Valve boss Gabe Newell says that he's "super interested" in the idea of having gamers foot part of the bill for development of games in exchange for profits and a copy of the game.
Gabe Newell's chock full of big ideas, and his newest and biggest one doesn't have anything to do with DRM or how to get you to fall in love with a videogame character, it has to do with how you pay for your games. Not as in how you purchase them, but how you might pay for their development.
"One of the areas that I am super interested in right now is how we can do financing from the community," Newell told ABC's Good Game. As Newell sees it, with the way game development currently works, developers need "$10 to $30 million" in funding to even get started on a project. "There's a huge amount of risk associated with those dollars and decisions have to be incredibly conservative," Newell said.
A possible way to eliminate all that risk might be to ask gamers to pay for the development of their games. "What I think would be much better would be if the community could finance the games," Newell explained. "In other words, 'Hey, I really like this idea you have. I'll be an early investor in that and, as a result, at a later point I may make a return on that product, but I'll also get a copy of that game."
Which sounds somewhat similar to ventures like The Game Cartel, which asks gamers to fork over dollars to make a game that they'll have a major hand in designing, in exchange for a copy of the game. Now what Newell's imagining is different - he's proposing people fund a project that'll be developed by another party. That involves quite a bit of faith in that party for people to be willing to fork over their money. I don't imagine it being hard for a company like Valve to call on its rabid fanbase to help out here, but for smaller, less visible developers? Maybe it wouldn't be as easy.