I grew up in Northern Ireland , right up in the very , very north end of it there , where it 's absolutely freezing cold .
This was me running around in the back garden mid-summer .


( Laughter )


I could n't pick a career .
In Ireland the obvious choice is the military , but to be honest it actually kind of sucks .


( Laughter )


My mother wanted me to be a dentist .
But the problem was that people kept blowing everything up .
So I actually went to school in Belfast , which was where all the action happened .
And this was a pretty common sight .
The school I went to was pretty boring .
They forced us to learn things like Latin .
The school teachers were n't having much fun , the sports were very dirty or very painful .
So I cleverly chose rowing , which I got very good at .


And I was actually rowing for my school here until this fateful day , and I flipped over right in front of the entire school .
And that was the finishing post right there .


( Laughter )


So this was extremely embarrassing .
But our school at that time got a grant from the government , and they got an incredible computer -- the research machine 3DZ -- and they left the programming manuals lying around .
And so students like myself with nothing to do , we would learn how to program it .
Also around this time , at home , this was the computer that people were buying .
It was called the Sinclair ZX80 . This was a 1K computer , and you 'd buy your programs on cassette tape .


Actually I 'm just going to pause for one second , because I heard that there 's a prerequisite to speak here at TED -- you had to have a picture of yourself from the old days with big hair .
So I brought a picture with big hair .


( Laughter ) .


I just want to get that out of the way .
So after the Sinclair ZX80 came along the very cleverly named Sinclair ZX81 .


( Laughter )


And -- you see the picture at the bottom ?
There 's a picture of a guy doing homework with his son .
That 's what they thought they had built it for .
The reality is we got the programming manual and we started making games for it .
We were programming in BASIC , which is a pretty awful language for games , so we ended up learning Assembly language so we could really take control of the hardware .
This is the guy that invented it , Sir Clive Sinclair , and he 's showing his machine .
You had this same thing in America , it was called the Timex Sinclair1000 .


To play a game in those days you had to have an imagination to believe that you were really playing `` Battlestar Galactica . '' The graphics were just horrible .
You had to have an even better imagination to play this game , `` Death Rider . '' But of course the scientists could n't help themselves .
They started making their own video games .
This is one of my favorite ones here , where they have rabbit breeding , so males choose the lucky rabbit .


It was around this time we went from 1K to 16K , which was quite the leap .
And if you 're wondering how much 16K is , this eBay logo here is 16K .
And in that amount of memory someone programmed a full flight simulation program .
And that 's what it looked like .
I spent ages flying this flight simulator , and I honestly believed I could fly airplanes by the end of it .


Here 's Clive Sinclair now launching his color computer .
He 's recognized as being the father of video games in Europe .
He 's a multi-millionaire , and I think that 's why he 's smiling in this photograph .


So I went on for the next 20 years or so making a lot of different games .
Some of the highlights were things like `` The Terminator , '' `` Aladdin , '' the `` Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles . '' Because I was from the United Kingdom , they thought the word ninja was a little too mean for children , so they decided to call it hero instead .
I personally preferred the Spanish version , which was `` Tortugas Ninja . '' That was much better .


( Laughter )


Then the last game I did was based on trying to get the video game industry and Hollywood to actually work together on something -- instead of licensing from each other , to actually work .


Now , Chris did ask me to bring some statistics with me , so I 've done that .
The video game industry in 2005 became a 29 billion dollar business .
It grows every year .
Last year was the biggest year .
By 2008 , we 're going to kick the butt of the music industry .
By 2010 , we 're going to hit 42 billion .
43 percent of gamers are female .
So there 's a lot more female gamers than people are really aware .


The average age of gamers ?
Well , obviously it 's for children , right ?
Well , no , actually it 's 30 years old .
And interestingly , the people who buy the most games are 37 .
So 37 is our target audience .
All video games are violent .
Of course the newspapers love to beat on this .
But 83 percent of games do n't have any mature content whatsoever , so it 's just not true .


Online gaming statistics .
I brought some stuff on `` World of Warcraft . '' It 's 5.5 million players .
It makes about 80 million bucks a month in subscriptions .
It costs 50 bucks just to install it on your computer , making the publisher about another 275 million .
The game costs about 80 million dollars to make , so basically it pays for itself in about a month .
A player in a game called `` Project Entropia '' actually bought his own island for 26,500 dollars .
You have to remember that this is not a real island .
He did n't actually buy anything , just some data .
But he got great terms on it .
This purchase included mining and hunting rights , ownership of all land on the island , and a castle with no furniture included .


( Laughter )


This market is now estimated at over 800 million dollars annually .
And what 's interesting about it is the market was actually created by the gamers themselves .
They found clever ways to trade items and to sell their accounts to each other so that they could make money while they were playing their games .
I dove onto eBay a couple of days ago just to see what was gong on , typed in World of Warcraft , got 6,000 items .
I liked this one the best : a level 60 Warlock with lots of epics for 174,000 dollars .
It 's like that guy obviously had some pain while making it .


