How Much Does Star Citizen Crowdfunding Make



Crowdfunding has revolutionized the way projects, businesses, and even video game development are funded. One prominent example of successful crowdfunding is Star Citizen, a highly ambitious space exploration and combat simulation game developed by Cloud Imperium Games.

Since its inception in 2012, Star Citizen has become a household name among gaming enthusiasts, captivating millions with its captivating universe and promising gameplay features. What sets Star Citizen apart from traditional game development is its utilization of crowdfunding as the primary source of funding. Rather than seeking financial support from publishers or investors, Star Citizen relies on the generosity of its passionate community of backers.

With the tagline “This is the game you’ve been waiting for,” Star Citizen has managed to raise an astounding amount of money through crowdfunding. In this article, we will delve into the world of Star Citizen crowdfunding, exploring its history, the current state of funding, and the impact it has had on game development.

But first, let’s take a closer look at how crowdfunding works and why it has become such a popular avenue for funding creative ventures.


How does crowdfunding work?

Crowdfunding is a method of financing projects by raising small amounts of money from a large number of individuals, known as backers or supporters. This model allows creators and entrepreneurs to bypass traditional funding avenues, such as banks or venture capitalists, and directly connect with their target audience.

There are several types of crowdfunding, including donation-based, reward-based, equity-based, and lending-based. In the case of Star Citizen, the crowdfunding model used is primarily reward-based. Backers contribute funds to the project with the expectation of receiving exclusive rewards or benefits in return.

Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Roberts Space Industries (RSI) offer a convenient way for creators to showcase their projects, set funding goals, and receive contributions. These platforms act as intermediaries, handling the financial transactions and providing tools to showcase the project and engage with backers.

Creators often offer a range of reward tiers to entice backers at different contribution levels. These rewards can include digital copies of the final product, exclusive in-game items, access to beta testing phases, or even physical merchandise related to the project. The more a backer contributes, the more valuable and exclusive their rewards become.

One of the key advantages of crowdfunding is the ability to gauge market interest and validate a concept before investing substantial resources into development. By presenting their ideas to potential backers, creators can gather feedback, build a community, and adjust their plans based on the response received.

In the case of Star Citizen, the crowdfunding campaign served as a rallying point for dedicated space simulation enthusiasts who felt underserved by the existing offerings in the gaming market. The campaign enabled them to directly support the development of a game that aligned with their interests and desires, fostering a sense of ownership and involvement in the project.

Overall, crowdfunding has democratized the funding process, empowering creators to bring their visions to life with the support of their audience. Now that we understand the fundamentals of crowdfunding, let’s explore the fascinating history of Star Citizen’s crowdfunding journey.


The history of Star Citizen crowdfunding

The story of Star Citizen’s crowdfunding success begins in 2012 when veteran game developer Chris Roberts announced his ambitious project to the world. With a vision to create the ultimate space simulator, Roberts founded Cloud Imperium Games and launched the crowdfunding campaign on the Roberts Space Industries (RSI) platform.

The initial funding goal was set at $500,000, a modest target considering the scope of the project. However, the response from the gaming community was overwhelming. Star Citizen quickly captured the imagination of players, promising a vast and immersive universe unlike anything seen before. Within just a few days, the funding goal was not only met but exceeded.

As the campaign gained momentum, Roberts and his team set stretch goals to unlock additional features and expand the scope of the game. These stretch goals acted as incentives to encourage backers to increase their contributions, and they proved to be highly effective. With each milestone reached, more players joined the ranks of Star Citizen supporters.

Star Citizen’s crowdfunding campaign continued to break records year after year. By 2014, it had become the highest-funded crowdfunding project in history, surpassing the $55 million mark. With the increasing hype and optimism surrounding the game, the funding kept pouring in, enabling Cloud Imperium Games to push the boundaries of their development ambitions further.

By 2018, Star Citizen had raised an astonishing $200 million, a testament to the passion and dedication of its backers. This unprecedented level of funding allowed the developers to assemble a team of industry experts, create cutting-edge technology, and craft a game with unparalleled attention to detail.

The success of Star Citizen’s crowdfunding campaign can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the game tapped into a niche market of dedicated space simulation fans who had been longing for a worthy successor to classic titles like Wing Commander and Freelancer, both of which were also helmed by Chris Roberts.

