A complete (so far) Star Citizen ship collection now costs $48,000

Time for a second mortgage —

Ars analysis finds per-ship costs have come down slightly, in real terms.

There aren't many online game stores where you can spend $48,000 on a single

Enlarge / There aren’t many online game stores where you can spend $48,000 on a single “Add to Cart.”

At this point, over 11 years after we first wrote about Star Citizen, the still-in-alpha game is interesting less as something that might eventually be “finished” and more as a fascinating tale of feature creep and fundraising success. To that last point, we were suitably boggled at the recent news that Roberts Space Industries is now offering a  $48,000 “Legatus Pack” as a “perfect collection” of “all ships released and concepted through [in-universe year] 2953.”

The collection of 187 ships (and hundreds of accessories like paint colors, skins, armor, and in-game posters) is now roughly two-thirds of the median annual household income in the US (circa 2022). But that price isn’t even available to lookie-loos like you and me; to add the package to an online shopping cart, you must first spend at least $1,000 to become a member of the game’s Chairman’s Club.

What a bargain!

While the newest Legatus Pack launched in late December, the offering isn’t a new concept for developer Roberts Space Industries. The first Legatus Pack launched in May 2018 for a relatively reasonable $27,000. Before that, similar “Completionist” packs of all in-game content released up to that point would run players up to $15,000.

  • Fig. 1: Even accounting for inflation, the cost of a “complete” Star Citizen hangar keeps going up.

    Ars Technica analysis

  • Fig. 2: The number of ships available in Star Citizen‘s completionist Legatus Pack has been going up at a relatively constant clip over the years.

    Ars Technica analysis

  • Fig. 3: Adjusting for inflation, the per-vehicle average for Star Citizen‘s Legatus Pack has come down a bit in recent years.

    Ars Technica analysis

Since the launch of that first Legatus Pack, which included 117 ships, RSI has updated its “complete” offering of in-game content in December of every year since 2019, upping the price and the number of ships included. An Ars analysis of those updates finds that, despite the sticker shock of the $48,000 package, the inflation-adjusted average price-per-ship has actually come down about 12 percent since peaking in late 2019 (the number of extra accessories included in the pack has also gone up from 163 in 2018 to 635 today).

It’s also worth remembering that this collection isn’t necessarily intended for individuals. In 2018, Cloud Imperium’s Eric Kieron Davis told Polygon that the Legatus Pack was something that “[some] players will use to deploy ships, items, etc. across organizations/corporations/guilds” which could have hundreds or thousands of individual players.

“It wasn’t created in a vacuum,” Davis continued. “We were responding to what the community asked for. We have some passionate supporters that are not looking at Star Citizen as your typical game purchase/transaction but rather a dream project they want to see happen.”

A very small sample of the full collection of ships you can get in the Legatus Pack.

Enlarge / A very small sample of the full collection of ships you can get in the Legatus Pack.

Still, the fact that anyone is even considering spending $48,000 on a single bundle of DLC for a game that—we have to stress again—is still in alpha after 11-plus years, is a testament to the devotion that Star Citizen continues to command among the faithful. Despite the drawn-out development, in 2023, RSI set its sixth annual nominal fundraising record of $117 million. That one-year take represents nearly 20 percent of the staggering $658 million the game has raised from players over its lifetime, and includes over $3 million raised in a single day during last year’s Intergalactic Aerospace Expo event.

Despite the game’s continued fundraising success, though, even some Star Citizen fans are balking at the optics of pre-selling tens of thousands of dollars of DLC before the game is even near launch.

“We’ve all put in the time to delude ourselves into thinking that ships are worth, in real world money, their pledge prices. They aren’t,” Reddit user magicmouse wrote in a recent thread. “You can rationalize it by saying that you’re supporting the development of a really cool game but, to outsiders, we look like total clowns for pledging hundreds of dollars for a ship that can be earned in-game in a relatively short period of time. I’m glad the game is financially successful and I’m happy to support it, but don’t fool yourself into thinking these purchases will ever look reasonable to somebody who isn’t mainlining the kool-aid.”