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[Column] Star Citizen: Commoditizing the Development Process

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,580MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In a new look at the crowd-sourced juggernaut, Star Citizen, we examine the phenomenon of this new funding model as well as take a look at what backers get for their hard-earned dollars. Read more after the jump before heading to the comments to leave your thoughts.

In video game history, the name Chris Roberts looms large and that's because back in the 90s he made a name for himself as director and co-designer of the popular Wing Commander series. This year, after having given Hollywood a go (as director of the Wing Commander movie and producer of various projects, among them the divisive Nicolas Cage vehicle Lord of War) Roberts returns to his roots in the video game industry with a new project called Star Citizen. This online massively multiplayer space trading sim has already drummed up an incredible amount of buzz and if pre-release anticipation is any kind of indicator, it's going to be big

Read more of Neilie Johnson's Star Citizen: Commoditizing the Development Process.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • PauheGunorPauheGunor NewcastlePosts: 12Member
    I backed SC when it first started up, also have the monthly sub. Chris and the SC Team have done nothing but give good results, there has been really good customer service and support and when developing the game they have had a lot of backer and community input and seem to continue to get feedback from the community on whats wanted and most of all they have good communication with the community.
  • LaserwolfLaserwolf Oklahoma City, OKPosts: 2,383Member
    Wing Commander was actually a pretty good movie and fun Sci-Fi. Yeah the bad guys should have been more CGI than rubber suits and they treated the main ship too much like a submarine, but the sets were a great mix of futuristic and realistic and the action was great. Also, Saffron Burrows.

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  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member

    There comes a time when you need to stop dipping into people's pockets and use that hand to do something useful.

    The kickstarter was for $500k and they got $2m and yet the focus seems to remain on fundraising rather than development $30 odd million later. Instead of wasting resources on trailers for ships for sale they should get the hanger module working well and get the promised and now delayed dogfighting module actually built.

    Star Citizen might well be suffering from mission creep.

    On the plus side I will be able to play Elite:Dangerous for a year or more before it releases.

  • ChtugaChtuga OsloPosts: 113Member
    I think developers have alot to learn from star citizen. No game has ever been so open and so communicative towards their community before. Best developer ever!
  • PauheGunorPauheGunor NewcastlePosts: 12Member
    Originally posted by RefMinor

    There comes a time when you need to stop dipping into people's pockets and use that hand to do something useful.

    The kickstarter was for $500k and they got $2m and yet the focus seems to remain on fundraising rather than development $30 odd million later. Instead of wasting resources on trailers for ships for sale they should get the hanger module working well and get the promised and now delayed dogfighting module actually built.

    Star Citizen might well be suffering from mission creep.

    On the plus side I will be able to play Elite:Dangerous for a year or more before it releases.

    Did you watch the lives stream over the xmas, there was very valid reasons why it has been delayed and also they want to add other features into the dogfighting module before its pushed out.

     

    The stream showed the dogfighting module live and from what i seen i am pleased how it has progressed, its also a pre-alpha so its technically not delayed just pushed back on the terms they want a better alpha and have other features in it...

  • goemoegoemoe HannoverPosts: 183Member Uncommon

    They collect money and show starship models. They already have much much more money then they anticipated and yet, they only do hangars and starshipmodels. A game has to show more. And as time passes I am more and more happy not to have paid anything. This kickstarter project will hit the whole kickstarter market either way and it will be Chris Roberts name connected to utter kickstarter failure or glory.

    I am still waiting for more than mere models and some dogfighting to come... Just now I seriously doubt this will become a good game.

  • DOGMA1138DOGMA1138 none of your buidnessPosts: 476Member Uncommon

    Can't understand how anyone thinks this is a good thing.

    This is just a hidden price bump for games, and a huge one at that. Heck even big companies like EA already are looking at crowdsourcing their future products. And this is only because (stupid) people agreed to pay huge sums on top of the 50-60$ usual price tag  for games, and  sadly even more for "free to play" games.

    In no other industry would any one agree to this kind of BS, it's like HBO asking for money to make another season of the Sopranos while charging 50$ a month for your cable sub.

