Crowd-funding has revolutionised the way that new products make it to market. Rather than relying solely on huge corporate backing, product developers have now got an effective way of securing funding straight from the customers themselves. Perhaps no industry has benefited as much as the video game industry, and no individual game as much as Star Citizen, which has garnered nearly $40 million of funding.
The brainchild of Chris Roberts and his studio, Cloud Imperium Games, Star Citizen is to be an ambitious massively multi-player space simulation game, combining first person space combat with interstellar trading. Roberts has more than two decades of experience with space games and wants Star Citizen to be enormously open-ended, allowing players to play however they want to. The scale of the project is something that’s never been seen before in a space game, and certainly wouldn’t have been possible with crowd-funding.
Originally set up back in 2012, the studio were only asking for $500,000, but had already amassed over $6 million after a few months, becoming one of the most successful crowd-funding campaigns ever. Since then the whole project has snowballed and recently Star Citizen passed the $39 million mark. Star Citizen had always been an ambitious project, but the huge amount of funding has allowed the game to expand its features beyond the developer’s wildest initial projections. The game now features professional motion capture, a huge array of ships to pilot, and over 100 star systems to explore, including new system UDS-2943-01-22, the reward for reaching $39 million.
Not content to rest on their laurels, the team have huge ambitions about expanding even further. Reaching $41 million will allow the team to research into procedural generation, which will hopefully allow the team to develop software that can create planetary environments for land exploration. With the full release not expected until 2015, there’s still change for Star Citizen to secure millions of dollars more funding, and who knows how far the developers will be able to take the title before its release!
Star Citizen is without a doubt one of the best examples of crowd-funding as an effective way of securing funding. The real beauty of crown-funding, and especially Kickstarter, is the mutually beneficial nature of it. Developers get finance to produce their ideas, and loyal customers get exclusive rewards like Beta access, in-game items, signed artworks and even chances to meet the developers.
It’s a truly revolutionary system, and one that can be expected to only get bigger. It’s hard to imagine Star Citizen holding the record of most-funded project for too long.
Photo: Property of forbes.com