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New Competition for Hollywood: your Neighbor

John Markoff has a nice 'round up' article on the growing impact of self-publishing. Maybe we could call the movement: 'no more piracy, we'll make our own stuff.'

Web Content by and for the Masses - New York Times (registration required)

...the abundance of user-generated content - which includes online games, desktop video and citizen journalism sites - is reshaping the debate over file sharing. Many Internet industry executives think it poses a new kind of threat to Hollywood, the recording industry and other purveyors of proprietary content: not piracy of their work, but a compelling alternative. The new services offer a bottom-up creative process that is shifting the flow of information away from a one-way broadcast or publishing model, giving rise to a wave of new business ventures and touching off a scramble by media and technology companies to respond. "Sharing will be everywhere," said Jeff Weiner, a Yahoo senior vice president in charge of the company's search services. "It's the next chapter of the World Wide Web."...

While Hollywood studios have generally scoffed at competition from amateurs, the most striking example of user-generated content may come from Spore, an online game being developed by Will Wright, the developer of the Sims series of video games.

Spore, scheduled for release next year, will incorporate a variety of software tools that let users "evolve" a civilization. Rather than a massively multiplayer game, the current fashion in online role playing, it will be a "massively single player" game.

Although they will all be connected by the Internet, game players will not interact with one another, but rather with the civilizations that other players have evolved. The entertainment value will be in exploring civilizations created by other players and interacting with characters controlled by artificial-intelligence software.

Spore is intended to appeal to young game players who have no interest in being entertained passively. "We have a whole generation of kids who feel entitled to be game designers," Mr. Wright said.

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