Star Citizen crowdfunding passes $250 million

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

It was just over one year ago when Star Citizen passed the $200 million crowdfunding mark. Now, Roberts Space Industries reports that it has now raised $250,456,659 from 2,447,236 individual Star Citizens. In this year alone, it has brought in $37 million.

The fact the project keeps on raising money at a rapid pace is raising some eyebrows. It has been in development for seven years, and after numerous delays and changes to the original vision, some backers want out and have even launched lawsuits to get their pledges refunded.

Back in May, a report looked into the space sim’s troubled development. It noted that of the $288 million raised—$242 million of which was crowdfunded by consumers—just $14 million was left in the bank by the end of 2017. This led to the team raising money through the release of virtual spaceships, which sell for up to $3,000 per ship.

Last year saw a new trailer released for the game’s single-player mode—Squadron 42. If you’re wondering where some of the backers' money went, check out the cast: Gillian Anderson, Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, John Rhys Davies, Liam Cunningham, Ben Mendelsohn, and the soon-to-be Geralt of Rivia—Henry Cavill—all appear in the game. Sadly, Citizen 42 has been delayed by three months and won’t arrive until the third quarter of next year.

Another major update to Star Citizen is still to come this month, which will add a new planet called microTech. Next year, a 20 vs 20 mode will arrive for the multiplayer FPS section called Theatres of War. Still no word on a solid Star Citizen release date, though.

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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
The game might not be "complete", but it is certainly playable. While there are lawsuits from SOME backers, there are almost 2.5 million people who've given money. There were bound to be some unsatisfied customers no matter what.

Saying that, kind of reminds me of the yet-to-be-released Tesla truck...
 
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gamerk2

TS Evangelist
The game might not be "complete", but it is certainly playable. While there are lawsuits from SOME backers, there are almost 2.5 million people who've given money. There were bound to be some unsatisfied customers no matter what.
Lot's of games are "playable", but remember that most of the initial crowdfunded goals have still to be met. Performance is subpar, and the only way the company can stay afloat is to continue to offer "exclusive new ships" for a couple thousand a pop.

I have no vested interest aside from "I told you so" bragging rights, but to me, this is Chris Roberts MO, and it's not shocking he's so focused on the minutia while being ignorant of the larger development problems.
 

navuho

TS Rookie
Why everyone is so negative... they try to do something on vast scale that has not been done before, yeah, they could fail sure, but they can also succeed, we will wait and see.
 
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neeyik

TS Evangelist
Staff member
The budget surpasses that of AAA games.
While $250 million is in a league populated by a tiny portion of games released (off the top of my head, GTA 5 and one of the CoD games cost about the same to develop), figures of $100 million for briefly successful titles is common. For example, each of the recent Tomb Raider reboot games cost about this much to develop and publish. As good as those titles were/are, they're not designed to have the same kind of scale, scope and longevity that Star Citizen has.
 

RaXoR

TS Maniac
While $250 million is in a league populated by a tiny portion of games released (off the top of my head, GTA 5 and one of the CoD games cost about the same to develop), figures of $100 million for briefly successful titles is common. For example, each of the recent Tomb Raider reboot games cost about this much to develop and publish. As good as those titles were/are, they're not designed to have the same kind of scale, scope and longevity that Star Citizen has.
You're grouping marketing with development when mentioning numbers. This "game" has had negligible if any budget at all put into marketing. Actual development costs for both games you mentioned? CoD MW2 ~$50 mil and GTA 5 ~$135 mil.

Problem is that they've promised and promised so many things but everyone turns a blind eye whenever they miss target dates to deliver the content over and over. They then go on to sell ships for absurd prices. Ships you can't even get to truly use until the game is finished. The idea is bigger than what they can possibly achieve and at this rate, it will not be truly completed within a reasonable amount of time (which is well beyond that point). I would love to support this game because the idea sounds interesting but after witnessing all of the failures and lies that have come from it, I don't ever see it becoming concrete. Every time they run out of money, they try to lure in the same gullible people to spend stupid amounts of money just to run out once again.
 

neeyik

TS Evangelist
Staff member
Marketing and publishing are just as important as the physical development costs for any game - talk with anyone who rubber stamps the production of a game, and an M&P cost analysis will be expected in an game design portfolio. Star Citizen is no different, it's just that the budget afforded to M&P at this stage is indeed a relatively small portion of the total expenditure so far - it will only get better if (if...) the game ever reaches a 1.0 stage and is fully launched.

