Jonathan Blow (born 1971) is an American independent video game developer. He is best known for his game Braid, which won the “Game Design” award at the Independent Games Festival in 2006. He is currently developing The Witness, to be released in 2012.
For many years Blow wrote the Inner Product column for Game Developer Magazine. He is the primary host of the Experimental Gameplay Workshop each March at the Game Developers Conference, which has become a premier showcase for new ideas in video games. In addition, Blow is a regular participant in the Indie Game Jam.
In a speech at the Free Play conference in Australia in September 2007, Blow suggested games were approaching the level of societal influence of other forms of art, such as films and novels. One example that Blow cites is World of Warcraft, which he labels “unethical”, stating that such games exploit players by using a simple reward-for-suffering scheme to keep them in front of their computer. In his view, developers need to think about what reinforcement the games are providing players when they reward them for performing certain actions. He emphasized the need for developers to design inspiring new games using “innovative, ethical and personal art.”
In an interview with Jeff Glor CBS This Morning, Blow noted that games could have a “much bigger role” in culture in the future, but current game development does not address this potential, instead aiming for low-risk, high-profit titles.