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Valve wants community-funded games

Valve wants community-funded games

Valve's Gabe Newell has suggested the idea of community-funded games as a way to offset dev costs.

Valve founder Gabe Newell has spoken out about a radical new idea which could fundamentally change the way that computer and video games are developed and sold - the idea that gamers pay for them.

More specifically, Newell's idea is that gamers as a group consider funding development of a title before release in the same way that a publisher might - effectively creating community-published games.

Speaking to ABC, Newell suggested that community-funded games may be a great way to offset the huge costs and risks that developers and publishers face when creating a new title, saying that it may be a good way for gamers to get more involved in the way a game develops too.

"Right now, what typically happens is you have this budget - it needs to be huge, it has to be $10m - $30m, and it has to be all available at the beginning of the project. There's a huge amount of risk associated with those dollars and decisions have to be incredibly conservative," said Newell.

"What I think would be much better would be if the community could finance the games. 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.'"

"So move financing from something that occurs between a publisher and a developer… Instead have it be something where funding is coming out of community for games and game concepts they really like."

Hmm. It's an interesting idea, sure - but for AAA titles we're not sure it would ever take off to be honest. Plus, it all sounds a bit too hippy-ish for us, so we might have to consider taking some anti-hippy action as a result. You tell us what you think in the forums and, in the mean time, we'll get our guns and pepper-spray ready.

72 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Denis_iii 21st July 2009, 13:02 Quote
whats going on over at valve these days.........I say they do a monthly subcription all you can eat model on Steam
V3ctor 21st July 2009, 13:06 Quote
I hope they don't charge a monthly fee on Steam... :O They are becoming EA... Slowly, but they are...
DXR_13KE 21st July 2009, 13:06 Quote
interesting... its like investing in stocks...
FatMikel 21st July 2009, 13:10 Quote
Gabe Newell is a genius. I wonder how much I would have made if I'd have invested £100 in Half Life.
bbshammo 21st July 2009, 13:18 Quote
Concept sounds superb!!

It would effectively make the whole industry more accurately representative of what consumers within it actually want.

Another way of looking at how the existing setup fails consumers/gamers is the existence and practises of publishers like EA.

Let's get the guitar out and have a good ol' pow-wow...

... HIPPIE VIEWS FTW!!!!!!
Goty 21st July 2009, 13:18 Quote
Gamers DO fund games. It's called buying one.
azrael- 21st July 2009, 13:19 Quote
I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have seen a penny had HL been "community-funded". I also cannot see the incentive for developers to produce top-notch titles with "community funding". Actually, I think it would bring DNF-style development to the mainstream. Nothing to show for years, yet the money keeps on rolling.
billysielu 21st July 2009, 13:20 Quote
If a developer doesn't have enough money to make a new game, it's because their previous game didn't make enough money.

Stop making crap games, then life will be better.
bbshammo 21st July 2009, 13:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by V3ctor
I hope they don't charge a monthly fee on Steam... :O They are becoming EA... Slowly, but they are...

How so?

This radical suggestion by Gabe Newell, effectively does away with the current setup of large publishers (EA et all) who are just accountants out to bleed as much as they can, with the best interests of their consumers a distant second from their own bottom line interests.
CardJoe 21st July 2009, 13:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbshammo
effectively does away with the current setup of large publishers (EA et all)

Exactly why it likely won't take off.
ChEsTeH 21st July 2009, 13:24 Quote
So they want to copy the guys over at Natural Selection 2 - Havent they made enough money off their steam platform and numerous best selling games to fund their games development for ever !! GREED !
Veles 21st July 2009, 13:24 Quote
I don't see it working, may as well just buy stocks in the company.

It's a nice idea, but what happens if the game gets shelved? Then consumers are taking the risks, not the companies.
CardJoe 21st July 2009, 13:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatMikel
Gabe Newell is a genius. I wonder how much I would have made if I'd have invested £100 in Half Life.

A lot. But would you really have invested in a start-up company like Valve who, at the time were very small and focusing on several projects at once after leaving MS - all but one of which were abandoned? You'd kick yourself if you invested in Valve's (cancelled) game Aleph and not Quiver (which went on to become HL).
AlexB 21st July 2009, 13:28 Quote
Don't we invest by... buying the games?
airchie 21st July 2009, 13:35 Quote
Would certainly make more gamers take a stand against piracy... :)

I like the idea in theory but how would you make the devs accountable to millions of small investors?

