Last week, as the New York Times examined an emerging strategy among publishers to use video games as a way to entice teens and young adults to read books, one of the week's hottest auctions centered on the burgeoning influence of digital games themselves—and how the book industry might respond to this development. Vanessa Mobley at the Penguin Press outlasted five other publishers in a multiday auction for Jane McGonigal's Reality Is Broken; Chris Parris-Lamb at Gernert sold North American rights. McGonigal, a researcher at the independent Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, Calif., and a prominent designer of alternative reality games, issues a call to action in the book. With millions of players choosing the virtual worlds of computer and video games over reality, McGonigal argues that it's time to start applying the lessons of successful game design to make the reality that players leave behind a better place. By analyzing how games function as “happiness engines,” and using case studies from cutting-edge games that blend the real world and the virtual, McGonigal will show how the lessons of game design—and games themselves—can be used to make businesses, schools and society better, happier and more highly functioning places. Tentative pub date is fall 2010.