Star Citizen is the Future of PC Gaming, and it [was] Free to Play this week (Edit: No Longer Free)

Update: I tried to install the game. It gave me an error and told me to “check the logs” for more details about what had happened. There were no logs or error messages to look at.

Great game!

You forgot to have a friend who can show you how to install it. It’s not made for new players.

~Max

Yup, sounds like a real winner.

They just passed four hundred million dollars.

‘Damn it, Space Pyramids was our next, super secret, expansion!
Available for the low, low, price of $699.
Thanks for ruining it for everyone RickJay.’

I wonder when this vanity project will always be free to play.

As long as people keep paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for virtual ships, seems like free to play might be a good idea.

This could actually be a working business model. If Richie Rich is willing to pay a ghastly amount of money for the KM-5000 Cockblaster, letting people play for free might be worth it to them if it gives Richie and bunch of cheap newbies in QS-1 Cannonfodders for him to gleefully blow up and motivate some of the human targets to upgrade. The next step would be working in a monthly fee to retain one’s expensive ships. Call it a “Maintenance fee.”

Brilliant! Let’s get the devs to work on implementing a new feature, Rust. Over time, your spaceship degrades, maintenance costs increase, until it is cheaper to buy a brand new spaceship.

Even better, planned obsolescence. Now that’s just the kind of realism I am looking for in an escapist game!

A Facebook friend posted a request for game recommendations for his 14 year old, and drew out what appears to be a Star Citizen True Believer:

“If he doesnt know already, he may want to try Star Citizen. I know the space, not as a ‘gamer’ ( Never have been but my foray into 3D animation put me ‘right there’) but as a content creator and concept artist, all I’ll say is Star Citizen is another level and represents a future of this type of video game experience.”

My friend made a non-committal response, and got this follow up:

“Respectfully my brother I’ll say you may not really ‘get’ what Star Citizen represents. It’s deliberately a permanent ‘beta test’ for a reason and by design that has created an entire community that is going on 2 generations deep and generates in the millions of dollars in the real world. Its not just about a passive consumer entertainment experience anymore AND the young people who will be IN that new world arent running away and backing down. OUR young people should get maximum exposure to the CONTROLLING elements as well as just playing and consuming.”

I didn’t engage, because my FB friend was clearly trying to not get in a fight with his friend, so he didn’t elaborate beyond that. Still, :grimacing:

I was wondering when they’d shift to “of course the beta is intentionally lasting forever.”

That’s fascinating, not just because it’s a ridiculous spin on what is actually going on with Star Citizen, but because it’s just describing Games as a Service, which is a concept that didn’t start with Star Citizen nor is Star Citizen a particularly good example.

There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about Star Citizen’s model. Lots of games have in-game purchases, and yes it turns out that’s an extremely lucrative (and exploitative) way to design games. Lots of games allow players to experience and influence the changes the game undergoes as it’s developed (and Fortnite Battle Royale was infamously in “early access beta” for several years before they arbitrarily decided it wasn’t anymore). Lots of games add additional content (that can be accessed by paying additional fees) on a regular basis. Arguably every game is not a “passive consumer entertainment experience” as games are by definition interactive.

Also, I don’t think very many young people care at all about Star Citizen. That whole pitch comes off as some kind of weird MLM appeal, like someone desperately trying to get a friend’s kid into NFTs.

This sounds really, really MLM/cultish. This is the rant of a person who’s been conned and part of his mind knows he’s been conned, but most of his mind still wants to deny it because it’s hard to admit you were played for a sucker.

Translation: “We’re ripping people off at a phenomenal rate. It’s unprecedented! This ripoff is so historical, that you’ll want to be a part of it. Let us rip you off, too!”

Funny thing is, it’s entirely possible to release a game that’s relatively finished yet still be in permanent beta. For nearly two decades, I’ve been supporting a text sim which uses this model.

Dwarf Fortress is still in alpha despite being an astonishingly complex and complete game. Of course, it’s free and always will be. Though Bay12 is working on a Steam release so that they can buy health insurance with the proceeds.

Grifters!

The beta version of Star Citizen will only be available as an in game game in Star Citizen*.
*For the low price of 756.99, additional fees may be required.

The whole beta/early access/etc. terminology has become very murky in the last decade. There are plenty of games that are totally broken even though they’re “finished”, and games that have been in “early access” for 8 years which are really complete, fulfilling experiences but the developer is still adding major content and just hasn’t decided it’s the release version yet. Even games that are released often see substantial development after they’re released. I tend not to hold either label (release/finished, or early access/beta) as very meaningful, you just have to look at games on a case by case basis and decide if they’re fun to play regardless of the label the developers give to that level of development.

Not a defense of SC, which seems like it’s at the tech demo level - just saying that I’ve enjoyed games that have been in early access for years that are very good but that some people refuse to buy because they refuse to support “early access” games. Meanwhile, some of the same people are happy to broken undercooked shit like Cyberpunk.

Of course some games also call themselves alpha/beta for a long time just to give their fanboys an excuse to defend the game. I think Hearthstone, for example, still called themselves a beta even though it was pretty much fully developed and selling shit for hundreds of millions of dollars per year. And legions of fans could respond to any criticism as “what do you expect? it’s a BETA!”