    Sure some "kickstarter" projects give perks, and even copies of the game, but in pretty much every case you need to pay double if not more the actual consumer price to get them. And unlike actual investments which is the traditional way that companies used to collect seed and operational funds you get absolutely nothing in return.

    I rather invest 1000$ in EA or any other publisher and get even 1% return on investment than throw 10$ on a kickstarter project.

    The economy works because people get return on their investments, and crowdsourcing programs change all that. Now you're expected to waste money on the development of a product, then purchase it for even more money.

    Thanks but no thank.

     

     

  • MaldobarMaldobar ghjPosts: 11Member
    If STAR CONFLICT builds their sandbox, its all i need.
  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by PauheGunor
    Originally posted by RefMinor

    ....and get the promised and now delayed dogfighting module actually built.

     

    ....so its technically not delayed just pushed back ....

    It's delayed however you look at it, they even had to explain why.

  • DalmarDalmar Blue Springs, MOPosts: 46Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Maldobar
    If STAR CONFLICT builds their sandbox, its all i need.

     

  • DocBrodyDocBrody EldridgePosts: 1,820Member
    Originally posted by Dalmar
    Originally posted by Maldobar
    If STAR CONFLICT builds their sandbox, its all i need.

     

    Funny, I´ve been researching if there is some truth to this plan or not, and I didn´t find anything to confirm it.

    I wish it would be true though.

     

    Star Conflict has interesting combat, kind of an EvE action hybrid with abilities like WoT

    Star Citizen will have fun old school Wing Commander combat with less gear grind focus (hopefully)

     

  • TalonsinTalonsin Posts: 1,468Member Uncommon
    I was excited for this and purchased a good sized package from their initial kickstarter.  I no longer read their emails since it just seems to be nickel and dime, buy this new ship crap and no real effort on the actual game.  Enough talk, enough ships, enough cash shop crap, lets see some fricken work on the game now.
  • Ramonski7Ramonski7 Aurora, ILPosts: 2,656Member Uncommon
    I did my initial backing for the aurora ship and that's all they're getting from me. Same thing with SoTA. If people are blindingly adding packages, perks and addons from their initial pledge then before they know it the total balance could be fast approaching several hundreds if dollars. It's like layaway for a feeakin game. And when it does release backers would have paid ten times the amount a normal person would for the game.

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    "Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  • VincerKadenVincerKaden Edison, NJPosts: 457Member
    Originally posted by Ramonski7
    I did my initial backing for the aurora ship and that's all they're getting from me. Same thing with SoTA. If people are blindingly adding packages, perks and addons from their initial pledge then before they know it the total balance could be fast approaching several hundreds if dollars. It's like layaway for a feeakin game. And when it does release backers would have paid ten times the amount a normal person would for the game.

    I'm like you in that I pledged for what I thought was good for me, and now am eagerly waiting. I am not giving any more; I don't think they need it! haha. But people will spend their money as they see fit. They're not interested in spending more, less or the same as the final retail version. They want what's offered now to backers. That benefits you and I since that money is apparently used to further enhance the game that we're already getting. Not a bad deal!

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  • FoeHammerJTFoeHammerJT Broken Arrow, OKPosts: 148Member

    Am I the only one completely freaked out by this game's progression.

     

    I backed this game, now I fear the impact it could have on the entire gaming industry.

     

    Firstly, I wonder how much fun "progression" in game will be, if by ponying up 200 bucks you have the slickest looking and best ship you will ever get. How quickly will that get boring? Are people ruining their own long term potential experience?

     

    Secondly, micro-transactions were already causing games to be very expensive. Look at F2P Planetside 2 as an example. Owning all the content in that game would cost thousands of dollars or require tens of thousands of hours of playing to obtain. Now, a game not even released, would cost thousands to own all the content in.

     

    Even a sub for WoW for its entire duration and all its expansion wouldn't have cost more than about 1800 bucks. And that's 10 years worth of gaming. Ten YEARS.

    Anyone remember a time when we got all the content of a game for 40-60 bucks?

     

     
     
  • AI724AI724 Lansdale, PAPosts: 208Member Uncommon
    "following the GW2 business model"  --- I'm in!. If I can buy a game/package and play for free I will definitely be playing this game. I'm liking what I'm seeing/hearing/reading so far. Can't wait!

