What’s your philosophy on play?
How is the role of play changing, both in individuals’ lives and in society?
As above, I think play is becoming the central activity (arguably, alongside care) of healthy, better-educated, more self-determining people in the developed (and eventually the emerging) world economies and societies - rather than the degraded Puritan residue that the "work ethic" defines it as. There's also a very strong argument for its social centrality in terms of basic public health. For educationalists, it's a global given now that we must extend the play-moment in early years education, in order that neurological and physiological development happens to their fullest degree (the Scandinavians with their world-beating educational scores proves that, as does the brain science). But this will move beyond the kindergarten, into later years, and eventually out of the school and into wider organisational life. The general paradigm of purposefulness and value-adding activity that comes from gamer culture will get stronger and stronger, as a logic for running companies and organisations. How does an activity satisfy our demands for meaning, mastery and autonomy - as the best games do? Might genuinely committed, actively learning and relatively-free-to-decide employees be a real competitive edge in an economy where consumption becomes less important than experience?
What do you think of the idea of play being co-opted by brands and businesses?
Play can't really be co-opted by any form of social organisation - as it is one of the elemental processes that lead to any effective social organisation itself. But I'm happy to see play being invoked as a positive term or signifier by corporate brands - as I think it is a term which has radical implications for how we think of time, space and resources in our lives. Genuine playfulness is not leisure, something you do after the daily grind - it's an open, experimental and socially joyful way of being that, if embraced, has incalculable consequences for the norms of how we produce and consume. Play will as easily co-opt big biz!
How has digital gaming influenced play?
Answered at points above, but digital gaming is to the 21st century what printed books were to the Renaissance - it's a fundamental reorienting of how human beings see reality and how its elements interrelate. It's as profound as the shift from seeing one's life as a narrative line, a story running through a book, to seeing one's life as an element in a system, in which one's actions are profoundly wrapped up in others. The question for me now is the degree to which we can teach games-making literacy, in the way that the study of literature encouraged new literary genres - the systems that we enter into with our games are too much scripted from above, it's interpassivity as much as interactivity. But that will come.