Kinda reminds me of that football team that was bought by the fans.
What ever happened with that?
FatMikel 21st July 2009, 13:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
A lot. But would you really have invested in a start-up company like Valve who, at the time were very small and focusing on several projects at once after leaving MS - all but one of which were abandoned? You'd kick yourself if you invested in Valve's (cancelled) game Aleph and not Quiver (which went on to become HL).

I would have taken one look at Mr Newell and knew I was in safe, yet flabby hands.

This'll never work, but it's still a sound idea. The fact is, the majority of consumers (which they'd need to fund the game at the levels they are today) are morons and for that reason alone it would never work. They'd rather leave the situation as it is and then pirate the game or pick it up a month later at £15 from Play or wherever.
DragunovHUN 21st July 2009, 13:38 Quote
So this is basicly like a really really early pre-order sort of deal? I like it! Where can i sign up, Gabe?
EnglishLion 21st July 2009, 13:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by airchie
Would certainly make more gamers take a stand against piracy... :)

I like the idea in theory but how would you make the devs accountable to millions of small investors?

Kinda reminds me of that football team that was bought by the fans.
What ever happened with that?

Football team owned by its fans - that'll be Barcelona then, they kinda do OK!

I like the idea of allowing investors to buy a share in the development of a game but the risk is high so the share of profits also needs to be high. You would be best to invest in a portfolio of games to allow for the cancelled ones.
Jenny_Y8S 21st July 2009, 14:00 Quote
It's a nice "idea", but I wouldn't wish it to become anything other than one.
AshT 21st July 2009, 14:03 Quote
Gamers invest in the product. Negates publisher. Sweeeet.

Or better still he floats Valve on the markets and I'll be at the front of the queue to buy into it.
[USRF]Obiwan 21st July 2009, 14:04 Quote
He stole my idea!!!

I had the exact same idea but then for tv series (I have this idea for over 4 years in my head).

Tv series with a large fan base (for example stargate) get funded by the viewers. Its on 'pay after viewing' basis. With a minimum of 2 dollar per viewer per episode and up to what the viewer wants to pay. If it is a good episode a viewer can reward what ever he/she want for it and if it is a bad episode the viewer can pay the minimum. How more viewers pay how better the next episode can be made. (more effects etc) . so actors, directors, script writers get better payed if they work better. This way a series does not have to be stopped after bad ratings but bases on fan commitment. Viewers worldwide can download per episode and it has no adds. Its also a very good anti piracy method, if the viewer don't pay the series can't go on...
liratheal 21st July 2009, 14:12 Quote
lol.

Never going to happen.

Fan-Mods with donation options either flop around and die, or get bought up by the big companies.

This would go that very same way.
nukeman8 21st July 2009, 14:18 Quote
very good idea, shame it wont work, to many things that could go wrong.

@liratheal isnt the same idea as donations and fan-mods. they dont get anything back for investment
DragunovHUN 21st July 2009, 14:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukeman8
they dont get anything back for investment

ACTUALLY...

"What I think would be much better would be if the community could finance the games. 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.'"
Woodspoon 21st July 2009, 14:34 Quote
It's a cack idea.

I can see why it may appear to be a good idea, but it's not.
This would effectively remove most or all of the finincial burden from the developers but still give them profit, they'd have almost no incentive to turn out good games that are on time because there will always be someone ready to invest a bit of cash in the hopes of making a bit of extra cash no matter how absurd the the title sounds and there's no reason what so ever why the developers should listen to 1000's of "investers" once they have your cash.
It's the same as owning shares in a company except it's shares of a game idea, and small share holders NEVER get listened to.
And of course what happens if the game does fail? never actually makes it to market? you lose your money, you lose your game and you lose any minor return, you get nothing, at least as things stand now you'll get a game out of it however rubbish it may turn out to be.
AshT 21st July 2009, 14:39 Quote
Woodspoon, if the public can invest then you can bet that the staff would be offered a reduced rate investment as well, thereby enticing them to work better in the hope of a great return.

