So as of 5:00 AM, I'm looking at $1,248,916 dollars donated by 33,771 people who want Double Fine to make a game. And I say donated, in the sense that Minecraft worked off donations. In this bizarre alternate reality where goodwill means more than exclusive retailer weapons and new copy content. Where people reward talent in an attempt to live vicariously through the Double Fine team to do what many of them at one point or another wanted to do.
To be part of the making of a video game they believed in.
And although there is probably a decent percentage of those people that just wanted to be part of the new thing, that drive itself seems to be a force to be reckoned with. This magical setup in which the consumers can hand the money directly to the developers and get the games they want. Of course, like anything else, there have to be some pretty fundamental changes to the way video game companies do business in order for a model of this type to be worth pushing people towards.
But with so many laid off or on shaky ground nowadays, how many times does something like this have to happen before the industry realizes that the reason this worked is for the same reason free to play games yield more consistent results. If you are upfront about what you can do, what you are doing and what you will do for a consumer, the number of concessions that consumer is willing to make increases drastically.
It's why a broken dragon is bad in Skyrim and funny in Minecraft. Skyrim shouldn't be broken, because it was presented as an amazing experience from the off. There was never any contact with any developer that wasn't completely sanitized. Every interview was full of PR spin. Every thousand screenshots released daily for that game were selling an experience that the game, amazing as it may be, would be hard pressed to ever accomplish.
And while I have no idea how to find the numbers, I'd say there's a larger portion of the Minecraft userbase using mods than there are Skyrim proportionately to their install base. Not because it's any easier, or does more for the product. But because the sense of a community affecting a game as it grows and develops was always there with Minecraft.
And this isn't to say that people will stop playing Call of Duty. This kind of thing is probably an interesting piece of news in Facebook and Twitter accounts across the world. The change isn't taking place there. The biggest difference I see coming is an entire generation of people who grew up in a time when a small team could make an amazing and tight experience without all the bells and whistles that pass for value today, coming together and speaking with their wallets. It won't be about what you don't buy, and that's a refreshing thought.