The Money Pit

Up until this point I had given Star Citizen a pass regarding the selling of new ships. It wasn’t too many in the beginning and I assumed that the ships were actually available to play with in Arena Commander.

My one week there, and talks with friends who had bought several of said ships, swiftly told me that this was not the case. Then I started to feel sick when I thought about the Star Citizen project. Finally I saw how much was being charged for these ships and I was utterly disgusted.

I came to realize one simple truth. Star Citizen was a scam. It was nothing more than a huge ponzi scheme with multitudes of unsuspecting people roped into it. Here we have Roberts Space Industries promising a grand game, if only you would give him a meager $2 million.

I call it a scam, and a ponzi scheme, even without the fiasco that is the selling of new ships.
We hit that and are told that to do it right and do it on time, like we already were promising to do, we need twice that and we’ll also add this new things in. Congratulations we achieved this new funding goal, but in order to deliver on these new promises, on time, we need even more money and as a thank you we’ll add in these new features.

Every deadline has been missed, or had  some piddly consolation prize released in its stead.

I call it a scam, and a ponzi scheme, even without the fiasco that is the selling of new ships. You are charging hundreds of dollars for a ship. These ships don’t even exists in the game at the time that you post concept art.

The game itself does not even exist for people to play and yet you are selling non-existent pieces of digital content for $400.. even upwards of $900+? What the ever loving fuck?! Are you bloody kidding me? You seriously must be joking right? Nope, you are dead serious.

I’m not sure what’s worse, the fact that you actually have the gall to do this or the fact that there people dumb enough to give you money for those ships. These are ships won’t see the light of days for a number of years. These are ships that are taking away time from doing what you initially promised.

What was that promise, I forget at this point (which it appears Chris Roberts has too)? Oh yeah, that’s right, delivering a complete game!

Just F*cking Stop & Finish Already

Chris Roberts, stop it. Just bloody stop selling MORE promises to be delivered upon in the future and focus on ONE thing.

Create Star Citizen.

Stop expanding it because you got more money. Stop fleecing people out of more money for a fucking ship that they won’t see for a long time to come unless you pull developers away from the game you already promised.

All of these ship sales for higher and higher prices reeks of you running out of money and needing desperate influxes of cash to keep things afloat. You need them to continue developing on what you already promised.

Oooo, see what I did there? That’s right, on my own accord, from my own personal insight that I’ve trumpeted to any who would listen, which was usually viewers on a Gaming Talk Show I help with, I’ve formed opinions very similar to Derek Smart and all of this was before the first bits of news broke out about the soon to be fiery feud between RSI and Derek Smart.

Mr. Roberts, you can scream until you are blue in the face that you are not running a scam, but it does not make it true.
All of this crap going around. All of these accusations and finger pointing. These tantrums and jumping up and down to insist things are not true. Yup, that’s right, I’m saying that Chris Roberts has thrown tantrums like a toddler.

I am sorry Chris, but Derek has a point. Yes, he’s quite the asshole, but that does not mean that everything he says is patently false or without base. Also, the insinuation that every negative article that happens to agree with Derek Smart is fueled by him and nothing but his mouthpiece is patently false (Yup, that’s right, Mr. Roberts, I can use the same words too!)

Mr. Roberts, you can scream until you are blue in the face that you are not running a scam, but it does not make it true. Just because you vehemently proclaim something it does not give it credibility simply because the words left your own lips.

Is a scam artist going to admit that he is running a scam? Of course not! That would defeat the very purpose of running the scam as it would mean that everyone knows and will then turn on the one running it. It would mean a loss of funds and even worse.

At this point, your reactions remind me of someone that is starting to get scared. It’s like you have been backed into a corner and are looking for the escape route.

Honestly?

You do have reason to fear. First people are starting to wake up to what is happening and starting to ask questions. Not only that, but you have been beaten to market. By the time you release, Elite: Dangerous will have pretty much implemented the bulk of what you set forth to do, and they will have already had a game in the player’s hands for two years.

