In the lead-up to X Media Lab in June, we spoke with a few of the distinguished entrepreneurs from around the world who are slated to appear. In this Q&A email interview, guest speaker Orvar Säfström talks about the difference between traditional versus technological media innovation and asserts that playing video games has always been a social activity.
Orvar writes for numerous newspapers and magazines, lectures on popular culture and games, and has led a seminar on game culture in Swedish parliament. He is also the producer of video game music concerts, currently holding the world attendance record for a game concert (17,000 at Joystick in 2006). Säfström has a background in film, having twice been voted “Best Swedish film critic of all time” by the readers of leading national newspaper Aftonbladet. From 2003 to 2006, he co-hosted Filmkrönikan on the Swedish television network SVT.
1. What is the one standout characteristic you think makes an entrepreneur successful in the digital media space?
Relevance. I see a million things, from films and games to apps and tech solutions, where seemingly no-one during the entire process has stopped to ask the most basic of all question: “Why?”
2. How would you describe some of the similarities and differences in the evolution of digital media compared with that of ‘traditional’ media?
I wouldn’t say “digital” is the opposite of “traditional”. There are many very traditional ideas in the digital business (and some truly revolutionary in “old media”). The technological factor is just a means to an end. It’s when we start looking at things like interactivity, user culture and the sliding balance of ownership, things start to get really interesting.
3. What will you want people to take away from your session at Global Media Ideas?
An awareness of the complexities of reaching one goal from several different, and sometimes conflicting, perspectives. This is especially the case when it comes to multi-platform and cross-cultural storytelling.
4. Video game culture has gone from anti-social to social. What was the catalyst for that change?
I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I was already playing multi-player video games in the late 70s, and the sense of community has always been strong in game culture. I think it’s more a shift towards social platforms as a means of providing game experiences than the games being social in their own sense.
X Media Lab: Global Media Ideas will take place 10-12 June 2011 at the Sydney Opera House. Learn more about how to participate here.