There’s a new ship (link plays sound) in the sci-fi space simulation video game Star Citizen. It’s a luxury space yacht called Genesis Starliner that you can’t fly because Star Citizen is still an idea with a few alpha prototype demos. This concept-art bullship will cost you 400 real life dollars to virtually acquire. and by necessity the developer now includes this disclaimer:
Remember: we are offering this pledge ship to help fund Star Citizen’s development. All of these ships will be available for in-game credits in the final universe, and they are not required to start the game. Additionally, all decorative ‘flare’ items will also be available to acquire in the finished game world. The goal is to make additional ships available that give players a different experience rather than a particular advantage when the persistent universe launches.
As far as I can tell, the phrasing “available for in-game currency” actually means “temporarily available when you spend in-game spacebux.” So you could get access to a ship for a few days, but there isn’t any permanence to that purchase.
The process of purchasing a ship in Star Citizen at this point and being able to even play in the alpha is byzantine. First you must choose a game package that includes a ship in the style you might like to play as. But you also have to know what style of play you’re going to want and choose a ship that suits that style with real money before you have the chance to try it out. How can anyone make that choice?
It’ll cost you even more if you decide that instead of space-dogfighting you would rather have a ship more suited to long-haul space trucking. If you purchase the $400 Genesis Starliner and decide that luxury yachting isn’t for you, well tough shit because you didn’t even get alpha or beta access with your $400, or access to any other ships, or even the game when it’s finished. Only some game packages include access to different versions of the game.
If you’re truly feeling generous you could even sign-up for a subscription that gives Roberts Space Industries $10 or $20 a month for no reason beside that you might like a slightly prettier hanger and more temporary access to one ship. Beyond committing to a lifetime of servitude to Chris Roberts via subscription there are also ship packages that cost $15,000 if you would prefer a one-time transaction of your savings unto a game that might be fun some day.
Star Citizen is already at about $84 million in funding just from the sale of ships. I hope the game comes out in some kind of non-alpha or beta form and lives up to the expectations of the people who have funded it, and I might even get it at that point, but right now this whole deal is gross.