Star Citizen hits $50 million in funding

New ships priced between $200 and $400 push Cloud Imperium past new milestone

Star Citizen has now raised more than $50 million in funding from more than 500,000 people.

Cloud Imperium's success with crowdfunding continues apace, with Chris Roberts' studio raising a further $10 million since March this year. That's around five months, but in the five months leading up to March 2014 Star Citizen generated $15 million in funding, so we might be seeing the first signs of slowdown.

At the time of writing, the game has just over $51 million in funding from 525,000 people.

The sales spike that pushed the game past $50 million seems to be the introduction of new saleable ships three days ago. The cheapest of the four ships costs $200, the most expensive costs $400.

As of June this year, Star Citizen's production employed 268 people in both full-time and contractor roles.

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Latest comments (9)

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
I funded it on Kickstarter, but I'm actually worried that all the premium ships are actually making it a pay to win game, and yet it has been held up as a great savior of gaming. I think to get the game you had to pledge $40, so pretty premium game, why is there $200 ships?
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Andreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London3 years ago
I'm going to feel pretty useless with my Origin 300i with all those big motherships flying around.
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada3 years ago
I'm pretty bummed out by all the new ships as well. To justify $400, those ships have got to be extremely hard to get in-game, and the rest of us will be competing indirectly (or possibly directly) with folks willing to lay out that kind of money right away. I'm happy SC is doing well, but like Christian, I have serious reservations about their ability to deliver on the promises they've already made, and they keep adding more and more. I can't even keep up with their updates anymore, things are so spread out. With so many different groups doing development and adding bits and pieces, I'm worried the end game is going to feel disjointed, or straight up not work well.
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Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance3 years ago
I see this as similar to EVE. You don't need an expensive ship to have fun in EVE (though a degree in Economics would be helpful :-) It's a fundamentally different game at the higher levels. You're not just mining or being a pirate or a trader anymore, you're fighting for controls of whole sectors of space. And there's room for both. So I don't see much significance here, especially since EVE has ships that are worth in excess of $11,000. You don't hear people complaining you won't have fun just because you don't have a supercarrier.
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In interests of fair play, I have funded this game to the tune of around 3500 usd by this point, and have lots and lots of ships :D, however I will try to explain it a little better to those unfamiliar with it, put simply SC has no publisher as a result 100% of their funding comes direct from pledger's, you are essentially buying the ship, and when they changed the pledge button to a buy button they meant it BUT, every single ship you can pay for is accessible in game and not even unreasonably, the connie being a ship designed for 4 people to have fun in together, is hardly to expensive in comparison with say 4x 300i's at 55 a pop, (stand-alone price) so instead of having 4 people who plan to play together buy 4 separate 300i standalone's at 55 usd each (more for variants) one person buys one 225 usd ship which all 4 can play in together, indeed said ship even includes its own little ship for one of its crew to fly around, whilst others man consoles, fly ship or man weapon turret's.

Most people with say a $40 pledge are essentially have the game and a starter ship, the majority of funders who have higher pledges have say a better starter ship so instead of say going from the Aurora to a 300 series to a Hornet to a lightning (for combat inclined) for those who started with aurora those who buy say a 300 wont have to go through the aurora starting ship phase (not to de-similar to the way elite dangerous pledger's will get a cobra mk3 right of the bat for many tiers, when in the beta its a siderwinder and youll probably go to an eagle or that trader one before hitting a cobra) similarly those with a hornet can go straight to better ships if that's their goal, some wont want to fly their own ship at-all and will prefer to be crew for other's.

However some people want multiple ships for multiple roles as the game has a kind rock/paper/scissors effect going on where some ships are good for some activities and lousy for others, furthermore if you loose a ship in star citizen sure you have ship insurance but that doesn't mean the ship is instantly returned to you, once you get your insurance to "come through" you have to travel to a factory which makes said ships(can be done using "public" transport if you have no spare ship or a friend to take u) and has one in stock to claim it (which will feed into economy missions with players helping supply the materials allowing said factory to produce parts and providing security to suppliers from rats etc), however the insurance's time to "come through" will be commensurate with both the size of the ship and how often recently you have lost said ship, so whilst an aurora will be an instant replacement regardless most other smaller ships whilst they may start of with instance replacement can if you play it a fair bit end up taking a while if you loose them (ie get blown up) allot, up to say in a 4 person constellation ship up to 2-3 weeks, in one of those 1000-1250 usd frigates up to a couple of months.

