Will Wright to leave Electronic Arts

The creator of The Sims and Spore is setting up an "electronic think tank" in which the game maker will be an investor.

Will Wright, creator of the SimCity and Sims franchises, is interviewed by John Battelle at last week's Web 2.0 Expo. James Martin

Will Wright, one of the best-known names in gaming, is leaving Electronic Arts to set up his own "electronic think tank."

Wright will be the head of Stupid Fun Club, a venture aimed at developing concepts that can serve as the nexus for video games, movies, TV shows, toys, and other entertainment products. EA will invest in the venture, with the game maker and Wright each owning equal percentages of the company.

"The entertainment industry is moving rapidly into an era of revolutionary change," Wright said in a statement. "Stupid Fun Club will explore new possibilities that are emerging from this sublime chaos and create new forms of entertainment on a variety of platforms."

Wright spoke last week at the Web 2.0 event, talking about the role games can play when they extend one's one life into the digital realm.

"Most people are very narcissistic," Wright said. "The more you can make the game about that person, the more interested, the more emotionally involved they will get."

EA Chief Executive John Riccitiello said he is looking forward to partnering with Wright in his new effort and praised Wright's contributions to EA.

"Will is a great designer, and he's been part of a great legacy of globally recognized game franchises like The Sims, SimCity, and Spore," Riccitiello said. "The teams that have been leading those franchises in recent years have a lot of exciting content coming."

Wright co-founded game studio Maxis, responsible for SimCity, the Sims and, more recently, Spore, with Jeff Braun in 1989. EA bought Maxis in 1997. Upon Wright's departure, EA said Maxis is set to be run by Lucy Bradshaw, the unit's general manager. It is currently working on a Spore Galactic Adventures expansion pack.

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