In this “Best of Beyond the Book” episode, award-winning video game developer and novelist Jakub Szamalek asserts, “I’m absolutely convinced that books and games are not competitors and that people are likely to do both.”
By far, the global games industry is the largest slice of the entertainment business pie, with estimated worldwide revenues in 2016 of nearly $100 billion. Publishers, authors and readers often wonder if the rise of games and interactive media will lead to the extinction of reading and books.
Author, educator and editor Michael Greer insists, however, that games have important lessons to share that will advance reading in a digital future.
“Culturally and commercially, we can’t afford to be unaware of what is going on in the worlds of gaming,” he wrote recently in Publishers Weekly. “The first thing to know is that digital interactive storytelling has matured in recent years. The depth and quality of the writing and emotional experience in some games rivals the best literary narratives—and some are even drawn from them.”
In February, for the annual PubWest 2017 Conference, Greer spoke with Jakub Szamalek, an award-winning video game writer and novelist, born in Warsaw, Poland. Beyond the Book is delighted to share a portion of this interview.
“I’m absolutely convinced that books and games are not competitors and that people are likely to do both,” Szamalek tells Greer. “In Poland, at least, studies have shown that people who consume a lot of media consumed various [other] media. So, if you watch movies, if you watch TV series, if you read newspapers – if you’re engaged with the world of culture and you like learning or getting to know new stories – you will also read books. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a similar correlation in the U.S.”
In 2012, Jakub Szamalek joined CD PROJEKT RED, the Polish game developer behind the critically-acclaimed international bestseller Witcher franchise. He is also the author of a series of crime novels set in ancient Greece. He was educated at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and holds a Ph.D. classical archaeology.
A frequent past guest on Beyond the Book, Michael Greer has worked in higher education for over 20 years as an author, educator, and editor. He also serves on the advisory board for Gadget Software, working to develop a new mobile publishing platform for educational texts.