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Star Citizen ushers in a new business model

olepiolepi Member RarePosts: 1,453
It occurs to me that Star Citizen is using a new business model. Star Citizen is very profitable, without selling a product. It is a continuous alpha, for years, and no release date in sight. This doesn't prevent them from making hundreds of millions in revenue anyway.

In the old days, you bought a CD (or even a floppy) with the game on it. The game was finished, came with a manual, and was complete. Then we started doing everything online, so that companies could release something that wasn't finished, and then update it later online. This got progressively more common, so that now, games are released in beta shape as a matter of course.

But Star Citizen has taken it one step further. They haven't even released something like a beta. They're still in alpha, still changing the game, still developing it, while they are also selling access to whatever is running at the moment. They are free to change the game at any time, free to shut it down at any time, free to completely stop and just keep the money. Their website makes it clear that donating to the development is not a guarantee of receiving a finished product.

I think this is what has caused so much controversy. The visuals look great, the ships are cool, but there is no game. Just eternal development. And many people apparently don't like this new business model.

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Comments

  • LobotomistLobotomist Member EpicPosts: 5,877
    Its an amazingly genial business model : P2W game that is not actually even a game but just promise of game.

    Its actually bit like religion. Pray and pay to the church, so you can have place in heaven ( that maybe or maybe not exists ) one time, when you die.
    KyleranBabuinixKefobartoni33FrykkaAgent_JosephalkarionlogXarkosausagemix



  • AethaerynAethaeryn Member RarePosts: 3,110
    I think it can happen reasonably.  Ark for example released expansions before it even came out of EA.  I think the game worked well and was happy to pay for what I was playing.

    7 Days to Die is the opposite. . I liked it early on and got my moneys worth but in my opinion the game just got worse and worse.

    I expect SC will evolve continuously and I don't mind that but. . SQ42. . come on!

    Wa min God! Se æx on min heafod is!

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,493
    edited December 2019
    Its an amazingly genial business model : P2W game that is not actually even a game but just promise of game.

    Its actually bit like religion. Pray and pay to the church, so you can have place in heaven ( that maybe or maybe not exists ) one time, when you die.
    Exactly, SC has transcended far beyond being just a video game. 

    It is a title backers are putting all of their hopes and dreams (and cash) for the promise of an eternal reward.

    The many parallels with religious or consumer cults is not coincidental.

    They are by no means the only company to do this (see Apple) but the must be one of the first to see such success with an unfinished / incomplete product.


    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/12/turning-customers-into-cultists/382248/

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  • BabuinixBabuinix Member EpicPosts: 3,098
    Let me guess....

    You saw an article about Star Citizen reaching 250$millions and since you couldn't wrap your head around it and you're too lazy to actual do some research you felt the need to make up a theory that made sense to you and share it with the world lol...

    Sorry but seems like you couldn't be more wrong and oblivious about the crowdfunding or game development business, the other side of the spectrum "cig is on the brink of collapse" wrong lol

    If you want to try and make assessments about specifically CIG's business model, product and figure out why they generate the money they do I'd say start with their detailed financial report:


    Then maybe hop on on Twitch and ask any of the players/viewers why they are playing/watching the Star Citizen Alpha when they could have been playing/watching finished and released games instead.



    :)
    WalkinGlennAgent_Josephmmolousausagemix
  • xD_GamingxD_Gaming Member EpicPosts: 2,746
    edited December 2019
    olepi said:
    It occurs to me that Star Citizen is using a new business model. Star Citizen is very profitable, without selling a product. It is a continuous alpha, for years, and no release date in sight. This doesn't prevent them from making hundreds of millions in revenue anyway.

    In the old days, you bought a CD (or even a floppy) with the game on it. The game was finished, came with a manual, and was complete. Then we started doing everything online, so that companies could release something that wasn't finished, and then update it later online. This got progressively more common, so that now, games are released in beta shape as a matter of course.

    But Star Citizen has taken it one step further. They haven't even released something like a beta. They're still in alpha, still changing the game, still developing it, while they are also selling access to whatever is running at the moment. They are free to change the game at any time, free to shut it down at any time, free to completely stop and just keep the money. Their website makes it clear that donating to the development is not a guarantee of receiving a finished product.

    I think this is what has caused so much controversy. The visuals look great, the ships are cool, but there is no game. Just eternal development. And many people apparently don't like this new business model.
    why does any of that matter to you ? why are you so worried about what people find enjoyable ?

    who do you work for ?
    Asm0deus
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  • KefoKefo Member EpicPosts: 4,229
    edited December 2019
    Babuinix said:
    Let me guess....