Like a share incentive scheme.
Evildead666 21st July 2009, 15:01 Quote
I like the idea.....

As long as if it fails to come to market, the dev material etc is divvied up between all the investors, or sold and then the money divvied up...
Elz 21st July 2009, 15:06 Quote
I think this is a really good idea. Who knows if it will actually work in the real world but it's definitely worth a shot.
erratum1 21st July 2009, 15:42 Quote
Seems to me that they just want gamers to take the risks instead of them.
So if they make a crap game we lose instead.
AshT 21st July 2009, 15:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by erratum1
Seems to me that they just want gamers to take the risks instead of them.
So if they make a crap game we lose instead.

Devs get the money to dev from pubs, so its actually the pub that gets most of the risk.
Fod 21st July 2009, 15:57 Quote
wait... isn't this what happens when we, like, buy the game?
yakyb 21st July 2009, 15:59 Quote
hmm only concern would be in the case of DNF where by they take forever then keep asking for more money then fold, whom would be auditing the work done / making sure they are working hard to get the investors a good return

Also how much information about the game would be released before a single line of code was written, hoiw could they stop some ideas being stolen?
MaverickWill 21st July 2009, 16:03 Quote
Let me think... what games would I have invested in a few years ago? How many people would have, for example, invested money in Duke Nukem Forever?

"Ooh, that John Romero guy's making a new game called Daikatana! Let's give him money towards the Best Game Ever 1997!... er, wait..."

"OMG, I love playing Starcraft! Wonder if that third-person shooter they're gonna make turns out any go... What's this? They're asking for ground-floor funding? Those geniuses! I'll give them money, so when it comes out, I'll own it (sort of)! Oh, boy, and the sequel's in development! 2003 is gonna be the best year ever!"

And let's not mention Valve's own cock-ups in getting games out to schedule/near-vaporware incidents. Imagine how annoyed you'd be if you waited a decade for a game to come out, that you'd already paid for and invested in, while it was just starting its development (That's Team Fortress 2, folks!). Their trilogy of "bi-annual addon packs" have taken the best part of 5 years so far.

If games developers want my money, they can have it. As soon as I get my copy of the game, they can have my money. Isn't that how it works? Isn't that the sensible route?
thEcat 21st July 2009, 16:04 Quote
It is an interesting idea and I'd certainly sign up for a pilot scheme. £20-£30 up front wouldn't break the bank, even if the development did go belly up it would be little worse than spending that same cash on one of the frequent disappointing titles.

Some thoughts...

While you'd be contributing to the development costs of a game this would in no way guarantee said game would contain all, or indeed any, of your favourite features. A game built around the whims of 10,000 fans would be a nightmare/disaster.

Remember this would be a pay now, play in 12, 24, 36 ... months time (perhaps never)

I like the idea of releasing the development to the community if the game fails to see the light of day. One fly in the ointment could be third party licenses.

I have no problem with the developers making a profit from my investment. I either pay £30 for a game off the shelf or pay £30 in development costs. This is not to say that any additional return would be unwelcome.

'Just buy shares in the company'. Almost always wrong. The only share holders who invest in a company are the ones who buy part of an initial issue. The company does not see a penny from the sale of previously issued/owned shares, though a favourable stock price may attract real investment. The fact that the current 'casino' stock market is so far removed from the goal it was originally designed to achieve can be left for discussion on some other day but it is a fact that makes this personal investment idea all the more appealing.

It would be interesting to see if there were a change in attitudes towards pirates.

For quite some time the current publisher centric model has delivered a plethora low risk tie-ins, remakes, re-hashes, dumbed down regurgitations with major investment decided by a list of NextGen and lowest common denominator check boxes. I'm not saying anything could be better than this but will suggest something different would be worth a try.
DXR_13KE 21st July 2009, 16:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I would invest now on HL2 ep3, i know it will rock and i would have a return on my investment.

This will work like a really early pre-order, it works the same way for the buyer but for the maker it is far better.
paisa666 21st July 2009, 16:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukeman8
they dont get anything back for investment

ACTUALLY...

"What I think would be much better would be if the community could finance the games. 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.'"

