“Curiosity” puts players in a virtual room containing a single black cube. Players tap away at the cube, causing it to fracture and shed tiny layers from the surface. Other fractures also appear because everyone playing the game is tapping away at the same black cube.
After an undivulged, large number of taps, the cube will open, revealing something “truly amazing, absolutely unique”, says Molyneux. The twist is that only the player who performs the final tap will get to see inside the cube, and 22Cans will study how news of the revelation spreads. “We will rely entirely on social media,” explains Molyneux. “How will this person prove it? That in itself becomes a fascinating aspect of this experiment.”
Before the cube opens, a second phase of the experiment will be launched. Players will then be able to purchase one of a limited number of chisels to amplify their tapping strength. These range from a iron chisel, costing 59 pence, that is 10 times more powerful than just tapping alone, to a diamond chisel that is 100,000 times as powerful. Again, there is a twist: Molyneux will only sell one diamond chisel – and it will cost £50,000. “It’s an insane amount of money,” he admits, but the aim is to see whether pure curiosity will drive one player, or a syndicate of players assembled through social media, to buy the chisel. “This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetisation.”
It will be interesting to see if the mainstream media grab hold of this. I don’t consider this a ‘game’ per se but rather an elaborate augmented reality campaign, like the scavenger hunts that Valve sends rapid fans on before each game launch. The key difference with Curiosity is that it has a monetisation mechanic built in.
My guess as to what is inside the box?