The unbelievable total keeps growing: Star Citizen has raised more than $100m via crowdfunding. More than 1 million people have spent money on it. The milestone is achieved as the Star Citizen alpha 2.0 build launches, which brings multi-crew ships, large world maps and first-person combat; it is, in the words of the official website "your first taste of Star Citizen's living, breathing world".
To play it you need to buy, or have bought, any Star Citizen "package", which start at $54. That bags you the Star Citizen and Squadron 42 games (Squadron 42 is the adjoining storied, single-player experience), a spaceship to fly in the game, some starting cash and some other bits and bobs. Sky is the limit with the packages, which scale up into thousands of dollars.
But there's concern from some corners as Star Citizen reaches yet another massive crowdfunding milestone. Cliff Harris - the man behind the Democracy, Big Pharma and Gratuitous Space Battles games - wrote a blog post at the weekend triggered by (but about much more than) Star Citizen's $100m accomplishment. The piece talks about needing regulations to protect people from being exploited. Again, he's not just talking about Star Citizen but about unchecked spending in games in general, particularly in free-to-play games that rely on it. More money is being spent on "psychological manipulation" than on making good games, he said, and people are susceptible to these irresistible marketing machines.
"I hate regulation but sometimes you need it," he said. "Stopping a business dumping waste in a river is a good idea. Stopping companies treating their customers like animals that can be psychologically trapped and exploited is a good idea too. This stuff is too easy. Save us from ourselves."