Copy paste journalism, you gotta stop this.
On October the 14th, Chris Roberts, Chairman of Star Citizen had made an announcement saying the game has reached one million citizens. Naturally, it didn’t take long for journalism to report on the announcement. Of course, given the state of journalism these days, they only managed to misrepresent the facts of the story.
- Arstechnica – Star Citizen hits 1 million backers, entire game unlocked for all
- Digital Trends – Crowdfunded Wing Commander successor Star Citizen hits one million backers
- IGN – Star Citizen Reaches 1 Million Backers, Backers Have Access to Entire Game
- BBC – Star Citizen space game wins one million backers
- GameSpot – Star Citizen Passes 1 Million Backers, Pledges Exceed $92 Million
The thing these articles from all these news sites have in common is how they managed to confuse the difference between a backer and a citizen. To be fair to all of them, the announcement made by Roberts was fairly misleading at times. You can see just how the story could be misinterpreted after reading the full announcement, but here’s one example of how Chris seemingly equates citizens to backers.
Knowing that one million people (and growing!) are counting on us will only further fuel our desire to deliver. Every member of the Star Citizen team already knows that we work for the backers… and reaching one million is just another reminder why we are giving this project all of ourselves
So what exactly is the difference between being a citizen and a backer? Well, taken directly from the account FAQ, we can see what appears to be a clear line between what it means to be a backer and a citizen. The title of a “backer” is reserved for those who has financially backed the game to some extent. According to the account FAQ, this title can only be obtained through financially supporting the game. Even if you were to gift a friend, only you would obtain the title as you were the one who made the purchase to begin with.
I gifted something to a friend and they are not shown as a backer.The Backer status is an award for financial backers of the game. In order to be considered an original backer or veteran backer, a purchase would have needed to be made on the account prior to a certain date. Veteran backer – June 6th 2013 and Original Backer – Nov. 26th 2012. Since backer status is determined by making a purchase, it cannot be transferred through gifting because the recipient of the gift did not make the purchase. Note that this also applies to the various stretch goal rewards. These rewards are applied only to accounts which have financially backed Star Citizen and not those with only gifted packages.
A “citizen”, which the announcement was made for to begin with, is the title given to anybody who has signed up with an account on the website. Shown here is a KiA user who became citizen 1,014,288 to validate this. Yes, that’s right, you could have joined the one million citizens just by creating an account. You did not need to make a purchase or become a “backer” of the game in order to become one of the one million citizens.
Whether this is a willful misrepresentation of the facts or just lazy journalism, it’s inexcusable. Sure, the entire debacle can be reduced to an argument of semantics over what it means to be a backer, but as impressive as one million accounts is, it’s nowhere near as impressive as one million financial backers. There is a difference. The thing that we all should be asking is why exactly is the Chairman of Star Citizen conflating the two in his announcement and why are journalists so quick to run with it before checking the facts?
[This information was discovered and posted to KotakuInAction]