Star Citizen, the massive multiplayer game which started raising funds through Kickstarter back in 2012, has now crossed $400 million in money raised. The game, despite having its Kickstarter almost a decade ago, has still not had a final release. Currently, gamers can still only play an Alpha version of the game. Although there’s no official release date for the game, with the rate that development has been moving, it’s possible, or even likely, that the game won’t get a full release until the second half of this decade.
Cloud Imperium Games, the developer of Star Citizen has continued raising money for the development of the game ever since the Kickstarter ended. Cloud Imperium Games have been selling in-game ships for real money on their website, some of which are not even actually available in the game yet. For example, “The Polaris” ship, currently purchasable on the Cloud Imperium Games website, is still in the concept stage of development. Yet, players can purchase the ship right now for $750; they just won’t receive it until an undetermined date.
Cloud Imperium Games also offers game packages to get started in the Alpha version of Star Citizen. These packages range from around $45 all the way up to $1100. Despite the over a decade-long development process for Star Citizen, it seems people are still willing to spend money on the unreleased game. Over $100 million in donations have been raised for Star Citizen in the last 18 months alone. Cloud Imperium Games says that Star Citizen now has over 3 million players, which is impressive for a game that hasn’t technically been released.
With the rate of development, many of the original Kickstarter backers have abandoned the game and tried to claim refunds. Maybe when it finally launches, some of those backers will return. Either way, Cloud Imperium Games seem to have found a business model that works for it. As odd as the business model may be.