‘Star Citizen’ Court Documents Reveal the Messy Reality of Crowdfunding a $200 Million Game
Matthew Gault, writing for Motherboard:
Back in 2012, developer Roberts Space Industries (RSI) launched a Kickstarter asking for money to fund Star Citizen—an ambitious space game in the mold of Wing Commander. It’s 2018, and while parts of the game are playable in various forms, it’s far from achieving what it set out to accomplish. So far, it’s collected more than $200 million in funding from fans eager to play it.
Ken Lord was one of those fans, and an early backer of Star Citizen. He’s got a Golden Ticket, a mark on his account that singles him out as an early member of the community. In April of 2013, Lord pledged $4,496 to the project. Five years later, the game still isn’t out, and Lord wants his money back. RSI wouldn’t refund it, so Lord took the developer to small-claims court in California.
This is a major reason why I don’t partake in many Kickstarters, and I personally think games are the worst examples. Clearly I’m the minority though, as the original Kickstarter campaign received $2,134,374 from 34,397 backers. That’s a lot of money for a game that began development in 2011, and still hasn’t been released yet. Sure, there’s an alpha available, but it’s been 7 years, and they originally planned to release in November 2014.
Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the entire story of Ken Lord’s legal case, because there are quite a few interesting twists and turns.