It’s an exciting time at Playdeo. We’re an entertainment and technology company launching our first title ‘Avo’ soon.
And it’s an important time for the fields we’re entering. Although television has seen massive changes — in distribution and writing especially — the primary experience of watching TV has remained the same for decades. By contrast, there’s never been a more exciting time for video, and for the camera: there isn’t a sensor, or set of signals more heavily under development than the camera’s. There is something out of step between our experience of television, and the inventive promise of the smartphone, and these emerging technologies.
Pixels used to be rare. When I grew up in London there were only four TV channels, and some of them stopped broadcasting for long periods of the day. Huge antennas across the country would spew out vasts quantities of radio in order to fill domed glowing screens in houses, just in case you happened to be at home in front of them. The means of production were also rare — the equipment, people, and knowledge required to make video — all these things limited the making of visual media to a tiny population.
Pixels have moved on since then. Now they’re abundant and free; now they change when you touch them; the pixels know you’re there.
As a media distribution channel, phones are by far the largest market in history. Audiences and culture are racing away into the future. Unburdened by the legacies of decades of conditioning from TV and desktop PCs, wildly diverse and exciting forms of entertainment and commerce are evolving.
But video still relegates your phone to being a tiny TV — it’s not native to the device; it ignores the peculiarly intimate relationship most of us have with our phones, and the extraordinary things phones can do.
Playdeo operates from the notion that invention is a joyful act. At every stage of my working life I’ve used invention — to produce images, films, even products — with the ambition that people will find joy in the particular kinds of connection it affords. For me there is a politics to approaching the craft this way — it’s optimistic.
Playdeo is making television you can touch: a new space, inside video, where you can play. We plan to release a number of titles that show what’s possible when you think of TV differently, and put a new kind of agency into people’s hands. Among the first things we’ve built are technology and tools that allow any form of interaction with video. We believe there’s magic in this agency. It’s a new plane of behaviour and media; and it points to new relationships, and new kinds of entertainment.
We’ve found a form we believe speaks to an audience for whom the phone is their first — and for some, only — screen. As this audience grows, we’ll grow with them, bringing the care and heart found in TV and film, and the interactivity and play of games and software. We’re growing a team of curious, ambitious and inventive developers, writers, producers and designers, with the freedom and agency to make the best work of their lives. We’re building worlds as well as technology, pouring optimism and invention into every pixel.