Secondly, the transparent and open communication between the development team and the community fostered trust and excitement. Regular updates, behind-the-scenes videos, and direct interactions with players created a sense of shared ownership and investment in the project’s success.

Lastly, the rewards offered to backers were enticing and valuable. Exclusive ships, digital items, and access to in-progress builds of the game enticed players to contribute more in order to gain a competitive edge and be part of the development process.

Star Citizen’s crowdfunding journey stands as a testament to the power of community, passion, and innovation within the gaming industry. The immense financial support and unwavering devotion from its backers have propelled the project to unprecedented heights.

Now that we have explored the history of Star Citizen’s crowdfunding success, we will examine the current state of its crowdfunding efforts and the different sources of funding that have contributed to its development.


Current state of Star Citizen crowdfunding

As of the time of writing, Star Citizen’s crowdfunding campaign continues to generate substantial funding. The project has surpassed all expectations and has now raised over $350 million, making it one of the most successful crowdfunded ventures in history.

The continuous influx of funding has allowed Cloud Imperium Games to expand the scope and scale of Star Citizen. The game has evolved from a simple space simulation to a living, breathing universe, complete with intricate gameplay mechanics, a dynamic economy, and a vast array of meticulously crafted star systems to explore.

Contributions to Star Citizen come from multiple sources, including new backers discovering the project and existing backers increasing their support. The community of passionate backers remains engaged, active, and continues to fuel the project’s growth.

The campaign has also implemented features such as the “Referral Program,” which rewards backers who refer new players to the game. This referral system has proven effective in attracting more players and increasing the reach of Star Citizen’s crowdfunding efforts.

In addition to individual contributions, Cloud Imperium Games introduced the concept of “Fleet Week.” This event allows organizations within the Star Citizen community to showcase their fleet of ships and participate in special in-game events, further fostering a sense of community and collaboration among backers.

The ongoing success of the crowdfunding campaign has enabled Cloud Imperium Games to establish multiple studios worldwide, each dedicated to different aspects of the game’s development. This decentralized approach has allowed for faster development and a more efficient workflow, ensuring that progress continues on all fronts.

One noteworthy aspect of Star Citizen’s crowdfunding journey is the continuous release of new content and updates to backers. The game follows a “live service” model, where playable alpha and beta builds are regularly released to allow backers to provide feedback and help shape the game’s direction.

While Star Citizen is not yet in a fully released state, these incremental updates have provided backers with a glimpse into the game’s potential. The development process has been transparent, with regular communication from the development team, showcasing their dedication to creating the best possible experience for their supporters.

The ongoing crowdfunding success and the active involvement of the community have not only sustained the development of Star Citizen but have also inspired other game developers to explore crowdfunding as a viable funding option for ambitious projects.

In the next section, we will delve into the different revenue streams that contribute to Star Citizen’s funding, with a particular focus on ship sales, which have become a major source of revenue for the game.


Breakdown of funding sources

The funding for Star Citizen comes from various sources, which collectively contribute to the project’s staggering financial success. Let’s delve into the breakdown of these funding sources:

1. Crowdfunding: The primary and most significant source of funding for Star Citizen is the crowdfunding campaign. The backers, also known as “Citizens,” contribute directly to the project through the official website, purchasing pledge packages or individual ships to support the game’s development. Over the years, the loyal and passionate community has consistently played a pivotal role in propelling the game’s funding beyond expectations.

2. Ship sales: A significant portion of the crowdfunding revenue comes from the sale of spaceships within the Star Citizen universe. These ships range from starter ships to massive capital ships, each with unique features and capabilities. Ship sales have proven to be highly lucrative, enticing backers to invest additional funds in exchange for exclusive vessels. The success of ship sales can be attributed to the combination of compelling ship designs, limited-time sales events, and the desire for players to gain an edge in the game’s vast universe.

3. Game packages and virtual items: In addition to ships, Star Citizen offers various game packages, which include access to the game, digital goodies, and starting resources. These packages act as a way for new players to join the game’s alpha and beta testing phases while supporting its development financially. Virtual items such as in-game weapons, armor, and cosmetic enhancements are also available for purchase, contributing to the overall funding for the project.

