60 Minutes II Special Recap

December 18, 2002, 60 Minutes II focused on “Sex, Lies & Video Games”. This 8 billion dollar industry has blossomed into a industry that rivals the movie industry with its average audience in their late twenties.

Focused in this special with 60 Minutes II host Bob Simon, was The Sims Online and its creators, the legendary Will Wright and Chris Trottier. No game has made EA as much money as the best selling computer game of all time, The Sims. Unlike other video games, it’s played mostly by women. In Sims Online, each player can create a cartoon character, and using the Web, enter a virtual world. It looks like the suburbs. The other characters are other players sitting at their computers somewhere else in the world. You can talk to them, live with them and even romance them. It’s a digital parallel universe and according to its creators, Will Wright and Chris Trottier, people love to be somebody else. – (60 Minutes II) Some of the facts may surprise you. Average Sim Player spends 20 hours a week playing The Sims, which is half of the work hours in a week.

During the interview with Will Wright and Chris Trottier, Bob Simon asked how immersed users can become in The Sims Online.

“You’re completely anonymous and and temporary, if you wish,” says Trottier.

It is like a masked ball, says Wright: “This is like a masked life.”

But how immersive is it? “You get amazingly immersed in this world. When you’re sitting there in the house and having an interesting discussion with other players, you, you know, leave your body. I mean, you totally feel like you are in that environment,” says Wright.

Says Trottier: “If they tickle you, you feel like you just got tickled. If you kiss someone, it’s like, ‘I just kissed this other someone.’ It’s pretty amazing how much you end up putting yourself into that sim. It feels like you’re really doing it.”

“The questions that come up honestly are fairly rich,” Trottier continues. “I was flirting with someone in the game the other day and my boyfriend was sitting there and he said, ‘I honestly don’t know if I should be jealous about this.’ There are some kind of interesting questions for the individual player to answer for themselves.” How did she answer her boyfriend? She told her boyfriend not to be jealous. (60 Minutes II)

EA President John Riccitiello commented about his gameplay use in The Sims Online, which he plays on a daily basis:
In this game, I’m 30. I wish I were again. I’m awfully popular, got a lot of friends. Essentially I’m the equivalent of a New York nightclub owner,” he says. “Now at a different time I was a 19-year-old waitress. Didn’t quite work for me ,but you get into these experiences and you are who you say you are. Absolutely, and you invest in that character. That character is you. And it’s going to change the way entertainment happens (60 Minutes II)

The full story can be read here. Included is the full recap of the special from 60 Minutes II in addition to screenshots and video of The Sims Online!

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