Star Citizen: Crowdfunded space simulator reaches one millon members and $93m in funding
Star Citizen, the upcoming crowdfunded space simulator, has passed the million-member mark, with over one million people 'enlisting' by creating accounts and joining the game's extensive community.
Star Citizen is entirely crowdfunded, and the million members who decided to back the game have between them raised over $92 million (£60 million) for its development.
The full game has not yet been released, but small 'modules' offering backers tastes of the game's features, such as flying and ship exploration, are available for backers to download. Core activities in the full game will include trading, mining, and combat, on ground and in space.
Aside from the massively multiplayer online version, a more traditonal mission-based single-player game called Squadron 42 will be released, featuring characters played by famous actors like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman and Andy Serkis.
The game began its crowdfunding journey through its own website, and later opened a Kickstarter fund in 2012, which had the relatively modest goal of just $500,000 (£323,000) to get the game off the ground.
The funding campaign grew and grew and surpassed its target very quickly - raising $24m (£16m) by the time the campaign was over.
This sum has now been surpassed many times over, and the $92m total is a Guinness World Record for the largest sum ever raised via crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding has continued long after the Kickstarter closed - backers now raise money for the game by purchasing spaceships and other perks that they will fly around the game universe once it is complete.
In a message on the website, the game's Director Chris Roberts, the man behind the legendary Wing Commander series, wrote a message of thanks to the members.
"It goes without saying that I'm proud of the incredible community that has come together to support Star Citizen to this point, and I'm so excited to watch and take part as you grow, evolve and change as we approach the finish line," he wrote.
"Whether you were an early backer, a veteran backer, someone who joined yesterday or even one of the 'Magnificent Seven,' we are all Star Citizens today, equal and with the same thing owed to us: the Best Damn Space Simulator Ever."
He added that the second alpha version of Star Citizen is close to completion now, and also announced that the 'early access' packages, which users bought to play some elements of the game, have been scrapped.
Now, the whole game will be accessible to everyone who has backed it, regardless of what they pledged.
Those who paid for these packages will now be rewarded with in-game money that they can use upon release.
It may seem odd that so many gamers have handed over large amounts of money (some of the virtual spaceships cost hundreds of very real pounds) for a game that doesn't fully exist yet, but that's a testament to the strength of the online community and the high levels of communication between the developers and backers.
No one needs to spend more than £35 to get access to the game, a far smaller sum than it costs to pre-order blockbuster titles like Call of Duty or FIFA.
Promising an expansive universe, player-controlled economy and constant development of new content by the studio, Cloud Imperium Games, Star Citizen is one of the most-anticipated games ever for many of its million members.
The final version of Star Citizen is expected to be released at the end of 2016.
Independent News Service