4. Partnerships and investments: While crowdfunding remains the primary source of funding for Star Citizen, Cloud Imperium Games has also secured partnerships and investments from external entities. These partnerships may involve collaborations with hardware manufacturers, integration of third-party technology, or financial support from industry partners. These collaborations not only provide additional funding but also offer opportunities to enhance the game’s quality and expand its reach.

5. Subscriptions: To sustain ongoing development and provide exclusive content to subscribers, Star Citizen offers a subscription program called “Imperial Membership.” Subscribers gain access to special features, behind-the-scenes content, and a monthly selection of in-game items. While subscriptions amount to a relatively smaller portion of the total funding, they contribute to the game’s continued development and provide additional perks to dedicated supporters.

Combined, these funding sources have propelled the financial success of Star Citizen, enabling Cloud Imperium Games to push the boundaries of game development and create an expansive, immersive universe for players to explore.

Next, let’s delve into the major source of revenue within Star Citizen’s funding model: ship sales.


Major source of revenue: Ship sales

Among the various funding sources for Star Citizen, ship sales stand out as a major contributor to the game’s financial success. The sale of spaceships within the Star Citizen universe has become a significant revenue stream for the project, capturing the attention and imagination of backers and players alike.

Star Citizen offers a vast array of ships, ranging from small agile fighters to massive capital ships. Each ship boasts unique designs, features, and capabilities, catering to different playstyles and interests. The appeal of owning and piloting these meticulously crafted vessels has become a driving force behind the financial support pouring into the project.

The ship sales model in Star Citizen employs a combination of limited-time sales, concept sales, and ship upgrades. Limited-time sales create a sense of exclusivity and urgency, encouraging backers to make a purchase within a specific timeframe. Concept sales, on the other hand, allow players to buy ships that are still in the early stages of development, providing them with the opportunity to contribute to the ship’s design and evolution.

One of the notable aspects of ship sales in Star Citizen is the focus on offering ships that serve specific roles within the game’s universe. From exploration and cargo hauling to combat and support, each ship has a purpose and niche in the gameplay experience. This approach not only enhances the immersion but also provides players with a wide range of options to suit their desired playstyle.

The success of ship sales can be attributed to several factors. The detailed ship designs, captivating visual presentations, and thorough descriptions create a sense of authenticity and allure. Backers are not just purchasing a virtual asset; they are investing in a dream and supporting the development of a game that aligns with their passion for immersive space experiences.

In addition, ship sales have thrived due to the active engagement of the community. The developers regularly seek feedback and suggestions from backers, enabling them to refine and improve ship designs based on player preferences. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of ownership and satisfaction among backers, as they see their input shaping the development of the game.

It is important to note that ship sales in Star Citizen are not pay-to-win. While players can gain a competitive edge with certain ships, the game’s design philosophy ensures that skill, strategy, and cooperation are the primary factors in achieving success. Additionally, almost all ships will be obtainable in-game through in-game currency, allowing players to acquire them without making additional real-money purchases.

The revenue generated from ship sales has played a pivotal role in funding the ongoing development and expansion of Star Citizen. It has allowed Cloud Imperium Games to hire a talented team, invest in cutting-edge technology, and create an ambitious universe that continues to captivate players worldwide.

Now that we understand the major source of revenue for Star Citizen, let’s explore the other revenue streams that contribute to the project’s financial success.


Other revenue streams

While ship sales are a significant source of revenue for Star Citizen, the game also generates funds through other avenues. These additional revenue streams contribute to the overall financial success and sustainability of the project. Let’s explore some of these revenue sources:

1. Game Packages: In addition to ship sales, Star Citizen offers various game packages that provide access to the game, digital goodies, and starting resources. These packages act as a way for new players to join the game’s development cycles and provide financial support to the project. The different tiers of game packages allow players to choose the level of commitment and perks they desire.

2. Virtual Items: Alongside ships, Star Citizen provides a range of virtual items that players can purchase to enhance their in-game experience. These items include weapons, armor, clothing, and cosmetic enhancements. While these items do not directly affect gameplay, they allow players to personalize their characters and distinguish themselves in the game’s universe.

