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Rindill the Red
1st Dec 2010, 18:25
This is to discuss possible solutions to the problem of community and developer interaction.

http://blogcampaigning.com/2009/07/community-based-video-game-funding-%E2%80%93-could-it-work/

Gabe Newell


“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.”

Dead-Eye
1st Dec 2010, 18:57
Gabe Newell is a genus, although I don't see how this applies to Human Revaluation. They already have 30million.

handgriffsorgfaeltig
1st Dec 2010, 19:11
i think newell meant something peaceful like: the codetermination is based on a community, that is also an investor. but you have so much different opinions inside the community, it would such a hard plenum not to mention get something in a straight line...

jkruse
1st Dec 2010, 19:18
Isn't this kind of what the Interstellar Marines team is trying to do with their whole Triple A Indie thing?

Shralla
1st Dec 2010, 19:27
Minecraft and Mortal Online both function like this. The developer of Minecraft has apparently turned into a lazy piece of **** ever since he made millions of dollars off of it.

St. Mellow
1st Dec 2010, 19:29
Mount & Blade also used that system.


The developer of Minecraft has apparently turned into a lazy piece of **** ever since he made millions of dollars off of it.

True dat. :lol: Does it surprise anyone? :eek:

Rindill the Red
1st Dec 2010, 20:13
;1532444']Mount & Blade also used that system.



True dat. :lol: Does it surprise anyone? :eek:

I'd like to think that making millions of dollars wouldn't change me... but the truth is, if I made a million dollars, I'd probably get pretty lazy for a little while and live it up.

ZakKa89
1st Dec 2010, 20:28
Isn't this kind of what the Interstellar Marines team is trying to do with their whole Triple A Indie thing?

Yes it's exactly the same thing I think.

Ashpolt
1st Dec 2010, 21:18
The developer of Minecraft has apparently turned into a lazy piece of **** ever since he made millions of dollars off of it.

Strange, I could swear my copy has had 3 updates in the last 4 days. How odd...

Anyway, I could totally buy into the idea that Gabe puts forward. I'd love to be able to invest in titles that I'm interested in, pre-release, for a potential return post-release: it'd let me really support projects that I think are worth it. Moreover, it'd give the "hardcore" community a way to get games made for them again: I really doubt Johnny Call of Duty would participate in such a scheme.

Yeah, I think this is a great scheme. Where do I sign?

Rindill the Red
1st Dec 2010, 21:49
Ah, well, all you have to do is sign your soul over to Valve and then you'll be good to go.

K^2
1st Dec 2010, 21:54
Well, this is exactly how pre-orders are supposed to work. Except they don't, because people make these more on pre-order deals than on quality of design decisions. So it's really consumer's own fault.

[FGS]Shadowrunner
1st Dec 2010, 22:06
Don't understand the topic, it's not about funding, it's about other things.
Take Deus Ex SDK for example, amazing stuff came out in early years, but that has been surpassed in recent years by things like TNM and the multiplayer RPG mods. And very little at all of that was funded.

FuzzyPuffin
1st Dec 2010, 22:18
It would also cut out the publisher, which would be great for all involved. Devs have complete creative control of their game, customers aren't screwed over with BS marketing decisions like retail-specific preorder exclusives.

Ashpolt
1st Dec 2010, 22:22
Well, this is exactly how pre-orders are supposed to work. Except they don't, because people make these more on pre-order deals than on quality of design decisions. So it's really consumer's own fault.

But that's really late in the game. I mean let me jump on as soon as an announcement is made, if I really like the concept: and then withdraw later if they make decisions I don't like.

Rindill the Red
1st Dec 2010, 22:27
Shadowrunner;1532565']Don't understand the topic, it's not about funding, it's about other things.
Take Deus Ex SDK for example, amazing stuff came out in early years, but that has been surpassed in recent years by things like TNM and the multiplayer RPG mods. And very little at all of that was funded.

This is about creating greater developer-community interaction, and increasing the quality of games being developed.

Publisher's risk ****-tons of money on a game (and stand to make ****-tons of profit) and developers make design decisions based on what they sometimes mistakenly believe will help ensure sales.

Community funded projects would give those of the community who care a way to support the game and reduce the financial risk of the endeavor for the developers, while giving developers a reason to interact with the community.

When gamers invest in a game, sure they want profit, but it's not just about the profit for them, it's about the product.

