Game Changer? A Talk with Jane McGonigal

In a digital age, where there is an abundance of entertainment available, there is no greater competition for the attention of the traditional publishing customer than from games. But that competition also represents opportunity for confluence. In a memorable 2008 SXSW, world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal told festival-goers that their real product, whether their medium is games or books, is happiness. "You're making things that people experience," she said. "I don't think that we think our primary product is happiness, but we better start."

Last month, McGonigal published Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (Penguin Press; PW starred review, Nov. 22, 2010). Just before SXSW kicked off, PW caught up with McGonigal to talk about who gamers are (you might be surprised) and the implications of gaming's swift rise for publishing.

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