Some of this hand-wringing is probably justified since with each new stretch goal, fan expectations for SC increase exponentially. Regardless, what the game has already accomplished is worth celebrating, and two of the most common reasons I've seen cited for remaining skeptical simply don't make sense.
I've touched on this before, at length in fact, but I guess it bears repeating as SC attracts more muggle attention. Star Citizen backers are not investors worried about a return. In fact, they're not investors at all, they're donors. And they're not clueless newbs being bilked out of their money by some sort of ponzi pyramid scheme. They're hardcore gamers who have disposable income to gamble on what could be a fantastic title instead of yet another pointless progression-fueled exercise in skinner box refinement.
Fail and failure are terms that many gamers, ahem, fail to understand. A quick look through our comments section or really any industry-related forum will tell you as much. There you'll find innumerable instances of the word being slung around and used to describe all manner of games and situations where it doesn't logically apply. MMO players in particular are prone to attaching the "fail" label to long-lived and financially stout games that they themselves have either gotten over or never liked in the first place.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is probably the biggest example, but there are plenty of others. Hell, if I had a nickel for every time a commenter called "fail" on my old Age of Conan column and the game that it highlighted, I'd be a very rich man. The reality is that AoC continues to make money for its parent company over five years after its "failed" launch, its "failed" PvP-to-PvE conversion, and dozens of other "failed" development initiatives.
As for Star Citizen, it's made over $25 million prior to its alpha phase! That is the opposite of failure in the games business.
Similarly, publishers and other hangers-on with questionable value-add credentials have awoken to a reality where their "services" are no longer needed. A wise man once said that 50 percent of the human race is middlemen, and they don't take kindly to being eliminated. But unfortunately for big content middlemen, Star Citizen has served notice that they bloody well will be eliminated whether they like it or not, given the right combination of developer talent and fan interest.
In terms of gameplay "failure" and expectation "failure," it's simply too early to comment intelligently one way or the other. And that's part of what makes this project so fascinating to follow over the long term. Given the transparency with which Star Citizen is being developed, and given the staggered module rollout that will allow for continuous testing, polishing, and refinement, defining personal- or expectation-related "failure" isn't an exact science as it is with other MMOs or other multiplayer games.
I'm obviously betting that my expectations will be met. I'm optimistic because Star Citizen is a passion project as opposed to a quarterly report booster, and as of today, there is no reason to believe that the dev team can't recapture and expand on what I loved about its earlier games. In fact, the only publicly viewable evidence of Star Citizen's quality -- the hangar module and various in-engine videos -- is undeniably impressive. So while I respect the naysayers' right to be negative, I also have to point out how silly it currently sounds.
If for whatever reason my post-launch gameplay expectations aren't met, I'll still consider Star Citizen a huge success because it has already stretched the industry's boundaries and shown publishers, gamers, and everyone else what is possible.