A bit of advice, if you want to alleviate some of the accusations about the project, then actually provide some concrete proof. At this point words will not do anything to refute the claims and growing influx of negative press.

Truthfully, the forensic accounting suggestion might go a fair way to help. Granted, if you take Smart up on his offer to pay for the investigation, people could say that he influenced it. If you pay for it, people could say you influenced it. So, my solution? You both get together and jointly select an investigator that you can agree upon and you both put forth equal funding. At that point neither side could say that the investigators were bribed.

I will admit, my opinion on the Star Citizen project, RSI, and Chris Roberts is quite harsh.The entire thing could end up surprising me. I hope I am proven wrong.

Please Mr. Roberts, finish this game, deliver on everything you’ve sold so far, and prove me wrong. I don’t care if the game is a steaming pile of dung, if you can even manage to get the game out the door with all of these ships you have sold people for hundreds of dollars each I will happily admit I was wrong, offer an apology, and even happily buy the game. That said I would hope that it delivers on all that the community has been hoping and praying for.

Again I restate, please deliver on the Star Citizen project. If this fails it is going to go down as the worst failure in gaming history.

The risk to the Kickstarter culture that aides so many Indie developers with actually being able to bring their projects to fruition is great. As it is, the few horror stories we already have of Kickstarters that have taken the money and bolted or failed utterly to deliver on what was promised have already started taking their toll.

Please for the love of god, do not drop the ball on this.

Prove everyone wrong.

I beg you.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Hoho, well said indeed. I almost feel we’re not too different, you and I (I’m just more dashing). I apologize in advance for the length of this.

    “…every negative view of the project written off as another sock-puppet of DS”
    When you said this, I chuckled because I’m guilty of it too (It’s true!). I think though that It’s difficult not to, because if you follow the deranged parade of DS and those involved closely with him, it’s obvious that they’ve attacked SC at many different angles. Meaning if one guy says something like “I don’t think CR’s response was responsible nor warranted in reference to the escapist” it has probably been said by DS or one of his cronies. So now when anyone says anything bad about SC, we all go “Derek Smart? WHERE?!” (Our poor battered brains).

    I agree with your second point, though with some changes to the situation. The part you wrote in this blog is great. Investigator, chosen by neutral party (or agreed to by both assenting / dissenting parties) doing the checks. Verifying there was no embezzlement / fraud. With NO ACCESS to the works by either party (rule in place for DS, obviously). Unfortunately(though I doubt I have to say this to you at all) where your and my bias is fairly leashed and kept in check, DS lost sight of his many years ago. He would scrape and scrounge and make issue of anything regardless of whether it followed a norm or pattern compared to fair business (what’s acceptable practise). I like this idea of yours a lot. Still, I very much doubt something like this would ever take place. CIG have ZERO respect for DS. No cookies for him.

    As to your point about the week play of SC, it’s hard to disagree with that. I’m not saying your opinion is true (some do enjoy the modules and play frequently), but to many of us it’s just too confining … too raw … and admittedly difficult. As you described your “fun” with the hotas, I was reminiscing about smashing into rocks and firing 100 salvos of lasers before 1 or 2 hits (My skills needed work). However, I’ve seen what the game is capable of. The maneuverability of the ships and the tricks you can pull with them is awesome. Meaning (the way I see it) it’s similar to many other difficult games I’ve played. Difficult and frustrating and time consuming at first … but once you get the hang of it, you feel like an artist.

