Home Gaming Chris Roberts addresses Star Citizen “pay to win” concerns

Chris Roberts addresses Star Citizen “pay to win” concerns

3 min read


Last week, changes to Star Citizen’s economy created concerns about the game shifting towards becoming “pay to win.” The removal of the UEC cap limit allows players to stockpile in-game cash, causing debates between fans over whether the change will have any meaningful impact on the game. In a new “Letter from the Chairman,” Cloud Imperium Games boss Chris Roberts addressed the “pay to win” concerns. The gist of Roberts’ argument is that Star Citizen isn’t a regular game with an end goal, so there’s no traditional “win” state. Players “win” by having fun, and they can have fun whether they shell out extra money or not.

“Developing and operating a game of Star Citizen’s ambition is expensive,” Roberts says. “From day one of the campaign we’ve been quite clear on the economic model for Star Citizen, which is to not require a subscription like many MMOs, but instead rely on sales of initial game packages and in-game money to fund development and online running costs. To ensure money isn’t a deciding factor in progression, the core principle that the game follows is that everything you can obtain with real money, outside of your initial game package, can also be earned in game via normal and fun gameplay. There will also be plenty of things that can only be earned by playing.”

Roberts uses the same argument that 2K and EA use when it comes to microtransactions that remove the grind from some of their games: it’s all down to player choice and giving players the option of paying instead of playing.

“There are two types of resource players have that they can contribute to Star Citizen to make it better: time and money. A player that has lots of time but only backed for the basic game helps out by playing the game, giving feedback, and assisting new players. On the flip side, if a player has a family and a demanding job and only has four hours to game a week but wants to spend some money to shortcut the time investment they would need to purchase a new ship, what’s wrong with that?

…People should not feel disadvantaged because they don’t have time, nor should they feel disadvantaged if they don’t have money. I want our tent to be large and encompass all types of players with varied skill sets, time, and money.”

As for players who’ll have an advantage over others because they have more money or time? Star Citizen will echo real life in that regard.

“There will always be some players that have more than others, regardless of whether they’ve spent more or played more, because people start at different times and play at different paces. This is the nature of persistent MMOs. Star Citizen isn’t some race to the top; it’s not like Highlander where “There can only be one!” It is an open-ended Persistent Universe Sandbox that doesn’t have an end game or a specific win-state. We are building it to cater to players of all skill levels, that prefer PvE or PvP, that like to play solo or in a group or a large organization, that want to pursue various professions, some peaceful and some combat orientated. This is the core philosophy of Star Citizen; there isn’t one path, nor is there one way to have fun.”

Roberts ends his note by saying that Star citizen isn’t a regular game with win and lose states; it’s a persistent universe, where players win by having fun. Even if that fun costs then thousands of dollars.

“This may be a foreign concept to gamers as the majority of games are about winning and losing, but Star Citizen isn’t a normal game. It’s a First Person Universe that allows you to live a virtual life in a compelling futuristic setting. You win by having fun, and fun is different things to different people.”

Last Updated: August 6, 2018


  1. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  2. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  3. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  4. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  5. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  6. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  7. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  8. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  9. RinceThis

    August 6, 2018 at 09:59

  10. NopeChris

    August 6, 2018 at 11:50

    When the crux of your marketing plan is to get people to pay you for their own imagination, the last thing you want to do is lock down features and ground things in reality.

    CR promised anything and everything as a feature in SC so not to limits peoples’ idealized vision of the completed game. Then they simply pump out some concept images, a bit of lore text and ships (literally pictures of ships, mind you) and people start paying for how they imagine the ship will operate in the version of the game that’s in their head, since only about 1/10th game exists in real life at the moment.

    If features were locked and we could see prototype builds, the reality of the game-play systems may not match up with what people envisioned and they’d probably pass on a lot of ships.

    Until all of the core features are in the game, selling people back their own imagination is the only way CiG can fund development.


    • Joe Blobers

      August 6, 2018 at 17:27

      Hi FUD buddy… how many alts man? 🙂

      Hype is part of any project. but saying that “anything and everything as a feature in SC” was promised is misleading.

