The story of the game Star Citizen and Cloud Empire, the company that develops it, is almost too ridiculous to believe: a crowdfunding effort to create a space sim of unsurpassed size and realism, raising hundreds of millions With backers paying thousands for ships and equipment in a game that is years after release. Still, it is actually enough that it only drew in $ 42 million in private funding to get it closer to the release.
Star Citizen began as brain skin by Chris Roberts, architect of the Wing Commander series and other well-received space games. His idea was to crowdfund the team's next match and did so in 2012; The money started rolling in, and it was never completely stopped. The game has also not ceased to grow in its ambitions, adding things like whole planets to the show that seem on their face, some madness.
There is no shortage of game and developer stories out there, so for our purposes it suffices to say that over the past six years, the company has increased $ 21
A large amount of work has been done on the game, so this is not just a colossal con, although there are many who think The game, and the first person shooter counterpart, Squadron 42, may never fulfill their ambitions and justify the money the people have put into it.
It doesn't seem to be Clive Calder, founder of Zomba and producer in a variety of entertainment formats, which Roberts met during a secret campaign to seek funding.
Roberts, who writes the story in one of his honest messages to the project's fanbase, had decided a while back that he didn't want to use pledged funds for marketing purposes – at least not the kind of marketing flash AAA games tend to require for a successful global release. So he went looking for investment, and found Calder, as he "was like a house on fire."
Calder's family office agreed to invest $ 46 million for a 10 percent stake in Cloud Empire, all told it puts nearly half a billion valuations. One can very well question the sense of such appreciation for a company that has not yet sent an actual product – working prototypes, certainly, but not a completed game – but hell, at least they do something people are happy about. It must be worth a few bucks.
Cloud Empire gets two new directors from outside, but Roberts, who imposes the kind of loyalty that only decades in one industry can create, was quick to point out that "control of the company and the board remains firmly with me as chairman, executive director and majority shareholder. "
In another act of not exactly radical but not legally required transparency, the company has also overseen the company's finances over the past six years. Not surprisingly, the company has invested most of the cash in game development in terms of wages, contracts and overheads; A non-trivial crowd has gone against "publishing, community, events and marketing", which is not surprising with a community-focused game like Star Citizen.
The company has grown steadily and adds a hundred people a year or so to a current size of 464 – which is the type of size you can expect on an AAA game like Assassin's Creed or Red Dead Redemption. Even more will be added as temporary artists, actors and so on.
I'm sure no one has escaped as promises seem to have peaked, but if they remain stable, the company will obviously have enough to continue the operation if it doesn't expand. But one might also see a secondary motive in seeking investment from outside society. At some point, people will want a game.
In this context, squadron 42 is at least scheduled for release in Q2 2020 – although backers and critics will shed some light on the idea that Cloud Empire will be able to meet these goals. The games, infamously, were originally slated for release long ago. But the scope of the project has grown since the perception, and although some will no doubt prefer to play the finished game today, they may well find that good things come to those who wait. And wait. And wait …