Are you a digital creative who likes to explore lots and lots of new ideas? Then the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival — which includes more than 800 different sessions covering a huge variety of topics — is where you want to be! One of these topics for 2014 is “Video Gaming IS Pop Culture: The Overall Picture". This panel is led by Patrick Scott Patterson (@OriginalPSP), a veteran industry analyst based in Denton, Texas.
SXSW: What can people expect to learn when they attend the “Video Gaming IS Pop Culture: The Overall Picture” panel at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival?
Patterson: Video games and video game culture are no longer a niche in the mainstream entertainment world. Two-thirds of Americans now play some kind of video game as the electronic games can now be found on devices beyond the traditional box hooked to the television and the first generations of gamers continue to play as they raise children of their own. Three noted personalities in the world of video gaming talk about how video games are now shaping American pop culture in a number of ways.
SXSW: Please give us more information about the other speakers on this session (and what they will bring to the table).
Patterson: Rachel Lara is a charismatic video game personality who partnered with me for the majority of my speaking sessions at video game and pop culture events across the country in 2013. She combines her wit and charm with her extensive experience in the video game culture, including character modeling, on-camera interviews, production and a lifetime of gaming herself. Chris Wiseman is GameStop's resident video game personality under the name of Captain Redbeard, where he appears on camera and interviews the movers and shakers of the video game and entertainment industries. He also continues to manage a GameStop store in the Dallas area, giving him a deep look at both sides of the video game culture at the same time.
SXSW: What kinds of people will want to attend the “Video Gaming IS Pop Culture: The Overall Picture panel?
Patterson: I am hopeful that people of all types will attend this session, as part of the focus of the session is to speak on how video gaming is now mainstream universal entertainment that appeals to all demographics. Due to that, I am hopeful there will be a wide variety of demographics in attendance. I am certain those who define themselves as hardcore video game fans will attend, and I ideally some skeptics of video gaming culture will show up as well. It would be nice to have a chance to change their perspective.
SXSW: Tell us a little more about why you are qualified to talk on this particular session?
Patterson: 2014 will by my 33rd year in video gaming. I began playing seriously at a very young age and not long into that I began to study as much as I could about the industry and history as well. Today, I could easily be described as "the man who talks about video games for a living" as I appear in a wide variety of media. Using my experience and longtime knowledge of video gaming from numerous points of view, I speak at live events across the country, produce online content that covers all types of video game content, appear in a number of video game documentaries as an expert and more. News outlets across the world also come to me when they need insight on video game topics.
SXSW: What is your best / favorite strategy for networking and making new connections at an event like SXSW?
Patterson: I like to meet and talk with people. I'll shake hands and converse with anyone who wants to and give them my business card, encouraging them to continue interacting with me on these topics after the event has concluded. My approach is often effective, and the conversations often continue on social media and at future events.
SXSW: Tell us something about yourself that is not in your official bio.
Patterson: I was a professional wrestler from 1998-2008. A great manner of how I present myself as a person uses what I learned in wrestling. Pro wrestling is mostly about connecting with the audience. Other than aches and pains, the ability to connect with an audience is the biggest thing I took away from that former profession.
SXSW: In your opinion, who is the most innovative person in the world today and why?
Patterson: WWE chairman Vince McMahon. He turned a regional "wrassling" company into a national and later international entertainment company. They now produce 10 hours of fresh television content per week and their stars are mainstream celebrities. He totally and completely changed a niche form of entertainment into something commercially viable with a wide number of revenue streams. Yes, there are others who invent technologies and stuff like that, but they get their credit for it, too. I do not feel McMahon gets proper credit for what he accomplished and how he went about doing it.
SXSW: Not necessarily related to your speaking topic at SXSW, what is your favorite book from the last year and why?
Patterson: Finding the Next Steve Jobs by Nolan Bushnell. Atari's founder gave Jobs his first employment in the electronics industry when nobody else would give the guy a chance. Bushnell explains what caused him to do so and encourages other business professionals to hire people on factors not shown on a resume by using his own examples. I wish all businesses would read it. I feel creative people are the most valuable, and this book covers that in a manner nobody else has.
SXSW: Does the future of technology excite you or frighten you?
Patterson: I'm totally excited by it. As much as critics claim that technology has made the world less personal I think it has opened the creative envelope and will continue to do so. Perhaps people don't talk as much to each other in person as they once did in a pre-device world, but they can now also talk to people from all walks of life all over the world in an instant. That means that ideas and friendships that wouldn't have had a chance to exist otherwise have a chance to bloom. As the tech continues to evolve, the opportunities here continue to expand.
Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. Register now to attend “Video Gaming IS Pop Culture: The Overall Picture” and other programming at SXSW Interactive 2014. Hurry, registration prices increase at the end of the day on Friday, January 10.
Patrick Scott Patterson photo courtesy of Erik Aackerlund.