Somewhat like a medieval "patron of the arts"... you pay the dev team for their services rather than the publisher for the end product.

They would definitely have to figure out a way to make clear all the intricacies of the system so there are no legal issues, and even better if rules and systems could be set up to allow community-developer discussion to remain cordial and effective.

Publishers are the middle-men, and who doesn't want to cut out the middlemen?

WildcatPhoenix
1st Dec 2010, 22:27
It would also cut out the publisher, which would be great for all involved. Devs have complete creative control of their game, customers aren't screwed over with BS marketing decisions like retail-specific preorder exclusives.

It's the same problem with major studios in the film industry. Or major music labels in the music industry.

Cut out the bottom-line, profit-driven distributor and you get a better product, happier customers, and a more competetive market.

Rindill the Red
1st Dec 2010, 22:36
DX:HR is rumored to have cost 40 million to make.

Let's say a community member could "buy-in" for $100 dollars, then only 400 thousand people would have to buy-in for the game to be completed.

Considering that Deus Ex original sold over 1 million units, and that anyone from anywhere on the planet can buy in (for however much they want), it's not a stretch to say that 400 thousand people give or take, would buy in to the game.

Now say the game sells another 600 thousand units at full price.

That's 30 million, minus 10 percent for distribution, minus 20 percent for the developers (these are just guesses). That's 21 million dollars profit straight to the community investors, or 52.5 dollars per investor. They just bought the game for 47.5 dollars, roughly (ignoring inflation).

And if the game sells even more, the investors might get even more.

And if the game sells poorly, the investors lose a mere 100 dollars, compared to the millions lost if a publisher tries it, and they still get the game they paid for.

People talk about paying more for the games they really want... this is it.

It can also be set up in various ways as publishers have figured it out.

The community can buy in at certain amounts along the way... and it would be up to the developers to prove to the community investors that the game is progressing smoothly.

So, for example, say 200 thousand people buy in while the game is still in that planning phase (producer, lead design, art design, head programmer, etc), for 20 bucks each thanks to a presentation made by the leads about what the game will be like and the time line for producing the final product.

Now the devs have 4,000,000 dollars to get the ball rolling, all from people invested in the game itself (not just the profit).

6 months later the developers deliver on their timeline and give another presentation to the community. Those same 200,000 now can buy in again for the same or greater amount. Perhaps more people have jumped on board now (while those who invested earlier get a greater stake for their early investment).

Of course this would be ripe for fraud so there would have to be checks in place for that sort of thing.

Senka
2nd Dec 2010, 03:43
Sounds interesting, I wonder if Valve would ever attempt this themselves? They're in a decent position to try a 'proof of concept' game using this method.

motsm
2nd Dec 2010, 04:42
Crate Entertainment (Titan Quest developers) is using this method for their project, Grim Dawn. All the pre order cash goes towards further development of the game.

http://www.grimdawn.com/

Rindill the Red
2nd Dec 2010, 04:46
Crate Entertainment (Titan Quest developers) is using this method for their project, Grim Dawn. All the pre order cash goes towards further development of the game.

http://www.grimdawn.com/

It's not quite the same since the pre-orders don't actually make the consumers the investors... there is no ROI.

lithos
2nd Dec 2010, 05:37
This is about creating greater developer-community interaction, and increasing the quality of games being developed.

*snipped for lenght*

Excellent post.

Patronage. It's been around for millennia, supporting artists. The patrons recognise and likes the work of the artist; and, in return, the artist gets funding and a guaranteed audience and sale. It's still being done today, it's not just a medieval phenomenon (do-doo-di-do-do.)

William Gibson suggested this as a way to combat piracy of works, when asked about the uploading of his novels in digital form to the internet (of course, it was William Gibson, and he was pretty chuffed about being pirated.)

Of course, this works on the premise that the artist likes creating art, or is the only one involved. I'm not sure the various bean counters, penny pinchers, bottom-feeding lawyers and marketing parasites that control the majority of developers and publishers. That's what this proposal seems to be about, for me.

One thing that would be great for gaming would be if we finally ditched the middlemen - the publishers and the stores - and went straight to digital distribution, absolutely. Monopoly stores like EB Games are doing much to damage gaming, in my opinion (especially Down Under.)

