Cloud Imperium Games has rolled out a new way to throw money at the crowdfunding colossus known as Star Citizen: The ability to pre-purchase plots of land. UEE Land Claim Licenses can now be had for $50 for a 4km x 4km "lot," or $100 for an 8x8 "estate," zoned for commercial, residential, or industrial use.
CIG said that advance land claim purchases will help fund the development of Star Citizen, but they will also be available for purchase with in-game credits and "otherwise earnable through play in the game" once it goes live. Buying up front will not get you a nicer view or better parking than anyone else, and you won't lose out if you're not there for the initial gold rush moment when the game goes live, either.
"Licenses can be bought for UEC in game and no one will be able to claim land before the mechanic is available in game for all. People that own claim licenses now, during the anniversary sale to support development, and people that earn the money in-game to buy one will be on equal footing assuming they have enough UEC, especially as there will be millions of locations for people to explore and claim within the Universe over the life time of the game," the studio said.
"Due to the billions of square kilometers of available land over many planets and moons and of course as new Star Systems are introduced and explored, all players will have the ability to find and claim new 'hot spots' throughout the lifetime of the game."
Furthermore, you won't need to own a land claim license in order to construct a base in the game—you can build or mine however and wherever you want outside of UEE-controlled space. But going it alone will leave you without protection from those who aim to do you wrong.
"One of the largest deterrents to others moving in on a valuable section of land you’re working—or taking liberties with an outpost you’ve constructed—is the fact that within UEE space such actions are criminal and will have significant consequences for the infringers," CIG said. "These protections, of course, don’t exist beyond the borders."
Predictably, there's been something of a mixed reaction to this. Some fans are happy to see the game (or at least its potential) expanded even further, while others are somewhat more dubious about the need for yet more support for a game that remains in pre-alpha after six years of development and more than $168 million in crowdfunding. For my part, I will note that none of this "land" exists yet, even in the virtual sense, so even if you pony up for a plot now you won't be able to actually do anything with it (including just looking at it, since the licenses don't grant a specific piece of land, but rather the right to claim one) until the game goes live.
With sufficient caveat emptors in mind, you can get the details at robertsspaceindustries.com, or dive into the video on land claim licenses down below.