      Have a look atRoadmap and you can see that pledged ships are coming as well as jobs and features.

      it is more than probable that by end of 2019, almost everything will have been delivered, including network code performance. The recent video of 50 players and 25 ships warping together to another planet and fighting on land do prove already in not optimised current 3.2 Alpha CIG is delivering.

      And like any commercial company, CIG will use micro-transaction (UEC) to help fund MMO new contents.Business as usual. You can keep copy/paste the same comment under different alts, that won’t change the fact CIG is delivering.


  11. HvR

    August 6, 2018 at 12:19

    Good to know that if your shit gets blown into small particles for the umpteenth time your not losing anything; you are having FUN!!!!!


    • Lord Chaos

      August 6, 2018 at 13:25

      Unfortunately I fear this is only for now. BUT, on the plus side, you know this is gonna go EVE alla massive battles and lots of money down the drain. Can’t wait for the first complaint of those massive buyers being ganged up on and put down.

      I’ll start over, with whatever there is, even just player hire and build up cash, you know some of these guys are gonna whine


    • sniper23

      August 17, 2018 at 19:07

      I think that you didn’t play EVE Online.

      After playing that, you will see what is losing a ship… and thousands of dollars…


  12. HvR

    August 6, 2018 at 12:21

    Patiently waiting for the fanboys and anti-fanboys to gather in the comment section and draw their weekly lines of battle.



  13. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  14. Magoo

    August 6, 2018 at 12:52

  15. MaSeKind

    August 6, 2018 at 12:53

    As a massive fan of the old Wing Commanders and Freelancer, this whole SC thing just makes me sad.

    And correct my if I’m wrong, but as far as I understand it there’s only one star system you can fly around in a bit? Other than that you can buy a bunch of ships.
    So while you are paying, there isn’t much winning.


    • Joe Blobers

      August 6, 2018 at 17:21

      45$ a starter package. Not a single extra $ and as any crowdfunded project, will be delivered when ready.
      Those in game UEC credits will be used for micro-transactions not ruling SC “universe” 🙂

      Now let’s laugh with some animated GIF because shooting scam is so much more fun than building something 🙂


      • MaSeKind

        August 6, 2018 at 18:04

        Hahaha it seems you are having fun going to all the gaming sites and commenting on these stories. (Chris Roberts, is that you??? 😀 )

        I don’t have a horse in this race so to speak, and my knowledge of SC is based on what I’ve read and some videos I’ve watched where people talk about the game and it’s development.
        But I can’t help feeling that if everything was going amazingly well with the development and CIG was keeping their promises, surely you wouldn’t be seeing articles like this popping up every few months?


        • Joe Blobers

          August 6, 2018 at 20:05

          Quote: “surely you wouldn’t be seeing articles like this popping up every few months”

          You have article about litteraly anything than can make a title and bring people click on site links. Do you think they get paid by adding animated Gifs in comment section? 🙂

          List the number of “drama” since 3 and half years, all being the end of the project, evil at all level, bad PR… result: +2.5M$ on average per month.
          As a mod of this site wrote a couple week ago: “do you think anyone read what you write?”… I answer no and it does not matter because gamers are not brainless. Those who join the project knew about all this “drama” and follow the project weekly or monthly. Others on the fence will join when they feel their expectations are reached. Beta? Full release and review? Fair enough.

          It is going well not because I say it but because official roadmap provide clear vision of what is delivered during next 4 quarters, I.E. most all all gameplay and features of Kickstarter and following years. CIG so stick to their quarterly patch because they can do it. Right size team and pipelines.


  16. Lord Chaos

    August 6, 2018 at 13:22

    Honestly, what do those big bucks players gain?
    IF and only IF I play the online I’ll enjoy the slow, rent myself out as fast transport (with some defenses) or as a guard. Just enjoy the scenery and some battles.

    I just bloody hope they have a 10+ hour single player and not some washed up CoD add on


  17. Lord Chaos

    August 6, 2018 at 13:38

    Quick look and the top priced looks like luxury, mining and the massive destroyers.
    I feel these top pay players will have to pay even more to us plebs just to man and or hire gunships/guards to protect themselves from each other, which is fine by me, get some extra in game moola for being a hired gun


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