There is no other industry that allows us to take control of what you get. The passionate fan of the medium visits a website, donates a sum of money, or demands a large company offers them the opportunity to play something they’ve read about. But gaming is different. In games, we have the power.
Kickstarter began in 2009 as a way for developers to get funding for their gaming projects. Although the service offers access to creating any form of media, its gaming that has received the most support through the crowd-funding site. Out of it has come some of the most interesting games we may see in the next few years, including Project Eternity, Torment and Wasteland 2. Kickstarter was also the reason the new Ouya gaming platform exists, giving gamers an alternative to the current popular console generation. The people speak, and the games come forth.
Steam Greenlight works in a slightly different way, in that it allows gamers to choose what games the platform distributes and offers for purchase. Anyone with a Steam account can visit the service, look through some games they might be interested in, and vote on whether the srvice should offer them up. World of Tanks could Worldwide distribution as a result of Steam Greenlight, as did Postal 2 get a reboot. Even Euro Truck Simulator got enough votes (and actually turned out to be pretty good).
Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight have both become massive sources of access and distribution for new and innovative titles. I spent a week playing Surgeon Simulator 2013 with a couple of mates, in utter hysterics and how stupid and yet utterly addictive it was. Without Steam Greenlight and a funded campaign, that would never have happened.
We should feel very lucky as gamers to be able to have this much power over choosing what games can be made, and how much we can help support budding game developers create the new great titles. Fans of bands or film directors do not get this type of choice, and have to accept whatever the companies decide to make. We, as gamers, not only influence what games we have the opportunity to play, but can help keep the industry going as a whole.