I suppose the real point to consider is that the $250 million of funds raised isn't the development, marketing, etc cost of the title - that's just how much money has been raised and spent. The true creation and publication cost of the title is almost certainly significantly less than this, thanks to inefficiencies, pointless frittering of cash, and a few people with deceptively empty pockets draining the bank balance, it

Now, I fully agree with all of your criticisms of the development and management of the title, but I think you're being a little unfair to people who have spent money on it. I think I spent $40 on it a couple of years ago (perhaps not as long as go as that) and every now and then, I reinstall it, play it and then give up - this is because the time gaps between each attempt at trying are too big, and so much changes each time, my mind is muddled up with trying to play a new game, whilst expecting an older and more familiar one.

However, if I had spent, say, $40 per year on it, for 3 years (and kept playing it), I may well have had, and still have, a far more enjoyable experience:
$250,456,659 from 2,447,236 individual Star Citizens
So that's, on average, $102 per person - not unreasonable, if one was $35 per year, over 3 years.
 
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loading88

TS Member
I didn't realize CIG was holding a gun to anyone's head. You can buy a "starter" package which is basically buying the game at either $45 or $60 (if you want the SP). It amazes me how many people come out of the woodwork to jump on the hate bandwagon of any game. If we want to talk budgets outside of the gaming world, Disney's Tangled $260 Million and Avatar $237 Million would like a word. Those numbers don't include advertising.

Or you know just wait for the day if/when it releases and judge its merits on the game instead of the business/dev cycle which no gamer really gives two ****s about.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
Why everyone is so negative... they try to do something on vast scale that has not been done before, yeah, they could fail sure, but they can also succeed, we will wait and see.
Because it is an obvious grift. GTA V only cost $137 million to develop, over the course of 6 years, including a major engine re-write. The Old Republic, a large MMO world with tons of features and content, cost $200 million.

Star citizen, at $250 million, is now at 8 years of production. Most of the original kickstarter goals have not been met yet, to say nothing of the stretch goals. Look at the "new features" that people are supposedly excited about now: An Ice planet! WOOOAH. You can travel to a second system now?!?!?? SQUEEE! Meanwhile, Freespace had the ability to travel to other systems 20 years ago. No Mans sky was able to do this garbage at LAUNCH, and it was mostly unfinished.

They "promise" amazing things nobody has tried yet, but deliver not even barebones alphas without said features while Chris roberts rolls around in a new lambo and walks through his new mansion (both bought AFTER the kickstarter started). Until recently, his company employed far fewer people then AAA studios making full finished games, and now he has multiple studios being set up in rapid succession trying to maintain snail pace "progress", while justifying $600 paintjobs for virtual ships that may or may not exist sometime in the next 10 years.

To anyone that isnt suffering from suck cost fallacy, its obvious the man is a grifter, and a liar. People are negative because they see Chris roberts for the conman he is, and are calling him out on his bizarre waste. It's obvious why he loves kickstater: any industry investors, hell even VC investors would have cut his funding off by now for negligent waste.

Also, reminder the game was supposed to be finished by Christmas 2015. It is now 5 years late, with not even a beta in sight. Duke nukem 3d is calling.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Duke nukem 3d is calling.
Duke Nukem Forever. It's easy to remember... the initials were DNF, which, if you ever see a race (marathon or track etc) on TV you'll see this in place of someone's time when they 'Did Not Finish'.

(To be fair though - DNF was bought by another studio later and completed after the original team was all laid off.)
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
Because it is an obvious grift. GTA V only cost $137 million to develop, over the course of 6 years, including a major engine re-write. The Old Republic, a large MMO world with tons of features and content, cost $200 million.

Star citizen, at $250 million, is now at 8 years of production. Most of the original kickstarter goals have not been met yet, to say nothing of the stretch goals. Look at the "new features" that people are supposedly excited about now: An Ice planet! WOOOAH. You can travel to a second system now?!?!?? SQUEEE! Meanwhile, Freespace had the ability to travel to other systems 20 years ago. No Mans sky was able to do this garbage at LAUNCH, and it was mostly unfinished.

They "promise" amazing things nobody has tried yet, but deliver not even barebones alphas without said features while Chris roberts rolls around in a new lambo and walks through his new mansion (both bought AFTER the kickstarter started). Until recently, his company employed far fewer people then AAA studios making full finished games, and now he has multiple studios being set up in rapid succession trying to maintain snail pace "progress", while justifying $600 paintjobs for virtual ships that may or may not exist sometime in the next 10 years.

To anyone that isnt suffering from suck cost fallacy, its obvious the man is a grifter, and a liar. People are negative because they see Chris roberts for the conman he is, and are calling him out on his bizarre waste. It's obvious why he loves kickstater: any industry investors, hell even VC investors would have cut his funding off by now for negligent waste.

Also, reminder the game was supposed to be finished by Christmas 2015. It is now 5 years late, with not even a beta in sight. Duke nukem 3d is calling.
I agree but I can see why people might defend the game. They've sunken a ton of money into it and been promised a crazy feature set. As a gamer myself, I would love it if a game came out that did actually deliver on the star citizen promise. The devs are stringing people along with just enough content to continue to keep the dream alive. It's not a healthy proposition for the people giving the money, as they are getting very little value for their investment. Who knows though, maybe once they reach $1 billion they will actually deliver on what they promised. Albeit, after everyone's paid far more money then they originally intended.
 

brucek

TS Guru
So to summarize the game has had many players for many years who've spent a bunch of money on the game. So, other than some arbitrary labels, how is this really any different from any other ongoing released games? I'd say that maybe it's because they have content they've promised but haven't delivered yet, but frankly, that covers most other games too.
 

Jules Mark II

TS Rookie
This game will be story rich just like Mass Effect 1 and 2. A complete Mass Effect like experience without the interference of EA.

And ah... Don't ask what Space Sim can do for you. ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR SPACE SIM.

"Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly." JFK.
 
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Malibutomi

TS Rookie
As much as suckers will continue to pay for. inb4 "they have added a lot of features and content." Game is incomplete after so many years and insane amount of money. People need to stop being so gullible. The budget surpasses that of AAA games.
Well before you try to raise yourself above the "suckers" you should try to check facts and use your brain.
So many years: 7 years for an MMO + a single player game while they had to build up the company from scratch. Some single player games spend more time in development and they are made by established studios.
Insane amount of money: This is not the development cost of a game..it 's spent on building up 5 studios and developing 2 AAA games...suddenly it's not that huge of an amount.
 
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Malibutomi

TS Rookie
You're grouping marketing with development when mentioning numbers. This "game" has had negligible if any budget at all put into marketing. Actual development costs for both games you mentioned? CoD MW2 ~$50 mil and GTA 5 ~$135 mil.

Problem is that they've promised and promised so many things but everyone turns a blind eye whenever they miss target dates to deliver the content over and over. They then go on to sell ships for absurd prices. Ships you can't even get to truly use until the game is finished. The idea is bigger than what they can possibly achieve and at this rate, it will not be truly completed within a reasonable amount of time (which is well beyond that point). I would love to support this game because the idea sounds interesting but after witnessing all of the failures and lies that have come from it, I don't ever see it becoming concrete. Every time they run out of money, they try to lure in the same gullible people to spend stupid amounts of money just to run out once again.

