have created more than 90 million pieces of user-created content as of March 2009.

Spore has been distinguished with such honors as Popular Science’s “ Best of What’s New Award”, Popular Mechanics’ “Breakthrough Award”, PC Magazine’s “Technical Excellence Award”, TIME Magazine’s “50 Best Inventions of 2008” and the Jim Henson Technology Honor.

A true gaming industry legend as a result of his pioneering contributions to video games, Wright has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors. Rolling Stone named Will Wright one of the “100 People Who Are Changing America” in March 2009, which placed him among artists, leaders, scientists and policymakers who are “fighting every day to show us what is possible.” In 2008, Will received the first-ever Gamer God Award at the Spike Video Game Awards as a testament to his revolutionary work. In 2007, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts recognized an individual in the video game industry for the first time when it named Wright a fellow. He also received the Producers Guild of America Vanguard Award that same year.

Wright first rose to prominence when he developed SimCity, the acclaimed, nonviolent, open-ended sim game. Wright then followed up the success of SimCity with a string of popular simulation games throughout the 1990s. Titles such as SimEarth: The Living Planet (1990), SimAnt: The Electronic Ant Colony (1991), SimCity 2000 (1993), SimCopter (1996) and SimCity 3000 (1999) introduced simulation games to hundreds of thousands of new fans, demonstrating the genre’s true potential.

Wright’s next ground-breaking game came in the form of The Sims (2000), which has gone on to become the best-selling PC game franchise of all time, being available in 22 languages in 60 countries. Wright, who studied architecture in college, originally conceived of the game as an architectural design simulator. To “score” the quality of the design, he added tiny people who would inhabit the buildings. These simulated people quickly stole the spotlight, and Will realized that watching the lives of the Sims unfold was the real entertainment. The Sims franchise has now sold more than 100 million units sold around the world!

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