    That being said, saying “Hey, you didn’t play enough to learn to enjoy it, and that makes it all fine and dandy!” is untrue. This is where I find it hard to disagree. Hardcore games are great and all, but limiting your playerbase by a major feature is gaming suicide (except in extreme cases. I’m looking at you, Tom Clancy!), but perhaps I’m insinuating that though yes the experience is not new user friendly, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for many. Oh and, almost forgot, here’s the obvious rebuttal list. “It’s in alpha” “controls are being balanced” “EL TEE PEE!!!!one!!!”
    I also partially agree with your ship selling point. Selling a ship that doesn’t exist yet sucks. In the beginning, we only had the hornet. Then as the months went on, ship after ship after ship was plugged into the hangar. We didn’t have to wait long (it was a much faster pace than current release) for these ships to become flyable either. Now though (and CIG have explained this many times with SQ42 and its content taking precedent), we see very little to that effect. They are in the process of integrating new technologies onto the older versions (standard in 90% of game development), so they have many reasons. It sucks though. The part where I disagree is the fact they’re selling them before we can even marvel at them in our hangar. As I pointed out earlier, this is their marketing strategy. It’s hard to argue how they could otherwise have increased funding without selling something “tangible”. Just as when the game first went forward, all they had were pictures. They needed the funding to continue, so it makes sense (again, to me) that the direction of their sales would go that way.

    The amounts of these ships? Yeah. They’re fairly expensive (fairly rhymes with verily), and there’s no argument here that their reasoning for it wasn’t something more than just “They’ll pay these prices, so that’s how we’ll set these prices”. It worked though, and we’re willing to pay. It’s hard to argue that it was unfair when it’s not forced to enjoy the game. They write a similar disclaimer in many places where purchasing is involved. “If you don’t want to pay that, then don’t” is a pretty good argument here IMO. Sure it’s high, but if it allowed them to be at the pinnacle of crowd funding, I guess there’s nothing we should be (us backers) complaining about. I don’t know. I guess we just have different view points on the subject. It’s a shame though (to me) because I would gladly wish this feeling of excitement on anyone else (except for DS; he doesn’t deserve any cake).

    What keeps me going as a supporter and not a dissenter. You didn’t ask this, but I feel it necessary to say so anyway. You’re probably curious(at least in some fashion). I remember in the beginning of this, DS had to edit A LOT of content in his blogs and delete A LOT of twitter posts (He still does the twitter thing, but that’s because he’s incapable of filtering himself under 140 characters. Personal jab, BWAHAHAH). This is indicative of someone without proper direction, meaning I think it was just verbal vomit (anything derrogatory he could think of, out it went). He’s since gotten much better at censoring himself and sticking to his script as he’s learned which topics work and which do not. He started out with nothing but It was inevitable (the guy spends most of his time doing this now) that he would find a handhold somewhere. No company is perfect. This says one blaring thing to me that keeps me solid as a rock though. He may be right about some stuff, but most of it is literally just reaching … so I have no problems plugging my ears to the “facts” he spews and saying “LA LA LAAA LALALALA LAAAAAAAAA!” until I see some concrete evidence.

    Thanks for the compliments, thanks for the thoughtful conversation, and I wish you the best in your endevors (even if it means trying to undermine CIG for some answers). Having different views isn’t a bad thing at all. Life would be boring if we were all the same. 😉
    Cheers, and many kudos right back atcha!
    P.S Cranky, your username is awesome

    • Yup and honestly, even if it was negative, you guys did need something that wasn’t tied to the same source. I’ll fully admit this whole thing is a mass of finger pointing. Someone come out and shut everyone up once and for all no matter which way it lands. At the end of the day, I’d like to see something concrete.

      And yup, again, I’ll agree a week is not much time. And yeah, I exaggerated a bit about the red out and black out thing, even though it was fun. A lot of that was just seeing what I could do and what it took to make it happen. The other time was spent trying to flay as close to an asteroid I could and orbit it in as tight a manner as I could. Satisfying, but I had to do it with my mouse. Dammit I really want a HOTAS >.>

      I fully applaud CIG for being able to actually sell those ship to people. Brilliant marketing. But if they could perhaps oh.. gimme a scale model of that ship to setup in my house, I’d be ridiculously tempted.. my disgust for the practice be damned lol. Gimme *something* to play with 😀 I was even moderately okay with them at least being in the hangar as they at least obviously existed.

