The big feature of Holiday season 2012 wasn't a sale or a livestream but the introduction of the ability to give Star Citizen as a gift.
The 2013 Holiday season was marked by a 2 hour livestream including a dogfighting demo, which illustrated precisely why Arena Commander was not ready for release.
This period also featured the opening of Foundry 42 Manchester, the introduction of the famous Drake hoodie, and the addition of Star Citizen gift cards to the pledge store. On top of that was Hangar patch 10 which introduced an update Avenger and the Cutlass to the Hangar Module - accompany this the Cutlass also got a game package in the store.
A 4.5 hour livestream punctuated the 2014 Holiday season for Star Citizen. This was one of the largest transcription projects I have ever personally taken on and my complete notes on it can be found here. Highlights were some great gameplay design information from Tony Zurovec, an early prototype of the Starmap, a lot of interesting thoughts for the future of Star Citizen, the Consolidated Outland Mustang commercial and introduction, the Pegasus Escort Carrier unveiling, new website reveal, new Idris images, as well as the Imagine trailer.
This period also featured the release of Arena Commander 1.0.
In terms of the sale, the Mustang series were on concept sale and 200 Idris Frigates were sold. In addition, there were a few new top tier packages created.
This occasion also marked the introduction of some new physical merchandise (mouspads, dogtags, Squadron 42 shirts) and the introduction of their new method of selling merchandise - pre-orders and then manufacturing/shipping.
2015 featured a 3 hour livestream which showed off procedural planets with a live demo as well as the famous From Pupil to Planet video, the ship pipeline in two parts (part 1, part 2), a blockout of the Javelin Destroyer, and a behind-the-scenes as well as an interview with John Rhys-Davies. Notes for the livestream can be found here. You can find the Holiday Livestream Ship Gallery here.
Of course Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 was also released to Live around this time frame on December 11th (the livestream was on the 16th), and was followed by SC Alpha 2.1 release to an all-player PTU on December 24th.
In terms of ship sales, one of the main features was MISC Reliant variant sale which began on December 16th. Also on that day there was limited availability of the Idris and Javelin, 5,000 discounted ($30) Starter game packages, as well as availability of the Sabre. In addition, pre-orders began on the 16th for Jump Point Volume 2.
The Holiday Ship Sale began 8 days later on December 24th and ran through December 28th. In addition to the continued availability of the Reliant variants and Sabre, this sale featured: Endeavor, Carrack, Cutlass Blue, Caterpillar, Herald, Gladiator, Super Hornet, Retaliator & Retaliator Modules, Starfarer & Starfarer Gemini, M50, 350R, Mustang Delta, Khartu-al, Merchantman, Reclaimer, Starliner, Orion, Aurora LX, Freelancer MIS, Constellation Phoenix, Hull A/B/C/D/E.
In addition to THOSE ships there were also these new ships: Crucible, Avenger Titan, Avenger Warlock, P-72 Archimedes, and the Vanguard. Some Master Packs were also available, including many ships.
Well, there was an extenuating circumstance. As of January 1st, 2016 they were updating the Euro exchange rate to be more reflective of the changing value of the currency. This sale was held as a last chance to get the "old" rate before it changed.
So what does all of that history tell us about what will happen tomorrow?
I think some rather obvious conclusions are that the livestream will be long (2-4 hours), and will show off some interesting things. CIG has a shown off a lot in the past two Holiday livestreams.
The official party line is as follows:
"Join us on our Twitch and YouTube channels for our Holiday Live Stream next Friday, December 16th at 11 AM PST / 7 PM GMT. Expect to see 2.6 gameplay and features, a friendly international competition, more details about an alien race, a new concept ship and details on our upcoming Holiday Promotions."
You could also draw the conclusion, and CIG have themselves mentioned, that it will be somewhat less formal than their other recent livestreams.
Now, I am going to go out on a limb here (not very far in my opinion) and guarantee that CIG also has a fair amount of additional content for the livestream that they are not talking about.
The elephant in the room is obviously the Squadron 42 demo/vertical slice. I personally believe that we will in fact see this tomorrow. The livestream is certainly long enough to house that kind of content - the vertical slice was reported to be about an hour long. In addition, when I met the Roberts brothers at CitizenCon they both seemed confident that although it was not shown at CitizenCon that it would be shown by the end of 2016.
I also expect we will see an update on Star Citizen Alpha 3.0, an update on the progress of Spectrum, and probably some unexpected goodies.
Now - what is the new concept ship?
There have been some hints recently that it may well be a "space motorbike" of sorts - a competitor for the Dragonfly. The original source of this speculation being Chris Smith's hint during RTV 2.16: "One little thing in between... I'm actually not sure if I can even announce it yet but... it's gonna be a 'vroom vroom' *mimics revving a motorcycle*." This speculation has also focused on the name Nox - brought to light on Reddit by /u/bar10dr2 - which was mentioned in an Empire Report on December 13th:
"People think that riding a Dragonfly or a Nox means partying hard, but that’s just wrong. It’s about being who you are, you know?"
In the clip from RTV Chris Smith also mentioned he has been focused on Anvil ships - the work he did on the Hornet as well as the F8. This leads me to believe we may see the Anvil Aerospace Nox tomorrow. However, this is all of course just speculation.
Regardless of what precisely happens tomorrow, the Holiday livestream is always a great time. I encourage everyone who can tune in, to do so.
Relay will have a pre-show live on Twitch.TV/Relay_SC at 10 AM PST (6 PM UTC). Once CIG goes live (scheduled for 11 AM PST), we will host the official livestream so you can watch from the relative quiet of Relay's Twitch, and then once CIG is done we will have a post-show as well to share our reactions.