    You saw an article about Star Citizen reaching 250$millions and since you couldn't wrap your head around it and you're too lazy to actual do some research you felt the need to make up a theory that made sense to you and share it with the world lol...

    Sorry but seems like you couldn't be more wrong and oblivious about the crowdfunding or game development business, the other side of the spectrum "cig is on the brink of collapse" wrong lol

    If you want to try and make assessments about specifically CIG's business model, product and figure out why they generate the money they do I'd say start with their detailed financial report:


    Then maybe hop on on Twitch and ask any of the players/viewers why they are playing/watching the Star Citizen Alpha when they could have been playing/watching finished and released games instead.



    :)
    And cue babs to start attacking someone who posted their opinion but it wasn’t an opinion they liked.

    also if you think those are detailed financial reports then you either need to get a new accountant or actually look up what detailed financial reports are
    ColonelLockemmolouNorseGodsausagemix
  • xD_GamingxD_Gaming Member EpicPosts: 2,746
    Kyleran said:
    Its an amazingly genial business model : P2W game that is not actually even a game but just promise of game.

    Its actually bit like religion. Pray and pay to the church, so you can have place in heaven ( that maybe or maybe not exists ) one time, when you die.
    Exactly, SC has transcended far beyond being just a video game. 

    It is a title backers are putting all of their hopes and dreams (and cash) for the promise of an eternal reward.

    The many parallels with religious or consumer cults is not coincidental.

    They are by no means the only company to do this (see Apple) but the must be one of the first to see such success with an unfinished / incomplete product.


    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/12/turning-customers-into-cultists/382248/

    says the COE backer... the irony 
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  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,230
    I don't think that this is what they planned to do.  I think they were surprised at how much money they raised and how quickly.  I also don't think that this "business model" is repeatable for other games.
    PalebaneErillionxD_GamingBabuinixKyleranMendelsausagemix
  • PalebanePalebane Member RarePosts: 3,930
    edited December 2019
    Im not defending SC, but to me, if people are playing it, its a playable game. The ‘payment model’ is not that much different than similar officially released games (imo), who also change their games with every patch/expansion and could potentially go lights out at any time. With all the early access preorder exclusive bullcrap, I actually prefer this, in a way. 

    I see what you are saying though, the game does seem to be walking a middle ground where I’m not really sure anyone knows where the developers responsibilities end, what they are capable of, or what the consequences of failure (or success) might entail.

    Also, I think if a game can give players something sacred (or a cult as it was called), then they have actually done what an mmorpg is supposed to do, in my mind. Im not a religious person, but if a video game can make me feel that type of way, I would happily invest in it.

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  • tawesstawess Member EpicPosts: 4,194
    Does not really sounds new at all... 

    It is just that it is a model usually reserved for investors... Not end-customers. =P

    This model was brought in to the light when so called crowdfunding was made popular. Before that it was pretty much just a investor thing. 
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  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,266
    CIG didn't invent Kickstarter nor crowdfunding...
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  • xD_GamingxD_Gaming Member EpicPosts: 2,746
    Gdemami said:
    CIG didn't invent Kickstarter nor crowdfunding...
    can we all just take moment and marvel an actual post by Gdemami. 
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  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 14,545
    edited December 2019
    Never in his wildest dreams did Chris Roberts think when he first started this, that he would get $250 mil from crowdfunding. The only thing he did that was even newish was keep doing post-KS crowdfunding which wasn't as common then as it is now.

    The ones who did something new (and bizarre in scale) here were the fan(atic)s. It's first world conspicuous consumption, or rather pre-consumption, in an insane scale. Any normie non-gamer doesn't get it and the only reason gamers kind of get it is because even if we don't do it ourselves, we are aware of just how much money gamers can spend gaming.