And this 250 million is not the development cost of one game. it is spent to build up 5 studios from nothing with all infrastructure and to develop not one but two AAA games
 
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Malibutomi

TS Rookie
Because it is an obvious grift. GTA V only cost $137 million to develop, over the course of 6 years, including a major engine re-write. The Old Republic, a large MMO world with tons of features and content, cost $200 million.

Star citizen, at $250 million, is now at 8 years of production. Most of the original kickstarter goals have not been met yet, to say nothing of the stretch goals. Look at the "new features" that people are supposedly excited about now: An Ice planet! WOOOAH. You can travel to a second system now?!?!?? SQUEEE! Meanwhile, Freespace had the ability to travel to other systems 20 years ago. No Mans sky was able to do this garbage at LAUNCH, and it was mostly unfinished.

They "promise" amazing things nobody has tried yet, but deliver not even barebones alphas without said features while Chris roberts rolls around in a new lambo and walks through his new mansion (both bought AFTER the kickstarter started). Until recently, his company employed far fewer people then AAA studios making full finished games, and now he has multiple studios being set up in rapid succession trying to maintain snail pace "progress", while justifying $600 paintjobs for virtual ships that may or may not exist sometime in the next 10 years.

To anyone that isnt suffering from suck cost fallacy, its obvious the man is a grifter, and a liar. People are negative because they see Chris roberts for the conman he is, and are calling him out on his bizarre waste. It's obvious why he loves kickstater: any industry investors, hell even VC investors would have cut his funding off by now for negligent waste.

Also, reminder the game was supposed to be finished by Christmas 2015. It is now 5 years late, with not even a beta in sight. Duke nukem 3d is calling.

Interesting that people are very good at looking up facts about other games development and cost, but they fail miserably at SC..

Yeah other games y9ou mentioned didn't cost 250 million...neither did SC...250 million is the gathered money...they built up 5 studios from nothing with all the infrastructure and developing 2 AAA games not one...suddenly we are back well below of the development cost of the games yo mentioned
 
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gamerk2

TS Evangelist
Why everyone is so negative... they try to do something on vast scale that has not been done before, yeah, they could fail sure, but they can also succeed, we will wait and see.
Except *everything* they're doing has been done previously before. That's what makes SC so comical to an outsider.

Again, Chris Roberts MO for his entire career has been over-focusing on small details to the point where *all* his projects go over-budget and ship late. It's no shock the same has happened to SC. The game isn't going to ever get *done* until Chris Roberts gets removed, and real developmental work can get done.
 

RaXoR

TS Maniac
Well before you try to raise yourself above the "suckers" you should try to check facts and use your brain.
So many years: 7 years for an MMO + a single player game while they had to build up the company from scratch. Some single player games spend more time in development and they are made by established studios.
Insane amount of money: This is not the development cost of a game..it 's spent on building up 5 studios and developing 2 AAA games...suddenly it's not that huge of an amount.

There is 0 need for 5 studios to develop one single game. You can say it's two but it isn't. It is all part of the cost of developing one single game and it is just being blown on "setting up 5 studios." You only need one to two studios at most. Hire people and help them with moving expenses or work remotely. You're making excuses at this point. I have a strong feeling that you've spent more money "backing" this game than you should have. Again, it's all one game and 7 years is a very long time to be twiddling their thumbs ****ing around not doing anything other than release pieces of pre-alpha content and miss out on the goals set forth. Development costs include expansion, hiring, salaries, asset acquisition... anything that involves actually developing a game.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
There is 0 need for 5 studios to develop one single game. You can say it's two but it isn't. It is all part of the cost of developing one single game and it is just being blown on "setting up 5 studios." You only need one to two studios at most. Hire people and help them with moving expenses or work remotely. You're making excuses at this point. I have a strong feeling that you've spent more money "backing" this game than you should have. Again, it's all one game and 7 years is a very long time to be twiddling their thumbs ****ing around not doing anything other than release pieces of pre-alpha content and miss out on the goals set forth. Development costs include expansion, hiring, salaries, asset acquisition... anything that involves actually developing a game.
Sounds like you have experience developing games?