Well this is a very interesting turn of events: Will Wright, "game god" creator of the groundbreaking Sims franchise, along with Spore and SimCity, recently joined the Board of Linden Lab, developer of Second Life. His name and stellar biography is now on the company's site.
This isn't a totally surprising turn of events: Rod Humble, who became Linden's CEO this year, is a longtime veteran of Electronic Arts, home to Wright's first game studio, Maxis, and led development on The Sims 3, the latest addition to a franchise that's sold 140 million copies since launching in 2000.
What's this mean for the future of Second Life? Too soon to tell -- I hope to interview Wright about it soon -- but I suspect this means a continued move to make Second Life more engaging and mass market, like The Sims, while still fostering diverse user-generated content, like The Sims. I spoke with Wright in 2002 about his original vision for The Sims Online, which ultimately wasn't realized in the actual game, but here's what he told me then:
"I think another approach to [MMOs] is that you give the players that canvas," Wright says, "and let the players create the back story and the theme and whatever, and you focus on being innovative through the [game] mechanisms."
Second Life has come closer to that vision, though so far hasn't been able to do so while reaching critical mass. But now Wright himself will have a hand in taking the vision into SL's next generation. Whatever happens, I will say this: Will Wright joining the board of Linden Lab is the most hopeful sign for Second Life's future that I have seen in the last couple years.
Image credit: Wright's new company, Stupid Fun Club.