Star Citizen introduces a $48,000 microtransaction bundle

Originally published at: Star Citizen introduces a $48,000 microtransaction bundle - Boing Boing

I think I’ll take 5 years of rent over maybe a video game at some point, thanks.


God, the video game industry has become so predatory. I’ve never heard of this game, but it seems destined to be a complete flop if it ever is released, because there’s no chance now that it’s going to meet the expectations of everyone who’s given money for it.

The video game industry now rakes in way more money than the film industry. It is huge. And microtransactions are a big part of the reason why. Whether it’s in game offers in mobile games, or DLC for MMOs, or DLC for platformers, the days of just buying a game for $30-$50 and that being the only thing you ever pay for that game are gone. The only good thing is that you can play most of the mobile games for free. You just will struggle at a certain point, growing increasingly frustrated until you either quit, or pay money to unlock something to make the game easier. It’s all pretty disgusting, really.


That could buy a lot of Starweb turns.


The developers seem more focused on money extraction schemes than they are on coding and development. To an even greater degree than established AAA game studios. This stinks of a once-legitimate enterprise that evolved into a grift.


I was excited about Star Citizen five years ago. They finally seemed to be on the road to developing a great game after what had been five or six years of trying to get off the ground, and were putting together some interesting demos. Their ship designs were awesome, and their plans fantastic. I came close to springing for one of their ship packages (under $100 mind you) but never quite pulled the trigger, preferring to wait until things were more stable.

I stopped following them three years ago when I realized they had raised several HUNDRED million dollars and still had almost nothing to show for it. A vast, empty universe, some buggy ships and space stations, some planets. Not a game, just a big tech demo. Meanwhile, they were shilling for MORE money, despite having already raised enough to make several triple A games.

Here we are, three years later, and there’s still nothing to show and they are ramping up the siphon to the next level. I feel bad for all the folks who scrapped up $50 or $100 or even $150 to buy a cool spaceship based on the promise of “it’ll be done soon!” and have spent years waiting for anything to happen. Those are the folks who should be livid and preparing a class action lawsuit.


flop critically speaking. for the company? they’ve made way more than they ever would have by releasing it. $600 million so far. according to wikipedia, the only larger crowd funded software is etherium coin


Yes, to be clear, I meant the game will be a flop to its players.

The amount of money that video games, and especially mobile games, are bringing in these days is staggering. And I feel like most people don’t know this. Scopely, a mobile game developer, was bought by a Saudi investment group last year for $4.9 billion. And I’m guessing most people reading this comment have never even heard the name Scopely before.


Star Citizen reminds me of a book I read last month, Anansi’s Gold. After all kinds of evidence that the money is just going into a hole that will never be filled, people still keep re-upping. Amazing.


The cold-eyed leaches of microtransaction monetization certainly make the environment grimmer than it was in the good old days when ‘predatory monetization’ meant sneaking some shovelware onto the shelves next to the real games and hoping that clueless parents or gullible children would buy it; but they haven’t gotten their tentacles everywhere yet.

If you want something on mobile; then you’ve got a significant problem(there aren’t literally no options; but they are very much the exception); but on PC and console it’s still a pretty substantial percentage of games that have real prices and, if they do have DLC, it’s still more along the lines of ‘expansion pack that didn’t merit being a full product’.

What is really upsetting(admittedly from the privileged position of being able to buy games and not being a microtransaction dopamine thrall) is how there are now actually quite credible games that are only available under dodgy models; both from existing players that have declined(eg. Bungie and Destiny; this ain’t the house of Halo anymore) and where new players have gone from making pure gatcha trash to increasingly high quality and production values gatcha(newer miHoYo stuff, say, is gatcha to the core; but has actually attracted a certain amount of critical praise).

Socially, the impact of ‘casino-in-your-pocket-marketed-at-children’ is obviously the bigger deal; but purely selfishly it’s not pleasant to go from just having to ignore the mobile-first gambling trash and exploitative f2ps to having some otherwise credible and worthwhile games not even available for an honest flat fee.


I’m one of the exceptions. I played Marvel Strike Force for a year or so before it became too much of a time waster


Would you have a break down or generally know the percentage of revenue that a company like Scopely is getting comparing DLC, game purchase (if that’s even a thing), and ad revenue?

Back a decade ago I knew a decent number of people who played Farmville. I only knew of one that actually put real money into it. Is the ad revenue from 20 people playing a half hour a day the same as one person sinking $30 dollars a week into it?

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There is no ad revenue for Scopely. At least not from Marvel Strike Force, the game @Peter_Willard1 mentioned, and which I still play (but I recently went free to play on it). All of its revenue is from microtransactions, which can range anywhere from $1 to $100 per transaction. The most common purchases are probably the biweekly battle pass and strike pass. Those are $20 each, so if you get all of them, that’s $80 a month per user. The whales in the game, however, routinely spend thousands each month. Their other big game is Star Trek Fleet Command, which I’ve never played, but I assume is also not ad supported at all. They also make Monopoly Go and Scrabble Go, and I have no idea how those games are structured. And they bought the Game Show Network’s video game division a couple years ago, so they have games that are tied in to game shows like Wheel of Fortune, and I assume those probably are ad supported, but I don’t know that.


strangely, the ai summary comes up as “fortnite”. whatever that means…


Is Star Citizen actually the first true cryptocurrency scam? What’s the difference between $48k of nonexistent accessories for a nonexistent game and $48k of NFTs? If the company vanished tomorrow, would it be called a rug pull?


Ah! That’s why I knew the name. Yeah, me too - slightly more than a year, I think. I even sometimes threw some money at it, sprung for premium membership because I was in a guild and enjoying it. I left as soon as they really started pushing the direct PVP. I know that steered people into some more expensive purchases. No thank you.


The PVP is all but dead, by the way. They have actually made some decent improvements over the past year. A bunch of players got together and former a player’s rights group (I forget the actual name) and it seems to actually be making a difference. I am spending less time and no money on the game now, and am having more fun playing it. And I don’t think it’s decreased their revenue any.


I played “Kingdom Guard” by tap4fun for a long time. It’s advertised as a TD game, but that’s like 10% of the game play, most of it is actually guild vs guild combat. I don’t usually like PVP, but this one has a fairly decent system where losing a fight didn’t set you back too far.

Yeah, like you note, several of the people in our guild were spending literally thousands per month. It was unreal! Since their spending benefited our guild directly and indirectly, I was more than happy to benefit from their spendthrift habits, but I could never quite wrap my brain around how they could afford it.


They’re rich. One of the big whales in MSF for a long time was some bigwig executive in some huge Japanese manufacturing conglomerate. He could spend $10,000 a month and it was just noise to him.


I’ve played a variety of video games over the years, both ones that I bought a starter pack for, like Naval Action and Star Trek Online, and a couple of FtP ones. All of them eventually went from ‘legacy players get extra perks’ to ‘free-to-play’ to ‘fee-to-play/win’. At some point, grind or pay for the latest upgrade gets tedious, and no lifetime subscription bonus can make up for that.

Speaking of good ideas morphing into a cash grab, anyone remember ‘Prelude to Axanar’?