What is Will Wright’s Net Worth?
Will Wright is an American video game designer who has a net worth of $20 million. Will Wright earned his net worth by being the co-founder of Maxis, a game development company. Wright is probably best known for creating SimCity and has been inducted to the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. William Ralph Wright was born in Atlanta, Georgia in January 1960. He is best known for being the creator of the SimCity video games series. He studied at Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech, and The New School in Manhattan. The first video game he made was helicopter game Raid on Bungeling Bay for the Commodore 64 in 1984. Wright formed Maxis with Jeff Braun in 1987. The Maxis 1989 game SimCity is one of the most influential computer games of all time. Wright also designed games SimEarth and SimAnt, in addition to SimCity 2000 and SimCopter.
In 1995 Maxis went public and had a revenue of $38 million. The company was bought out by EA in 1997. In 2000 EA published The Sims and it became the best-selling computer game of all time. By 2006 the franchise had earned over a billion dollars for EA. His latest game was Spore in 2008. The game sold more than 400 thousand copies in just three weeks. Wright earned a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2001. He was the first game designer to be awarded a fellowship in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In 2009 he left EA to run an entertainment think tank called “Stupid Fun Club”.
William Ralph Wright, born on January 20, 1960, is a prominent American video game designer and one of the co-founders of the game development company Maxis, which later became a part of Electronic Arts (EA). This comprehensive exploration delves into the life and career of William Ralph Wright, from his early years and education to his groundbreaking contributions to the world of video games and his personal interests and endeavors.
Early Life and Education
A Humble Beginning
William Ralph Wright, known as Will Wright, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to a family with a diverse background. His father was a plastics engineer, and his mother was an actress. This upbringing provided a unique blend of influences that would shape his future.
A Montessori Start
Wright’s early education began at a Montessori school, where he was introduced to a different approach to learning. This early exposure to alternative education methods would later influence his unconventional approach to game design.
At the tender age of nine, tragedy struck as Wright’s father passed away from leukemia. This event marked a pivotal moment in his life, and it prompted a significant change for his family.
Baton Rouge Years
Following his father’s passing, Wright, along with his mother and younger sister, relocated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was in Baton Rouge that he would continue his education and embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Remarkably, Will Wright graduated from Baton Rouge Episcopal High School at the age of 16, a testament to his intellectual curiosity and drive. This early graduation allowed him to explore his interests and passions at a young age.
The Spark of Game Design
Wright’s fascination with game design ignited during his childhood when he encountered the Chinese strategy board game Go. The simplicity of its rules and the complexity of its strategies captivated his young mind, planting the seeds of his future career.
Mechanical Engineering and Beyond
After high school, Wright pursued a degree in architecture at Louisiana State University, later transitioning to mechanical engineering. His interests expanded to robotics, space exploration, military history, and language arts, reflecting his diverse intellectual pursuits.
The Move to New York
In 1980, after transferring to The New School in New York City, Wright’s life took a new turn. He immersed himself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city, living in Greenwich Village and nurturing his passion for technology and creativity.
During his time in New York City, Wright acquired an Apple II+ computer and embarked on a journey of self-education in programming. He taught himself Applesoft BASIC, Pascal, and assembly language, setting the stage for his future as a game designer.
Career in Game Design
Choosing the Commodore 64
While many game designers were creating games for the Apple II, Wright made the unconventional choice of developing games for the Commodore 64. His first creation, “Raid on Bungeling Bay” (1984), was an action-packed helicopter game that showcased his early design talents.
From Level Editor to SimCity
A pivotal moment occurred when Wright found more joy in creating the game’s islands using his level editor than in playing the game itself. This experience led to the development of a new game concept that would ultimately evolve into the groundbreaking title, “SimCity.”
The Influence of Urban Theorists
Wright’s innovative approach to simulation in “SimCity” was influenced by the work of architectural and urban theorists, Christopher Alexander and Jay Forrester. The game’s structuralist dynamics set it apart and laid the foundation for a new genre of simulation games.
The Rise of Maxis
Wright co-founded Maxis, the game development company responsible for publishing “SimCity.” This marked the beginning of a successful partnership with Jeff Braun and the birth of a company that would become synonymous with innovative simulation games.
The Sims: A Game-Changer
Wright’s legacy in the gaming industry reached new heights with the creation of “The Sims” series. The original “The Sims” game, released in 2000, was a cultural phenomenon and spawned multiple sequels, including “The Sims 2,” “The Sims 3,” and “The Sims 4,” along with numerous expansion packs.
Spore: A Journey of Evolution
In 2008, Wright released “Spore,” a game that revolutionized the concept of evolution and scientific advancement in gaming. This ambitious project garnered significant attention and commercial success, selling over 406,000 copies within three weeks of its release.
Awards and Recognition
Wright’s contributions to the world of game design have not gone unnoticed. In 2007, he received the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship, becoming the first game designer to be honored with this award, traditionally reserved for the film and television industries.
Personal Life and Interests
Home in Oakland
Today, Will Wright resides in Oakland, California, where he continues to pursue his creative endeavors and interests.
Family and Relationships
In 1984, Wright married artist Joell Jones, and the couple welcomed their daughter, Cassidy, in 1986. However, their family faced a devastating setback when their home and many records of Wright’s early career were lost in the Oakland firestorm of 1991. Wright and Jones later separated in 2008, and Wright entered a new chapter of his personal life by marrying Anya Zavarzina.
Philanthropy and Contributions
Wright is actively involved in philanthropic efforts and serves on the board of trustees of the X Prize Foundation, a non-profit organization that fosters technological development for the benefit of humanity.
During the 2008 United States presidential election, Wright made political contributions to the campaigns of Rudy Giuliani and later John McCain, reflecting his engagement in national politics.
Hobbies and Collections
The U.S. Express Race
In 1980, Wright participated in the U.S. Express, a cross-country race that followed in the footsteps of The Cannonball Run. He and his co-driver, Rick Doherty, completed the race in a specially outfitted Mazda RX-7, winning the illegal competition.
A Collector’s Passion
Wright’s interests extend to collecting various items, including remnants from the Soviet space program. His collection includes a 100-pound hatch from a space shuttle, a seat from a Soyuz spacecraft, control panels from the Mir space station, and a control console from the Soyuz 23 mission.
The Robot Connection
Wright’s fascination with robotics led him to build competitive robots for BattleBots alongside his daughter. Although he no longer actively participates in robot competitions, remnants of his BattleBots days can still be found in his garage.
William Ralph Wright’s life is a testament to the power of curiosity, creativity, and innovation. From his early fascination with games to his pioneering contributions to the world of video game design, Wright has left an indelible mark on the industry. His unconventional journey from architecture to game development reflects his willingness to explore diverse interests. Beyond his professional achievements, Wright’s personal life, philanthropic endeavors, and eclectic hobbies paint a rich portrait of a true visionary. Will Wright’s legacy continues to inspire the next generation of game designers and creators, proving that simplicity can indeed lead to complexity, both in games and in life itself.