Dragunov, Nukeman is talking about the fan-moders, fan-moders dont get anything in return. Investers do.
DragunovHUN 21st July 2009, 16:18 Quote
Misread. I thought he said that This IS the same idea when in reality he said it ISN'T. Whoops.

Although that sentence can still mean two things.
DarkLord7854 21st July 2009, 16:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
ACTUALLY...

"What I think would be much better would be if the community could finance the games. 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.'"



So you can be the sucker to plop down 1,000$ to get your copy, and the guy next to you waits for release and gets the same game, same return, for 50$.






Here's a better, totally radical, never thought of idea... make better games that are worth buying and are so full of DRM that paying customers can't even bloody enjoy the game. Nor announce sequels 2 weeks after the first game came out.
Slyporkie 21st July 2009, 16:43 Quote
It has been done before, with some good success, in the Apricot Project. A game called Yo!Frankie was released as an Open Game.

It was the offspring of an Open Source (also Community funded) short film, Big Buck Bunny.

The Blender Foundation (the company starting all the projects) uses it as a way to spark interest and development of the Blender 3D software.

So, if Valve wants to take this route, it had better live up to the promises it makes (as with the Blender Projects):

1. Deadlines will HAVE to be met.
2. The "investors" should get a little something extra for their early committment, eg. named in the credits, extra free content, tee, etc
3. Actually releasing the game *wink*Episode 3*wink*

That's my 10cents worth, anyway!
wiak 21st July 2009, 16:52 Quote
Nictron 21st July 2009, 17:15 Quote
I could see this work, especially on IP's that are already working or doing well, you could invest in the funding of the project and get a return at the end of the day. So you can choose either you get a game as dividend payout + extra from the proceeds or just the proceeds.

It could work, if Gabe ran with this he might see some of my cash ;-)
wiak 21st July 2009, 17:24 Quote
btw here is full interview by goodgame exellent interview, i agree its like gabe is a gamer just like us :P
http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/vodcast/valve_web_iv.mp4
wiak 21st July 2009, 17:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nictron
I could see this work, especially on IP's that are already working or doing well, you could invest in the funding of the project and get a return at the end of the day. So you can choose either you get a game as dividend payout + extra from the proceeds or just the proceeds.

It could work, if Gabe ran with this he might see some of my cash ;-)
we are allready doing pre-orders of valves games so hehe, i bought half-life 2 before it was released lol
SMIFFYDUDE 21st July 2009, 17:47 Quote
Has Gabe heared of the saying, "Too many cooks spoil the broth". Thousands of people putting money into a specific game, and expecting a direct say in how it should be made and a return on their investment. Sounds like a total nightmare. Nothing will ever get made for all the fighting.
Otto69 21st July 2009, 17:57 Quote
If I invested in a game I wouldn't release it via Valve.
AshT 21st July 2009, 18:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto69
If I invested in a game I wouldn't release it via Valve.

Why not?
cheeriokilla 21st July 2009, 18:06 Quote
DUDE! INTERSTELLAR MARINES CAME UP WITH THAT FIRST! WTF!? GABE NEWELL IDEA STEALER!

www.interstellarmarines.com

I joined the spearheads. What it is is that you pay for the game before its released and you, as a community, help develop the game sharing ideas to make something new and cool.

Sounds very interesting and they really got to me with a video posted on GT:

http://www.gametrailers.com/video/exclusive-for-interstellar-marines/49543
DarkLord7854 21st July 2009, 18:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeriokilla
DUDE! INTERSTELLAR MARINES CAME UP WITH THAT FIRST! WTF!? GABE NEWELL IDEA STEALER!

Learn English please, thanks.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/thief
i7lova 21st July 2009, 18:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeriokilla
DUDE! INTERSTELLAR MARINES CAME UP WITH THAT FIRST! WTF!? GABE NEWELL IDEA STEALER!

Learn English please, thanks.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/thief

Thank you captain grammar! Without you i would have had no idea what he was talking about! .....No insults please! Insults are bad. --Nexxo...

