Welcome to some more Star Citizen… A common question I used to see about Star Citizen was Where has the Money Gone? Is Star Citizen Financial Healthy?! Has the money dried up?! They are going to be closing in 90 days tops?! This was at least until they started releasing their finances and it’s that time again.
We have had the accounts and more tailored financial statements from Cloud Imperium for 2019 and a good amount of info from 2020. So what money has Star Citizen raised and where has it gone?
It was at least until 2020 a record breaking year for income as well for spending with CI “investing” for the future.
CI describe it as the “nuts and bolts” infrastructure of the business to accommodate planned growth, and a step up in the Community and Marketing operations, particularly in the UK, with a very successful CitizenCon being held there that year.
The year saw $47.6m in Pledges up 26% from $37.8m the year before.
Pledges here are converted to $ and are net receipts from backer purchases of ships, gamepackages & merch… but a few minor things are not included like postage fees collected.
$3.6m Subscriptions up 12% from $3.2m
This figure is again adjusted into $… but represents all voluntary RSI subscriptions.
Other income $9.5m up 20% from $7.9m
This represents partnership income with various hardware and software vendors, sponsorship income, and various local incentives based upon the nature and location of our development and production activities.
In Total that is $60.7m 24% up from the total in 2018 of $48.9m.
The Total Costs for 2019 were around $70.4m so they spent a little over $10m more than they made income wise IF you discount the Private Investment and this is up from $56.2m in 2018 around a 25% increase in costs.
This is for various reasons the employee headcount was up to 604 at the end of 2019, from 521 the previous one that’s where the Lion’s Share of Development Costs are $39.7m up from $33.8m and that increase isn’t just for the additional 83 employees but also pay raises etc… CI have been investing into marketing team/infrastructure.
In 2019 Publishing and Marketing costs are upto $11.4m, Contracted Dev Costs $5.7m, General & Admin up to $2.3m, Capital Expenditure and Investments $2.4m and other Dev Costs $8.9m
So we know that the deficit over 2018 & 2019 was around $17m so that’s eaten up some of that private investment for sure.
Income Excluding Investment on Game throughout the project upto 2019 according to CI’s figures is $317.3m Total Costs upto 2019 are $320.1m
Excluding Investment That’s a little under $3m in deficit (spent more than they made) from the start of the project… is that good or bad? Well it’s just a figure and CI have at least $60.2m of the investment money left plus any other buffer that the company has as well.
So I don’t think there is anything to worry about in regards to the short term Financial Health of the Company as even if CI “overspend” $10m a year going forward they’d still be able to operate for another 6 years by which time I would hope that they would have released Squadron 42 and even Star Citizen would be AT LEAST in Beta!
This is a good segway as well… What Do We Know About 2020
We don’t know how much they have spent… they could of curbed it somewhat due to the CoronaVirus… in fact I suspect that is very much true.
What we do know is that the Funding during 2020 was RECORD BREAKING by significant margins.
We have Figures for the Pledges Amount during 2020 of around $79m thats around a 30% increase from 2019 in TOTAL income… and around 66% just on the pledges from 2019… that is extraordinary AND the total income will be a lot more when we factor in subscriptions and other income. I’d be willing to bet that CI made a good surplus for 2020 of around $10-15m even if they have invested in more staff, infrastructure and the like… in fact we know that exactly one of the things they did with a New Turbulent Headed Studio in Montreal that is going to be focusing on Star Systems and Planets for Star Citizen and plans to be at 100+ employees over the next 3 years.
Star Citizen has had a massive amount of funding and spent at least $320m of that so far plus whatever else in 2020 potentially putting it at over $400m spent on Star Citizen & Squadron 42 to date and yes that is the most expensive video game of all time development cost wise BUT it is kinda for 2 games.
It’s great that the money is being spent on the 2 games Squadron 42 and Star Citizen, development costs and whatever forms of marketing CI are doing… rather than being paid out as dividends or making shareholders wealthy at least at this stage… There will come a time that the investors and shareholders (like Chris, Erin & the Calders) are likely going to want a return on their investment… and drawing money out of the company beyond wages… BUT that can’t happen as far as I am aware until the company is MAKING PROFIT (literally you can’t draw dividends) and hopefully wouldn’t happen until at least Squadron 42 is released… It’s something I will be keeping track of for sure! I don’t think any Star Citizen Backer wants to be paying into the pockets of any shareholders in that way… UNTIL we have released games… that money should go to development AND that is what appears to be happening.
Another thing we don’t know are what Chris’s and the execs wages are…
There are arguments to be made for slow development cycles and inefficiency as well as could CI be keeping the game perpetually in development… but the truth is that they are making progress and developing the game… it is slow tho BUT it is not a scam… However the project and game is not for everyone and I do think CI are going to have to release Squadron 42 before they get mainstream recognition. YES you can make game good… or conversely if it’s bad… well then that’s not going to be a great sign for Star Citizen.
However only time will tell AND I do think Squadron 42 will at least be an awesome game 90-95% rating MAYBE?! Hopefully!