Need for Speed: Shift developer Slightly Mad Studios is embarking on an ambitious project to create technology and video games via crowdsourcing.
The community assisted and crowdfunded technology will be released to subscribers who can then work alongside the studio itself, develop games from scratch and be financially rewarded once the titles are live.
The first project is racing game C.A.R.S. but Slightly Mad hopes the project - dubbed World of Mass Development - will be used for future first-person shooter, adventure and role-playing games.
The community will also be able to play the game as it's being built, from the first track and cars up until the final build. Slightly Mad will take 30 per cent of profits with the remainder divided up amongst the community based on the amount of shares in a game they own.
Slightly Mad is targeting individuals and fans with shares in the games priced a $5 and $10, $250 options for groups, $1000 for small businesses and large companies and investors can get involved with contributions of $100,000. Longer-term, subscribers can also benefit when PC games are ported to other formats.
Based on a two year development cycle at a cost of $5 million, Slightly Mad estimates that a $10 share will return $35 if the game hits a $25 million profit, or 657,000 traditional retail sales. A $250 share will return $875 and a $100,000 share $350,000.
Slightly Mad is targeting three million sales of C.A.R.S., a 90 per cent Metacritic and a profit of $52 million. The free-to-play game will include microtransactions priced from 10 cents to $10 and the company has already licensed a number of tracks and manufacturers.
The World of Mass Development service will also be offered to other developers, who can use it to pitch ideas to the community, fund and promote their own games.
"Traditional development puts developers at the mercy of publishers," said Slightly Mad. "Although it supplies the necessary funds to develop games with proper QA testing and development cycles, it also makes the development cycle subject to business matters such as financial quarters, company profits and marketing budgets.
"The development process offered by WMD shifts the focus back to creating great games that your target audience wants to play, whilst still offering the chance to get proper funding for development and testing."
Crowdsourcing games is becoming an increasingly viable method of raising cash for development through sites such as kickstarter.com. London studio Six to Start recently pitched to raise $12,500 for its game Zombies, Run! with the idea proving so popular is has already raised $45,000.