Star Citizen Developer Gets In Trouble For Selling Ship Concepts

The studio has been asked to make it clearer that the ships it's selling don't actually exist yet in game.

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The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games to task for advertising ships for sale that aren't playable or even viewable in game. ASA has asked Cloud Imperium to clarify what players are actually purchasing when they advertise for so-called "concept ships," Eurogamer reports.

The offending advertisement was reported to the ASA by Redditor Mazty, who posted a screenshot of the email in question and details of the complaint to Reddit. The email urges players to pledge for the Gatac Manufature Railen ship before it leaves the pledge store, making no note that the ship doesn't currently exist other than calling it an "alien concept ship."

Since the ASA confirmed that the email went against the UK's Advertising Code of Practice, Cloud Imperium has added a new disclaimer to emails advertising pledge ships, reading in full:

"The Crusader Ares (Inferno and Ion), A2 Hercules, Genesis Starliner, are being offered here as a limited vehicle concept pledge. This means that the vehicle is in development but is not yet ready to display in your Hangar or fly in Star Citizen. It will be available as playable content in a later patch. In the future, the vehicle price may increase and Lifetime Insurance or any extras may not be available. If you pledge towards a Crusader Ares (Inferno and Ion), A2 Hercules, Genesis Starliner, you will receive a loaner vehicle for use in Star Citizen until such time as the Crusader Ares (Inferno and Ion), A2 Hercules, Genesis Starliner, is included in-game. This loaner vehicle will be a currently playable vehicle of similar approximate size and/or function to the concept ship pledged. We offer pledge ships to help fund Star Citizen’s development. The funding received from vehicles such as this allows us to include deeper features in the Star Citizen world. These vehicles will be available for in-game credits and/or will be otherwise earnable through play in the final universe. They are not required to start or succeed at the game."

Mazty has said the disclaimer is still not enough, as it doesn't allow for the possibility that the ships, which can sell for hundreds of dollars each in the pledge store, may never actually make it into the game. Commenters on the Reddit post have related experiences of players buying concept ships that have either never eventuated or are released in a different form to what was promised, with no updates or explanations forthcoming from the studio.

Star Citizen has become a controversial game thanks to its extended development time and heavy focus on fundraising from fans. The game this year hit a milestone of $350 million raised, but still doesn't have an official release date, though parts of the game are playable in alpha.

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