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  • SKurjSKurj Oshawa, ONPosts: 27Member
    Originally posted by Chtuga
    I think developers have alot to learn from star citizen. No game has ever been so open and so communicative towards their community before. Best developer ever!

    Game developer or ...?

     

    Has anything actually been developed?  Are you sure?

  • PauheGunorPauheGunor NewcastlePosts: 12Member
    Originally posted by RefMinor
    Originally posted by PauheGunor
    Originally posted by RefMinor

    ....and get the promised and now delayed dogfighting module actually built.

     

    ....so its technically not delayed just pushed back ....

    It's delayed however you look at it, they even had to explain why.

    It's not delayed its only in Pre-Alpha as we speak...

  • Ramonski7Ramonski7 Aurora, ILPosts: 2,656Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vayman
    Originally posted by Ramonski7
    I did my initial backing for the aurora ship and that's all they're getting from me. Same thing with SoTA. If people are blindingly adding packages, perks and addons from their initial pledge then before they know it the total balance could be fast approaching several hundreds if dollars. It's like layaway for a feeakin game. And when it does release backers would have paid ten times the amount a normal person would for the game.

    I'm like you in that I pledged for what I thought was good for me, and now am eagerly waiting. I am not giving any more; I don't think they need it! haha. But people will spend their money as they see fit. They're not interested in spending more, less or the same as the final retail version. They want what's offered now to backers. That benefits you and I since that money is apparently used to further enhance the game that we're already getting. Not a bad deal!

    Yeah I understand where you're coming from but when is enough enough? Further "enthusiasm" on the part of spend thrift supporters starts to effect the line of thinking in the developers.

     

    "Well if we hit 30 million so easily and so quickly we have to brain storm a new goal since money is still flowing in." instead of "Ok we hit 30 million, let's meet some of our original goals as well as set some new ones since enthusiasm is not tapering off."

     

    My problem is twofold:

    1. They are continuously moving the field post
    2. They are primarily displaying a need for more funding instead of delivering more substance.
    And they'll continue to operate this way as long as the players (hell you can't even call them that yet) keep giving them money without blinking. Now they're offering subscriptions.... $20 a month to video chat......

    image
    "Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,413Member Uncommon

    Running a Cash Shop years in advance of the  game, with a Hollywood style PR campaign!   Selling the fantasy!  Brilliant!

     

    Sadly, Roberts is not the genius he and his cult of personality present him to be.  But the whole Star Citizen funding thing will be a boost to space gaming and the space genre.  You are being played, though.  Hope the game ends up better than his track record in film.

     

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,470Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ramonski7
    Originally posted by Vayman
    Originally posted by Ramonski7
    I did my initial backing for the aurora ship and that's all they're getting from me. Same thing with SoTA. If people are blindingly adding packages, perks and addons from their initial pledge then before they know it the total balance could be fast approaching several hundreds if dollars. It's like layaway for a feeakin game. And when it does release backers would have paid ten times the amount a normal person would for the game.

    I'm like you in that I pledged for what I thought was good for me, and now am eagerly waiting. I am not giving any more; I don't think they need it! haha. But people will spend their money as they see fit. They're not interested in spending more, less or the same as the final retail version. They want what's offered now to backers. That benefits you and I since that money is apparently used to further enhance the game that we're already getting. Not a bad deal!

    Yeah I understand where you're coming from but when is enough enough? Further "enthusiasm" on the part of spend thrift supporters starts to effect the line of thinking in the developers.

     

    "Well if we hit 30 million so easily and so quickly we have to brain storm a new goal since money is still flowing in." instead of "Ok we hit 30 million, let's meet some of our original goals as well as set some new ones since enthusiasm is not tapering off."

     

    My problem is twofold:

    1. They are continuously moving the field post
    2. They are primarily displaying a need for more funding instead of delivering more substance.
    And they'll continue to operate this way as long as the players (hell you can't even call them that yet) keep giving them money without blinking. Now they're offering subscriptions.... $20 a month to video chat......

    As long as people keep giving them money why not?   If you feel they are not releasing a product, well that could happen without asking for another penny.

