Chris Roberts: Star Citizen won't sell to a bigger company

After Oculus Facebook deal, Roberts reassures backers.

Facebook bought successful Kickstarter virtual reality headset Oculus Rift for $2bn - will more crowd-funded projects be snapped up by big business?

Perhaps, but one project, which holds the world record for the most money raised by a crowd-funded product, insists it will remain independent.

That project is Star Citizen, the PC space combat and trading game that has raised an incredible $41m through crowd-funding. In a post on the Roberts Space Industries website overnight, its chief creator, Chris Roberts, moved to reassure backers by promising to remain independent.

"Now to answer the myriad forum threads that popped up worrying about the possibility of Cloud Imperium being acquired by another, bigger company - don't worry!" he said.

"We have no plans nor interest in following this path! We don't need to go to anyone with deep pockets to make OUR dream a reality. To mass-produce hardware like the Rift, you need an outlay of hundreds of millions of dollars. Luckily our ships are digital so we have hardly any cost of goods, just the cost of developing the universe of Star Citizen and running servers that Star Citizen's universe will be simulated on. Thanks to the generosity of the Star Citizen community we have these two things covered.

"And last but not least I'm having way too much fun building the universe of my dreams for everyone to adventure in! I've been down the big company acquisition route twice before and there's a reason I am making Star Citizen totally independently!"

Roberts' comments came as part of a discussion about Facebook's purchase of Oculus. While many have accused Oculus of "selling out", Roberts isn't one of them - and Star Citizen will continue to support the Oculus Rift headset.

"From the moment I first saw the Rift, I knew it was something special," he said. "I can tell you firsthand that the team behind the headset has a true passion for making VR tomorrow's standard.

"In order for the Rift to succeed, it really needed a lot more funding than it has raised from its past two VC rounds. Hardware is expensive: it's one thing to perfect the technology, but before you can sell a single Rift, you need to spend hundreds of millions on manufacturing and building a supply chain if you intend to make the Rift (and Virtual Reality) relevant for the mass market.

"Microsoft invested well over a billion dollars just to launch the Xbox One this fall! My hope is that Facebook's funding will let Oculus compete with much bigger companies and deliver an attractively priced consumer headset at the scale needed for mass market adoption without the loss of the incredible passion that convinced me to back the project.

"I haven't heard or seen anything to the contrary so until I do we are fully committed to supporting the Rift."

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