Warren Spector at PAX Keynote: 'The Geeks Have Inherited the Earth'

Veteran game developer Warren Spector gave an interesting keynote address at the Penny Arcade Expo today, touching on subjects like "inclusiveness of gaming" and the medium's expanding audience, and how core gamers should view the broadening landscape as a positive sign of gaming's widespread acceptance as mainstream entertainment. Spector concluded his talk by playing the second half of the Epic Mickey intro cinematic.

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Spector, best known for his work on beloved titles like System Shock, Deus Ex, and various games in the Ultima series, asserts that we're entering a "Golden Age of gaming," with "more people playing more kinds of things than ever before."

He sees the expansion of gaming's audience beyond the hardcore enthusiasts as a very positive thing, arguing that video games are getting to the point where mainstream acceptance is something that should be warmly embraced rather than feared.

The legendary creator cited examples of resistance to the rise of other popular media in the past, from Shakespeare, to novels, comic books, and film, and argued that video games are going through a similar transitional period. "Every outsider activity that's survived, becomes an insider activity," Spector said. He also cited the growing surge of indie games, and platforms like XBLA, PSN, and Steam, as nothing but positive for the industry.


Spector also encouraged publishers to "trust their 'creatives'" more, citing that only 20% of the games released account for about 80% of the industry's revenue. He views gaming's expanding audience as an opportunity to offer more varied, richer experiences, saying that there's "more to gaming than solving problems with virtual guns," and that gamers should demand more from their experiences.

There's plenty of untapped potential for gaming experiences, and Spector argues that more opportunities will arise as the audience for games continues to expand. It's not wrong to expect more than "just better versions of the things you've already played," he said.