Note: We’ve updated the end of this post with the latest developments since the article went live Friday morning.
The Star Citizen subreddit has been positively ablaze overnight thanks to Cloud Imperium’s Thursday night announcement that it would be locking all of the CitizenCon streaming behind a digital ticket paywall, breaking with tradition from past Star Citizen events.
Popular Star Citizen fansite Relay even let CIG have it, arguing that “CIG has no business locking out any part of its fanbase” because it has “crowdfunded over $190 million to develop Star Citizen and untold millions more from subscribers” and “lives off of the goodwill, generosity, and excitement of the Star Citizen community.” Moreover, the site posits, CitizenCon is a far cry from BlizzCon, whose studio has released 19 games.
The furor grew so loud that early this morning Chris Roberts himself posted to the game’s Spectrum forums, telling players to stop yelling at marketing and instead blame him. He explains that this year’s event will be both significantly bigger than in past years (to allow more people to attend) and far more expensive to run. Streaming was originally cut from this event’s design for 2018, but he says it was his decision to make sure all of the panels were being recorded and recorded properly – even at great expense – and from there, the studio decided to include it as a perk for some backers.
“I thought let’s take a leaf out of Blizzard’s book and have a digital pass to allow people to virtually be there for all the presentations and the money for these passes would help offset the not inconsiderable increase in costs that I was asking for because I wanted to do it better for all of you,” he writes.
“Nothing was ever planned to be pay-walled or withheld form the community, and honestly I like the idea of most people seeing the presentations in their own time as a high quality video rather than a stream of potentially questionable quality. The live-stream aspect was always intended for the most ardent community members that want to see it live as it unfolds but can’t make it to the event to be there in person. We’re not likely to cover the costs of the additional coverage and live-streaming but I felt we should be fiscally responsible and try to defray at least some of additional costs, which is how the current plan came to be.”
“What we didn’t anticipate is how dearly some of you value watching the main CitizenCon presentation live,” he concludes. “I get that some of you may not be considering these nuances when you’re whipping out your pitchforks, which is why I thought it would help to detail our thought process and decision process. […] But I get that some of you could feel that you’ve lost something that you’ve had previously, and you are not a true Star Citizen fan unless you’ve sat through an awkward live-stream with crashes and technical glitches, so we will have the opening keynote and my closing available for everyone that has a Star Citizen account, no digital pass required, with the other sessions requiring a digital pass to see live (and remember you’ll be able to see these at your leisure, no restrictions a few days later).”
In other words, everyone will now be able to see the keynote and endcap streams without paying, but the rest is still paywalled.
Meanwhile, if you can pull your gaze away from the latest Star Citizen flaming trainwreck, Around the Verse also went up last night; it recaps Gamescom, community events, and development work on scramble races, asteroid mining, city building, visual effects, ocean environments, new skins for the Tumbril, weapon sound design, and the con itself.
“After sleeping on this, I am going to chalk this one up to experience. We’re going to cut back on the live-streaming crew / costs but have both stages streamed for anyone with a Star Citizen user account. Star Citizen Content Creators are welcome to rebroadcast our stream live. If you would like to support the additional costs of streaming all the presentations, you can support the show by purchasing the CitizenCon digital goodies package (Imperators still get this as their October flair).”