Game companies selling alpha-release (essentially unfinished, work-in-progress) games has to represent the ultimate in lean.
More game companies seem to do this. Instead of taking the more conventional, longer process of building the complete product, testing, improving and retesting, a big launch and release to market.
This different approach essentially follows the lab model.
- Create a minimally playable product. It doesn't have to be big-free. Get it out there to the market immediately.
- Get feedback from the early adopters. Get income from sales (albeit not full recommended retail price.)
- Build more of the product; incorporating user feedback and bug fixes. Release the update. Loop back to 2.
- Release the final product at full recommended retail price when it is eventually finished. Or as is sometimes the case, not ever release the final product because the situation has changed!