Her Story (opens in a new tab) creator Sam Barlow recently revealed on Twitter that Tesla once approached him about adding the game to its library of in-car games. The deal never happened, however, because Tesla didn’t want to pay for it with anything other than “exposure.”
Tesla’s cars are notable for a number of things, including catching fire, causing accidents, and being a literal gaming platform. And quite a powerful one too, apparently capable of playing relatively new, demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077. (opens in a new tab). But like other platforms, getting games on it requires a license with the creator, which is where Barlow’s story comes into play.
“Tesla once reached out to ask to put Her Story in a car,” Barlow tweeted (opens in a new tab). “I asked how much they would charge for the license and to cover the engineering work—they suggested zero, so I thought about the exposure I would get.”
The idea of exposure in this context is that creators will give up money to bring their work to a larger audience, and thus a larger pool of potential paying customers, than they would otherwise reach. It’s basically a way for someone to get free work, and generally not considered a good idea: The Oatmeal made a famous comic. (opens in a new tab) about the obvious pitfalls of discovery, and are a Twitter account (opens in a new tab) devoted also to ridiculing its folly.
Predictably, many of the responses to Barlow’s tweet are very spot on:
And it turns out that Barlow was not alone in this experience with Tesla. A developer who worked on Untitled Goose Game (opens in a new tab) said in a one-word response that Tesla had come to them with the same proposition.
Exposure is pretty useless all around—you can’t buy food or pay rent with it—but it’s even more useless for Barlow than most because Her Story is a bona fide indie hit. (He’s done pretty well since then without the Tesla show, too, with Her Story sequels Telling Lies and Immortality both winning critical acclaim.) And besides, the idea of putting Her Story in Teslas is pretty stupid right off the bat. I’m sure it’s great to be able to blow a few minutes on a momentary distraction while you’re waiting for someone in the parking lot, something you can easily get in and out of, but does anyone really want to play an intense piece. investigative interactive fiction like that? I suspect not.
Barlow had some thoughts on that as well.
Her Story in a car remains one of the sillier ideas I’ve heardOctober 31, 2022