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Star Citizen's Roberts on business models, the PS4, and more

Jef Reahard

Game Industry interviewed Star Citizen mogul Chris Roberts at last month's GDC 2013, and the resulting read features plenty of interesting nuggets for space sim fans and the Roberts faithful.

He confirms a few things we already knew about SC's playable hangar demo scheduled for August, as well as the dogfighting alpha in December. He also shares how his team's shortened development schedule and modular process is adding up to a tighter, better game than could be made at a AAA studio.

And if Star Citizen's ever-increasing crowdfunding totals are any indication, Roberts' audience is more than OK with the process. "We generated $800,000 in February alone, which is crazy," he said. "We don't even have a campaign going, we're not even selling new ships or anything, and we don't have a game." He goes on to guesstimate that his 150,000-odd early adopters are only five to 10 percent of Star Citizen's post-launch audience. "Ultimately that means I can make the same game for a fifth of the revenue, a fifth of the sales, and I can be more profitable, and I can exist on lower unit sales. I think that's good for gamers, because crowdfunding and digital distribution are enabling more nichey stuff to be viable."

Roberts also hints at the future of SC's business model, likening it to that of World of Tanks. Finally, he has a few kind words for Sony's forthcoming PlayStation 4, and even says he'd consider putting SC on a console under the right circumstances. "The good news is that [the PS4] is essentially a PC, so that means PC owners will get much better ports of console games. I'm not a PC elitist by any means," Roberts explains. "If I could be on the PS4, and they were open, and I could do the updating and all the sort of stuff we're trying to do on Star Citizen, then I would definitely consider putting it on PS4 because it's essentially a PC with a friendlier operating system."

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