Quote of the Day – Smart Money

To the rest of you, I only have this to say: stop buying virtual items for a goddamn game you don’t have. What in the holy phuck is the matter with you?!? You know how many indie games you could’ve bought and supported and been PLAYING by now?!?

Derek Smart, on Star Citizen

Derek Smart, no stranger controversy and visions unmet, weighs in with an epic post on his own blog about Star Citizen and getting to where it is headed and what the game will be when and if it gets there.

Yeah, there are bigger, headline quality, money quotes in his post.  Expect to see this one show up a lot, with or without context:

Without disrespect to anyone, I’m just going to say it: it is my opinion that, this game, as has been pitched, will never get made. Ever.

And yes, there is also a good deal of self-promotion in that post as well.

But he does cover a lot of ground on just how difficult it can be to get to where your vision wants to take you with an open world, multiplayer, “be all the things” space simulation, something he spent most of his own adult life trying to create.


And it also opens up the discussion, picked up by Damion Schubert, about what something like Star Citizen, which has raised $85 million dollars so far, might end up doing to the crowdfunding scene should it fail to substantially deliver on its vision and promises.  A lot of people bought virtual ships that they really, really want to use.  The backlash could be bad.

So what do you think is going to happen?

16 thoughts on “Quote of the Day – Smart Money

  1. Jenks

    “Here’s what developers most famous for Battlecruiser 3000AD and SWTOR think about Star Citizen”

    Nah, I’m good.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jenks – Hah! Believe me, I was there on Usenet in the late 90s reading the flame wars. My first draft went into a lot of that, but that was all baggage and beside the point. Every once in a while there is a public glimpse of the insightful, learned lessons the hard way Derek Smart that is worth a read. The bottom half to third of the post linked qualifies, once he gets past too much details of his own history.

    (Also, nice “fourth pillar” jab there.)


  3. magnoz

    I was skeptical from the beginning — even with initial feature set — when they said they were using CryEngine. And I still have no idea how they think this can work for a space sim, unless they run everything in tiny separate instances. But I pledged $90 nonetheless because I think a universe simulator is a goal worth pursuing :)


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Magnoz – Yeah, full disclosure, I am in for $30. I get the updates every week and file them away. I have hope that some sort of actual game will come from the whole thing that will be worth my time. But I try to ignore the pie-in-the-sky statements so as not to spoil my perspective for whatever shows up eventually.

    I tend to more annoyed with the fan boys than anything RSI has ever said. I was in a group on Facebook dedicated to Air Warrior that was completely ruined for me by one fan boy who felt the need to post constantly about Star Citizen because… I don’t know why, except that he couldn’t shut up about it. Had to drop that group.


  5. Jenks

    You said Air Warrior, but I read it as Airwolf, and I wondered why am I not in that facebook group? The A-Team with a helicopter from the future and Ernest Borgnine! Oh well, Air Warrior is cool too.


  6. bhagpuss

    I think for a lot of people the value of these virtual items for a non-existent game is being realized right now. Just look at Saylah’s posts at Mystic Worlds for example. People will be furious if the game never happens at all, obviously, and almost certainly disappointed when it does happen but doesn’t live up to expectations, but they will still have had that value, which they can only have by actually paying money.

    We could all imagine having those spaceships for free but we wouldn’t have the near-tangible connection to our imaginings that having chosen to spend real money affords. People are paying both for the right to imagine, to hope, to dream and for the right to be part of something. Those are the drives that have fueled countless speculative endeavors for millennia. This is new only because its happening around a video game.

    Also, it really isn’t any of Derek Smart’s business how people spend their money, is it? It’s not like they’d be giving any of it to him if Star Citizen wasn’t around.


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – “Also, it really isn’t any of Derek Smart’s business how people spend their money, is it? It’s not like they’d be giving any of it to him if Star Citizen wasn’t around.”

    Oh my, when has whose business something is or isn’t stopped somebody’s opinion on the internet… or in real life? I mean, the threshold is generally just whether or not we care enough about a topic. Making video games happens to be the venture to which Derek Smart has invested his adult life, so he clearly cares about the whole business and will (as he has often in the past) opine on various aspects of the topic freely and at length.

    Neither of us would have to look very far to find many blog posts saying we should no be throwing money at Kicktarter projects or Patreon funding or Early Access or whatever.

    I think the ironic bit is more how he charged for beta access for his own game while here taking the hard line on essentially buying a pig in a poke. That $99 he wanted for beta would ALSO support those same indie games we could be playing NOW.


  8. carson63000

    Is that the same Derek Smart who sells virtual items for his horribad trash F2P game Alganon?


