Notch, Tim Schafer and the public funding of video games

First up, if Notch and Double Fine can work something out, it feels like a pretty big deal. One thing is doing a Gearbox and purchasing game assets to bolt together a "game" to publish, another is to take profits from an indie game and funding a totally separate AAA studio. I know Notch is "new to this huge money thing" and probably is a lot more whimsical because he can, to an extent, afford to, but it doesn't make it any less stunning. That is, if it happens.

Now, time for a potentially stupid discussion.

I know this joke was thrown around a bunch, but somewhere in the back of my head a studio like Double Fine starting Kickstarter projects with some proper publicity behind it feels like it just might actually work. I'd pledge so many dollars to have games made. Being a consumer is so reactive so much of the time. We are given a palette of games to choose from, and we commit our dollars to them after the fact, so to speak. We hear stories of games that studios would like to make, but can't because publishers don't believe in them, or some other similar story.

Now with digital distribution and the mechanisms for crowdsourcing or public funding pretty much formalized, would it be that unthinkable really for consumers to be able to "vote" with their dollars for the games they would like to see made, rather than have to pledge their dollars after the fact and rely on an industry of census takers to decide what the public wants so as to justify the investment?

I know this would likely result mostly in project that wouldn't happen, but at the same time, that's how things are already anyway. In terms of value to pledgers, being able to play a game you would like to, as well as being credited as a pledger would be more than enough, and when the game is done it would still be for sale as usual, so everybody wins, no? Perhaps royalties for high pledgers? I dunno, there are probably bibles of legal ramifications.

But still, is crowd funding games given a properly announced and publicised campaign and a simple reliable payment scheme really be so unthinkable?

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