As for the idea I don't see how it could possibly work and be fair to everyone.
I-E-D 21st July 2009, 18:50 Quote
I wouldn't mind paying for a bit, if we were to get a share of that game, and get a income.
Zero_UK 21st July 2009, 18:56 Quote
I dont really understand this, would you get a share afterwards? but think of it this way... what % of players actually spend time on fourms like this, spend time in communities - what about casual gamers etc.. how would they know and why would they bother investing into something which they usually try before buy.. or buy 1-10 years down the line.
AshT 21st July 2009, 19:15 Quote
In response to Zero_UK and for anyone else reading up - if you've never dabbled in stocks and shares then its only a matter of time before you are a customer of a business who happens to be issueing shares to existing customers or you even decide that you have some cash to spare and you need a good investment.

My point being, say the price of an investment is £50 or $75 ... and at the end of it you may or may not get a return on that investment in some way ... who knows, you may even be offered the option to keep any return in the business and re-invest.

Worst case scenario ... you lose £50 or $75. I'd risk that to see what could come out at the end of it. I think we all could.
DXR_13KE 21st July 2009, 19:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
In response to Zero_UK and for anyone else reading up - if you've never dabbled in stocks and shares then its only a matter of time before you are a customer of a business who happens to be issueing shares to existing customers or you even decide that you have some cash to spare and you need a good investment.

My point being, say the price of an investment is £50 or $75 ... and at the end of it you may or may not get a return on that investment in some way ... who knows, you may even be offered the option to keep any return in the business and re-invest.

Worst case scenario ... you lose £50 or $75. I'd risk that to see what could come out at the end of it. I think we all could.

and those $75 are much more valuable for the dev in the beginning of the game development.
choupolo 21st July 2009, 21:02 Quote
I dont get it... so you pay £40 before the game is made and then eventually get the game for free?

And if it gets cancelled you get your money back?

Man, I'd like to see Valve contend with fans during its inevitable delays when the fans actually have a vested interest! I can see it now, "I'm paying your salary Gabe, bring my game out NOW!" :D
dylAndroid 21st July 2009, 21:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by A lot of people
Isn't this the same as buying the game after it's released?

Answer: no. We're talking about the egg that hatches the chicken, not the egg the chicken lays. Like DXR points out, early development funds are more important. Furthermore, if a faction of people invest funds early on, it will confirm certain aspects of a game's potentail market. Developers can trust and rely on this to a greater extent than usual, and be less likely to water everything down to appeal to everyone/no one.

Also, getting players to invest in games has the business advantage that those players are far more likely to talk it up to other people and get other people to buy the game upon release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
"Too many cooks spoil the broth"

Correct, but that is not how this would work, if implemented wisely. Just because someone is an investor, it neither automatically means that the person has a direct say in product development, nor that they own stock in the company. A likely implementation of this concept would give the investors a forum and maybe a few votes/polls, but this would not be used as binding for the developers.

HOWEVER, having a block of gamer investors would offset the power of traditional developers. It is very likely that traditional developers would still be involved in producing a title that is also gamer-funded, though their contribution would be less. It is likely that those annoying publisher decisions that piss off gamers would happen less often or be mitigated under this proposed system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by someone
...open source...

This concept has no inherent connection with open source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon
It's the same as owning shares in a company except it's shares of a game idea, and small share holders NEVER get listened to.

This is not true if small share holders are seen as a voting block. The implications behind this idea is exactly that -- these gamer-financiers would be motivated by their drive to play the game. This unites them as a group and will be seen as such by the company. Any company doing this would recognize the value of these people as also coming from their being a willing source of marketing information (very relevant to game design --i.e. what will the players want?) and on promotion of the title. For these reasons, almost any company implementing this idea would have a forum system for these people at a minimum. Implementing a forum would further cause a company to see these people as a voting block (addressing your small share holder concerns), and it will very likely come with built in tools to have them express aggregate ideas.
naokaji 21st July 2009, 21:30 Quote
The way I understood it:
Essentialy it would be like preordering, just with your credit card being charged immediately instead of once it ships and due to that it would help pay for the development, meaning the developer would not require a loan (which costs interest) or get money from a publisher who can demand things afterwards, because lets face it, it would be like someone owning 40£ worth of stock, it won't be enough for you to be able to demand anything, so unlike now where the funds often come from one source (the publisher) the developers would gain much more freedom of choice.
VaLkyR-Assassin 21st July 2009, 21:57 Quote
Can someone explain to me just why games are apparantly costing millions to make? Is it all going on paying peoples wages? Are dev-team sizes also getting ridiculously large?
dr-strangelove 21st July 2009, 23:54 Quote
Games designed by online committee... oh joy...
DXR_13KE 22nd July 2009, 01:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dylAndroid
*snip*