    IMO too much is made of what CIG has done and is doing and not enough of what gamers have done to make this happen probably because the general public can't imagine this happening without a con man at the helm... which I don't think is the case. I think this is more a case of a developer stumbling into the motherlode of gamer spending. 
    Palebanesausagemix
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  • UtinniUtinni Member EpicPosts: 1,915
    This same business model is used by churches and cults. All are run off of donations with no product in return.
    Agent_JosephPalebaneNorseGod
  • PurplePepePurplePepe Member UncommonPosts: 87
    This extreme example of crowdfunding phenomena is due to customer's disappointment with current offerings by mainstream studios. They are no longer willing to risk the massive amounts of money on IP's that may or may not return their large investment. No studio would be willing to fund Star Citizen with its current scope. At most we could have hoped for a dumbed down version of Squadron 42. When the full vision is released we will have an awesome space simulator, first person shooter, MMORPG, and single player RPG, all wrapped up in one beautiful, high-fidelity universe. $250 million for what is essentially three triple-A titles is a bargain. The game play that it will offer will last for decades.
    ErillionColonelLockeGdemamixD_GamingMaxBaconBabuinixPalebanesausagemix
  • HatefullHatefull Member EpicPosts: 2,316
    olepi said:
    It occurs to me that Star Citizen is using a new business model. Star Citizen is very profitable, without selling a product. 
    I am gonna go ahead and stop you right there. People are playing the game and using the products they bought right now. 

    So, wrong from the jump. This is also not a new business model at all. People invest in homes prior to being built, people invest in many things prior to seeing them realized, this is no different other than they have begun to deliver. So your entire premise is wrong.
    gervaise1Asm0deusErillion

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  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275
    edited December 2019
    This extreme example of crowdfunding phenomena is due to customer's disappointment with current offerings by mainstream studios. They are no longer willing to risk the massive amounts of money on IP's that may or may not return their large investment. No studio would be willing to fund Star Citizen with its current scope. At most we could have hoped for a dumbed down version of Squadron 42. When the full vision is released we will have an awesome space simulator, first person shooter, MMORPG, and single player RPG, all wrapped up in one beautiful, high-fidelity universe. $250 million for what is essentially three triple-A titles is a bargain. The game play that it will offer will last for decades.
    This is exactly what the usual posters of this forum refuse to get...

    SC's crowdfunding success is not any new business model, it's the fact their pitch and what they are developing is a product at a standard people WANT for long, that is the core driver of SC.

    It's literally the 101 Supply & Demand, for a game like SC the demand is clear, the offer around leaves SC quite isolated as far what it is doing, pretty much resumes the core of its funding success.

    More people need to read your post and maybe get this once and for all instead of this petty low-effort posts talking about religious cults...
    xD_GamingErillionsausagemix
  • newbismxnewbismx Member UncommonPosts: 276
    edited December 2019
    My personal feelings on this is that SC is a scam (good scams still can produce a product and employ people and any understanding of white collar crime or even mafia/organized crime tactics and operational strategy in the pre 1990s era show how long term scams and money laundering work)

    I certainly dont know this for sure as it could just be terrible mismanagement and a general lack of care but these always become questions and gray areas with good scams.

    That being said and all things aside- There is far more than enough information out there to determine for yourself at this point. And anyone throwing money into this in the last 5+ years has had that information- So EVEN if it is a scam...I dont consider those people to have been scammed- Just foolish.

    Theres a point where people have to take responsibility for their own actions and take full blame for their (probable) losses.

    The people I feel who were 'scammed' were those who bought in before the big scope change- And SC refunded anyone from a point even after that had happened if I remember right. So SC isnt culpable anymore imho. They did more than the minimum to make sure that everyone was happy with the situation or could be refunded. Even the fool who tried to sue them(and lost) ended up buying more Jpegs.

    As much as I loathe SC- I think theyve done everything (even above and beyond) to give people a chance to have gotten out- And the fact they are bringing in more than ever tel;ls me that they are doing exactly what most people would do if they happened to have a tree that grew money. Cultivate it...

    And theres no sympathy in my eyes for anyone still in if/when the whole thing ends up an average to sub par and quickly forgotten ca$h grab game.

    edit- And I'll also note- At this point CIG are living the dream and people are parting with their money with years worth of information and data with which to make that choice. Good on CIG then- They are living the dream and if you want to burn dollar bills in my fireplace- I'll take the heat you are providing.
    sausagemix
  • xD_GamingxD_Gaming Member EpicPosts: 2,746
    newbismx said:
    My personal feelings on this is that SC is a scam (good scams still can produce a product and employ people and any understanding of white collar crime or even mafia/organized crime tactics and operational strategy in the pre 1990s era show how long term scams and money laundering work)

    I certainly dont know this for sure as it could just be terrible mismanagement and a general lack of care but these always become questions and gray areas with good scams.

    That being said and all things aside- There is far more than enough information out there to determine for yourself at this point. And anyone throwing money into this in the last 5+ years has had that information- So EVEN if it is a scam...I dont consider those people to have been scammed- Just foolish.

