"One of the areas that I am super interested in right now is how we can do financing from the community," said Newell to ABC's Good Game, a snippet noticed by Kotaku. nope "So right now, what typically happens is you have this budget--it needs to be huge, it has to be $10m-$30m--and it has to be all available at the beginning of the project," he said. "There's a huge amount of risk associated with those dollars and decisions have to be incredibly conservative."
Newell's hypothetical solution is to raise that money directly from the public, eliminating much of that risk.
"What I think would be much better would be if the community could finance the games. In other words, 'Hey, I really like this idea you have. I'll be an early investor in that and, as a result, at a later point I may make a return on that product, but I'll also get a copy of that game.'"
As Kotaku notes, the idea itself is not new, but carrying it out on such a large scale would certainly break new ground. We will simply reiterate that Newell was speaking entirely in the hypothetical.