I will start off today by talking about the history of the Anniversary Sale.
The first one was in 2013, celebrating the 1st Anniversary of the end of the original crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. This sale is also known as the “End of LTI” sale as it was the end of the availability of the original LTI packages. This moniker is a misnomer as you can still acquire LTI on newly introduced ships. This sale was also notable for the introduction of the Banu Merchantman and Xi’An Scout.
The second Anniversary Sale in 2014 featured the introduction of the Javelin Destroyer and the Anvil Carrack.
The third Anniversary Sale in 2015 brought to light the Anvil Crucible repair ship, the Avenger variants, and the P-72 Archimedes.
Now we arrive at our main topic - the 4th Anniversary sale.
This year Star Citizen entered the sale in a bit of a slump in terms of community morale. No major patches since August, CitizenCon while amazing was missing a key component, and a general feeling of disquiet had settled in.
Prior to the sale I publicly discussed if Star Citizen could maintain its momentum:
The vast majority of the sentiment was that gloomy days were ahead for Star Citizen’s funding, that ships would no longer attract attention, and that the best days of the crowdfunding campaign were past.
The actual result of the 2016 Anniversary Sale was simply the most successful period of crowdfunding for Star Citizen to date. This included the biggest single day all-time (as measured by the Crowdfunding Development Spreadsheet) - November 27th - the first day of the two-day Grand Finale.
As you can see the 2016 sale was by far the most successful, and the first to shatter the income of the 2013 “End of LTI” Anniversary Sale.
Income from each of the 2016 sale segments is as follows:
Each of the segments was 24 hours except for the Grand Finale which wound up the sale with a 53 hour marathon.
As I mentioned above, the 2016 sale also did feature the biggest single day.
The Crowdfunding Development Spreadsheet is a community-driven tracking sheet that has been maintained since the original Kickstarter. It records that the largest single day of funding prior to November 27th, 2016 was November 19th, 2012. November 19th, 2012 was the final day of the original Kickstarter campaign.
November 19, 2012 - $1.510 million
November 27, 2016 - $1.537 million
Why was 2016 the biggest Anniversary Sale?
I know many people would simply point to a larger number of Citizens in our pack. However, from years of watching the data there has never been a convincing pattern that the increasing number of Citizens actually improves funding in any measurable way. I personally believe that people fade in and out of active interest in Star Citizen, with the number of fans heavily involved both mentally and financially remaining roughly the same.
I am going to give CIG a lot of credit here because they did a lot of good things to make this sale a success. They showed live Star Marine gameplay, opened the book on their production schedule for SC Alpha 2.6 (an unprecedented level of transparency), showed off yet more depth on the development of ships, and we got a Letter from the Chairman.
Now, that might have been enough to create a reasonable level of enthusiasm in Star Citizen’s following - but that wasn’t the full extent.
CIG created an in-universe home for the Anniversary Sale - the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo - and a series of Galactic Tour videos which served to highlight the daily offerings.
I believe one of the most important single aspect of the whole sale was its feature ship. The Esperia Prowler:
This Esperia reproduction of the classic Tevarin troop transport perfectly matches its predatory name. The ship is very imposing and will surely induce dread when soldiers see it coming in for a landing.
There are a few huge factors left though: War Bond sales, quantity-limited ships, and new variants.
War Bond ship sales are a fairly recent phenomenon in Star Citizen. The idea is simply that a War Bond ship is available at a slight discount but only can be purchased with fresh money - no store credit can be used. The issue that this addresses is that many Citizens were melting some of their ships for new ships and not purchasing them outright, thus limiting the income from the sale. War Bond sales seemed to do an admirable job of addressing this issue and improving income.
There were also several quantity-limited ships available during the course of the sale. Idrii, Javelins, 890 JUMPs, Phoenixes, and a supply of discounted Starter packages. These ships are mostly very expensive, limited, and sought-after. These factors all combine to make them a massive income generator.
Finally, there were a few new ship variants introduced. These were the Gladius Valiant, Avenger Titan Renegade, Sabre Comet, and Hornet Wildfire. All four ships provided new paint jobs and upgraded weapons - setups suited for Arena Commander.
As an aside, I absolutely loved seeing the array of different coloured ships in the Anniversary Livestream.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that CIG did a really good job with the 2016 Anniversary Sale. It was great for Citizens - almost everyone I know in the community found something they wanted and were excited by what they saw.
The simple fact is that as long as CIG is showing progress and really cool ships, the funding for Star Citizen will remain strong. This in turn will keep the development of this massive space sim flowing nicely.
In the musing I linked above about whether Star Citizen can maintain its momentum, I proposed that the crowdfunding for 2016 would hit $37.5 million which would bring the project total to $142 million by the end of the year.
I still feel this is a reasonable estimation and I’m curious to see how close I get when the time comes.
I believe 2017 will be easily the biggest year yet for SC with the arrival of Squadron 42.
As a final note I wanted to highlight the Big Guns of the UEE music video, which I loved: