Consumers can now spend real money to buy digital land in a game that is currently tracking in the region of three years behind schedule.
Star Citizen developer Roberts Space Initiative is selling plots of land; $50 buys users a 4km x 4km area; shelling out $100 brings this to 8km x 8km. This will also be purchasable with in-game currency.
In addition to the space, consumers also get a beacon which will let them know what the conditions are there and whether anyone else is around. In a post on the studio's website, it's made clear that buying land offers no real benefit over simply finding it and claiming it for yourself.
“Due to the billions of square kilometres of available land over many planets and moons and of course as new Star Systems are introduced and explored, all players will have the ability to find and claim new ‘hot spots’ throughout the lifetime of the game,” the studio says.
“Also, every player can have their own reason for what could be the ‘best’ piece of land, while some may judge a plot of land based on the type and quantity of natural resources that it contains, others might be looking for proximity to trade routes, and others could simply look for a quiet spot with a beautiful vista. This – combined with the fact that there’s an enormous amount of real estate available – means that prospecting and the purchase of land are two pieces of a supply-and-demand equation governing how rapidly land of a distinct perceived value will come on the market.”
Star Citizen is the wildly ambitious space exploration MMO from Chris Roberts' Cloud Imperium Games. Development began in 2011, with release dates pencilled in for both 2014 and 2016. The title is currently without a release date. That hasn't stopped it raising more than $168.5m in crowdfunding which is - to put it lightly - insane.
The project's 3.0 alpha build was set to launch in 2016, but only actually launched in September 2017, which is a succinct illustration of how this game's development has gone.