January 18, 2001
The Audience Takes Over: Participant as Collaborator

As interactive entertainment evolves, it puts the audience increasingly in the driver's seat. Online communities, role-playing and artificial intelligence-based, character-creation games allow players to co-author their own narratives in real-time. From this, spontaneous economies have emerged where players sell the characters they've developed for real money on auction sites such as eBay. And game engines are becoming creative tools as players learn how to build their own virtual worlds and make movies in cyberspace. What is the role of professional storytellers in this equation? And how will Hollywood cope with the notion of sharing creative control--and monetary reward--with an evermore creative audience?