However, this would involve a rethinking of games as art, and not a commodity, which is increasingly what they're seen as (hence Guitar Hero: Christian Folk Music or whatever it's up to now.) Unfortunately, the only time you hear developers talking about their games as art is when they're defending the extraordinary amount of gore in one of their games.

I would say, however, and this is controversial, I know, that you'd have to ditch the idea of profits for the investors, because otherwise they just become common shareholders, and lord knows that's open to abuse. Profit-sharing would attract those who have no interest in the game or gaming, but who are only looking for a return on investment. It's no different to the shareholding options running most games these day; you'll just get some investment banker in a suit informing you they hold the majority stake and you'd better make the game like Call of Duty. Because they read an article in WSJ about how well that sells, and logic dictates if you make a game exactly like COD, it'll sell like COD, right?

I suppose, though, with those "excess" sales (ie, those beyond what it took to recoup costs,) they could be place into some sort of fund that the original investors have control over for making new games, not available as cash.

That's probably why Bioware is making Dragon Age 2 more "COD-like." Jeez, I can't imagine what the next Tetris game is going to be like.

No, it has to be done for the love of the game, and nothing else. Your investment buys a copy (or several copies,) of a game you know you're going to love to play. It would be hard to ensure or check that people are really people who want the game, rather than those who just want a return.

The other thing is that the level of trust between the devs and the community would have to be high. The community has to trust that the devs will make something they like, and the devs have to trust that the community will provide funding and not make any ridiculous requests ("I know it's an RTS, but I just spent $500 on a HOTAS flight stick setup and want the game to be able to use it," "Why aren't there more catgirls in the game?" etc.)

Rindill the Red
2nd Dec 2010, 05:43
I would say, however, and this is controversial, I know, that you'd have to ditch the idea of profits for the investors, because otherwise they just become common shareholders, and lord knows that's open to abuse. Profit-sharing would attract those who have no interest in the game or gaming, but who are only looking for a return on investment. It's no different to the shareholding options running most games these day; you'll just get some investment banker in a suit informing you they hold the majority stake and you'd better make the game like Call of Duty. Because they read an article in WSJ about how well that sells, and logic dictates if you make a game exactly like COD, it'll sell like COD, right?


There are ways to combat those looking only for ROI... like limiting the amount of money any individual (or corporation or business (as they act as an individual)) can invest to something small like 100 or 200 dollars.

This way, there would be absolutely no reason for someone only interested in ROI to invest in the game, as there would be no meaningful gain from it.

lithos
2nd Dec 2010, 05:57
There are ways to combat those looking only for ROI... like limiting the amount of money any individual (or corporation or business (as they act as an individual)) can invest to something small like 100 or 200 dollars.

Ah, gotcha. Good was of doing it. There's certainly plenty of people out there who can make a game profitable, this seems like a good way of preventing devs getting lazy: make game for X million, make XX million of profits off it, then recycle game again for X million again, and spending the rest on a cocaine-powered yacht crewed by Russian super models, (then whinge about how game piracy's hurting you...but I digress.)

Rindill the Red
2nd Dec 2010, 06:17
Ah, gotcha. Good was of doing it. There's certainly plenty of people out there who can make a game profitable, this seems like a good way of preventing devs getting lazy: make game for X million, make XX million of profits off it, then recycle game again for X million again, and spending the rest on a cocaine-powered yacht crewed by Russian super models, (then whinge about how game piracy's hurting you...but I digress.)

It would be just like limiting campaign donations... well... similar anyway.

Cronstintein
2nd Dec 2010, 07:11
This is a very interesting idea. I'm not sure how feasible it would be but I'd certainly like to see and find out!

I can only imagine how many complainers on the forum will start lame complaints with, "I'm funding your game, you're now my employee, etc.."
People already pull this crap on minecraft constantly just for putting a tenner down on a pre-order!

Notch (Minecraft creator) did take a month or so off while building his new dev studio. Now he's updating constantly so I don't see any right for complaints. I'm not a fanboy but lets be fair here!

FuzzyPuffin
2nd Dec 2010, 07:26
I think it is very feasible. In concept is not too far off from Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/).

Indie game developer Wolfire Games (http://www.wolfire.com/games) also did something similar, in that opened up preorders of Overgrowth before they started, and that money went to the game's development. People who preorder also get access to their alphas.

