chapter  1
19 Pages


In this new millennium when most of our encounters are paid-for experiences, Americans view entertainment as a fact of life. The average American spends more money on entertainment than on gasoline, household furnishings, and clothing, and spends nearly the same amount on entertainment as on dining out. According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, spending on global entertainment and media will exceed $1.8 trillion by 2010 (see Figure 1.1). We have transitioned into an “experience economy” where we each become part of the commercial marketplace.1 The entertainment industry packages experiences by providing access to simulated worlds and virtual realities. Because a large proportion of human activity is centered around it, entertainment is an important element of society. Entertainment drives social behavior, and as such it deserves to be studied for its contributions, its significance, and its effects.