Over the past several months, the world has become accustomed to claims and promises from Chris Roberts and his Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) regarding the development of the Star Citizen (SC) game. Since the launch of the crowd-funding campaign, Roberts and his associates have been carefully and methodically building the SC universe, with all the various elements that make such a universe work. The project was well funded and brought in an unprecedented amount of attention. With the money that was raised, the staff was hired, and the tools were purchased to get the project off to a strong start. However, a few weeks ago, a Star Citizen backer reported to the UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) a complaint about a sales presentation made
Back in 2013, gamers and media were very excited to hear about Star Citizen , a space-based massively multiplayer online role-playing video game from Chris Roberts , founder of the famed Wing Commander series. Since late 2014, however, backers have been waiting for the game’s release. In an attempt to bring some attention to the delays, a group of backers has turned to the Advertising Standards Authority in the United Kingdom for help.
It’s been a while since we last heard anything on the subject of Star Citizen: the Chris Roberts space combat game, and the mega-successful crowd-funding effort that has raised nearly $100 million, despite numerous delays and setbacks. However, on the 15th of February this year, a backer named Mr. Thomas Wilson (or “Tom Wilson” as he is listed on the official website) filed a complaint with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the way in which CIG has been marketing its upcoming “Star Citizen” game.
Are you fed up with Star Citizen’s ability to sell concept ships – online spaceships that haven’t even shown in the game yet but can still be purchased for hundreds of dollars — with no repercussions? You’re not alone, even among game supporters, it seems. Mazty, a Redditor, got an email notification that one of the concept ships, the Gatac Railen, will be departing the pledge shop shortly, which was reportedly the last straw for this specific backer.
“Fed up with CIG’s continuous falsehoods, I denounced their Gatac Railen ship email to the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as misleading to consumers since there is no indication that the ship does not exist and may never exist.”
Sure enough, the ASA agreed that CIG’s communication was deceptive, that it violated the UK’s Advertising Code of Practice, and that CIG would be notified of their wrongdoing. In response, CIG has added some legalese to the bottom of the email, stating that concept ships aren’t currently in-game, that price may change, and that things like lifelong insurance or other extras may not be available later, and that concept ship purchases help to finance Star Citizen’s development.
So this hasn’t prevented CIG from selling concept ships; it’s simply required its legal staff to put in a little more effort while while ensuring that supporters are kept informed and not mislead. Swings and roundabouts are a part of life.
Long-time MMORPG fans may recall that Star Citizen was initially Kickstarted in 2012 for almost $2 million, with a 2014 release date anticipated. It is still in an unfinished but playable alpha as of 2021, after raising approximately $350 million from players via years of ongoing crowdfunding and sales of in-game ships and other assets. It is now the most crowdfunded video game ever, and it has been met with unwavering support from fans and skepticism from detractors. Squadron 42, a co-developed single-player game, has also been frequently postponed.