    Theres a point where people have to take responsibility for their own actions and take full blame for their (probable) losses.

    The people I feel who were 'scammed' were those who bought in before the big scope change- And SC refunded anyone from a point even after that had happened if I remember right. So SC isnt culpable anymore imho. They did more than the minimum to make sure that everyone was happy with the situation or could be refunded. Even the fool who tried to sue them(and lost) ended up buying more Jpegs.

    As much as I loathe SC- I think theyve done everything (even above and beyond) to give people a chance to have gotten out- And the fact they are bringing in more than ever tel;ls me that they are doing exactly what most people would do if they happened to have a tree that grew money. Cultivate it...

    And theres no sympathy in my eyes for anyone still in if/when the whole thing ends up an average to sub par and quickly forgotten ca$h grab game.
    You have all the halmarks of someone who is jealous that over a million love what Star Citizen is doing. Great book, some good fiction content.
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  • newbismxnewbismx Member UncommonPosts: 276
    edited December 2019
    newbismx said:
    My personal feelings on this is that SC is a scam (good scams still can produce a product and employ people and any understanding of white collar crime or even mafia/organized crime tactics and operational strategy in the pre 1990s era show how long term scams and money laundering work)

    I certainly dont know this for sure as it could just be terrible mismanagement and a general lack of care but these always become questions and gray areas with good scams.

    That being said and all things aside- There is far more than enough information out there to determine for yourself at this point. And anyone throwing money into this in the last 5+ years has had that information- So EVEN if it is a scam...I dont consider those people to have been scammed- Just foolish.

    Theres a point where people have to take responsibility for their own actions and take full blame for their (probable) losses.

    The people I feel who were 'scammed' were those who bought in before the big scope change- And SC refunded anyone from a point even after that had happened if I remember right. So SC isnt culpable anymore imho. They did more than the minimum to make sure that everyone was happy with the situation or could be refunded. Even the fool who tried to sue them(and lost) ended up buying more Jpegs.

    As much as I loathe SC- I think theyve done everything (even above and beyond) to give people a chance to have gotten out- And the fact they are bringing in more than ever tel;ls me that they are doing exactly what most people would do if they happened to have a tree that grew money. Cultivate it...

    And theres no sympathy in my eyes for anyone still in if/when the whole thing ends up an average to sub par and quickly forgotten ca$h grab game.
    You have all the halmarks of someone who is jealous that over a million love what Star Citizen is doing. Great book, some good fiction content.
    Not jealous at all- Perhaps you didnt read everything I said or perhaps I wasnt overly clear.

    I'm certainly not jealous that "millions" love SC-I'm happy for anyone who finds a game they love and I personally love some games that are universally despised.

    Also not sure what you believe I wrote reads like fiction- The fact that scams exist? Maybe they dont in your world? They are prevalent everywhere else and often prey on otherwise intelligent people.

    I gave my opinion but also said "I dont know for certain"... That doesnt bar me from stating a (fairly) informed opinion based on whats available publicly- The same anyone here is doing with the information we have, regardless of ones opinion.

    But the gist of what I was saying is that I dont think anyone is being 'scammed' except for the people who initially bought in or Kickstarted the project and SC refunded those who wanted out past that point- But I still feel that SC is scam (But that doesnt mean they are not making a game, employing people or anything else a normal business would do) )

    Mendel
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 17,976
    This scummy business model has become more popular because 99.9% o these studios are NOT in this for gaming,they are in this to make loads of money.
    If Robert's was SERIOUS about making this game,he could have done it years ago but only jumped in when he saw this money grab gimmick that others introduced to the gaming market.

    I wouldn't doubt he also has some investors join in giving him even more money.

    Funny thing about the internet is the devs like Robert's can use it to their advantage.Pay off some streamers,some websites,get everyone on board praising the game and the studio.It is only we small people that can see the scum and talk about it.You'll never see a tough interview done because Robert's would simply snub it.He doesn't want to have any responsibility,he wants to remain hidden and just keep collecting money.

    Saddest reality of this all is that this truly is a form of exploiting people,dumb people but remains fully legal within the law to exploit over and over again.It is no different than selling alcohol to a drunk,it is illegal but only if proven.

