[UPDATE] Former Lionhead designer says his new iOS project with 22 Cans not allowed to use same name as space agency's Mars rover; Molyneux says name change a matter of improving search engine optimization.
[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Molyneux told Modojo that Curiosity's impending name change was related to search engine optimization, and was not a decision made at the request of NASA.
"The name change is prompted by the need to have something simple to search for in Google," he said. "This worked well for 'Curiosity' but since NASA: Curiosity is now obviously generating a lot of interest we need to change the name."
The original story follows below
Peter Molyneux's first post-Microsoft project, Curiosity, has hit a snare. The developer tweeted today that the game's name must change, "because of" The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), whose much-publicized Mars rover is also named Curiosity.
Molyneux is currently soliciting new names for Curiosity through Twitter, offering up "The Cube" himself. He said the top choices will be revealed through the 22 Cans Twitter account at a later date.
Molyneux left his post at Microsoft in March, forming independent venture 22 Cans. He announced he was working on a series of social gaming experiments in June that would attempt to explore the "psychology of social media users," the first of which was the game now formerly known as Curiosity.
The game sees players enter a virtual room containing a single black cube; players must tap at the cube to try to fracture it layer by layer. However, fractures will appear simultaneously as other players join the game online and begin tapping at the same cube.
According to Molyneux, the cube will eventually fall open after an undisclosed number of taps. What lies inside Molyneux described as "truly amazing" and "absolutely unique." The catch is that only the player who executes the final tap will get to see what's inside. 22 Cans will rely on social media for the word to spread.
During the game's duration, players will be able to purchase in-game items to help them in their quest to be the one who breaks the cube; these items will take the shape of a limited number of chisels that will amplify the strength of each tap. They will range from an iron chisel costing around 0.91 cents (with a tapping strength 10 times as powerful), all the way up to a diamond chisel costing roughly $77,000 (with a tapping strength 100,000 times as powerful).
The game formerly known as Curiosity was expected to arrive in August, but was recently delayed to September.
It's not a game, it's an experiment... So my guess is the box never breaks and there's nothing inside, lets see how many people waste money on that diamond chisel.
On the other hand if it actually is a game and the box does break, it''ll be a good way to explain "pay to win" games to people.
I thought it was a funny coincidence that they shared the same name, although I'm much more interested in what Curiosity finds on Mars, than what some gamers find inside that cube. Molyneux seems to understand that as well, since he wants rename his obscure little "game", so that it won't get drowned in the search results about Nasa:s Curiosity. Sometimes, Nasa enlisted robot machines with lasers on Mars beats the hype machine that is Mr Molyneux. A happy ending as good as any in this world, I say.
The premise for the game sounds really, really rubbish. Whats inside the cube? Perhapse a real game, not a 50p app.
Anyways, don't give a damn about his 22 episodic (so I heard) social experiment games, being released one after the other.
His team should rather invest their precious time to create a new "Black and White" or "The Movies", both of which I found to be good games, but after his divorce he seemed to have lost all connection to reality and went nuts, poor guy.
About this game ? Call it Molycube and let the "big secret price" be a picture of you smiling.
Wouldn't it be fun if what's inside the cube wouldn't be hidden at the center, but somewhere near the edge and was found by a free to play player instead of a guy who bought the 50k pickaxe ?
I'd make some popcorn ready for that ragefest ...
I agree. Curiosity is a terrible name, especially for a Molyneux project. This is made that much worse by the NASA unit. But truly the searchability is what my problem with the name was. How can people engage in this social 'game' if you can't search for it without getting plenty of false results.
I'm with those who say choose something more unique or spell it differently in the first place. And since Quriosity exists, maybe that name should be dropped altogether.
...They can't just say that they don't want to be confused with something that's not a video game company?
I know a name, how about "game developed by a guy who is as overrated as starbucks" and make sure to put on the back... i think i am a genius, yet i've never done anything truly remarkable (good games yes, amazing ones nope).
Im just so tired of how much importance this guy gets from the industry...
@Claudiov1_0 I don't know... Populous was pretty amazing for its time. Also the only people who think Molyneux is important are people who have never played one of his games. Anybody who has heard him speak, then played what he was talking about has learned that nothing he says is to be taken as truth or reality.
@Claudiov1_0 Starbuck is mostly mingin'.
@Claudiov1_0 Maybe its something to do with the fact that he is one of very few big name developers who tries to do something different with his games
@unacomn That's a perfect name for this sorry excuse of a game. I also don't get the fun in playing a game where all you do is tapping on a cube.
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