Being the ones who actually risk millions of dollars funding an idea, game publishers have quite a large say when it comes to content. But what if fans could get more involved in the process, taking decisions out of conservative publishers’ hands and into their own? While it may sound impossible, if not impractical, that’s a possibility Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is currently looking at.
Speaking in an online interview, Newell said that he is “super interested” in how developers can leverage finance from the community to make games. He explained that most new projects require huge investments to even get past the conception stage. Having gamers put their own money into something they really like should not only help offset these costs, but signal a greater likelihood of success for the developer. In return gamers would get a chance to make some money as well as a free copy of the game, of course.
Naturally, the idea raises a lot of questions. What happens if projects don't receive enough money upfront? Or if after many years in development a game never comes to fruition? The concept of community financing may not fit well with some big-budget titles, which can cost several millions to make, but for smaller scale games from independent developers it doesn’t seem too farfetched.