The Cult of Star Citizen and the Purchase of a Promise
Star Citizen is a game that, so far, is more about hope then it is about actual mechanics. I want to preface this by saying a lot of writers here at Ten Ton hammer truly enjoy Star Citizen and some have even bought into it, however I hold a very strong and different opinion. Star Citizen is proving that crowdsourcing can be very dangerous whenever the community starts throwing good money after bad.
Of course, let’s start with some brief history. Star Citizen raised two million of the original $500,000 goal. It has gone on to break $31 million in funding with players putting as much money into Star Citizen as they would put into a brand new Louis Vuitton handbag, we’re seriously talking actually more than a top of the line 50” t.v. mounted on their wall. Yes, we’re talking $2,500+ dollars. Here is a screenshot from Something Awful:
This is for a game that Chris Roberts is planning on releasing in 2015. Not even the “gold” version of the game, but the alpha or beta in 2015. That’s well over a year from now, but people are going insane trying to buy up as many different ships and upgrades as they can for a game that doesn’t exist and a list of promises miles long (please read this and tell me if it’s even possible). There is no playable demo of the actual game, there is no alpha, just a bunch of teasers and cutscenes and an idea, also “Chris Roberts.”
Here is where I draw the line, there is a spaceship you can purchase for $1,250. Can should be could because guess what, it sold out. 150 of them sold out, or $187,500 which is the total cost of a brand new Lamborghini for spaceships in a game that does not exist yet and may not be in its finished form for years and years to come.
Now, I’m not saying that Chris Roberts is going to take the money and run, no, what I’m saying is that people are pouring gallons and gallons of money into a project that doesn’t exist and they haven’t even had a taste of it yet. No one knows if the game will be fun, if it will be interesting, if there is going to be a need to pour this much money into the game. There is some simple logic games you can play to: owning a $1,250 ship will either make you superior to other players (meaning the game is pay-to-win) or it’ll be available easily to other players (meaning you wasted a grand).
Okay, I know you’re waiting to say “the hanger module is awesome” but it’s really not. The clipping of the textures when you get inside the vessel sucks and anyone in game design school could load up Unity and make a spaceship hanger. It doesn’t prove anything and goes so far to just continue stringing people along into buying into something that might as well be a cult at this point.
For real, like, there are people cashing in their student loans and their food money to load into a space ship simulator that may or may not be out in a few years with or without most of the promised features. It may or may not be fun! Yet, people are investing crazy sickening amounts of money into it. I know people may do with their money as they please and what they invest in is fine, but the money spending is borderline infectious. Large groups of gamers are feeling more and more compelled to spend into the cult of Star Citizen because newer better bigger ships are released and they must have them to out do their friends.
All I’m saying friends is that crowdfunding to make an idea come true is a good thing. Crowdfunding to buy imaginary space ships for a current imaginary game is bad. If you’re wondering if Star Citizen is a fraud, probably not. If you’re wondering if Star Citizen is going to be a good game? That’s a completely different question. Throwing more money at it at this junction probably won't affect the basic core gameplay much.
Anyway, spend your money how you like, but please don't let peer pressure make you feel like you need to buy into a game that doesn't exist. That's all.