Here's how most games are made: idea is pitched to publisher, publisher likes idea, risks millions of dollars funding said idea. Most of those risks end up as busts. So is there a better way of doing things?
Valve like to think so. Company boss Gabe Newell has said that, rather than allow conservative publishers to dictate the kind of content that's published, that decision should rest instead with you. The customer.
One of the areas that I am super interested in right now is how we can do financing from the community. So 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.
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.
May not be entirely practical for AAA games, whose budgets can run into the tens of millions, but for smaller games - or even a demo for a larger game - hey, why not, this could totally work.