[FGS]Shadowrunner
2nd Dec 2010, 11:14
Well, if it was freely available. The buy-in idea would solve a lot of problems, but is likely to kill creativity.
Particularly with DX, a lot of the modding community still work on Deus Ex era hardware and some of these guys were around 13 or 14 when they made some of the more well-known mods. I know Deus Ex 1 fans aren't the most popular here, but they do have their good uses.

Kvltism
2nd Dec 2010, 11:29
One thing that would be great for gaming would be if we finally ditched the middlemen - the publishers and the stores - and went straight to digital distribution, absolutely. Monopoly stores like EB Games are doing much to damage gaming, in my opinion (especially Down Under.)
That's a good point. I hate walking into an EB Games store and being faced with some dumbfounded, dress shirt-clad imbecile upon putting forth a simple question. They really offer nothing to the gamer; it's dumbed down to the point that purchasing a game is no longer an enjoyable experience. Most Aussie gamers I know favour Dungeon Crawl, and with good reason - better prices, (generally) better selection and much better service.

lithos
2nd Dec 2010, 12:04
That's a good point. I hate walking into an EB Games store and being faced with some dumbfounded, dress shirt-clad imbecile upon putting forth a simple question.

In my local EB, most of them spend their time out the back trying to fix the CD player that keeps skipping and jumping when playing the staffer's mix CDs of crappy auto-tuned Top Forty R&B/Hip Hop/Dance tracks. I suggested the poor thing was trying to shut down in self-defence. That's when they're not playing Guitar Hero or trying to flirt with the lone EB Games Standard-Issue Token Female™ employee. Once guy took about a minute to point me to the PC section, which was odd, as this store occupies about three square metres.

They're the reason games are so expensive in Aus, both in-store and online: they're a large international corporation that probably has a lot more weight than a lot of publishers. Since Australia's always paid more, apparently it would be downright offensive to stop doing that now. Don't even think of releasing a sanely-priced copy through digital distribution, either, because, suddenly, they just ran out of shelf space for you new game. Oh dear.

But since they've devolved into to little more than pawn shops, and since digital distribution isn't so hot on the consoles, publishers have little choice (our woeful broadband situation doesn't help, either,) but to play ball with the stores.

And after they've sold a copy of your game on Xbox, PS3 or Wii? They'll give the guy some store credit, and then resell that game on again! (This is apparently totally not piracy, for some reason, despite having the same effect.) So who needs those stupid new games anyway, eh? Devs and publishers only exist to top their existing rental stock.

And then, of course, the PC version of the game gets relegated to the three square feet of the PC games section at the back. But who cares, right, since "PC gamers all get their games off the internet" - that's an actual quote from one of the sales drones at my store when I was asking when they were going to get in Alpha Protocol. This was three days after its launch, and they still didn't have it on shelves.

Funny thing is, I had the cash in wallet, one fifty, two twenties. And the guy just told me to go elsewhere.

Kvltism
2nd Dec 2010, 12:33
LOL! You've summed up the EB Games experience, and I've been to a fair few of their stores. The same console-centric layout. The same inflated prices. The same piss-poor music blaring over the PA. The same staff that don't seem to play any games that aren't part of the Call of Duty or Guitar Hero franchises. It is an ugly, soulless way to go shopping for games.

It's a much worse experience if you're a girl. One of my best friends from high-school was silly enough to go there for games such as Far Cry 2 and Crysis... the response when she'd present a shooter at the counter: "oh, are you getting this for your boyfriend or something?" Then they'd have the gall to try and flirt with her, hahaha. Smooth.

Rindill the Red
2nd Dec 2010, 16:06
This is a very interesting idea. I'm not sure how feasible it would be but I'd certainly like to see and find out!

I can only imagine how many complainers on the forum will start lame complaints with, "I'm funding your game, you're now my employee, etc.."
People already pull this crap on minecraft constantly just for putting a tenner down on a pre-order!

Notch (Minecraft creator) did take a month or so off while building his new dev studio. Now he's updating constantly so I don't see any right for complaints. I'm not a fanboy but lets be fair here!

That's why I said that certain formal structures of communication would need to be figured out and implemented to avoid that kind of entitlement.

Also, a detailed terms of agreement should be laid out and understood before the consumer "invests"... so that they can't cause trouble later.

jkruse
2nd Dec 2010, 16:43
Similar to this. AAA Indie (http://www.interstellarmarines.com/articles/aaa-indie/why-aaa-indie/)