      I’m actually looking at trying to do another article that more positive for things. Basically take questions from the small community we have around the show and try to find some measure of answers and provide a chance to sway opinions. Can’t guarantee fully free of bias as that’s just not possible, but will do my damnedest to give a fair article. Pretty much a thank you t all of you who have spoken to me about this article and have been totally polite 🙂

  2. A bit of a note. it has come to my attention that comments are moderated currently. I am asking if they can be lifted for this post solely, but it may be a site wide setting. Until it is worked out, or indefinitely if it’s a site wide setting, I’ll approve comments even if you want to blast me for the opinion I hold. Please do be aware that I may be a bit slow in responding if they start flooding in.

    [Editor note] this moderation delay has been adjusted but any trollish posts will be removed so remember be respectful

  3. Personally, I want this game to fail. It’s about time that people learnt the hard way to think about where they put their money. It may also force Kickstarter to implement rules to protect donators.

    • Huh?

      You want a game to fail (that had such want for its existence almost 800,000 people threw 90 million at it) just to teach them a lesson about where they put their money?

      These people are trying to pursue their dreams. I hardly warrant that as being irresponsible. It falls more along the lines of how dedicated they are to the vision that’s been created by CR and crew.

      You’re one special cookie, and not the good kind of special. 🙁

      • For myself, I feel bad for those who have invested so much money into it. Things, from where i stand, look very rocky for the project and it does seem to hang on a precipice. Despite my negative look on the project I *really* don’t want to see it fail. It will be a devastating blow, and one that I think the gaming industry, much less the Kickstarter community for games, can bear.

        I’ll even flat out state that if it wasn’t for the constant selling of new pieces of promised art, I likely would have gone ahead and bought into the project at the basic level. If what has been promised can be delivered, and it actually work, it will be a fantastic thing.

        However, as I’m sure is clear in my article, I can’t support the practice of selling new ships that don’t even exist yet. If they were being sold as they were made available or within a update or two and I could use it in Arena Commander, i’d be much more lenient. However.. the price tag of those ships will always make me laugh, shake my head, and well.. sneer.

        • Hah! Well, I was going to make a general reply for your article, but your response was so interesting I’ll just reply to you directly instead.

          Great read! There is obviously some biased opinion involved, but when isn’t there? I would be a hypocrite if I claimed this response won’t be biased. Other than that point though, I’m hard pressed to find errors in your logic minus perhaps what seems like unfamiliarity with the project in some key areas.

          Moving on to your reply, I disagree with your first point vehemently. Really this boils down to actual accountability vs what they may or may not do with the present situation. Meaning, right now they haven’t had the FBI / FTC or other general law enforcers after their butts. They are generally where problems begin (authority gets involved). And until that time, thus far we only have opinions and conjecture ..
          and whatever you call DS (ravening fanatical crazy hobo come to mind as adjectives). Even with the excessive drama lately, those in the vocally negative camp are still by far a minority.
          Also I’d like to point out that in large the vocal supporters have quite a bit of immunity to all of this mess. Just as the person I responded to already said, those invested in the game are fanatical in their devotion in many ways (myself included). We don’t want to disbelieve, and so thus far most of us haven’t fallen for it.
          It doesn’t help the naysayers cause either that the self appointed main antagonist of this mess is the least creditable source of information known to internet mankind. Not only does he have a past involved in lies and hypocrisy, but already many of his points thus far have been proven as such. The FTC / FBI “investigation”, retractions of statements made previously, arguing semantics of english “I didn’t mean it THAT way, it’s not MY fault you misinterpreted me!” or just the outright trolling rampant everywhere he goes. It really hurts the cause against SC (which is fine by me, keep on truckin’ DS!)

