Recently - I listened to a talk by the developers behind Desktop Dungeons discussing their approach to developing Desktop Dungeons, what they called Open Game Development. The approach involves bringing in the general public and those interested in the game - as early as possible.
This is not to be confused with Early Access - the point here is to have your prototypes available to be played, and feedback to be given to you as the developer to use to guide your decision-making. The benefit here is that since payment for the prototype would not have been issued - there are less issues with you changing direction with your project completely - since no one has paid for the product; and at the same time, as the developer - you are more free to discuss potentially very different ideas with the player base, try ideas, and keep them or remove them should you so choose.
The speakers spoke of a number of benefits of taking the approach in terms of marketing and gathering interest. Stating that the prototypes can act as a type of demo later on - when you choose to release the final version for purchase. They also mentioned that one needs to be ready to both say 'no' and also try to understand exactly what issues are; rather than treating symptoms - you figure out the cause of a problem that seems to be continuously coming up from feedback.
I highly recommend the talk itself - especially if you are considering taking this type of approach in one of your projects. I might consider attempting this approach later on - it definitely seems to be both an interesting and useful way to approach developing a project.
Until next time,