Oh totally agree - the exact fear I have is that this has gone so far the only way to ~survive~ now is to continue with that How does a group of newbies compete with an org that ~starts~ with capital ships on day 1? The ability to generate funds, capture territory, make an impact on the 'verse... that will be the whales and the orgs that have been playing for years and dumping cash in. So... either you stagger that out (potentially irritating the whales), or you have to let the newbies ~choose~ if they want to put in cash. I fully, 100%, totally and completely believe that EVERY ship will be available in game for in-game money. But they've BEEN available for $$ - so tons of folks already have them. That's a hill that may ~break~ the community if they're not careful - the sadly easy answer is "don't change anything, keep taking money".I share your concerns, absolutely. One of my greatest fears about the project is that they'll do the thing that is "easy" to justify, the thing that is common to the rest of the gaming industry, the thing that (sadly, I realize how I old I feel when seeing this) nearly a whole generation has grown up seeing exploitative monetization as normal. However, the ENTIRE PREMISE of Star Citizen is that it is NOT intended to be a normal game, a normal project, or like the rest of the gaming industry. From day 1 it was crowdfunded because publishers at the time would not fund even a more midding, limited "common in the 90s-esq but modernized" space sim like those Roberts' used to make. When the project grew from there the community was asked and answered both in writing and with their wallets they wanted something unprecedented, as this chance was an unusual one. As the funding kept coming in until the scope became locked down at the current (basically the scope of the game was not even really set until the first 100M came in, studios and assets to support them were built for this scope etc) people realized this was a rare chance to do something that would likely for better or worse not come along for a long time.
I don't think they'll do it intentionally. I don't think chris roberts "fails" intentionally (It just generally takes a real PM or product owner to kick his ass) either - but how do you fix the balance without, well, letting other people choose to pay to catch up? I honestly don't know the answer to that - I'm fiddling ideas, but ... I suspect that's going to be an issue, if we ever make it to "release". When 50% of the population has tanks, carriers, battleships, and nukes - and the other half has sticks, stones, and two flintlock pistols... balance is ~fucked up~.It wasn't just the game and immersion or crowdfunding, but lots of the early business decisions that were pivotal in getting people to back were absolutely unusual - and I say that even as someone who has backed a LOT of crowdfunding projects at higher values. The typical idea for crowfunding something ambitious was to put FOMO stuff in place for the "whales" , harp on exclusivity and more. Star Citizen didn't do that - they walked a hell of a tightrope. Saying that just about every ship AND cosmetic would be unlockable in game without having to pay has been a core reason people backed. Star Citizen basically proved that the common monetization justifications of the industry were bullshit - people didn't have to be "forced" by restriction, exclusivity, tedium etc.. to pay, they'll back regardless if they want to support the project and believe in it. There's a lot of other things that SC has done differently and were core values of Roberts and the early team when it came to monetization - open-handed policies over restriction, at just about every level - it was wonderfully balanced for many different types of backers all at the same time. I've said before that in recent years there are definitely some concerns I have and I hate to see this waver. I worry that an influx of new, younger talent from elsewhere in the industry will try to do what is "normal" and new bean counters will just nod along. However, if this happens it will undermine what makes Star Citizen so unique. They'll also try the patience of backers of all sorts if they keep dragging things on only for profit - some have made that accusation since day 1, and much the same way the depth and immersion of the game world makes people more understanding oft the long arc to development, were they to give up those features people would become angry all around ; some because they gave them up, others because they could have made a "meh" game without all those features much faster etc... nobody will be happy! The same will be true for monetization vs the amount of support for the project. If they start acting like a Korean Item Mall MMO with their policies, you can bet that people like me who backed on their open handed policies will vehemently protest and they're likely to turn supporters into PR opposition. This will also haave technical effects like the in-game economy described being disrupted and no longer viable, which then becomes a cascade of policies ruined seeking short term "typical" monetization gain in a project that is by design "atypical", among other issues.
So yes, while it is understandable for people to worry about them taking that course (its right to be pessimistic about watching the rest of the industry) , hopefully enough of the upper management know they cannot let the festering pathogen of exploitative monetization slip in lest it undermine support for the project and what makes it unique. Oh and its worth mentioning there are very, very few outside investors on the core game itself thankfully. Probably the only reason they've had this kind of autonomy and haven't slipped into traditional industry behavior thus far (much like how Valve is privately owned and Gaben has a controlling interest). There' was some very limited investment prior to the start of crowdfunding and then over the years they've taken some small amount of investment for things that are not related to development (ie a loan for marketing stuff, events, fabrication of some physical items etc... because Chris stated he didn't want to put crowdfunding money towards things like marketing or advertising etc. ) but generally they're pretty well set in this regard last I checked, unless something has changed.
Well, considering how some people (not the one I was replying to) think that the "secret plan" from the start would be to never come to 1.0 and that failure to do so would not have any negative ramifications from the backers or be noteworthy in the way the game was stuctured, I just wanted to clarify.