+1
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaLkyR-Assassin
Can someone explain to me just why games are apparantly costing millions to make? Is it all going on paying peoples wages? Are dev-team sizes also getting ridiculously large?

have you seen the evolution of games? i think they are far more complex today than they were some time ago....
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr-strangelove
Games designed by online committee... oh joy...

i doubt that they would have such amount of power... i bet it would go more or less the same way the open pandora console was made.
Sparrowhawk 22nd July 2009, 03:05 Quote
Quote:
Plus, it all sounds a bit too hippy-ish for us, so we might have to consider taking some anti-hippy action as a result.

Wait... wait... investing in a corporation is ... hippy now?

what ever is the world coming to!?
V3ctor 22nd July 2009, 09:41 Quote
Don't invest in L4D! you only have a year to win the money back!

Jokes aside... can't think of a way of this working. I support games by buying them, not putting 1***€ in it.
Horizon 22nd July 2009, 09:56 Quote
So they want us to pre-order based on their game idea. um, sure only if I pay 1/3 to 1/2 retail for my copy we can talk business.
thesnakege 22nd July 2009, 11:26 Quote
Am I the only one that finds this an enormous cheek? You want me, your potential customer, to foot the bill for your development? I'm sorry, did I hear that correctly? You want me, the customer, to take the risk? I don't think there's another industry or commercial venture that has EVER warranted that kind of arrangement. Do you hear of cosmetic companies pandering to the same idea? "Fund our research for better products before we've made them". Does it happen in the movie industry? And the music industry? Say your favourite musician wants to record a new album, but he wants you to pay for its production before he starts. Would you think that was fair? Valve is effectively saying "We want to make a new game (which effectively gives us money), but we don't want to take any unnecessary risk with regards to funding its production. Whereas YOU, the customer, don't take ANY risk in this situation, so how about YOU pay for it? We promise it'll be good, and you can even get a copy of the game when we're done! Wow!" Was it not just in February this year, when Gabe Newell was giving his keynote at DICE when he said: "Steam is making us rich.."? Well, if your pockets are so deep, how about YOU fund the production, as is not only traditional, but reasonable? And all of you who think this is "a brilliant idea", just from where do you draw that logic? Do you really think that giving them your money as a down payment on a game will actually lead to changes in the end game's resulting state? Sales of anything, ANYTHING, come down to one concept, and that Lowest Common Denominator. If a hundred people invest in a game, just whose say counts for more? Does it depend on how much I pay?
Tell you what Valve, YOU make the games, and if *I* want to, THEN I'll pay for them. You want investment capital? How about looking into your own vastly overfilled coffers, we filled those ourselves already.
AshT 22nd July 2009, 12:34 Quote
Most if not all devs are at the mercy of the publishers because it is the publisher who pays for the game. Then you get the unwelcome input from the publisher that stifles the creativity of the development team. The publisher gets their investment back + their profit (that'll do nicely say the shareholders) + expenses like marketing, PR and distribution.

All of which Valve is very experienced in doing themselves. Someone mentioned earlier why games cost so much. How about 3-4 year development with a team possibly 50 people (very likely much more) so thats a minimum of £5.25mill - £7mill in wages, then add accountants, lawyers, all the expenses mentioned above plus the usual utilities and rents, R&D. It soon adds up. It would be interesting to know how much Valve has in the bank but when you pay your team a decent wage to stay loyal to your company I bet Valve isn't as rich as you think.

Anyway if it happens, I'm in for £50 tops, I love a little gamble now and then and honestly I wouldn't trust any other company with this idea and my money.
thesnakege 22nd July 2009, 13:25 Quote
Alright, if the dev is at the mercy of the publisher (who as far as I'm concerned can be considered one entity), then does that mean with "community funding" that they'll be at the mercy of a million+ investors? If you're an investor, you'd like to have at least *some* say in what goes into the game. So do you think that an even less exaggerated number of say, a thousand people would be able to see eye-to-eye one even one aspect of the game, or is that perhaps a little naive?

