As the world is embracing a rapidly changing character in the 21st century, the aspect of entertainment adapted to the changes in technology to make the experience of their consumers versatile and all-encompassing. Generally, entertainment technology (ET) combines music, movies, TV, video games and the Internet into common media, thus integrating technology and art. According to the Carnegie-Mellon Entertainment Technology Center, entertainment technology “refers to the very real world of entertainment experiences made possible by the advent of primarily computer-mediated digital technologies”.
At present, entertainment technology is the fastest growing industry with its scope extending to break all the barriers in telecommunications, broadcasting, information technology and even in electronic learning (e-learning). As entertainment needs to mesh with research, development, education, and technology, entertainment technology transformed to become more interdisciplinary; for instance, aerospace and robotics technology have direct applications within the entertainment industry.
However, fewer universities or organizations have stepped forward to apply these technologies to entertainment. This is why Carnegie-Mellon University was one of the first to institutionalize an Entertainment Technology Center that deals with some of the vital aspects of ET, like:
• networked and free-standing interactive computer games • avatar creation and utilization • massive multi-player online games • digital entertainment • specialty venues such theme parks, themed retail, specialty restaurants, and other location-based entertainment venues motion-base rides • console and PC interactive game design • the creation of unique input devices
Entertainment technology was thought to have emerged since the invention of the phonograph and motion pictures in the late 1800s. In 1927, the invention of television was a milestone because this brought the audio-visual experience in American homes after World War II. Another important milestone in ET is the invention of the first video game in the 1970s. This was when the coin-operated arcade video games became a fad.
The first one to have widespread success was Atari’s Pong in 1972, a game loosely based on table tennis. From then on, entertainment technology has become a multi-media phenomenon that included telecommunications via mobile phones, virtual reality via modern game consoles and networking via the widespread use of the Internet. Many global companies have taken notice of the changes in the entertainment technology sector and they are increasing the research and development of their companies in this area.
For instance, Larry Powers, president and CEO of Genlyte Thomas, said that they are pleased with the potential for this acquiring ET to enhance their commercial lighting products package. Their company intends to focus on Entertainment Technology on providing innovative products in the educational, hospitality, theatrical, and theme park markets. With this, their company expected that their sales will increase because there is potential for the ET product package to increase their market penetration and product offering into existing markets (Entertainment Design, October 2001).
Challenges in the entertainment technology sector have also increased in the recent years. For example, rampant piracy problems continue to dampen growth of the entertainment industry. The prime disadvantage of digitization is that it creates unlimited opportunities for unauthorized usage, enabling perfect copies to be made in less time, with little effort, and lower costs. However, with the support of the government, the industry can curtail all these problems and these threats to the industry can be overpowered with the gargantuan opportunities in the future.