Kerbal Space Program getting paid expansions on top of "all future content" buy-in model

T.J. Hafer at

Kerbal Space Program is a game where you send... aliens? I think they're aliens... on space missions. It launched its first alpha just about two years ago, and has since followed the Minecraft model of slowly adding features while increasing the price, in a lead-up to an official 1.0 release. Originally, much like Minecraft, the devs, Squad, promised that alpha adopters would, "get all future updates for free." A stir has recently been caused when the intention to produce expansion packs with a separate cost, post-launch, was mentioned in a livestream.

Portions of the community have taken this as a breach of what they perceive as a promise when they spent money on the game. Many point to the existing FAQ on the website, which still states, "[Question] If I buy the game now will I have to buy it again for the next update? [Answer] No, if you buy the game now you won't have to pay for further updates."

Squad's Community Manager attempted to clarify in a Reddit thread: "We said free updates, and free updates you will get. What you won't get is free expansions/DLC. There isn't a company out there that does this differently." Dissenters were quick to point out that Mojang, whose pre-release pricing model Squad has emulated, in fact have put out large amounts of content, equivalent to "expansions/DLC" in other games for free, and continue to do so post-1.0.

Do you think the developers have reneged on what was promised? Is the distinction between "update" and "expansion" meaningful in these kinds of cases?