    There should be a giant wall of shame showing all the names of people who supported this idiocy.
    Babuinix

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  • gervaise1gervaise1 Member EpicPosts: 6,919
    Iselin said:
    Never in his wildest dreams did Chris Roberts think when he first started this, that he would get $250 mil from crowdfunding. The only thing he did that was even newish was keep doing post-KS crowdfunding which wasn't as common then as it is now.

    The ones who did something new (and bizarre in scale) here were the fan(atic)s. It's first world conspicuous consumption, or rather pre-consumption, in an insane scale. Any normie non-gamer doesn't get it and the only reason gamers kind of get it is because even if we don't do it ourselves, we are aware of just how much money gamers can spend gaming.

    IMO too much is made of what CIG has done and is doing and not enough of what gamers have done to make this happen probably because the general public can't imagine this happening without a con man at the helm... which I don't think is the case. I think this is more a case of a developer stumbling into the motherlode of gamer spending. 
    Agree - mostly.

    And the "negativity" imo has sustained the funding. 

    About that motherlode though - I think the likes of Activision-Blizzard and EA got there long ago. Whilst $250M would cover 1 year of their combined C level salaries it wouldn't cover 2. They are not even "big" companies as measured by revenue, profits, employees etc. Some companies make as much in profit as they make in revenue. Do they need such "highly talented" leadership?
    Gdemami
  • newbismxnewbismx Member UncommonPosts: 276
    gervaise1 said:
    Iselin said:
    Never in his wildest dreams did Chris Roberts think when he first started this, that he would get $250 mil from crowdfunding. The only thing he did that was even newish was keep doing post-KS crowdfunding which wasn't as common then as it is now.

    The ones who did something new (and bizarre in scale) here were the fan(atic)s. It's first world conspicuous consumption, or rather pre-consumption, in an insane scale. Any normie non-gamer doesn't get it and the only reason gamers kind of get it is because even if we don't do it ourselves, we are aware of just how much money gamers can spend gaming.

    IMO too much is made of what CIG has done and is doing and not enough of what gamers have done to make this happen probably because the general public can't imagine this happening without a con man at the helm... which I don't think is the case. I think this is more a case of a developer stumbling into the motherlode of gamer spending. 
    Agree - mostly.

    And the "negativity" imo has sustained the funding. 

    About that motherlode though - I think the likes of Activision-Blizzard and EA got there long ago. Whilst $250M would cover 1 year of their combined C level salaries it wouldn't cover 2. They are not even "big" companies as measured by revenue, profits, employees etc. Some companies make as much in profit as they make in revenue. Do they need such "highly talented" leadership?
    I think you hit of a fundamental point.

    Without the negativity and the "us vs them', "WE" are under attack mentality that formed- It changed funding into a sort of defensive measure.

    Derek Smart was the best thing to ever happen to Star Citizen- Its like the Anton Lavey quote about "Satan being the best friend the church ever had" 
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  • newbismxnewbismx Member UncommonPosts: 276
    Wizardry said:
    This scummy business model has become more popular because 99.9% o these studios are NOT in this for gaming,they are in this to make loads of money.
    If Robert's was SERIOUS about making this game,he could have done it years ago but only jumped in when he saw this money grab gimmick that others introduced to the gaming market.

    I wouldn't doubt he also has some investors join in giving him even more money.

    Funny thing about the internet is the devs like Robert's can use it to their advantage.Pay off some streamers,some websites,get everyone on board praising the game and the studio.It is only we small people that can see the scum and talk about it.You'll never see a tough interview done because Robert's would simply snub it.He doesn't want to have any responsibility,he wants to remain hidden and just keep collecting money.

    Saddest reality of this all is that this truly is a form of exploiting people,dumb people but remains fully legal within the law to exploit over and over again.It is no different than selling alcohol to a drunk,it is illegal but only if proven.

    There should be a giant wall of shame showing all the names of people who supported this idiocy.
    I was with you on everything you said up until the point SC refunded people.

    Do  I think theyre exploiting people? Yes, of course. But the information is all out there and some people want to be exploited.

    Its like the guys (or gals) who get together with gals (or guys) who have a history and reputation around town for cheating or whatever... If they meet someone from out of town who gets with them- You feel sorry- But when its a local who has seen the pattern for 7+ years and still wants to give it a try? Idk. 
    Gdemamiskadad
  • cmacqcmacq Member UncommonPosts: 295
    You know I really wonder why those drinking the Koolaid don't stay the hell away from threads like this. All they are doing is trying to convince themselves because of the money they have in it. No one else is believing it. 
    Gdemami
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