  9. HarbingerZero

    As I mentioned today, No Man’s Sky, with a four person developer team and two year’s of work, is further along the development cycle for an open world sandbox fps/space combat universe than Star Citizen is. That should be a note of caution for everyone. The one thing I know for sure is that Star Citizen, even if it gets released and is fully featured as advertised, can now never live up to the dreams that all those backers have had years to nuture inside their heads and hearts. SWTOR, I think, faced a similar dilemma. I was in a guild for two full years (+) prior to release. I look back on that time and think, “how could we *not* have been disappointed, with that much time to speculat and amp ourselves up for what was coming?” On the bright side though, perhaps SC, much like SWTOR, will also be “too big to fail.”


  10. Jidhari

    It will never meet the lofty expectations in the minds of its fans. This is also partly RSI’s fault. When they first launched their campaign, they had a scope in min. Now that scope keeps growing and growing and it never ends. Always some new fundraising goal. They are feeding the hype and pie in the sky expectations while taking people’s money in the process. They deserve whatever backlash they receive when the shit hits the fan. And it will.


  11. halycon

    I never played any of Mr Smarts games so I really don’t know his history other than what he outlined, nor do I have his experience in this field. But…

    Here’s how I knew it was doomed. Eve Online. Lets lowball it and say.. 200,000 players, times 15 dollars a month, times 12 months. 36 million a year for the last few years. I know that it’s higher than that, I’m purposely going low. But lets say 36 million a year for 5 years. 180 million. Now you can say Dust was a design failure, and it never lived up to it’s expectations to link into Eve, and that’d be true. You can say the same for WiS, that’d also be true. Valkyrie may end up being a great game, but I’m betting from past experience it’ll never live up to its goals of linking into Eve. CCP has 3 development studios right now, much more money than RSI has, a modest scope in their goals of how they’re going about it, and a decade of experience in the type of persistent world pitched. And they can’t make it work. Why in the heck would Chris Roberts think he can?

    Now I know they are two very different types of games, but over the last decade they’ve pitched the idea of going in that direction. One massive game to rule them all. And they’ve always scaled back. Sometimes hugely so. It’s still on some fuzzy far out point on the roadmap. About once a year some dev will stare vaguely into the distance and muse about the far far off future, even bring up a few mechanics ideas the company prototyped. But they aren’t trying to make it, they know they can’t.


  12. zaphod6502

    “Why in the heck would Chris Roberts think he can?”

    To be fair they are two completely different games. EVE Online is a space RTS and Star Citizen is a first person space combat simulator. The only thing they have in common is that both are set in a militaristic space milieu. The actual gameplay of each could not be more different to the other.

    Both are long term work-in-progress projects that develop as time goes on. It has taken CCP over 10 years to perfect EVE Online and become a far more newbie friendly game (even then that is arguable).

    I expect once Star Citizen is released in beta form it will continue to be a work in progress for many years beyond 2016. It is still bringing in over a million a month (and that is a slow month).

    So what is Smart trying to sell us now?


  13. SynCaine

    Even Smarts name is ironic… love that clown.

    Short of being a total, 100% unplayable failure, I don’t think SC will be a net-negative for crowdfunding though. It has already shown that the size of crowdfunding can be AAA in number, and that those who get into a game/idea early can be extremely loyal. Those are important aspects, and going forward I think more solid devs with solid ideas might look to crowdfunding even if they do need 10m+ to make something happen. Prior to SC, I don’t think that was a realistic expectation.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Gripper

    I guess I look at SC as a “leap of faith” I love what they want to do – gave them $65, but I did not set my expectations. What I really did I feel was donate towards the chance that a great sci-fi game would come out.

    As to Smart – unfortunately for him, no one tells me where to spend my money, that is what makes all of this so cool! If he made cool games I would give him money also – in fact I did give him $50 for his RTS game that he made I think….

    Its like the movie Inception – Do you want to take a leap of faith?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. zaphod6502

    “Because what else were they going to say?”

    Well Ben is a “True Believer” and Employee No.3 so you are 100% correct. If you were in the same position you would do the same. One thing I would like to see is some form of balance sheet of costs vs income reporting of the RSI bottom line. Being a private company this is something we will probably never see from RSI and Chris Roberts. To this day they are still advertising jobs so I expect the sky has not fallen as Smart would have us believe. Keep in mind though the average salary for the typical RSI employee is lower than the industry average. Also a lot of their other satellite companies are subsidised (for example the UK office gets a grant from the UK government to promote local business).

    Moving on from the SC discussion I just want to say what an absolute prick Derek Smart is. He is like the wet smelly blanket that likes to drape itself over the gaming industry. Any time he gets a whiff of an opportunity to put himself in the spotlight he drags himself out of whatever bog he normally lives in and posts mostly negative remarks about other game publishers.

    I guess when you have spent the last 20 years going full retard it is about the best we can expect from him.


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