Whenever I discuss video games and the conversation hints that the people I am conversing with might be PC gamers, I pop the questions, “Are you PC Gamers?” and then “Have you heard about Star Citizen?”. My intuitions are usually correct about them being PC Gamers. Whether or not they have heard about Star Citizen is a bit of a mixed bag – most have not.
Those that have typically are nearly as excited as I am. A few have just heard about it but didn’t know much about it and become excited after I explain it to them. Except one.
I had the opportunity recently to, at first, unknowingly meet someone that hates the game and refuses to support or back the game. One could say he is an anti-fan.
Going into the conversation about video games, I had known him, professionally, for a few weeks. He always had this air about him where he acted as though he held himself superior to those around him as some sort of elite professional among mere foot soldiers. Somewhat reserved in interactions – however he did joke and smile throughout my observations of him.
When I broached the subject of Star Citizen I was in a three-way conversation with another PC gamer who had never heard of Star Citizen. The anti-fan immediately said that Chris Roberts is an asshole and that he would never support the game because he is an asshole. Also that Chris Roberts had spent all the money he raised in a year and that CIG was selling ships to get more money in order to keep up the funding to continue development.
I am always one to want to understand someone’s position. While my writing on this website may lead one to believe that I’m a default defender of Star Citizen due to my enthusiasm about the game, that couldn’t be further from the truth – I try to take a neutral stance in situations like this. So I sent down a probe to figure out why he thought this.
I asked, “Why is Chris Roberts an asshole?” His response was that he met him once while he was going to school for a game design degree. He had met Chris Roberts and he apparently was an asshole to the anti-fan and one of the anti-fan’s friends.
The word on the street is that Chris Roberts can be a bit of an asshole. We all know there are many types of assholes though – tough but fair, competitive, scathing, no-filter, and all-around jerk that nobody likes. I don’t know which one Chris Roberts falls under – I’ve never met the guy. I’d imagine he is either tough but fair or competitive – qualities easily seen to be beneficial to run a successful business like Cloud Imperium Games.
On the funding I asked why he thought it was a problem? It’s just a slightly different business model. than is typically used in the video game industry. To which he responded that people are spending thousands of dollars on the game before it is released.
So this guy went to college for game design and he isn’t working game design… In fact, his job title is signals analysis and intelligence for an organization that doesn’t have that type of capability. So he has two titles for cool-sounding jobs… neither of which he is professionally performing. Sounds like the source of his bitter elitism to me.
The conversation then shifted around and eventually we discussed Steam. The anti-fan stated that steam is full of crappy independently developed games that will never reach a full release. I used this as a leverage point against his apparently professional vulnerability by saying “Yeah, that’s because there are all of these game design puppy mills that promise low ambition video gamer high school students a career making and playing video games but don’t deliver on the job placement.”
He circled back and said that he didn’t subscribe to indie developers and that he only followed mainstream games. He talked about how he can’t wait to pick up a few of the games he preordered when he gets back from the work exercise that we were both in attendance. He said he had a few preorder exclusive collector’s editions he couldn’t wait for. I asked him what the difference was between him paying extra for an expensive collector’s edition via preorder and those that paid money to Chris Roberts for Star Citizen ahead of time? To which he rebuttled “People are spending thousands on Star Citizen, I only spent $120 on a preorder of a collectors edition.”
I cited the stats of the census we ran on Star Citizen in 2014. The median spent on Star Citizen was $180 in 2014.
Anti-fan: That’s $60 more.
Me: I can math. How many hours do you expect to get out of the game you preordered for $120?
Anti-fan: A few days, I don’t know.
Me: How many hours do you expect someone to get out of Star Citzen – an epic first person experience spanning hundreds of solar systems where players can fly highly detailed spaceships, battle on foot through massive space stations, explore life-sized planets, and discover adventure in an ever-expanding and changing galaxy.
Anti-fan: Uh, a couple hundred, maybe.
Me: So $180 divided by 2 to 300 hours compared to $120 divided by 12 to 24 hours…
Anti-fan: I get your point.
Me: I bet you buy expansion packs, DLC, and sequels or installments that should have just been an expansion pack and I bet you spend $60 on each. What’s the difference between that and people buying more ships for their Star Citizen account? Couldn’t those additional ships be seen as new expansions by enabling another type of game play for the individual that wouldn’t be necessarily enabled by a previously purchased ship?
And that was it… game over… game over man!
My thought on this is he went to school to be a video game designer, earned the degree, and could never find a job to make games like he dreamed of. Being unsuccessful and unambitious, he now views those successful in his first failed career field with resentment. He sure did view me with resentment seeing me do my awesome job while he sat around not working in his second professional field.