Welcome to some more Star Citizen, today looking at Monetization in Star Citizen & what are the expected plans after release of the game and some potentials of what CIG may do to keep the Persistent Universe Servers running for the long term.
Star Citizen has been a massive crowdfunding success generating $100s of millions of $$$, over $218 million in fact at time of recording and does not include subscriptions, sponsorship deals & investments. Star Citizen would not of grown in scale or been this popular without the way they monetized the game.
The Project Star Citizen Currently generates funds from:
RSI Subs – Which help support the creation of Content like AtV, RtV etc…
Game Packages /w Ships
Squadron 42 Episode 1 Sales
UEC – The in Game Currency
Flair & Items
Tickets to Events
Some in-game bits like Hangars & Land Plots
BUT it’s mostly Concept Ships/Vehicles and then general Vehicle sales (as well as upgrades, kits and modules), There is typically a concept sale once every 6 weeks, though they pause at the start of the year. Concept Ships create a lot of hype and limited time sales of rarer ships also help create artificial scarcity and generate a lot of income.
They have also sold 10% of the company for $46 million – this money is supposedly earmarked for Advertising as Squadron 42 Episode 1 is potentially getting a release in 2020.
A constant question that has been asked is how will they generate money to maintain Star Citizen’s Servers and constant updates “Post Release”.
The term release is a bit more complicated with Star Citizen as the current plan is to release a major patch every 3 months indefinitely for the Persistent Universe
So when I say Post Release, I really mean when the game has had a good amount of it’s features and portion of it’s planned gameplay area complete and there are no more resets, the game is LIVE.
They have said a few thing previously and I had a couple of Interviews with Erin Roberts (one last year) where I talked about this in a bit more detail,
Erin Roberts 2018 Interview
Erin Roberts 2017 Interview
Erin believed that by selling GamePackages & UEC they could keep Star Citizen’s PU going post release BUT he said they will explore other monetization options if needed. I’d like to identify what they probably would be selling post release though
We know they will probably be selling
Star Citizen PU Game Packages
The Games Squadron 42 – Episode 1 – 3
The in Game Currency UEC (This is supposedly going to be regulated to a certain amount per day/week)
Taking Voluntary RSI Subscriptions for continued community content on new features, ships, gameplay area.
Merch & Tickets to events
They will also be making money from any Brand Deals they get for items like Star Citizen Hotas, Sabre Ravens with Optane Drives, the Faceware FOIP Camera.
So what is some of the other stuff that might make that list
Ships – They basically said they planned to stop selling ships at some point HOWEVER Star Citizen looks like it is going to be releasing new content every 3 months indefinitely, I do think they will eventually limit ship sales outside of purchasing game packages AS they can literally pass the torch to selling their in game Currency UEC that is effectively the same.
I think there is a much greater possibility that they will continue with Concept Sales for ships and vehicles beyond what they already have planned even after launch. Potentially having backers being able to throw money at a ship idea then get it once it’s completed at the earliest possible stage.
Ship Skins – We will have the ability to customize our ships in game with various colors, BUT I foresee a market for very intricate skins that could be sold for real money.
Flair & Cosmetics – They sell flair now, it’s very possible they will continue this into the distant future. Other cosmetics would be an idea for the game, they are well used in many others, people like custom flashy weapons and suits of armor especially in more MMO Sandbox games, this could also have things like aesthetic pets.
They can sell more of the company if they so wish, though that wouldn’t generate the business more money from income regularly, it would just give them capital to use for things like advertising.
Something that has been discussed mostly by backers is other Subscription based models, some have suggested similar to EvE online, premium subscription, bonuses for being subscribed.
It could take many forms, it’s unlikely however that this would ever gate entry to the the game or give major advantages & Star Citizen probably wants to avoid this if possible BUT isn’t ruling anything out for the future. I know that a lot of backers would be quite happy with a volunteering in game sub for small bonuses beyond the current Subs for Community Content.
Ads in Game – Something else that has been discussed mainly by the community is in game ads for real companies and products BUT in lore and Star Citizen-ified.
This could have intel having a company in game and immersive ads built for that purpose.
There may be some issues with Countries not liking this kind of advertising though.
Pay2Win – Does the selling of Currency and Ships make this game Pay2Win.
Well we don’t know for sure for the future, which is why we do need to keep CIG honest. BUT if you define Pay2Win as any advantage by using real money then YES.
It’s for sure going to give you a time advantage.
However everything will be obtainable in game, this type of Pay2Win element does not break games like EvE or WarFrame
I SWEAR TO GOD IF I SEE ANYTHING LIKE A LOOT BOX IN THIS GAME EVER THAT’S NOT A JOKE, AROUND APRIL THE FIRST OR A PART OF A MISSION THAT POKES FUN AT THEM I WILL IMPLODE XD
Game Sales of Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are likely going to make them a humongous amount of money & selling UEC as well may very well see the game more than supported for the next 10+ years.
I’ll give quite an extreme example, GTA 5 since it’s 2013 has sold more than 90 million units and more than $6 billion.
World of Warcraft although potentially now in it’s twilight days still has around 1.7 million subscribers and this jumps up typically when new content gets added BUT it looks like they have made over $10 billion with WOW currently.
What I am saying is, that Star Citizen only has to do fractionally as well as these games.
And if it’s any good… then it will.
Some backers may potentially see the continual sale of ships even concept ones as a betrayal. What’s important is that they keep their backers informed of their plans and actively discuss any potentials with the community, especially if it involves something that’s entirely new or potentially controversial.
Star Citizen Reddit Monetization Thread | https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen/comments/atgqik/weekend_discussion_thread_monetization/