So as far as popularity of games , what do you think these people are doing here ?
It turns out they 're actually in Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles listening to the L.A. Philharmonic playing video game music .
That 's what the show looks like .
You would expect it to be cheesy , but it 's not .
It 's very , very epic and a very beautiful concert .
And the people that went there absolutely loved it .


What do you think these people are doing ?
They 're actually bringing their computers so they can play games against each other .
And this is happening in every city around the world .
This is happening in your local cities too , you 're probably just not aware of it .


Now , Chris told me that you had a timeline video a few years ago here just to show how video game graphics have been improving .
I wanted to update that video and give you a new look at it .
But what I want you to do is to try to understand it .
We 're on this curve , and the graphics are getting so ridiculously better .
And I 'm going to show you up to maybe 2007 .
But I want you to try and think about what games could look like 10 years from now .
So we 're going to start that video .


Video : Throughout human history people have played games .
As man 's intellect and technology have evolved so too have the games he plays .


( Music )


( Applause )


David Perry : The thing again I want you to think about is , do n't look at these graphics and think of that 's the way it is .
Think about that 's where we are right now , and the curve that we 're on means that this is going to continue to get better .
This is an example of the kind of graphics you need to be able to draw if you wanted to get a job in the video game industry today .
You need to be really an incredible artist .
And once we get enough of those guys , we 're going to want more fantasy artists that can create places we 've never been to before , or characters that we 've just never seen before .


So the obvious thing for me to talk about today is graphics and audio .
But if you were to go to a game developers conference , what they 're all talking about is emotion , purpose , meaning , understanding and feeling .
You 'll hear about talks like , can a video game make you cry ?
And these are the kind of topics we really actually care about .


I came across a student who 's absolutely excellent at expressing himself , and this student agreed that he would not show his video to anybody until you here at TED had seen it .
So I 'd like to play this video .
So this is a student 's opinion on what his experience of games are .


Video : I , like many of you , live somewhere between reality and video games .
Some part of me -- a true living , breathing person -- has become programmed , electronic and virtual .
The boundary of my brain that divides real from fantasy has finally begun to crumble .
I 'm a video game addict and this is my story .


( Music )


In the year of my birth the Nintendo Entertainment System also went into development .
I played in the backyard , learned to read , and even ate some of my vegetables .
Most of my childhood was spent playing with Legos .
But as was the case for most of my generation , I spent a lot of time in front of the TV .
Mr. Rogers , Walt Disney , Nick Junior , and roughly half a million commercials have undoubtedly left their mark on me .


When my parents bought my sister and I our first Nintendo , whatever inherent addictive quality this early interactive electronic entertainment possessed quickly took hold of me .
At some point something clicked .


( Music )


With the combination of simple , interactive stories and the warmth of the TV set , my simple 16-bit Nintendo became more than just an escape .
It became an alternate existence , my virtual reality .


( Music )


I 'm a video game addict , and it 's not because of a certain number of hours I have spent playing , or nights I have gone without sleep to finish the next level .
It is because I have had life-altering experiences in virtual space , and video games had begun to erode my own understanding of what is real and what is not .
I 'm addicted , because even though I know I 'm losing my grip on reality , I still crave more .


( Music )


From an early age I learned to invest myself emotionally in what unfolded before me on screen .
Today , after 20 years of watching TV geared to make me emotional , even a decent insurance commercial can bring tears to my eyes .
I am just one of a new generation that is growing up .
A generation who may experience much more meaning through video games than they will through the real world .
Video games are nearing an evolutionary leap , a point where game worlds will look and feel just as real as the films we see in theatres , or the news we watch on TV .
And while my sense of free will in these virtual worlds may still be limited , what I do learn applies to my real life .
Play enough video games and eventually you will really believe you can snowboard , fly a plane , drive a nine-second quarter mile , or kill a man .
I know I can .


Unlike any pop culture phenomenon before it , video games actually allow us to become part of the machine .
They allow us to sublimate into the culture of interactive , downloaded , streaming , HD reality .
We are interacting with our entertainment .
I have come to expect this level of interaction .
Without it , the problems faced in the real world -- poverty , war , disease and genocide -- lack the levity they should .
Their importance blends into the sensationalized drama of prime time TV .


But the beauty of video games today lies not in the lifelike graphics , the vibrating joysticks or virtual surround sound .
It lies in that these games are beginning to make me emotional .
I have fought in wars , feared for my own survival , watched my cohorts die on beaches and woods that look and feel more real than any textbook or any news story .


