There is only one option for Star Citizen at this point; it’s going to be a huge explosion.
Now, that explosion could be a birth of an awesome MMO, or it could give us the greatest rage bubble burst of all time. Allow me to explain.
There are a good number of people who are $1000+ into SC already. A lot of that money is for pre-release insured ships, something that may or may not be possible post-release. Now sure, some of this over-paying is just general good-faith for the game and handing the money over to help fund it. Like any Kickstarter initiative, you accept that when you give $100, the T-shirt you get in return is not outright worth $100.
But there is a serious gap between even a $100 offer and being $1000+ into something. For all but a few, $1000 is a decent chunk of change to drop on a whim, so just with the wallet vote these people have some very high expectations, both for what their pre-purchase money has bought them and the game in general. How great does SC have to be to make you feel that $1000+ was money well spent?
If SC is released and you love the hell out of it for three months, those at the $1000 level effectively paid a monthly sub fee of $333ish. There is no MMO out today, including EVE, that I would pay a monthly fee of $333 for. Sorry, but no game is THAT good. I’ve said in the past I’d gladly pay $100+ for a newer but equally-great version of Mount and Blade, and I happily paid/pay $30+ for EVE, but again, there is a GIANT gap between a few hundred bucks and numbers in the thousands.
So the question remains; how long will you have to enjoy the hell out of SC to make that $1000+ initial fee ‘worthwhile’? It’s only after the tenth month that your ‘sub rate’ drops below a hundred bucks per month, and of late, how many people have stayed subbed to a new MMO for that long? Its one thing to hope an upcoming game is good, it’s another to wallet-vote that it’s going to be so over-the-top awesome it’s the next WoW/EVE.
On top of that, how many of the SC whales expect their pre-release money to get them something significant in-game come release? Early access to alpha/beta is nice, some forum fluff is just that, but is that REALLY what drove the whales to spend? I doubt it, and some of the SC ‘hype’ has suggested buying now gets you something special come release. So how special does that have to be? And if it really is awesome stuff like ‘bound’ ships others can’t get, what impact will that have on everyone else? The market for P2W games is pretty limited last I checked (at least outside of Asia).
However it ultimately plays out, SC will be an interesting story to follow, given the odds and the expectations.