The headline was difficult to come up with because there's just no way to properly explain how this whole thing works without sounding like some kind of sci-fi movie with a potential twist tossed in, but alas the headline best wraps up what you can expect from the upcoming game, Curiosity.
To be fair, it's not really a game but an interactive, social-media experience. New Scientist tossed together an article breaking down how the whole thing works thanks to Molyneux himself.
First, let's explain how this thing works before people fill their brains with too many question marks and trigger an unnecessary aneurism. Molyneux's new studio, 22Cans, is working on several projects but the first is called Curiosity. It's a social media game that doubles-down as an MMO of sorts because everyone will be able to participate simultaneously.
The "experiment" sees players (or rather, participants) enter into a single room with a giant black cube. Participants will chip away at the cube by clicking on it. The more people clicking on it the faster the cube will break away. After the cube finally breaks into nothing, the last person who clicked on the cube will be able to see what's inside...only that one person. And what they see will be "truly amazing, absolutely unique" says Molyneux.
Here's the thing, 22Cans won't be saying what's in the cube...ever. The only way to know what's in the cube is via social media or viral marketing from the end-user(s). Only the person who has seen inside the cube will be able to verify what's really inside, and that's part of the experiment.
To top it off, there is a semi pay-to-possibly-win scheme that involves buying pickaxes. You can buy a small iron chisel for 59 pence that is 10 times more powerful than simply clicking on the cube with your mouse. Another diamond axe will also be available that is 100,000 thousand times more powerful but said diamond pickaxe will cost you a real-life $77,000. Only one diamond pickaxe will be available...only one.
"It's an insane amount of money,"... "This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetisation."
Commenters on Blues instantly made the connection between this experiment with the potential inclusion of bot-farmers jumping into the fray by designing a script to break the cube away to discover its contents. While that might seem a smart thing to do by botters, the reality is that if the contents within the cube are timed based or require some other kind of interactivity and the bot clicks through it or closes it out then it defeats the purpose of the bot considering that no one would know what was inside the cube and the experiment would have to start over.
Regardless of what people think about Peter Molyneux, you have to admit this is a way-out-there kind of thing to do. I'm curious how many people will participate and what the social media reaction will be? Molyneux mentioned that Microsoft kept him in a "creative cell" so I guess this is just a small part of what we can look forward to from him and 22Cans.
You can check out the entire article over at New Science, which also details 22Can's new AI system and a few of their other endeavors. You can also visit the Official 22Cans Website to learn more.