Or maybe we could take the other standpoint, and say that their creative freedom is now unhinged and unfettered by the publisher's "unwelcome" input, by not having taken anyone else's opinion into account. Do ALL publisher's have this unwelcome, stifling input? You would think that if the publisher wanted to receive a decent return on their investment that they'd attempt to provide sound guidance, not "stifle" creativity. I mean, it's their business, wouldn't you like to have a say if your company had just lumped down a seven figure investment?

If the minimum development costs are anywhere in that region (5-7 million pounds), just how many people do you expect they're going to need to be able to "community fund" this? Just how much do they expect us to pay? What if they don't get enough to cover the development costs entirely, will I be refunded? If this is like any other "investment" I've heard of, I doubt it.

I don't have to assume that Valve is rich either, good ol' Gabe said that himself already. Nice article right here on Bit-Tech if you want to go read it. http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2009/02/20/valve-steam-is-making-us-rich/1

Plus, I would've thought that development costs for a company that's only made 2 proprietary engines, reused for nearly a decade each, wouldn't have had such a struggle to finish a game that's essentially the same thing. Left 4 Dead 2 anyone? How about finishing the first one, and I'll think about paying for the next one.
AshT 22nd July 2009, 13:59 Quote
Pure speculation but I would assume that there will be nothing to say the community gets a final say in anything. However I would also speculate that being linked to Steam accounts, demos 'could' be available to gamer-investers only and as such forums could be busy with ideas and imagination. Valve could even have the biggest army of testers on their hands if they needed them. Who knows?

From my experiences in the past I would say that most publishers have been a pain in the arse. Adding unnecessary workloads, creating confusion about their requirements, 'stifling' the creativity, and not forgetting changing their minds on a weekly basis. But I guess from your experiences you found them a bit more helpful?

To pull the finest example of a bad publisher would be Funcom and Conan. That was a disaster because Funcom wanted to push the game out in an unfinished state.
thesnakege 22nd July 2009, 14:36 Quote
I'm not out to defend the publisher, and I wouldn't go so far as to say that publishers are the answers to all of our dreams, no. But for the most part they should at least get credit for funding the projects that might never have seen the light of day in the first place. It's easy to look at the corporate partner as just that, a bloated financial entity that has no valuable input other than funding, but I think for the most part, their intention, while getting the best return, is to make a game that's not just popular, but that people will be happy with. At least I hope so.

I don't however feel as if Valve could offer me anything more than a decent game at the end of the day, demo's are of little interest to someone who's already paid for the full thing. And what do I owe Valve? I've already paid for the games they've produced, as far as I'm concerned the transaction has been made. If anything they should thank me for supporting them. I think Valve is big enough that they don't need any more support from me than I've given. If they want testers, sure, release a demo. Otherwise they could just pay for them like everyone else does. QA testers exist for a reason.
DXR_13KE 22nd July 2009, 15:43 Quote
I am with AshT, if you don't want to invest then don't invest, let the rest of us try this out.
Grimloon 22nd July 2009, 16:45 Quote
Actually it sounds like a pretty good idea to me. This could definitely work out well - the community provides the initial project funds then gets an opportunity to increase the amount invested prior to the company going cap in hand to the publishers. Less risk for the publishers but at the cost of some of the control they usually wield.

The biggest problem I can see would be getting the business model out to the people with a clear explanation of what the terms are and that they are making a long term gamble with a chance for complete loss but also the possibility of seeing some return on top of receiving a copy of the game.
DaMightyMouse 28th July 2009, 13:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexB
Don't we invest by... buying the games?

No an investment would mean a returns on that investment, buying a game is purely a consumer activity.
Kiytan 29th July 2009, 01:20 Quote
while i think the idea itself is fantastic, if i where to invest, i would want to be kept in the loop much more with say bi-monthly progress reports, showing the state of the game e.t.c As i generally like to know what my money is doing.

Really would need to see how all the legalities of it plan out before i could say how much of a good idea it is, but on principle, yeah, good idea.

(as for the investment in ep3, don't forget investment in that would be sky high, so everyone gets a free copy of the game, so less sales ergo less overall profit :P)
Kiytan 29th July 2009, 01:20 Quote
Oops double post, please ignore this
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