Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Using AI To Examine CIG Reaching $700 Million In Revenue

I originally intended to wait until Saturday to post about Cloud Imperium Games reaching $700 million in revenue raised through the company's Roberts Space Industries website. But I woke up to my Twitter feed (does anyone call it "X") and a story about the subject. I thought I'd run through the article, as the story reminded me of why I'm so glad I'm a blogger and not a writer for a mainstream games journalism site.

I don't think the author of the piece, Wesley Yin-Poole, really follows the game. I can't say I blame him. He's the UK News Editor for IGN and for him to closely follow a game that makes EVE Online look mainstream and is probably 3 years away from release is probably expecting a little too much. Still, I don't think he did that bad of a job given the circumstances.

The next part is where I really take issue.

CIG even breaks down the revenue by recent months, weeks, and hours. At its lowest point on the morning of May 28, Star Citizen brought in $42,886 in one hour, about $1.5 million yesterday, May 27, $10,883,513 last week, and $4,753,264 for the month of April (things appear to have picked up considerably in May after the launch of the Alpha 3.23: Adventure Beckons update).

This is where Yin-Poole's unfamiliarity with the subject matter comes into play. Yes, I know he wrote an article on Alpha 3.23. I also know that from the launch of Alpha 3.23 on 11 May to 16 May, revenue year-over-year increased from $842,000 in 2023 to $3.1 million this year. But the real driver of lifetime revenue reaching $700 million was Invictus Launch Week.

Today's view of the Funding Tracker

A year ago I wouldn't have picked on the slip as who can really keep track of games? With the advent of advanced AI engines, however, the excuses are going away. I asked Copilot if there were any events ongoing in Star Citizen. The first item presented by the AI was Invictus Launch Week.

1. Invictus Launch Week 2954: From May 17 to May 29, players can participate in Invictus Launch Week. During this event, you can play Star Citizen for free, explore new releases, rediscover old favorites, and enjoy exciting content.

The next request I made to Copilot I thought was obvious: tell me more about Invictus Launch Week. I'll paste the answer below because I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people have no idea.

Invictus Launch Week is a significant event in the Star Citizen universe, organized by the United Empire of Earth Navy (UEEN). Let me provide you with some details:

During Invictus Launch Week, players can expect the following:

  1. Free Play: Star Citizen opens its doors to everyone, allowing players to experience the game for free during this special week. It’s an excellent opportunity for newcomers to explore the vast universe, try out ships, and engage in various activities.

  2. New Releases: The event often features first looks at brand-new ship releases, weapons, and other content. Whether it’s a sleek fighter or a massive capital ship, players get a glimpse of what’s coming to the 'verse.

  3. Showcase of Naval Fleet: The UEE Navy puts on an awe-inspiring display of its naval fleet. You’ll witness impressive capital ships, fighters, and other military vessels in action. It’s a chance to appreciate the scale and power of the UEE’s forces.

  4. Community Gatherings: Players come together to celebrate Invictus Launch Week. Whether it’s organizing in-game events, hosting parties, or participating in races, the community buzzes with excitement.

Now, I know from writing about the business side of Cloud Imperium Games that Invictus is historically the second largest revenue producing event each year. So I asked Copilot about special ship discounts and promotions. I learned something new.

Certainly! During Invictus Launch Week, Star Citizen offers various ship-related promotions and discounts. Here are the details:

  1. Stock Limited Ships: The event features sales of stock limited ships on the Pledge Store. These ships are considered ‘exclusive’ and are only sold in limited quantities over a small period of time. Each stock-limited ship is limited to 1 per account, and sale windows are usually available in 3 waves.

  2. Discount Codes: Some players receive exclusive discount codes via email during Invictus. These codes provide a 10% discount on eligible purchases. Keep an eye on your inbox for any such offers.

  3. Free Play: As Invictus Launch Week comes to a close, all vehicles from the previous days are available to use for free on May 29 and May 30. Don’t forget, the Free Fly event also ends on May 30, so take advantage of the opportunity to explore the 'verse.

I did not know about the discount codes. I asked Copilot about the discount codes, thinking those were for Concierge members. Subscribers also may receive discount codes. CIG offers two tiers of subscriptions, Centurion for $10/month or $110/year and Imperator for $20/month or $220/year.

I have seen the subscription line item in CIG's yearly financial reports but never bothered to find out what people received for their subscription. Copilot was eager to tell me.

Certainly! Becoming a subscriber in Star Citizen is a great way to support the game’s development while enjoying exclusive perks. Here’s how you can become a subscriber:

  1. Recurring Plan:

  2. Pre-Paid Pass:

    • Alternatively, you can opt for a Pre-Paid Pass, which grants you subscriber access for a limited time.
    • Pre-Paid Passes are ideal if you prefer not to commit to a recurring payment plan.
    • These passes can be purchased using Store Credit and provide the same perks as regular recurring plans.
    • Additionally, they contribute to your subscriber history.
  3. Perks and Benefits:

Sometimes I get the feeling Copilot (or the Copilot project manager) is a Legatus Navium level backer of Star Citizen

In review, the Invictus Fleet Week event is designed to bring in large amounts of money. First, the company tries to lure players to try out the game by making access to Star Citizen free for the length of the event. Next, CIG entices existing players into purchasing large expensive ships costing hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. And finally the events like Invictus Fleet Week incentivize players to become subscribers to receive the benefits, especially discount coupons, listed above.

As for Mr. Yin-Pool, I have to give him an "A" for effort. He actually got close to the facts of the story. The only problem is I think he assumed that the patch created the financial wave that pushed CIG's lifetime revenue total to over $700 million. The patch, despite all the improvements the new content brought to Star Citizen, was present to support the event. Then again, I decided to use Copilot to cover for my ignorance of some parts of the story. I don't think he used AI to aid his work.

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