3. Subscriptions: Star Citizen offers a subscription program known as “Imperial Membership.” Subscribers enjoy various benefits such as exclusive content, access to monthly in-game items, and behind-the-scenes updates. The subscription model provides an additional revenue stream while rewarding dedicated supporters with VIP perks and exclusive experiences.

4. Events and Special Sales: Star Citizen frequently hosts events and special sales that attract both existing and new players. These events feature limited-time promotions, discounts, and unique opportunities to acquire ships or virtual items. Such events generate spikes in revenue as players take advantage of the enticing offers and exclusive content.

5. Partnerships and Merchandising: Cloud Imperium Games has collaborated with external partners to create merchandise related to Star Citizen. Physical items such as clothing, posters, models, and accessories allow fans to showcase their support for the game outside of the virtual realm. These partnerships and merchandise sales provide an additional revenue stream and contribute to the expansion of the Star Citizen brand.

Through these various revenue streams, Star Citizen has been able to diversify its income sources and build a sustainable financial model. By offering a range of options for players to support the development, the game remains accessible to a wide range of backers while ensuring ongoing progress.

It is worth noting that these revenue streams are designed to supplement the crowdfunding efforts and enhance the gaming experience, rather than creating a pay-to-win environment. The core principles of skill, strategy, and teamwork remain the primary factors in determining success in Star Citizen’s universe.

The success of these revenue streams reinforces the commitment of the Star Citizen community and their dedication to seeing the project flourish. The continuous financial support enables Cloud Imperium Games to invest in the development of new features, optimize performance, and deliver on the expansive vision they have set for the game.

Next, we will analyze the financial data of Star Citizen and examine the impact of crowdfunding on the game’s development and industry as a whole.


Analysis of financial data

Star Citizen’s financial data reveals the immense success and impact of its crowdfunding campaign. As of now, the project has raised over $350 million, marking a remarkable achievement in the history of game development funding.

The continuous influx of funds has allowed Cloud Imperium Games to expand their team, establish multiple studios worldwide, and invest in cutting-edge technology. This financial stability has enabled the developers to create a game with an unprecedented level of attention to detail and scope.

By analyzing the financial data, it becomes evident that Star Citizen’s crowdfunding campaign has been remarkably effective in generating revenue. The game has shattered crowdfunding records, captivating its community and attracting new backers with its ambitious vision and promise of an immersive universe.

The success of the campaign is further underscored by the consistent growth in funding over the years. From surpassing its initial $500,000 goal in just a few days to crossing the $200 million mark by 2018, the Star Citizen community has continuously demonstrated their unwavering support for the project.

Ship sales, as a major revenue stream, have proven to be particularly successful. The allure of owning unique and meticulously crafted vessels within the game’s universe has resonated strongly with backers, driving them to invest large sums of money. The limited-time sales, concept sales, and ship upgrades have effectively captured the attention and financial contributions of players.

Furthermore, the continuous release of game packages, virtual items, and subscriptions has provided an ongoing stream of revenue for Star Citizen. These additional revenue sources allow players to contribute to the game’s development while gaining access to exclusive content and perks.

The financial data also showcases the dedication and passion of the Star Citizen community. The sustained funding and the enthusiasm for the game have enabled Cloud Imperium Games to push the boundaries of innovation, deliver regular updates, and focus on creating an unparalleled gaming experience.

Star Citizen’s financial success has not only had a transformative impact on the game’s development but has also influenced the wider gaming industry. The campaign has highlighted the potential of crowdfunding as a viable funding model for ambitious projects, encouraging developers to explore alternative avenues beyond traditional publishing.

The transparency and direct interaction with backers throughout the crowdfunding journey have fostered a strong sense of community and collaboration. This relationship and shared ownership have not only fueled the financial success of Star Citizen but have also created a dedicated player base that eagerly awaits its full release.

As we delve into the impact of crowdfunding on Star Citizen’s development and industry trends, it becomes clear that the financial data not only reflects the project’s accomplishments but also serves as a testament to the power of community-driven support in shaping the future of gaming.


Impact of crowdfunding on game development

Crowdfunding has had a profound impact on the landscape of game development, and Star Citizen stands as a prime example of the transformative power of this funding model. The game’s crowdfunding success has had wide-ranging effects that have reshaped the industry in several ways.

