Star Citizen's $55m won't turn into profit; all pre-launch funds to be "spent on development" | PCGamesN

Star Citizen's $55m won't turn into profit; all pre-launch funds to be "spent on development"

A recent Star Citizen stretch goal: the Reclaimer.

Star Citizen first found success through a WordPress crowdfunding plug-in. Then it found further success on Kickstarter. And then it sort of forgot to stop, slurping success through a straw from some bottomless pit of player goodwill. Today, Star Citizen is in the Guinness Book of World Records - not as the most-crowdfunded game of all time, though it is, but as the most-crowdfunded anything ever.

But the game hasn’t reached profitability yet, absurd as that sounds. The $55 million raised in its name to date will all be funnelled into development, says RSI fleet commander Chris Roberts.

“I sometimes get asked why we continue to raise money,” he wrote. “Haven’t you already raised enough to make the game? The answer is that Star Citizen isn’t a normal game. It’s not being developed like a normal game and it’s not being funded like a normal 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!’,” said Roberts in a letter to fans. “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.” 

The game’s budget still isn’t fixed, explained Roberts. RSI keep a “healthy” cash reserve to ensure that if funding dried up tomorrow, their 280-odd staffers would keep their jobs and the game would be finished. But Star Citizen’s scope continues to expand in line with new backer donations.

“Long ago I stopped looking at this game the way I did when I worked for a publisher who gave me a fixed budget to make a retail game,” he said. “I now look at our monthly fundraising and use that to set the amount of resources being used to develop this game.”

Roberts dismissed worries about feature creep as old-fashioned.

“I would say that this would be fair criticism if we were delivering this game at retail and on disc,” he wrote. “However, we are online and already pushing out builds. Just because we haven’t implemented a planned feature or built a certain asset yet doesn’t prevent us from sharing the game with everyone right now.”

What’s your thinking on RSI’s unprecedented approach to PC development?

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bryant avatarnu1mlock avatarsubedii avatar
bryant Avatar
3 Years ago

I think this is and will be one of the biggest failures in gaming history that will tarnish crowd funding for generations to come. Having said that, it is a brilliant showpiece of how much money can be made from hype and people's stupidity. Anyone want to buy a pretend spaceship for $350? Limited time only, hurry while they last!

So glad I didn't back this game.

nu1mlock Avatar
3 Years ago

Lets hope you're wrong then - wouldn't want that.

subedii Avatar
3 Years ago

Indeed, I jolly well hope this game is tremendously good fun, and that everyone enjoys it for years to come.


Elite: Dangerous looks like it'll be interesting for all the mechanics at play, but I really want a good SP campaign in the vein of the original WC games (or even Freelancer. I quite liked Freelancer's campaign).

bryant Avatar
3 Years ago

I hope it doesn't fail. I really do but, I believe it will. Too much scammy practices for way too much money and the politician like non-answers make it worse.

I mean come on, 55mil and he's only putting the monthly funds raised into development budget. WTF is that? If there's enough already to make sure the game will be made then stop with the outrageous fundraiser already and all the global fund raising trips and concentrate everything on making the game.

What do they have to show for the 55mil? A POS "demo" and a shit load of fund raising commercials. Disgusting. Make something then ask for more money.