Crowdfunding isn’t profitable for Star Citizen

4 min read

Star Citizen

To say that Star Citizen is a crowdfunding success is an understatement. Sitting on a pile of pledges that is now over the $55 million mark, Star Citizen has set one hell of a benchmark for other games looking for crowd support. But don’t expect that cash to be used to finance massive parties and airline flights with seating that happens to be in Illuminati class. It’s all going straight into the development of Star Citizen.

In a new Letter From the Chairman on Roberts Space Industries, Chris Roberts explained why the project was still accepting pledges after so much cash had already been spent on the game.

“I have a lot of industry friends pat me on the back and say, Wow, it must be so great to be operating in profit even before you ship! Their look usually turns to incredulity when I explain that my intention is for all the money we bring in before launch to be spent on development,” Roberts wrote.

It is the community, from the existing backers who continue to support the game, to new members who join every day who are setting the level of ambition and budget for Star Citizen. Every effort is about enriching the game’s vision. Funding to date has allowed us to go so far beyond what I thought was possible in 2012. You’re still getting that game, no question, but it will be all the richer and so much more immersive because of the additional funding.

Because of this, Roberts wrote that he had to “toss aside” his ideas about the traditional development of game design and development.

“I now look at our monthly fundraising and use that to set the amount of resources being used to develop this game. We keep a healthy cash reserve so that if funding stopped tomorrow we would still be able to deliver Star Citizen (not quite to the current level of ambition, but well above what was planned in Oct 2012),” Roberts said.

If you combine our in-house staff and outsourced developers, we now number more than 280 people. Your support has created a significant number of jobs in the gaming industry. If we had raised the original amount and no more, we wouldn’t be able to deliver involved capital ship systems or the level of FPS gameplay that we are now planning for planets in the Persistent Universe. Nor would have the time or budget to continually upgrade the game with new features like Physically Based Rendering (PBR), or continually strive to make the art assets better.

Closing off the speech, Roberts said that players need not feel obliged to pay more than they want to for the game beyond it’s current RRP to gain access. If they want any of the other features or bonuses, these can be earned in-game. Buying new spaceships however, will most likely be one of the key money-makers in Star Citizen. As beautiful as they are, they have price tags to match those digital curves. But doing so allows the universe of the game to be more diverse, says Roberts.

“The new ships add interesting new gameplay and populating the future Persistent Universe with a range of different ships, flown by players pursuing all kinds of professions, will only add to the richness of the game once it’s fully live,” he said.

That’s what Star Citizen is about: the creative freedom to build something unlike anything that has been done before and the ability to do it with the support of a community that is as passionate about this game as I am. We want to make the Best Damn Space Sim Ever, and with your continued support I know we will.

As much as I’d like to see such a diverse universe, I sure as hell won’t be throwing down R700 and upwards for a spaceship to help that “vision”. Hopefully, there’s a way to earn such a vehicle in-game, which would be far more attractive to me.

Read  Crowdfunding for the League of Legends World Championship has reached $4.6 million

Last Updated: October 2, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Everything can be earned in game through actual game play when it releases. He said the other day that about 75% of backers just have the basic Aurora package.

    I’m keen to see the FPS reveal, the teaser was not enough.

    • Admiral Chief 0

      I can dig the FPS

    • Alien83

      I really hope they make the dog fighting easier! At the mo it takes like 10 minutes of shooting miss to kill 1 Vanduul ship. It’s gonna infuriate me if the game has such a cool story and atmosphere but in between is hours of frustrating dog fighting, trying to shoot down 1 ship every 15 minutes (After your missiles are up)

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I haven’t tried dog fighting, want to experience the whole game fresh when it’s eventually released. I’ve only hopped into my ship when the module first released & just spent 15 minutes in free flight flying around the asteroids. Felt really cool doing that once I figured out how the ship handled.

      • Dave

        Sounds to me like someone needs to practice. It takes me second to kill a single vanduul.

      • Ken

        Whats better? A game where you and everyone else can master the controls immediately, or one that takes time to master?

      • uberfu

        The first probelm is that it’s a simulator – not a game. So the trouble your having is that CiG is modelling real world physics to achieve your experience and you are expecting a shoot ’em up video game and one shot kills.

  • Kensei Seraph – Staff

    As long as I can buy the game when it is finally released and still be able to take my towel with me I will be happy.

  • Matewis Jubilai

    This game has a lot riding on it. It has already cemented it place as a pivotal moment in gaming history. My worry is that if were to flop, then it might take the whole crowdfunding scene down with it, or at least very badly scar it.
    I hope it’s good though. Its been nearly 2 decades, and I’m still waiting for a game that can fill me with as much space adventure wonder as (but I doubt it) :

    • Alien83

      OMG Dude I also have this soundtrack on my pc. Just listening to it brings me soooo much excitement!!!

    • Dave

      Chris himself in that communication said that they already have enough money to release the game. Now it’s just a matter of the extras and with each funding stretch goal they keep adding bonus material.

  • Hammersteyn
    • Matewis Jubilai

      as long as it bursts in space…

      • Sageville

        No one will hear it pop…

    • Bobby

      and…you’re already wrong.. ta ta

      • Hammersteyn

        Games not out yet.

        • Nereus77

          Yet parts of it are already playable, and its already hit the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest crowd-funded project of all time.
          It is very unlikely that this will fail.