  • Ramonski7Ramonski7 Aurora, ILPosts: 2,656Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by Ramonski7
    Originally posted by Vayman
    Originally posted by Ramonski7
    I did my initial backing for the aurora ship and that's all they're getting from me. Same thing with SoTA. If people are blindingly adding packages, perks and addons from their initial pledge then before they know it the total balance could be fast approaching several hundreds if dollars. It's like layaway for a feeakin game. And when it does release backers would have paid ten times the amount a normal person would for the game.

    I'm like you in that I pledged for what I thought was good for me, and now am eagerly waiting. I am not giving any more; I don't think they need it! haha. But people will spend their money as they see fit. They're not interested in spending more, less or the same as the final retail version. They want what's offered now to backers. That benefits you and I since that money is apparently used to further enhance the game that we're already getting. Not a bad deal!

    Yeah I understand where you're coming from but when is enough enough? Further "enthusiasm" on the part of spend thrift supporters starts to effect the line of thinking in the developers.

     

    "Well if we hit 30 million so easily and so quickly we have to brain storm a new goal since money is still flowing in." instead of "Ok we hit 30 million, let's meet some of our original goals as well as set some new ones since enthusiasm is not tapering off."

     

    My problem is twofold:

    1. They are continuously moving the field post
    2. They are primarily displaying a need for more funding instead of delivering more substance.
    And they'll continue to operate this way as long as the players (hell you can't even call them that yet) keep giving them money without blinking. Now they're offering subscriptions.... $20 a month to video chat......

    As long as people keep giving them money why not?   If you feel they are not releasing a product, well that could happen without asking for another penny.

    Why not you say? How about like I said, as long as money is coming in up front, nothing will get finished. Why stop raising money by releasing a product? Right? What kind of thinking is that? At the very onset of this endeavor the release date could have very will have been 2014. I mean just look at these dates:

    • Development started in 2011
    • Star Citizen KS goal reached on Nov 19 2012 (6 million+ so far)
    • First non Kickstarter stretch goal announced April 26, 2013 for 9 million
    • SG 9 million (reached April 29, 2013)
    • New website launched May 2013 (they have 9 million+ so far)
    • SG 10 million (reached June 10, 2013)
    • SG 11 million (reached June 28, 2013)
    • SG 12 million (reached July 1, 2013)
    • SG 13 million (reached July 5, 2013)
    • SG 14 million (reached July 7, 2013)
    • SG 15 million (reached Aug 1, 2013)
    • SG 16 millin (reached Aug 24, 2013)
    • Hangar mod released (for Gamescom)---August 29, 2013 (they have 16 million+ so far)
    • SG 17 million (reached Aug 31, 2013)
    • SG 18 million (reached Sept 6, 2013)
    • SG 19 million (reached Sept 16, 2013)
    • SG 20 million (reached Sept 26, 2013)
    • SG 21 million (reached Oct 8, 2013) (fully funded**)
    • SG 22 million (reached Oct 12, 2013)
    • SG 23 million (reached Oct 17, 2013)
    • SG 24 million (reached Oct 23, 2013)
    • SG 25 million (reached Oct 26, 2013)
    • SG 26 million (reached Nov 3, 2013)
    • SG 27 million (reached Nov 11, 2013)
    • SG 28 million (not announced)
    • SG 29 million (not announced)
    • SG 30 million (not announced)
    • SG 31 million (not announced)
    • SG 32 million (not announced)
    • SG 33 million (reached Nov 26, 2013)
    • Dog Fighting Mod---Dec 2013 (pushed back to April 2014) (announced in May 2013)
    • Social/Planetside Mod---Mar/April 2014 (announced in Jan 2013)
    • FPS/Ship Boarding Mod---August 2014 (announced 2013)
    • PU Mod/Beta---End of 2014 (announced in May 2013)
    • SC/Squad 42 released---Early 2015
    Now take a look at that timeline and note anything in orange is what they set after reaching their KS goal, anything in blue is what they have actually released and anything in green is extra after getting SC fully funded (their words not mine. But to be fair some of the money after 20m will be used to pay for KS and Paypal services) Now pay close attention to when they announced features and how they failed to release the next mod as the cash kept coming in. Notice a pattern? They've been busy doing nothing but designing ships to sell? That's what it seems like to me.

    image
    "Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  • LydarSynnLydarSynn Jonestown, ALPosts: 182Member

    I have bought some alpha games to support small developers. I might play this game and then again I might not. However, I certainly wouldn't be forking over large amounts of cash to be 'in' on the development process. The only control you have over any product as a consumer is by voting for it with your money. Paying early essentially casts your vote before you have seen anything and to me that is plain stupid.

