Star Citizen has just broken the $40 million mark in terms of stuffing its crowdfunded coffers. That's the same as the GDP of a small Polynesian island.
"We’ve done it again!" wrote Chris Roberts over on the RSI forums. "The Star Citizen community has pushed us to another incredible crowd funding goal: $40 million, a number that would have been an impossible dream at the start of the game’s development. I’m constantly amazed by the continued support we receive and how this community manages to grow every day. Since the last milestone we’ve added over 10,000 new citizens!
"Some say that space sims are niche. I’m not so sure!"
It's a damn fine, if wholly unsurprising, achievement at this point, and serves to underline two things: that Star Citizen is a game, an experience, a universe that everyone wants; and that Cloud Imperium are doing an excellent job at growing and maintaining a community.
"I don’t believe there is any other game, even one that is out of development and 'live' that involves and informs the community to the extent we do," said Roberts last month, and he's right. The sheer volume of communication coming from the developers is staggering, and it's changing the face of development as we know it.
But I'm still a little hesitant, and unlike Jon and Carl, I'm yet to hand over any money, partly for the simple reason that it's all just noise at the moment.
Well... and a hangar.
The psychology behind crowdfunding, the reasons why we're willing to throw money at a wink and a promise, could fill many a book. There's something idealistically satisfying about being part of a process -- investing in a game in pre-production and being part of the ride that sees it through to the end. That can be great.
But there's also precious little that's tangible. Quite often the best games are those created by developers who fundamentally understand their limitations, whether that be be practically, financially, whatever. There's something to be said for knowing when to stop with the feature creep, understand exactly the dimensions and scope of your own ambition, and delivering upon that. It's far better to be taut and excellent than sprawling and forgettable.
My issue is that I don't know what Star Citizen is yet, because it doesn't really exist at this point in time. I'm sure there'll come a point when I do hand over some money -- I love space sims and I'd like nothing more than for Cloud Imperium to deliver on all fronts and for Star Citizen to be a mind-blowingly awesome as the backers who've chipped in a cool $40 million believe -- but having seen and played some of the Kickstarter games that smashed their targets and then flopped hard, I'm being a bit more circumspect with this one.
That's just me, though, and that point differs from person to person.What's yours going to be, if it hasn't arrived already?