If you thought micro-transactions couldn't get any stranger, we suggest you hold on to your seat. The upcoming space exploration game Star Citizen from Cloud Imperium Games (CIG), pushed the boat out, and just opened a new chapter in the book that is paid content. For those looking to pre-purchase a plot of land on the planet with a nice view of the local neutron star - or any other approved planet - can do so now for a mere $50.
This new form of monetization dubbed 'Land Claim Licenses' offers gamers two plot sizes they can choose from; a plot with an area of four square kilometers, and one that comes in at eight square kilometers for $100. The developer noted that even though this feature is not implemented yet, it gives those willing to part with their money a chance to 'pre-order' a piece of land they are interested in. For those who do not want to part with their hard earned money, once it goes live, you can use the in-game currency that can be earned through normal gameplay.
CIG claims that it has moved to offer these plots of land, in a bid to 'spur on the economy':
"The UEE [Star Citizen's space government] sells claim licenses for the same reasons as any government - to raise revenue to fund public benefit programs, to liberalize its economy, to spur growth and tax revenue, and to fund the military campaign against the Vanduul."
As one would expect, the response to this has been mixed, with some pointing out that it gives those with money to burn an unfair jump on 'prime properties'. The developer, however, disputed this by pointing out that the game has 'billions of kilometers' of land available, that should ensure that there is enough acreage for everyone to find a 'hot spot'.
CIG also noted that these plots of land can be used for many different purposes. A plot of land might have some value to a trader - it being close to trading routes - but be useless to a miner for instance. Owning land will give you the ability to build your very own outpost, something that can reportedly be quite complex.
Some have pointed out that this is just another attempt at gaining access to more funds from the community, for a game that has been in development for six years. CIG pretty much confirmed this in its statement:
"Please Note: These claim licenses are being made available for pledging to help fund Star Citizen's development. The ability to obtain these claim licenses will ultimately be available for in-game credits and/or otherwise earnable through play in the game. Pledging for these claim licenses now allows us to include deeper features in the Star Citizen game, and is not required for starting the game."
At CitizenCon in October, CIG showed off a demo with procedurally generated planet-sized cities and interplanetary quantum travel; last week, the developer pushed out an Alpha 3.0 release to a select number of backers behind the crowdfunded project, giving them a glimpse at the game and its mechanics.
Star Citizen does not have an official release date yet, but you can follow its development by visiting the official website and by watching the (shorter) above video.
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