    I wouldn't say this is a scam but if the game turns out to suck then the early adopters will get completely burned without any recourse. Hell, this guy could retire with this type of cash rolling in and not do another day's work on the game. I don't blame him though. If people are this desperate for this kind of entertainment, then he is the smartest guy in the room. Anyone paying a sub for a video feed is literally crazy though.

  • exile01exile01 arePosts: 244Member
    OWhy not you say? How about like I said, as long as money is coming in up front, nothing will get finished. Why stop raising money by releasing a product? Right? What kind of thinking is that? At the very onset of this endeavor the release date could have very will have been 2014. I mean just look at these dates:
    • Development started in 2011
    • Star Citizen KS goal reached on Nov 19 2012 (6 million+ so far)
    • First non Kickstarter stretch goal announced April 26, 2013 for 9 million
    • SG 9 million (reached April 29, 2013)
    • New website launched May 2013 (they have 9 million+ so far)
    • SG 10 million (reached June 10, 2013)
    • SG 11 million (reached June 28, 2013)
    • SG 12 million (reached July 1, 2013)
    • SG 13 million (reached July 5, 2013)
    • SG 14 million (reached July 7, 2013)
    • SG 15 million (reached Aug 1, 2013)
    • SG 16 millin (reached Aug 24, 2013)
    • Hangar mod released (for Gamescom)---August 29, 2013 (they have 16 million+ so far)
    • SG 17 million (reached Aug 31, 2013)
    • SG 18 million (reached Sept 6, 2013)
    • SG 19 million (reached Sept 16, 2013)
    • SG 20 million (reached Sept 26, 2013)
    • SG 21 million (reached Oct 8, 2013) (fully funded**)
    • SG 22 million (reached Oct 12, 2013)
    • SG 23 million (reached Oct 17, 2013)
    • SG 24 million (reached Oct 23, 2013)
    • SG 25 million (reached Oct 26, 2013)
    • SG 26 million (reached Nov 3, 2013)
    • SG 27 million (reached Nov 11, 2013)
    • SG 28 million (not announced)
    • SG 29 million (not announced)
    • SG 30 million (not announced)
    • SG 31 million (not announced)
    • SG 32 million (not announced)
    • SG 33 million (reached Nov 26, 2013)
    • Dog Fighting Mod---Dec 2013 (pushed back to April 2014) (announced in May 2013)
    • Social/Planetside Mod---Mar/April 2014 (announced in Jan 2013)
    • FPS/Ship Boarding Mod---August 2014 (announced 2013)
    • PU Mod/Beta---End of 2014 (announced in May 2013)
    • SC/Squad 42 released---Early 2015
    Now take a look at that timeline and note anything in orange is what they set after reaching their KS goal, anything in blue is what they have actually released and anything in green is extra after getting SC fully funded (their words not mine. But to be fair some of the money after 20m will be used to pay for KS and Paypal services) Now pay close attention to when they announced features and how they failed to release the next mod as the cash kept coming in. Notice a pattern? They've been busy doing nothing but designing ships to sell? That's what it seems like to me.

     

    Actually this business model with new ships resembles exactly Riots business Idea.

    They also sell new Heroes and skins. The same goes with those Battleships.

    Nothing new here. THe only difference that the game wont be in final even 2015, because the thing they make money with is peoples "hope"  for  a better game.

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by PauheGunor
    Originally posted by RefMinor
    Originally posted by PauheGunor
    Originally posted by RefMinor

    ....and get the promised and now delayed dogfighting module actually built.

     

    ....so its technically not delayed just pushed back ....

    It's delayed however you look at it, they even had to explain why.

    It's not delayed its only in Pre-Alpha as we speak...

    Yes, it's still pre-alpha, according to the developers released timetable it should now be in Alpha.

    therefore it is delayed.

     

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