Today, Chris Roberts, creator of the Star Citizen game project, announced that his organization has secured $46 million in private investment. Along with that announcement comes a release window for his team’s single-player game. Squadron 42 is now expected to be released in the summer of 2020, more than eight years after its original Kickstarter campaign.
The investment comes courtesy of billionaire record producer Clive Calder and his son Keith. In exchange, the pair now own approximately 10 percent of the shares of Cloud Imperium Games and have several seats on the board of directors. Roberts maintains majority control of the company.
As a result of the investment, the Star Citizen project is now valued at nearly half a billion dollars.
The Star Citizen project is currently the most-funded crowdfunding project of any kind. Its income from backers in 2017 amounted to more than $34 million, or double the amount earned by every other video game project on Kickstarter that year. Using Roberts own self-reported figures, the $46 million is roughly equivalent to one full year of funding from backers and private partnerships.
In today’s announcement, Roberts implied that much of that additional funding would be spent on promoting Squadron 42, whose cast includes Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson and other A-list Hollywood talent.
“We are building two of the most ambitious games ever embarked on in gaming,” Roberts said in today’s statement, drawing a firm distinction between the single-player and multiplayer experiences, “with budgets that are unmatched by all but the very biggest projects.”
“We have been acutely aware that having a AAA game that matches the biggest single player games out there only goes so far if no one knows about it,” Roberts continued. “Because of this, we started to investigate ways to raise money to fund the upcoming marketing and release needs of Squadron 42.”
Today, Roberts has also revealed his organization’s financial records for the first time. Figures include money raised from the sale of virtual spaceships, but also partnerships with organizations like Intel.
The data show the tremendous earning power of the Star Citizen brand, with roughly $35.7 million earned from backers over each of the previous three years, with current estimates coming in at over $36.8 million for 2018.
As for Star Citizen’s multiplayer offering, the early alpha of the game still features only a fraction of the content promised. Our recent attempts to play the “persistent universe,” or the PU as it’s called, showed a much improved flight model and the beginnings of an in-game economy. Unfortunately, our time was plagued with game-breaking bugs that booted us from its servers or stuck us in orbit without a way home.
The PU has not had a release date since 2016.
Further complicating the matter of Star Citizen’s development is an ongoing lawsuit from Crytek, which initially alleged breach of contract and conspiracy. Recent court documents pin the next update in proceedings to the February 2019 timeframe.