suntimes
SPARKLE 
Weather Updates

The Internet enabled living room

Activision CEO on the Internet in the living room and the rise of “the Me generation”

While media and technology companies are pioneering ways for consumers to access video and information while on the go, the next frontier in entertainment may actually be much closer to home.

“We are about to see the living room entirely Internet enabled,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick, publisher of hit video games including Call of Duty and Guitar Hero. “Storytellers will engage audiences with new devices and techniques.”

Kotick was in town last week explaining his vision of the future of entertainment during a dinner meeting hosted by the Economic Club of Chicago. The Long Island native who was encouraged to drop out of the University of Michigan by Steve Jobs in the early ’80s envisions a world where televisions will be smart enough to recognize the media consumption patterns of the individuals watching them. He added that boob tubes will become fully interactive once they integrate web-like search tools.

Beware of a bubble

Kotick, who secured his first investment from Las Vegas real estate developer Steve Wynn in the mid-’80s, sees a bubble brewing in the online and social media sectors not unlike what occurred in the dot-com bust a decade ago.

“(Back then), all the rules of investing were being rewritten before our very eyes,” he said.

Yet today games like Call of Duty, which has enlisted more participants than all the armed forces worldwide, “are creating a new form of interaction between the audience and the screen which is very physical.”

Immersive controls in the shape of weapons and guitars allow players to operate characters who, with advanced animation, can show real emotion on the screen. Rather than scripted entertainment or somebody else’s reality show, the stars in these new games increasingly are becoming the players themselves.

“In the ‘Me generation,’ the lines between entertainment and self-expression become blurred,” he said.

Are you ready to get in the game?



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.