Despite the rise of amateur video and the new modes of distribution and discussion, Internet technologies have not been able to change the fundamental character of video. Whether someone watches video on a television screen, or plays it on YouTube, video is a linear, passive experience, designed to be watched from beginning to end without alterations or input from the audience. In this sense, video is still following the model set by film in the late 19th century.
Today’s machinima, virtual reality tools, virtual worlds like Second Life, and massive multiplayer online games like Warhammer are harbingers of what’s to come. If Moore’s Law holds for the development of CPUs and GPUs, moving photorealistic graphics will be possible on home PCs and gaming systems in 2013, and will be commonplace by 2018. Advances in hardware technologies will be matched by new Internet-based software tools that will lead to 3D content types that go far beyond what’s currently possible with video. Audiences and content creators will discover that 3D environments will not only be able to duplicate many types of video programming, but will also be able to provide customization, interactivity, and social options that amplify the ability of moving images to entertain and inform.