          • Hammersteyn

            Call it a gut feeling

          • Blatherly

            Your gut is wrong

          • Ken

            Don’t ever gamble. You’re not good at it.

    • Nereus77

      And if you’re wrong? Can we all dump buckets of ice-water on you?

  • MakeItLegal

    how do i get involved ? tried searching on steam didn find it

    • Alien Emperor Trevor
    • Viking Of Science
      • MakeItLegal

        $45 to get into this ? mmm can any one vouch for this , keen to get invloved early ? but $45 is $45 ?

        • Spathi

          It depends what you want. I bought the $40 Aurora Package, which included Alpha access at that stage (Arena Commander). But take into account that for $45, you are getting Alpha- and Beta access, and the full game upon release. You will also receive all the “milestone bonuses” as things go along. You really can’t go wrong here!

          • MakeItLegal

            thanks 🙂

        • Alan Jones

          Consider this any new game these days costs more than $45. You will gain instant access to the hanger module, and the area commander module. It is still very much a work in process but it is coming on leaps and bounds since it started. Current area commander give you access to single and multiplayer area game play, think titan fall.

          I do have access to this and I am one of the original backers, so I have seen all the work that they have done and it is nothing short of amazing.

          • MakeItLegal

            thanks , end of month i will pick it up after exams

          • Alan Jones

            No problem and good luck for the exams.

          • MakeItLegal

            thanks , mate 🙂

        • Johan du Preez

          No its $35 usd go for the $30 package linked below:

          and if you want to fly in the current beta you can purcahse a ticket for $5 usd that brings it to a total of $35 usd.

          Linked below is the $5 usd ticket.

          This will give you instant access to Arena Commander and the hanger.

          • Spathi

            The $5 ticket you linked only provides you with Alpha Access (Arena Commander), no beta. So for Alpha and beta he needs the $45 Aurora+ package. They have changed the packages a bit in the last few months.

          • Johan du Preez

            Aaah my bad thanks for the correction.

        • Bobby

          if you have a 64bit OS and your machine meets the minimum spec give it a try its Arena Commander module is a blast and well worth the money

          • MakeItLegal


        • uberfu

          You can buy in at $30. BUt the extra $15 is for early access to certain features – WHICH ARE LIVE NOW – with mroe forthcoming.

    • Johan du Preez
    • Brasidas

      Go to Google and search for Roberts space industries. That will take you to the appropriate Web site.

  • CypherGate

    If developers have such crazy ambitions for a game then they have to turn to crowd funding because any developer with an ambition like this will never be able to make a profit once the game goes to retail. Unless they include micro transactions. Then they will eventually make some cash. So they lucky to get crowd funding for this game.

    • Bobby

      The original game goals were quite reserved, go back and look at the funding goals pre-6 mil.

      Established publishers turned Chris Roberts down FLAT because they insisted the space genre was dead, PCs were dead and he was too ambitious. He went to crowd funding to prove there was INTEREST, got so much interest he told friendly Venture Capitalist friends thanks we don’t need the big cash from you now were good and off we went.

      CR can now afford to be WAY more ambitious. Enjoy.

  • Johan du Preez

    BTw you can buy all the ships in game and items. CR recons as a solo pilot it will take max 6 months to be able to afford the best ship in the game. Obviously if you are in a corporation you will be able to cut that time down exponentially.

    The ship packages was introduced by CR for people who donated so that they could get something for their donation. The community asked CR if there was other ways like subscriptions that they can donate and CR confirmed he will never go a subscription route so they started a community magazine and multiple community shows with the monthly donations.

  • Norman Pleasant

    I honestly hope all the promises made for this game will be kept. I’ve heard tell of a mysterious affliction within the games industry, medically termed ‘hype’, wherein a dev will state all the hopes and aspirations of their game as ironclad fact. This may not in of itself be a cause for alarm, but when this ‘hype’ builds expectations of the game which the final product does not (and in some cases, can not) live up to.

    I’ve been excited for Star Citizen for quite some time and would hate to see it suffer from this ‘hype’, like a certain other recent sci-fi release.

  • Brian Bottoms

    Too lazy to research :P, after release only cosmetics, flair, and limited amounts of in game currency can be bought with real money. Every other ship available can be earned in game, so no worries there. I only bought a couple packages, normal hornet and a Aquila class Constellation, a few choice ships I plan to earn in game.

  • uberfu

    [quote – Darryn Bonthuys] “As much as I’d like to see such a diverse universe, I sure as hell won’t be throwing down R700 and upwards for a spaceship to help that “vision”. Hopefully, there’s a way to earn such a vehicle in-game, which would be far more attractive to me.”

    The “author” here seems to have missed the several hundred postings of this disclaimer all over the RSI Website:

    “All of these ships will be available for in-game credits in the final universe, and they are not required to start or enjoy the game. The goal is to make additional ships available that give players a different experience rather than a particular advantage when the persistent universe launches.”

    Do these “writers” not ever conduct research before they post OR are they really THAT dumb ?

    I’m still waiting to find some nay-sayer with theirt own high traffic blog / website / new outlet / internet following that has actually done some in depth and extensive reseach and found some detrimental information that will knock CiG on it’s a** as a result. If you are going to write about something – educate yourself – or you jsut end up looking like a moron !

    • Hammersteyn


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