A detailed report into the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever suggests it’s already spent the majority of its $288 million budget.
While most Kickstarter campaigns are doing extremely well if they manage to raise more than $1 million, space combat simulator and MMO Star Citizen has raised an unbelievable $242 million purely from fans alone.
Exactly why is hard to understand for non-fans, as Star Citizen is headed by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts – who hasn’t made a new game since Freelancer in 2003.
That lack of recent experience has been evident in the game’s protracted development, which has been going on for over seven years and still shows no sign of coming to an end.
The project has been dogged by rumours of mismanagement and worse, with a new Forbes report painting Roberts as a ‘micromanager and poor steward of resources’.
Roberts’ company Cloud Imperium does publish regular financial statements, but does not show how much salary top execs, including Roberts’ wife and brother, make.
There’s been particular concern over the $4.7 million house in L.A. that Roberts purchased last year, although he insists the money has not come from the Star Citizen budget.
With additional money from investors the game’s total budget is now estimated at over $288 million (£220m), making it one of the highest budget video games ever.
And yet according to Forbes only $14 million was left by the end of 2017. More money has been raised since though, which much of it coming from the selling of spaceships, many of which are currently no more than a design sketch, to fans for up $3,000 each.
As incredible as that sounds there have been plenty of buyers, but there has also been 129 FTC (Federal Trade Commission) complaints for refunds, some for figures up to $24,00.
Star Citizen was originally planned for released in 2014 but no longer has any release date and is still only in alpha, with none of the planned 100 star systems yet complete.
Single-player component Squadron 42 was supposed to be out in late 2015, but now the beta version isn’t expected until 2020.
There is currently a week-long free-to-play event for the game though, which allows any PC owner to play the alpha 3.5 build of the game. The latest version includes a female player character for the first time and a new flight model for the spacecraft.
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