I was checking out Daniel Benmergui's interesting new indie game Today I Die and was curious to see the statement on his site saying "This game is ad-free thanks to an unusual individual". Poking around a bit I found this Gamasutra interview with Daniel that explains that his ability to release the game ad free was due to a financial benefactor.
This is an interesting development. Arts patronage has been around for ever but is now making its way into games!
Darius Kazemi, who conducted the interview with Daniel, has written an epic post on the subject of patronage, which I recommend if you are curious to read more.
And if you are interested, you can go here to invest in the development of Daniel Benmergui's next game!
Digging deeper into this idea of publicly funded games, I also found KickStarter.
Kickstarter is a site where anybody can post a project they are working and ask for funds to help them complete. Go there and invest in someone writing a novel, create an iphone app, producing a play or, developing a videogame. Greg Chukede is a small Indie shop called Caffeinated Games. He's looking for some additional funding to polish up his game called Farmlands, why not help him out and get a credit in his game?
The patronage model is something that seems well suited to small 'free to play' artistic projects created by a single person. Now I wonder... is this something that can scale to bigger game projects?