Jesse Schell: games are sort of a super set of all other media. You can put a book in a game, you can put a movie in a game, you can put play in a game – you can put anything into a game. But you can't necessarily put games into all these other media because when you look, when you take a step back, you're like what's going on with digital gaming? Ultimately, any kind of media can go in there, and as we kind of push into the 21st century, we're going to see this happening; we're going to see every kind of media getting subsumed into video games. I would have to think that by the end of the 21st century, video games will be the defining medium of the 21st century.
Question: Are there technological barriers keeping people from being more emotionally engaged with video games?
Jesse Schell: I think the primary technological barrier that keeps us from being more emotionally engaged with video games is the barrier of speech. Computers can talk, they have sound, they can take touch inputs, they have cameras – but one of the things they really can't do is listen to us. As Professor Chris Swain at USC—and he speaks about this very eloquently–he points out that at the beginning of the 20th century we had silent film, and nobody took it very seriously as a medium; it was kind of a toy, it was kind of an amusement, a minor thing... until it learned to talk. Once film could speak, suddenly it started to sort of take over the world. By the end of the 20th century it was the dominant medium. As he likes to put it, film became the literature of the 20th century. And he then suggests that games are in the same place that silent films were, except that now it's not about them talking – it's about them listening.