Tretton’s back. Tell a friend. We’ll never forget the time he crowd surfed to the bar after announcing the PS4 at E3. We’ll never forget the way he apologised for whatever cloddish disaster it was Sony managed to cannonball into that year that, as it turns out, we have actually forgotten all about. Because after all this time, Jack Tretton, we’re still into you.
I mean. Not in a weird way.
But in a recent interview with PC Games Insider, not only did Tretton discuss his thunderous (or at the very least sort of blustery) return to gaming, after his fond adieu from Sony back in 2012, but he might also have given away what it was that made that E3 such a significant turning point for Sony and indeed, himself as their centre stage stammerer.
‘Interactive Gaming Ventures’ might sound like the dullest thing since Amber Rudd’s ‘Let’s Stare Listlessly At This Dishwater for Three Hours’ Youtube Series, but I’m going to presume that’s just a very self aware in-joke on Tretton’s part. Right? Sure.
What it actually is is the name of Big J’s brand new games investment and funding organisation, and by God would you look at that, everyone is asleep. The kicker, though, is that it’s aimed squarely between the furrowed brows of the latest, greatest, sedatest indie developers. Sedate because I’m presuming Jacky Boy wants people on his own level.
Peeling back the layers in a manner befitting Frost on Nixon, or someone mishandling an old onion, Tretton divulged the whole idea behind this new business, an idea which sheds some light on his rather buoyant bowing out and last few months at Sony:
“I spent 28 years with three companies and really appreciated all the resources they brought to the table and I love the team approach. But, as with any company, you don’t agree with everything they do but you have to swear by it because that’s what you’re paid to do. I got to a point in my career where I wanted to focus on working with who I wanted to work with and do what I was passionate about. I think indies are the best possible space to be in, in terms of innovation and passion, and quite frankly, in terms of financial opportunity.”
When asked what makes Interactive Snorefest Ventures different from the crowd of publishers and rival investors, the J-Man referred, quite understandably, to his own warbling success in the industry. Though it was a bit more humble than that:
“[…] I’d like to think I bring experience along with my partner that most other firms can’t offer.”
He goes onto explain why he’s working almost at ground level, and choosing this particular route for his next project…
“[…]I didn’t want to spend my time educating investors to the industry. I wanted to spend my time working with developers to help them be as successful as possible.”
And Tretton’s advice for those companies that are currently out there and doing questionable work? Don’t think about the immediate potential cash payout – games are a broader, deeper opportunity than that…
“A lot of the time, [outside investors are] looking strictly at the financial return and they want to get it as quickly as possible. We want to play the long game; it’s not about the first title we sign. It’s not about the first developer we work with. It’s about building something for the long term. The ideal relationship with a developer is that they feel like they now have a source for management guidance and investment, and they don’t have to spend their time chasing down money; they can focus on what they’re good at.”
Of course, anything to do with finance and investment either rings alarm bells and waves red flags for gamers across the world, or lulls them into a peaceful, tedium-induced coma. The former due to the stampede of publishers (Acti, EA, lookin’ at you here) who trample their IPs into the ground in euphoric excitement the very moment someone accidentally hiccups out the word ‘profit’ around them. But JT isn’t like that. Oh no.
“We’re not in this for the short term hit and run and we don’t want the people who are just going to be one-hit wonders that take all their money and blow it. We don’t want to be that way; we don’t want to rape and pillage a studio for great financial contributions but leave them destitute.”
Super encouraging words from the main man himself, and in truth, if this turns out to be everything Jackie T promises, it could be an incredible leg up for the right indies, and it might just do this industry some good.
SO, what’s all this got to do with The Tretts at Sony?
If you were reading Respawn during Tretton’s presidential hayday, firstly, see a doctor, and secondly you may remember us being rather disparaging about his half baked apologies and his slowly-reanimating-corpse approach to public speaking.
But all that changed when Sony finally had the upper hand with the PS4, and he lead a storming E3 Keynote. It was uncharacteristic and terrifying, but also glorious, and it changed our minds about this Jack the Lad entirely.
Tretton’s latest venture and the way he speaks about the project’s plans and goals shows genuine passion and enthusiasm for the indie scene. For the devs and their games and the abundance of inspired and ingenious creativity that comes gushing from this industry on a daily basis. That’s what gets him up in the morning; the exciting, bubbling underground scene that he’s been too busy sitting in skyscraper board rooms to really touch for decades. Until of course, along with the PS4s barrage of bewildering competency on all fronts, there came an influx of strong indie titles, and a new, previously unheard of sense of genuine support from the hardware giant.
When Jack Tretton was first able to talk about the PS4, he was in his element because he was getting to work with, speak about, revere these indies.
If all this is true, because hey I’m speculating, then Boring Boring Suits Finance Games Ventures might actually become something incredible for the industry and the indie scene. So long as it changes its name, anyway. More soon y’lot.
Read the full interview at the source; the excellent people at PC Games Insider – http://www.pcgamesinsider.biz/industry-icon/66966/the-indie-games-market-is-the-best-possible-space-to-be-in-terms-of-innovation-passion-and-financial-opportunity/