Let me just say that, based on my experience, Star Citizen is about to go crazy. Personally, I think Derek Smart is a symptom and not the disease. I think of him like Bill O'Reilly, who is a dumber version of Glenn Beck. Smart is a guy who wants to feel important, so he recognized a situation and tried to jump in front of the crowd. Or is that a mob? I guess that depends on your perspective.
But whatever your thoughts on Smart, Chris Roberts is reacting to him. In addition to Sandi Gardiner coming out as Chris Roberts' wife at the beginning of CitizenCon, Roberts announced the removal of certain restrictions to access the Star Citizen alpha this week.
"In honor of our newest Citizen (really, our thousands of new Citizens!) we would like to give something back to the entire community for all your incredible support. Starting today, we are eliminating ‘Alpha Access’ and the $5 module passes. Anyone who has pledged for a Star Citizen Package can now play today without worrying they won’t have access to some portion of the ‘Verse in the future. No Star Marine pass, no Alpha 2.0 pass… no additional payment needed for any module in the works, pre-release. Going forward, should we need to put out some sort of limited release it will be done through the PTU test server. All backers will have access to any live release, the moment it publishes.Perhaps I'm too suspicious, but did Cloud Imperium Games just raise the cap of how much in game currency players can purchase before the game launches from 20,000 UEC to 30,000 UEC? My understanding is that upon launch, Star Citizen will impose a 150,000 UEC cap on the amount a player can hold at any one time. I wonder what allowing players to start 20% of the way to the cash cap will affect the game at launch. I strongly suspect the bad will outweigh the good.
"In addition, I’d like to reward our earliest supporters who made it possible to get to this point. Everyone with an ‘alpha access’ package will be awarded 10,000 UEC; everyone who purchased an Arena Commander pass individually will be given 5,000 UEC (with the cap raising appropriately to allow this.) You also have my most sincere thanks: you were our vanguard, the battalion that fought the good fight from the beginning. Your impact on Star Citizen will never be forgotten, for without your early faith we couldn’t be where we are today. (Please note that this credit payout is going to take a big script, so it may take Turbulent a few days to work out the logistics!)"
Another point I wonder about is whether any cash spent on in-game currency used during game play in the alpha or beta will result in a player getting the same about of UEC when the game goes live. If so, then some of the bigger whales will probably wind up at the cash limit when the game starts. Once again, great for CiG's bottom line, but bad for the game in the long term.
Now for the space lawyering portion of the post. Up until 1 February 2015, the Star Citizen Terms of Service contained this clause:
"RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of the deposit shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the pledge items and/or the Game to you within 12 months after the estimated delivery date."For backers of the Kickstarter, that was November 2014.
|As seen on the Kickstarter page, 15 October 2015|
"RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date."Pretty sneaky, Mr. Roberts. The only problem is, how do you get people who thought they only had beta access to click on a link to accept the new ToS?
|Not all Kickstarter backers received Alpha access|
One way is to allow all backers access into the game ... now. Even if someone only gave $30 three years ago, I believe a lot of those backers will flock to the servers just to see the state of the game.
Honestly, I suspect that this ToS game will only affect the early backers of Star Citizen as I don't believe that Star Citizen currently makes any promises on when the game will release like CiG had to do for Kickstarter. But considering how massive the outpouring of support for the game, $30 here and $60 there eventually turns into significant amounts of real money. I seriously doubt Roberts wants to give out refunds (except the one he already gave to Smart), if only because of the bad press. Still, ToS games like the one described above leave a bad taste in my mouth.
Hopefully, I can get back to games that actually launched and not games months away from beta, but with Star Citizen such a significant game already, I had to post an update. Now to go online and purchase some more popcorn stock. I could make a fortune!