Obviously the smaller ship you have the less issues you have because even the max replacement time isnt to much, but you pre-purchase higher ships if you end up getting only one you'll need to get a couple of others to use it regularly in unsafe areas anyhow so the advantage wont be ridiculous, and if you have the extra cash disposable (either because your wealthy or just SC obsessed) it's worth getting a couple of them so you have a ship to use during downtime of another, furthermore star citizen whilst sure is for modern gamers it also for older gamers many of which dont play very often and want to have as much fun as possible while they do, so it's allowing those who work allot and so probably wont have as much time to play as they'd like to earn it in game to pre-purchase ships of different types, and in addition this allows the game to be funded and for them to continue expanding their development to help meet those wild expectations.

Early on in development (so this may have changed since) they estimated it would take 60 hours of positive earnings in-game to buy a constellation in-game, now this really isnt to much for a ship they've charged $225 for, and the phoenix is $350, so 95 hours or so to get a constellation phoenix in game, it will be limited in game only in the sense there will probably only be one factory in game that produces said variant, but the ship is not "phoenix" it is a constellation, ship variants are designed to be official examples of what can be done to a base constellation, and allow those who already have a specific focus in mind for their ship to have a factory equipped ship dedicated to what they want, ie when your insurance replaces it you'll get a ship already skewed towards one particular type of gameplay, which will save a little time.

But any given ship again the constellation andromeda (the standard variant) can be modified to suit any specific purpose in the game via upgrades after-market kit's and so on, so with the exception of the ultra-plush interior the ship's capabilities will not be so exclusive, as you can take a bog standard variant and retro fit it with all the same advantages of any such limited edition model, with the exception of the vandal scythe which is limited due to lore reasons being a hostile alien species ship, not all ships can be modified effectively for every role, sure an aurora has a combat variant and sure its not entirely useless and is certainly better at combat then a stock aurora but a moderately skilled aurora pilot is no match for a moderately skilled hornet pilot, similarly a hornet is no match for an aurora when it comes to cargo hauling when upgraded, sure they appear identical in stock configuration but an aurora can be upgraded to double the cargo units whilst a hornet which is already missing its main turret to do this can only carry at most, and even in stock configuration an aurora clipper variant comes with double the cargo of a 300i or hornet.

Similarly for the price of a hornet you can get a freelancer which comes with over 5 times the cargo capacity in its stock variant as even the clipper variant aurora or just over 10 times the capacity of a hornet, and the hauling variant can carry up to 17.5 times the hauling capacity of said hornet, the new constellation taurus (the hauler variant) is now only $150 that's just $40 more than the $110 freelancer carries 6.78 times the capacity of the hauler variant of the freelancer whilst the more expensive standard constellation($225) carries less cargo but still 6.54 times the capacity of the standard freelancer which befits its status as a more multi-role standard configuration, essentially every bonus is measured, and quite reasonable.

Your paying for not having to worry about doing things you don't like or don't have the time for to earn the cash for the ship capable of doing what you want when you start the game in return for some cash, the best ships are still not even out yet. and every year they will be producing new year "models" of most of if not all the current ships with new features and so on, so it'll be impossible to pay to win, if they stuck to that 60 hours of positive earnings for a standard constellation figure than that's quite reasonable and given thanks to said insurances, you'll likely have these ships infinitum that's hardly going to price decent ships out of the pipeline.