          Your second point I also disagree with, for (to me) two obvious reasons.
          1) That’s how they make their money, and
          2) If they didn’t sell em, we’d demand em.
          The forums and other social outlets like reddit / video comments / etc are full of people wanting ships. Their marketing strategy was brilliant, but just in that these ships were limited quantity / limited sale time makes people really eager to spend. If SC didn’t allow us to buy ships, we would be throwing our poop everywhere and screaming at the top of our lungs for “MOOOOAR”.
          Sure, the reasoning behind it is silly (given that all ships will be available in the PU), but there is definitely nothing forced down our throats when it comes to sales.
          I’m curious as to how you would have gone with the marketing, with the scope of the game as is (we asked for it to be this big)? A lot of people talk about how SC is doing it wrong, but from their success and the hundreds of thousands of loyal fans before a game is even fully pieced together, I’m wondering how anyone else could do better?

          (didn’t edit, sorry if some of it sounds like garbled engrish … multi-tasking at the moment, as for some reason my time is important today …)

          • I just want to butt in here for a second to thank you for an extremely level-headed response, and regardless of your multi-tasking (and whose time isn’t important eh 🙂 )you provided a good counter-point to Kerrida’s opinion.

          • Yup, I fully admit it is a bias piece. That is why I explicitly, and repeatedly, stated that this was utterly my own opinion and not in any ways a journalistic piece. Truth be told, I wrote it, in part, because I was tired of seeing every negative view of the project be written off as another sock-puppet of DS. We can share his opinion, wholly independent of each other.

            That said, awesome response 🙂 And thank you greatly for being civil about it.

            I will agree, all any of us have is conjecture. There may not be anything wrong with the state of Star Citizen, and I truly hope this is the case. It just, as it stands, leave me very nervous. With everything going on (the articles) I could see some government types sticking their nose in, and that will be when things truly get scary. Also, yup, the ones screaming online generally are the minority. I honestly wish CIG would take DS up on his offer (though I’d still suggest something like I suggested). If things are good, they’ve pretty much made the dissenters have to STFU and for those that dislike DS, well they get to cheer as there’ll be nothing to even claim to stand on. If there is something wrong.. then.. well… fuck.

            I will even admit, I vehemently disagreed with Cranky when we first started discussing Star Citizen. I was right there ready to defend it and wave my flag in its honour alongside Elite: Dangerous. After my week with it, I had a sour taste, and just watching more stuff be sold for it with no real deliveries turned me off.

            I utterly understand being invested into a project, and striving to keep up hope. I backed a TableTop RPG over two years ago that will be two years behind delivery. Not to mention, a rather pitiful lack of quality updates. Despite that and the screaming from others, I quietly wait and hold out for hope. And it might actually pay off in the next few months!

            My number one issue with Star Citizen is those bloody ships. Selling them, I’ve no issue with. Selling them with no delivered game, okay, annoying, but I can see that. Selling them before I can use it even in the alpha stuff? That is where I have to draw a line. If you are going to sell it, at least let me fly it and play with it in a limited space!

            Okay, so that may a bit of a tantrum, but dammit if I’m buying a space ship i wanna fly it! Spaceships are awesome and we all dream of flying them. But if that one little aspect were changed to not sell them until they were nearly ready to be played with, I would cease being so derisive and actually be extremely tempted to throw in to support the project. I just can’t support that practice.

            The price of those ships.. erm… yeah.. that makes me more than a little sick to my stomach. That’s some of the most expensive DLC/Micro-Transactions I’ve ever seen lol.

            Fans are rabid. They want their cool shit. I’ve been there with games too, lol. As I’ve said, SC is *pretty* and yeah it makes me drool. I like what is proposed. I can’t blame anyone for being excited about it, because it just sounds and looks damn cool.

            I just have serious doubts about the state of it and disapprove of some of the monetization choices. That and I genuinely fear for what will happen if this does crash and burn.

            All that said, thank you again for the civil discourse. I’d been braced for the “OMFG DIE YOU BITCH” sort of comments. So far nice, civil, and fun 🙂

            I’ll end this comment with this address to the gaming industry: Make more space sims, momma needs more stuff to blow up!

            Edit: Wanted to add something I said to Cranky just now in regards to Materix. This is how you defend a project you love and believe in. Many kudos to ya Materix.

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