1. Independence from traditional publishers: One of the most significant impacts of crowdfunding on game development is the ability to break free from the traditional publisher model. Star Citizen’s funding solely from the community of backers has granted Cloud Imperium Games the freedom to pursue their creative vision without external pressures and compromises imposed by publishers. This independence has allowed the developers to take risks, experiment with innovative gameplay features, and prioritize the player experience above all else.

2. Direct connection and community involvement: Crowdfunding has revolutionized the relationship between developers and players. By involving backers in the early stages of development, Star Citizen has fostered an engaged and passionate community that actively contributes to the game’s evolution. This direct connection allows for valuable feedback, iterative improvements, and a strong sense of ownership among backers. The interaction and collaboration between developers and players have become a defining characteristic of the crowdfunding model.

3. Niche and ambitious projects finding support: Prior to crowdfunding, many niche and ambitious game projects struggled to secure funding from traditional sources. Crowdfunding has opened up opportunities for developers to create games that cater to specific interests and passions within the gaming community. Star Citizen’s success has demonstrated that there is a dedicated audience for ambitious and immersive projects, giving hope and inspiration to other developers with unique visions.

4. Increased transparency and accountability: Crowdfunding has brought a heightened level of transparency and accountability to game development. With a community of passionate backers closely following the progress of the project, developers like Cloud Imperium Games have been required to provide regular updates, share development milestones, and engage in open communication. This transparency builds trust, instills confidence in the project, and holds developers accountable for delivering on their promises.

5. Pioneering new funding models: Star Citizen’s success has also sparked innovation in funding models within the gaming industry. The combination of ship sales, game packages, subscriptions, and partnerships showcases the versatility and effectiveness of multiple revenue streams. This diversification of funding sources contributes to the long-term sustainability of projects, allowing developers to continuously invest in their vision and deliver ongoing updates and content.

In summary, crowdfunding has had a profound impact on game development, and Star Citizen exemplifies the transformative nature of this funding model. The game’s success has ushered in a new era of independence, community involvement, and creative freedom. The approach of engaging directly with backers, providing ongoing updates, and fostering a sense of ownership has reshaped the relationship between developers and players. Moreover, the success of niche and ambitious projects like Star Citizen proves that crowdfunding is not only a viable alternative to traditional funding, but also a catalyst for innovation and the realization of unique gaming experiences.



Star Citizen’s crowdfunding journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Since its inception, the game has captured the hearts and minds of millions of players, successfully raising over $350 million, a testament to the unwavering support of its passionate community.

The success of Star Citizen’s crowdfunding campaign has not only provided the necessary financial resources for development but has also had a profound impact on the gaming industry as a whole. The project has demonstrated the potential of crowdfunding as a viable funding model, empowering developers to pursue ambitious and innovative projects without the constraints imposed by traditional publishers.

Crowdfunding has brought about newfound independence, allowing developers like Cloud Imperium Games to prioritize creative vision, player experience, and community involvement. The direct connection between developers and backers has fostered a collaborative development process, where feedback and ideas from the community shape the game’s evolution.

Moreover, Star Citizen’s success has paved the way for niche and ambitious projects to find support, defying the limitations of the traditional funding model. The game’s immense scope and the dedication of its community have opened doors for other developers to explore uncharted realms and unleash their creative potential.

The financial data of Star Citizen reveals the effectiveness and sustainability of the crowdfunding model. Ship sales, game packages, virtual items, subscriptions, and partnerships have collectively contributed to the ongoing development and expansion of the game, ensuring a continuous flow of revenue.

Furthermore, the impact of crowdfunding extends beyond financial aspects. Transparency, accountability, and the forging of strong developer-player relationships have become defining characteristics of crowdfunding campaigns. This newfound level of communication and trust has reshaped the industry, setting higher standards for game development as a whole.

In conclusion, Star Citizen’s crowdfunding success serves as a testament to the power of community support, innovation, and the democratization of game development funding. It has showcased the potential of crowdfunding to fuel ambitious projects, redefine industry norms, and create immersive gaming experiences that captivate players worldwide. As Star Citizen continues to evolve and approach its full release, the journey of crowdfunding will remain a pivotal part of its identity, forever changing the way we perceive and support game development.

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