Jun 2

Is Star Citizen Pay 2 Win?

Byronyk checks in again with his thoughts on whether Star Citizen is Pay 2 Win, comparing it to other popular games.

Is Star Citizen Pay 2 Win?

Our very own Byronyk weighs in on one of the more controversial and tiresome topics surrounding Star Citizen.  The business model and whether Star Citizen should be classed as a Pay 2 Win game.

The thing I find most refreshing about this video is that it brings logic to the discussion which is something that is often lacking from heated, emotional arguments on the internet.

I would highly recommend giving his video a watch as it outlines and discusses the issue excellently.

In terms of my own thoughts, I do not think Star Citizen is Pay 2 Win.  Why?  Simply put: because skill matters in Star Citizen, everything is purchasable with in-game credits, a purchased advantage is fleeting in a game designed to last years, and how do you “win” a game with no ending and as many in-game end goals as there are players?

In reality this is more a debate for those on the fringes of the Star Citizen community, as those on the inside know that CIG would be frankly in a lot of trouble if they actually made the game Pay 2 Win.  But, it can make it difficult sometimes to attract new people to the game as the refrain among gamers who are not familiar with the game is to take one look at the pledge store and back away slowly, as if they’re about to be mugged.

So, hopefully this video can serve as a good resource when you are trying to show people who are new to Star Citizen what it’s all about.

Byronyk has a ton of other excellent content (both Star Citizen related and not!) on his YouTube channel, check it out here:

B² – Byronyk & Bluir

Interestingly this video was actually a collaboration of sorts as another INN staffer LegoRobotDude provided the background footage for Byronyk’s video!  Check out LegoRobotDude on YouTube here:


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  1. Venti

    “skill matters in Star Citizen, everything is purchasable with in-game credits, a purchased advantage is fleeting in a game designed to last years, and how do you “win” a game with no ending and as many in-game end goals as there are players?”

    Honestly, these are all poor arguments for SC not being P2W. I don’t think that the finished product will be P2W either, but not for the reasons presented in this article. As much as I hate people making misinformed arguments about Star Citizens status as a P2W game, I have a far greater disdain for fellow backers using the aforementioned points to try and defend it. I’m currently not at my computer, so I can’t watch the video, and won’t be commenting on the content in it.

    1) Skill based gameplay.

    This is entirely irrelevant when discussing P2W. All that really matters is how one ship matches up against another. For example, a skilled player in an Aurora can defeat a less experienced player in a Hornet. Yet, if you swap the pilots, the more experienced player will have a far more significant advantage against the novice pilot than if their roles were reversed. To determine whether or not one ship has an advantage over another, one should always assume that pilots are of an equal skill level (I mean, sure, we can talk about low and high skill caps, but that belongs in discussions about the meta).

    2) Everything is purchasable with in-game credits.

    Sure, but an advantage is an advantage nonetheless. Everyone has the opportunity to one day be equal, but players that purchased ships with money will still get a one up (short lived as it may be).

    3) Winning is subjective

    Another irrelevant point. You can’t win in an MMO. Doesn’t mean that you can’t have an advantage over another player within the same field. A player in a Hull-C will have an advantage when trading bulk goods when compared to the player in the Aurora. It doesn’t say much, but it’s true. People don’t care about winning the game. People care about others being able to make more money than them, to be more deadly in battle, to be able to explore more, etc.

    My problem with these arguments is that they don’t really disprove that SC is P2W, and that people always seem to use them. As I’m sure or, as I hope, the video mentions, there are plenty of good reasons for why SC won’t be P2W. From it not making sense financially, to various assurances we’ve received from CR, to all the game mechanics that we’ve been told about.

    We’ve been told numerous times that CIG is designing all ships to be viable. This, in itself, is really enough to shut down most cases one could make for SC being P2W. It doesn’t matter if the Hornet is better than the Aurora for dogfighting, because the Aurora can do other things. Things that should be just as viable as dogfighting in a Hornet. At the end of the day, the player purchasing an expensive ship will inevitably gain an advantage over a player who owns a single starter ship. Yet, that advantage will be very specific, and won’t take away from the value of the starter ship. The player in the Aurora doesn’t need a better ship, unless he wants that specific advantage (which will also come with it’s own disadvantages). I imagine there will be plenty of players who spend most of their time flying the cheaper ships.

    • Jon

      The game is literally 2 years from full release with only an arena mode available and in alpha, and people somehow speculate on p2w when bout 90% of the game mechanics are yet to be seen.

  2. Rodel the Great

    The game does require skill but if there were two pilots of equal skill facing off against one another then the ships/weapons would be the deciding factor. If these things can be bought with real money then (pvp anyway) is in fact pay to win.
    It is true that the game has no end but mmo’s aren’t really about that. They are about having the best stuff.

  3. Gumbie

    You should have showed a pay to win game such as Eve or Heros and Generals which now is pay to win you showed a few games but where no clear definition on play to win as you stated league and hearthstone are not forums of pay to win this way confuse some people

  4. anfrap

    First off, I think Byronyk has made enough Star Citizen content and is active enough inside the Community as far as I know to make an informed argument…

    The need to be the highest rank or have the best stuff I think says more about the games rather than the player, the games over the last few years have bred a player mentality which now it seems is hard to break. More is better, top of the leaderboard is better and so on…How many actual skill based games are out there? When you look at it, I feel there isn’t many, therefore the average game means that max rank or the most ‘things’ is winning? What ever happened to playing the game? CS:GO is a prime example, I could spend $2k on cases but does it make me a better player, do I win more? No, I’ve spent about $30 and I’m still really bad haha

    It’s a game about wealth, my ships are one of many tools to facilitate the gaining of, if you buy an Aurora pledge for $45 and make 45,000 UEC profit in the first two hours of play (purely speculative and based on current USD value of UEC), have you not won? or are you more bothered with what other people have? I feel the majority are leaning towards the latter myself. I don’t mean to suggest that winning is paying back your ‘investment’ or do I? If I buy a AAA game for $70 and play it twice vs playing it everyday for years…

    I think, I hope even… that Knowledge, Skill & Experience will play more of a part in Star Citizen vs How many ships or massive guns you have, I mean it’s no good having an Idris if you fly it into a Star the first time you try to move it. Venti’s example of the Hull C vs an Aurora is a valid one, there are many costs & other things that come along with having to move a Hull C from A to B that would not occur or be needed with an Aurora. I dunno, say if after 12mths my current character is a billionaire but is 10th generation do I feel that I’ve won or do I gain more satisfaction from being bankrupt but have a 1st generation character? In a game which is going to simulate an Economy and Universe as CIG have set out to do, as realistic as it comes a cost, a cost of realism if you like, this is the way I see it personally.

    It promises to be the Ultimate sandbox, as far from linear as you can imagine a game to be by today’s standard, so if someone has bigger guns, I have the ability to either use my experience and skill, dent my pride by evasion or pay the price! Permadeath and the hidden skill tree (repetitive tasks become easier over time) means that winning in my view is staying alive and retaining as much character wealth (knowledge, skill, experience, UEC, tools) as I can, above all having fun with my Org whilst doing so…That’s a Win in my book regardless of investment!

  5. anfrap

    NB. If Knowledge, Skill & Experienced are ‘attached’ to your character like a physical item surely that is more valuable than UEC.

    Examples. Medic can’t perform limb transplants, Mechanic can’t change an engine or Pilot can’t perform advanced manoeuvre, as they keep dying. If this is the case, regardless of what the player knows or can input, the character has to regain that Knowledge, Skill & Experience, which in my view is the cost of realism & Permadeath.

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