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The Ultimate Science Fiction Game

from WIRED

Fans Have Dropped $77M on This Guy’s Buggy, Half-Built Game

ff_crowdcommander_fStar Citizen creator Chris Roberts. photo by Zachary Scott

The United Empire of Earth Navy caused quite a stir last November when it announced that it would be putting 200 decommissioned Javelin Destroyers up for sale. Each 1,132-foot-long spaceship has the sort of amenities that your average interstellar mercenary finds hard to resist: four primary thrusters, 12 maneuvering thrusters, a heavily armored bridge, private quarters for a captain and an executive officer, six cargo rooms, general quarters for a minimum of 23 crew members, and a hangar big enough to accommodate a gunship. There’s even a lifetime insurance policy.

The document that announced the Javelins’ impending sale took pains to stress that these warships were fixer-uppers. “They are battle-hardened and somewhat worse for wear,” it read, “and have been stripped of the weapons systems.” Thus, any would-be buyer would eventually have to shell out extra to equip the 20 gun turrets and the two torpedo launchers. The asking price for each ship: $2,500. And that wasn’t some form of fictional futuristic space bucks; it was 2,500 real dollars. Actual, real, present-day American Earth dollars.

Despite those caveats, all 200 Javelins sold out. In less than a minute.

The sale brought in half a million dollars for Cloud Imperium Games, the company behind the space-exploration and combat videogame Star Citizen. Cloud Imperium has hit upon a truly futuristic business model. There’s nothing new about inviting players to spend real money for virtual goods—a vehicle or weapon or article of clothing that can only be used inside a virtual gameworld. What’s new about Star Citizen is that most of its goods are doubly virtual—they can only be used inside the gameworld, and the gameworld doesn’t actually exist yet. In fact, its massively multiplayer universe may not be up and running for several more months. Or several more years. Or … longer.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on June 1, 2015 by Editor

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