2 min read

From Pong to Grover

Last Tuesday, we proudly announced that Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind Sesame Street, has partnered with Impelsys to convert as many as 900 of its over 5,000 published books into eBooks. The deal got tremendous coverage in the media, that included a feature article in the Wall Street Journal which ran in the print edition of the WJS and on wsj.com. Impelsys was also featured in the Los Angeles Times, LiveMint, Gizmodo, MediaBistro and on ABC news.

We actively pursued this partnership with Sesame Street for more than a year because this deal represents the direction in which the industry is heading. The Kindle and Nook were important steps for the digital publishing industry, in the same way that Pong was a big step for the video game industry, but I contend that the best technology at the moment for digital books is one that most of us already have in our homes – the computer.

I believe that we can learn a great deal from the evolution of the video game industry. In 1975, Atari released the Home Pong console – a hardware-focused, one-dimensional product that captured our imaginations and helped spawn a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. Pong was an important first step but in the end, the machine played one game and we needed gaming systems with more power, flexibility and interactivity.

The hardware (i.e. Xbox, Wii, PS3) remains important to this day, but its genius lies in the software that runs on these systems. For example, the Wii was a big development, but people loved it because we could go bowling in our living room or play tennis with our kids on a snowy day.

Whether playing Halo with a friend from China on PlayStation 3, doing exercises with your sister on Wii Fit or having Grover personally read for your 3-year old “The Monster at the end of this Book” on ebooks.Sesamestreet.org, consumers want a rich, interactive, 3D experiences, regardless of the gadget it comes in.

This partnership with Sesame Workshop is an important milestone for Impelsys and a great way to end a very productive 2009. I look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of digital publishing and providing publishers and content developers with technologies that enable interactivity and allow their businesses to grow in 2010 and beyond.