Today Cloud Imperium Games announced that the long wait for the full release of Star Citizen Alpha 3.18 is close to the end.
The announcement made on social media reveals that the developer is finally planning to release the highly-anticipated update later this week.
The update is touted as the biggest released for the growing space game since 3.0 in December 2017. It includes plenty of new features like the first iteration of the salvaging system, the cargo system refactor, more rivers, sand caves, and much more.
On the tech side of things, the Persistent Entity Streaming, which will let objects persist in the world independent of players that may have placed, abandoned, or simply lost them. That's a rather unique technology in modern online games, and it'll be interesting to see which effects it'll have on Star Citizen's gameplay environment.
That being said, the implementation of this large update has taken a longer time compared to many of its predecessors, with the later major update, numbered 3.17.2, having launched in June 2022. There have been smaller patches in the meanwhile, but 3.18 is the first really big hitter in a few months.
In the meanwhile, Star Citizen's growing crowdfunding campaign continues to progress and the game has recently passed $552 million ($552,471,812 at the moment of this writing) from backers.
The number of registered users has also recently passed 4.4 million and it's now at 4,430,963, albeit not all of them are paying since many register accounts to access the popular free fly events that provide a chance to test the game without pledging any money. According to the latest information that creative director Chris Roberts himself shared in October 2022, 1.7 million players are actually paying customers. Of course, that number is a few months old, so it could be higher now.
Star Citizen recently ended its best year ever in terms of crowdfunding, with a whopping $113 million pledged in 2022, marking a 31% increase over 2021. The tally has been consistently increasing year-on-year since 2018.
Full disclosure: the author of this post has backed Star Citizen all the way back when its crowdfunding was first launched in September 2012.
Image credit: u/existing4abit on Reddit.