By now, plenty of people have understood the details of how Trent Reznor embraced new business models
and has thrived online by doing so. But could he do the same thing in an entirely different industry as well? A few folks have sent in an interview with Reznor and long-time collaborator Rob Sheridan on Joystiq, discussing how they wanted to create a video game
. While Reznor admits that he hasn't done enough research to fully understand the video game ecosystem, something did strike him in his first few meetings:
And as first time people in a pitch meeting, it was kind of depressing. Depressing to see that the people in control of those studios and publishers are much the same as the people sitting at record companies.
In a record company, they aren't musicians or people who love music, they're people who want to sell plastic discs. They think they have a formula where if they can eliminate the artist from that equation, even better. You see that in the case of the Pussycat Dolls and some of the other fabricated crap that's out there. What we tended to notice in the video game meetings was that it didn't seem that there were gamers there. It's business guys who want to turn the company into a profit making machine. They look at it in terms of numbers, like a Hollywood studio. If it costs "X" amount to make a game, to compete, then it has to be a proven franchise or it has to be similar enough to something they know is going to sell. They don't want to take the risk.
It certainly sounds like they're still just tossing around ideas -- not heavily committed to making a video game (so don't start rumors!) -- but they do appear interested in experimenting with a variety of different concepts once Reznor is finally done touring. It would be neat to see if Reznor can take his success and experiences with the music industry, and translate it to video games. There have been some companies that have started to figure this out, such as Stardock, who takes a very pro-gamer stance
that focuses on providing more value, rather than trying to stop people from doing bad stuff. And not surprisingly, Stardock has seen quite a lot of success
in doing so. In the meantime, for you Reznor fans, apparently the trick to getting him to hang out with you is to have an old time arcade set up with Robotron