“Star Citizen” & Crowd Funding

Retro-warning!!

Back in the early 90’s when I was but a teenage nerd playing games in my little room on my Amiga I got when I turned 15 and then PC at 18, one of my favorite gaming series was called “Wing Commander“. As a space sim I’d say it was not as good as the X-Wing series but the story was pretty damn good! It was so good that by the time the third one was produced they had actual films – with none other than Mark Hamill as the hero of the story! And the fourth one took it one step further when it launched as DVD and the story became even better!! Then there was Privateer which took up where Elite left off. Anyway, back then space sims where good and had a huge focus on story and a “being there”-feel. Graphics was secondary. And the man behind it all was Chris Roberts.

After being successful with all this he took a break from the game-world and went to Hollywood (and made the underrated and under-budgetted movie “Wing Commander“). But last year he came back and started a crowd funding campaign for a new ambitious space sim called “Star Citizen“. Crowd funding is basically telling people “I wanna do this and this and I need your money to do it, if you give me this much this is what you’ll get” and the people reponds with giving what they feel it’s worth for them, or they don’t and it fails. Well, “Star Citizen” blew all records of crowd funding and reached their goal pretty quickly. After than they launched their website where people could purchase ships and stuff and all the money goes into the development of the game. They are right now almost up to $18.000.000 that people have donated to the project! That’s how much people want this to succeed! There are people that have donated upwards of $1.000 each to this! I’m only at $125 but that will get bigger I think.

But the main reason why this is so “big” in the gaming world is the crowd funding part of it. Normal games go from being an idea to seeking investors to back it up and the always have investors and publishers dictating terms and conditions and every time they want to invest money into something they have to get an OK for it and launch dates are pretty final. Just look at what happened with Condor, the makers of “Diablo”. They got bought by Blizzard but after a while they didn’t like working there so they broke off to start Flagship Studios. And there they had to push out a game that was far, far from finished (“Hellgate London“). And the company went to hell.

But that’s what I love about this. They have their money (and getting more and more all the time) so they are just pushing on with the development. And they show us sneak peaks at specific stages of development, last week they launched the hangar which shows us our hangar and our ship. Next stage in 5-6 months is a working dog fighting simulation. And so on and so forth until they launch the final game. Another thing that’s great about this is the community is so very involved and energetic about the game. Just check the YouTubes from when Chris demoed the hangar last week in Germany, the crowd went wild!! It’s awesome! And we don’t have to pay for a big campus, middle management, no publishers, no marketing, it goes to the development of the best, most ambitious space sim game ever. I hope. Because crowd funding is a lot about hoping that they deliver what they promise. Like Ouya, as far as I can tell right now it really isn’t delivering what they promised.

But I have faith in Chris Roberts. I don’t think they are going to be able to push everything they want into the game when it launched but pretty sure it’ll be an ongoing development. Stay tuned!!


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Kristoffer