Furthermore in order to be effective you'll need crew to staff your ship for multi-crew ship whilst there's less to do and worry about in a freelancer a connie needs twice the crew, so if your playing solo your better off in a freelancer, (sure if you have no crew the ai will do something just not that effectively), furthermore you can hire npc crew to do work, but they could be expensive for skilled ones so you'll likely get lousy ones you'll have to train up, and if they die they disappear so no do-overs in crews you'll have to hire new ones again if they don't escape, either way neither option will be as effective as player controlled crew (though your friends can hot drop into the bodies of your crew from across the verse to take control during a sticky situation but they're chars aren't really there just your crew, they'll have to go back after(so not fast travel option just for helping out friends)), but all this is more expensive with larger ship, a solo player with few in-game friends likely to be online during their play time will likely have a better time in the cheaper ship then the bigger one, so expensive ships doesn't necessarily mean better or at least not better for you, similar that 1000+ usd frigate needs 10+ crew to be effective and so on.

So based on all this I feel all the talk of star citizens pay to win are mostly by people who haven't read or watched enough about how the game is going to work, paying is optional for the average gamer, not remotely required, if you want to earn every ship do so for some that will be allot of the fun for others using the ships is more fun, and they don't have the time or inclination to work they way up to a reasonable quality ship as they start the game.

Edited 9 times. Last edit by Alexander McConnell on 18th August 2014 10:39pm

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Lloyd Knott VFX Artist, Rockstar North3 years ago
Unfortunately it is going that way, the problem is they say things like it'll take X hours to get this ship, but the problem is that will scale with the cost of the 'pledge' as they need to make it exclusive enough to justify the price tag.

I back it for myself and my girlfriend to the tune of $125 each, which isn't too bad in pounds and you get the little extras, and the moment lifetime insurance ended I stopped any thought of chipping in further.

I'm just waiting for 6 months in when the free insurance runs out on these ships and the trolling begins, it'll end up like Titan hunting in EVE.
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The current plan is at release said ships will be withdrawn from sale, they might offer a couple of them I suppose but this will probably be based on community feedback like everyone who has an aurora atm has a better variant than the base model in release it's likely only this base model will be available, most of the ship's currently offered for sale wont be available then, so this kinda of self-justification milarky is only for the duration of the initial development and standard ship insurance is suppose to offer the majority of the same protection as lifetime insurance, indeed the slowdown of sales reported in the article is as a result of the end of LTI sales, but frankly the amount of non-lti sales they've made since it ended is surprisingly high.

So frankly only the daft will loose their ships they bought, sure that hardly means not everyone will, but well you'll only have yourself to blame if you do, its more a matter of cost, getting insurance capable of protecting you in the most dangerous areas will take up more than a negligble portion of your income which is where LTI advantages come in, but they did also mention in wingman's hanger early on that it will probably be possible (albiet time consuming and costly (in in-game currency terms)) to gain LTI on ships in game, again a mere mention in a single episode is not a cast iron guarantee but still it wouldn't surprise me.

All pledges ships being pre-orders are offered at a discount vs the final in-game cost when translating from in-game credits to dollars, which is part of the point but whilst they are offering limited currency sales(as in your limited by how much you can buy i n a given period to prevent any chance of p2w) and they'll probably offer a couple of tiers of ships to those starting the game, this ability to buy every ship is going to be withdrawn on release its for the initial development stage only, again the idea that you'll always be chasing the carrot seems to be you dont realise ship sales aren't a permanent feature of the game, so yeah I stand by my statement, allot of people think its p2w or is shaping up this way only because they never followed it properly.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Alexander McConnell on 19th August 2014 11:38am

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Jason Schroder Senior Programmer, Io Interactive3 years ago
Star Capitalism..
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Chris Wray Freelance 3 years ago
I can't help but find it bemusing that Star Citizen has raised so much cash. This is mostly because up until fairly recently, anything solid was harder to obtain than bottled unicorn tears. Now, after the GDC four-player footage and others, it is starting to look like something that may actually come out and I'm less skeptical.
However, I have the same issue as others seem to have - I don't have the money to throw around on ships like that and my big fear is that buying such a ship gives a pretty decent advantage. Then again, I also find it bloody strange that people are buying insurance on space ships inside a game - though I suppose I wouldn't have complained if I had home insurance on my castle in RUST when it was destroyed.
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