Star Citizen has grown by 'leaps and bounds' in Asia, Singapore a top market, say devs

Star Citizen screenshot
A ship in Star Citizen (Photo: Cloud Imperium Games)

Originally starting life on Kickstarter as an epic story-based flight sim, Star Citizen has evolved into two games — a multiplayer flight sim, and a RPG called Squadron 42 (the original game).

While the game has not yet officially launched (it's still in Alpha), it's very much playable, with real time mechanics and over 80 ships you can fly.

According to developers Cloud Imperium Games (CIG), over 2.5 million players have played Star Citizen since it launched the Alpha in November 2015.

For those of you not familiar with the game, everything happens in real time, from walking to travelling between planets.

There's no fast travel – you'll have to walk to your ship's dock, planets have actual orbits around stars, and you can see ships piloted by others flying over you, too.

And players in Asia are taking to the game. According to CIG's senior vice president of marketing Elliott Chin, while Asia, including China, only has 10 to 15 per cent of its player base, it's growing really quick.

"China has experienced about 50 per cent year over year growth and China is our number one in Asia, with Korea being number two. And number three is actually Singapore," said Chin in an interview with Yahoo Southeast Asia earlier last month.

"We have a good fan base here, obviously because people speak English and read English well, and I think they have the PC penetration."

Chin also added that Hong Kong and Taiwan make up rest of the top five.

Noticeably absent are the mobile-first markets of Indonesia and the Philippines.

That is not surprising, given that the game also requires a top-notch PC to run, and may even prove too demanding for countries such as Thailand, even with its 30 per cent PC market share.

However, Chin said that there are no plans to change its hefty PC requirements, as the company is "dedicated to the high-end PC market".

(Photo: Cloud Imperium Games)
(Photo: Cloud Imperium Games)

On metaverses

If there's one metaverse you should be exploring, it's probably Star Citizen.

It's massive, perfect for to be a metaverse, and CIG plans to add VR support in the future. It makes Facebook's cartoony version look almost amateurish in comparison.

"You always get the sort of buzz words that come around and this is one," said Erin Roberts, chief development officer, about the metaverse.

"We want to have people just be able to escape into a different life for a while. If you're on this planet, and working from 9 to 5, and want to go off to the stars, or join up with friends who are all around the planet and get together, you can do that as well."

And because it's a persistent real-time universe, it's pretty easy to do so – just don't try walking to the other side of the planet, because it will take you a really, really, really long time.

"Where you go there, the universe persists. You can have an alternate life for yourself in, in the future, in sci-fi," Chin added.

"Even though we didn't call it the metaverse when we started out, when people talk about what the metaverse is, I mean, Erin and I will look at each other and be like, well, that's a multiverse."

(Photo: Cloud Imperium Games)
(Photo: Cloud Imperium Games)

On an actual launch

While it hasn't yet rivalled Duke Nukem Forever's development time, Star Citizen is inching closer to it.

Having raised over half a billion dollars, the game has been criticised as never ever going to launch.

But Roberts, who is also brother to CEO and famed game designer Chris Roberts, says there are plans to hit the Beta stage.

However, before that happens, the developers want to revamp some of the issues with user accessibility first.

"But because we're still building and we're still doing some tech right now. We are trying to make sure that we can fix some of the issues, but we can't fix all the issues until we actually have what we say is the core feature," explained Roberts.

"Then we will call that Beta and after that moment we can talk about what content we're gonna to keep on continually putting to the game for years."

(Photo: Cloud Imperium Games)
(Photo: Cloud Imperium Games)

Meanwhile, the single player Squadron 42 game is still being worked on, but it will only be released when it's ready – CIG is keeping it very much under wraps at the moment.

"At the moment we feel it's good enough, and Chris especially feels it's good enough, then we will really go wide and share what it's about and show all the cool stuff," said Roberts.

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at

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