Ahahahaha! Sorry, let me try that again. Yes that's right stargazers, the good folks at Cloud Imperium Games never stop in their quest to bring you the galaxy's greatest space gahahahahaha!
They're selling plots of land for money! For a game that isn't finished! And doesn't have land claiming mechanics in it! You'd think that selling virtual land gets you somewhere near to the line of 'money for nothing' but how much more beautiful it is when the virtual land can't even be claimed. It's double virtual, what value!
Here's how it works: you pony up £37.30 (a round $50) and get a wee beacon in return. This part is real. You stick that beacon in the middle of the land you want to claim and, if it's not owned by someone else, it becomes yours. That bit is still theory.
Those are some brass balls alright! All the vacuum of space does is make 'em shine even brighter.
The news was spotted by Kotaku UK's former news editor Julian Benson over at PCGN, a Star Citizen expert whose own writeup is much more measured, informative and sympathetic than this. You can read the big man's brilliant investigative piece here: Inside the Troubled Development of Star Citizen.
But there's a good reason I'm so aghast! After all, Chris Roberts is my competition because as of today I, Rich Stanton, am pleased to offer prospective backers virtual land in my very real automobile MMOG, Car Citizen. These 'Whalezones' can be applied to any road in the eventual game, and will grant the right to prosecute any players driving through it with trespass. Sick of the kids disrespecting you online? How about some IRL ownership! Terms and conditions apply.
Seriously though. There's little doubt that Star Citizen will eventually see release in some form. But the pile of IOUs that the game's developers are building up means that even if it was brilliant, and that's incredibly unlikely, a lot of paying punters are not going to be happy for a long time.