Valve Says Let Gamers Fund Games

valveA growing topic within the video game industry this generation has been the rising cost of development. This leads not only to higher prices, but to publishers being less willing to take a chance on new properties. Heck, it was just revealed last week that Crackdown, which sold 1.5 million copes and then some, just barely broke even. To me, this is a primary reason why this generation needs to last for a long time (imagine how expensive the next next-gen games will be), but I digress.

However, Valve’s Gabe Newell has recently spoken about something that he feels is an alternative: gamers becoming investors that fund the making of games. Right now, the current model works with a developer going to a publisher with an idea, and getting a commitment of millions based on the concept. What Gabe is proposing is that gamers would become that investor, thus eliminating the middle man and producing an open relationship between the creative and the consumer.

While I think this is an interesting idea on paper, I can’t really see it working. It seems to me that gamers would only really want to pay money up front for a game that they are sure of, and if there’s that kind of demand, there is probably a publisher willing to back it anyway. I mean, who would fund Katamari Damacy based on the premise of a guy pushing around a ball of garbage? You get the point.

Anywho, what do you guys think of this? Is Valve on to something here?

Source- Kotaku

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21 thoughts on “Valve Says Let Gamers Fund Games”

  1. That depends on the ideas being proposed, and how they plan to go about it. The gamers would have to be in the know or it’d just be blindly throwing money out for an idea that sounds good on paper, but may translate to a horrible game.

  2. interesting idea, but I wouldn’t be one of the first people to invest because they might not get enough funding to continue then I would get shafted in that I pay and dont get my game I want developed. It wont work and it probably won’t bring in that much money for the games being produced anyway especially compared to the current system. My biggest problem is that the games won’t get started without money, and gamers probably won’t invest in what they believe could become vaporware.

  3. Right so Gabe Newell is all up for getting money but he won’t make games for PS3 thus getting greater sales? How does THAT work?

  4. I gotta say, this sounded good at first. Especially since it came from Valve who, if I remember correctly, proposed dropping the initial release price of games to $40.

    Although, you’d essentailly be paying for an abstract idea, you’d have no idea who is involved with development or how the final product will come out.

    So while I am for getting gamers (the target buyers of videogames believe it or not) nore involved in the game making process, this one sounds like Communism. Good on paper, bad in practice.

  5. I’m going to be shot up for even suggesting this, but I feel like Valve’s ideas have been getting less and less sound over the years. L4D2 is too soon, and while this idea is interesting, I can’t really see it actually working. Gamers are cheap, you see. On the bright side, they’re still making DLC for L4D1 and TF2, and presumably still working on HL2:E3. I suppose I still have faith in them.

  6. [quote comment=”7646″]Right so Gabe Newell is all up for getting money but he won’t make games for PS3 thus getting greater sales? How does THAT work?[/quote]

    Contrary to popular belief, Valve is actually a pretty small company. They decided that their time was better spent developing for PC and 360 because it’s essentially the same kind of architecture. Knocking out 2 birds with one stone, so to speak.

    This allows them to keep making new games without switching part of their team to developing for the PS3, which has a unique architecture with the Cell (you can blame Sony for that one). The only other option is to hire a whole new team of people or outsourcing it to another company. They already tried that second one, and it didn’t go over so well. So they’ve decided to just cut their losses and focus on knocking out new games. It stinks for PS3 users, but Valve’s games have relatively low requirements on the PC, so that’s always a valid option.

  7. Well, at least Wox42 won’t get shot up alone, cause I think they been passing round the pot rather than make ep. 3. Why else would they make L4D2 so soon?

  8. Well no, you can’t fault them for trying to make something awesome, but the danger of proprietary formats (which Sony has always had a boner for) is that you make people work that much harder to do what you want them to do. I mean, if I can easily develop for 2 systems (PC and 360), or develop for 3 with difficulty, I think I know what I’d pick if I was a small studio. I’d say so far it’s worked out pretty well for them, too. They kind of make a lot of money.

  9. True. But if there are no differences between systems…why bother having different consoles? I get Sony’s POV and I get Valve’s.

    I just want to play their freaking games!

  10. It’s an idea with merit, certainly. I don’t doubt that a decent portion of the gaming communtiy would front up some of the cost of development, but I can see this idea crashing an burning.

    What if Valve did try this? What would be the time for return on investment? What would the investors get for contributing to the production of the game? Would the investors have any creative control over the product? Even in Hollywood, large contributors get a say over the content of the movie.

    At this point, there are way too many holes in the idea. Besides, like you said, Eddy, it would be hard to get backing for a crappy game, or a licensed product. Us gamers are discerning people, and we know what we like.

  11. It’s atleast a new idea. Of course like someone said, it might be better on paper than in actual practice. Imagine what the reaction to a guy with a crowbar beating up interstellar aliens would’ve been way back when if this was in place =D

  12. As everyone has said its an interesting idea, but it wouldnt work. Games that sound good on paper like Too Human suck in real life. Plus some sequels arent as good as the originals, like COD3.

  13. I agree that there should be an active relationship between the gamer and producer, and Valve is pretty much the best company when it comes to being awesome, but for now I think middle men are necessary.

  14. @glebe: I suppose that in order to figure out what doesn’t work is to give it a try, and I guess that’s what happened to Too Human. That said, I give you points for not outright saying that CoD3 sucked, because while, yes, it wasn’t as good as the first two CoD’s, it was alright on its own merits.

  15. yah i suppose those games were all right, but have you ever seen those gamefly commercials with the people flippin out because the games they bought sucked? thats me when i bought COD3. a great game>a good game, and when you hype a game so much that everyone lines up at the store to buy it and it turns out just to be a good game it seems even worse. Another whole with this idea is the wait take a long time to develop, right? would you want to invest $60 out of pocket for a game that will come out a few ears from when you spend the money>

  16. Well , I think that the future is open-source. That means, independent devs write games on their free time, and the big decisions in the writing of the game are made by the comunity that makes the game and that all their work (the programing and the music/media part of it) is accessible to anybody to use it and change it at their will. The only investments one could make would only be voulantary and they could both be actual work or money if necesary. Maybe the development would beslower, but it would result in a better game that would please everybody who helped making decisions about the game, and it would be for free, and I am not even mentioning that it would then be even easier to port the game to a wider variaty of platforms.

    I am apologize for my spelling/grammar mistakes, I wrote using my iPhone.

  17. How many Rich, intelligent people play video games? Those are 3 hard things to find in any person, most of us have only 2.

    Even if I sent in $500, think of how many other people would have to invest… we’re talking huuge numbers of people to pay for a game…

    Here’s a question. Would you guys be willing to pay a monthly fee for something like Steam? That could bring in a lot of money… I can’t see myself living without CS.. And I think a 9.99 a month or something would be fair…

  18. It could work, but that means that all game developers would have to do is hype like crazy, instead of making a really good game. Then again, they’d be more motivated to get everything right because then they’d have pissed off investers.

  19. Only way I would do this would be if I new, 100% that I’m going to love said game. (although, with Valve, I usually do..)

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