The people who create these games are smart .
They know what makes me scared , excited , panicked , proud or sad .
Then they use these emotions to dimensionalize the worlds they create .
A well-designed video game will seamlessly weave the user into the fabric of the virtual experience .
As one becomes more experienced the awareness of physical control melts away .
I know what I want and I do it .
No buttons to push , no triggers to pull , just me and the game .
My fate and the fate of the world around me lie inside my hands .
I know violent video games make my mother worry .
What troubles me is not that video game violence is becoming more and more like real life violence , but that real life violence is starting to look more and more like a video game .


( Music )


These are all troubles outside of myself .
I , however , have a problem very close to home .
Something has happened to my brain .


( Music )


Perhaps there is a single part of our brain that holds all of our gut instincts , the things we know to do before we even think .
While some of these instincts may be innate , most are learned , and all of them are hardwired into our brains .
These instincts are essential for survival in both real and virtual worlds .
Only in recent years has the technology behind video games allowed for a true overlap in stimuli .
As gamers we are now living by the same laws of physics in the same cities and doing many of the same things we once did in real life , only virtually .
Consider this -- my real life car has about 25,000 miles on it .
In all my driving games , I 've driven a total of 31,459 miles .
To some degree I 've learned how to drive from the game .
The sensory cues are very similar .
It 's a funny feeling when you have spent more time doing something on the TV than you have in real life .
When I am driving down a road at sunset all I can think is , this is almost as beautiful as my games are .


For my virtual worlds are perfect .
More beautiful and rich than the real world around us .
I 'm not sure what the implications of my experience are , but the potential for using realistic video game stimuli in repetition on a vast number of loyal participants is frightening to me .
Today I believe Big Brother would find much more success brainwashing the masses with video games rather than just simply TVs .
Video games are fun , engaging , and leave your brain completely vulnerable to re-programming .
But maybe brainwashing is n't always bad .


Imagine a game that teaches us to respect each other , or helps us to understand the problems we 're all facing in the real world .
There is a potential to do good as well .
It is critical , as these virtual worlds continue to mirror the real world we live in , that game developers realize that they have tremendous responsibilities before them .
I 'm not sure what the future of video games holds for our civilization .
But as virtual and real world experiences increasingly overlap there is a greater and greater potential for other people to feel the same way I do .


What I have only recently come to realize is that beyond the graphics , sound , game play and emotion it is the power to break down reality that is so fascinating and addictive to me .
I know that I am losing my grip .
Part of me is just waiting to let go .
I know though , that no matter how amazing video games may become , or how flat the real world may seem to us , that we must stay aware of what our games are teaching us and how they leave us feeling when we finally do unplug .


( Applause )


DP : Wow .


( Applause )


I found that video very , very thought provoking , and that 's why I wanted to bring it here for you guys to see .
And what was interesting about it is the obvious choice for me to talk about was graphics and audio .
But as you heard , Michael talked about all these other elements as well .
Video games give an awful lot of other things too , and that 's why people get so addicted .
The most important one being fun .


The name of this track is `` The Magic To Come . '' Who is that going to come from ?
Is it going to come from the best directors in the world as we thought it probably would ?
I do n't think so .
I think it 's going to come from the children who are growing up now that are n't stuck with all of the stuff that we remember from the past .
They 're going to do it their way , using the tools that we 've created .
The same with students or highly creative people , writers and people like that .


As far as colleges go , there 's about 350 colleges around the world teaching video game courses .
That means there 's literally thousands of new ideas .
Some of the ideas are really dreadful and some of them are great .
There 's nothing worse than having to listen to someone try and pitch you a really bad video game idea .


( Laughter )


Chris Anderson : You 're off , you 're off . That 's it .
He 's out of time .


DP : I 've just got a little tiny bit more if you 'll indulge me .


CA : Go ahead . I 'm going to stay right here though .


( Laughter )


DP : This is just a cool shot , because this is students coming to school after class .
The school is closed ; they 're coming back at midnight because they want to pitch their video game ideas .
I 'm sitting at the front of the class , and they 're actually pitching their ideas .
So it 's hard to get students to come back to class , but it is possible .


This is my daughter , her name 's Emma , she 's 17 months old .
And I 've been asking myself , what is Emma going to experience in the video game world ?
And as I 've shown here , we have the audience .
She 's never going to know a world where you ca n't press a button and have millions of people ready to play .
You know , we have the technology .
She 's never going to know a world where the graphics just are n't stunning and really immersive .
And as the student video showed , we can impact and move .
She 's never going to know a world where video games are n't incredibly emotional and will probably make her cry .
I just hope she likes video games .


( Laughter )


So , my closing thought .
Games on the surface seem simple entertainment , but for those that like to look a little deeper , the new paradigm of video games could open entirely new frontiers to creative minds that like to think big .
Where better to challenge those minds than here at TED ?


Thank you .


Chris Anderson : David Perry . That was awesome .