GamesBeat

With $7.7M raised via crowdfunding, Chris Roberts makes his sci-fi game in the public eye (interview)

GamesBeat: So, you like your platform.

Roberts: I like the PC. There are issues with the PC in terms of so many different configurations and incompatibilities. But the PC is a much better platform than it was 10 years ago or 20 years ago. Windows 7 is probably the best operating system I’ve ever worked under. It’s the best of any of the Microsoft ones. As far as I’m concerned it better than the Mac system at the moment.

My wife is a big Mac person and her Mac with whatever the latest version is has trouble with detecting the hardware you plug in. You have to install drivers off discs. My Windows 7, I plug something in and bam. It goes to the internet, figures out what it is, and gets the driver. I do development on it. I’m crashing Star Citizen, pretty heavy-duty stuff, and I don’t have to reboot my PC at all. I keep it on 24/7. Maybe once every three months I reboot it. That’s an incredibly powerful, stable system. They did a great job with Windows 7. It’s nice to be on a platform that, when something new and cool comes out, like a faster graphics card, you can take advantage of it. You can plug in the Oculus Rift.

GamesBeat: Will you be able to work with the Oculus Rift?

Roberts: Definitely. We announced we were supporting it when we launched. I did a video on that where we visited them and interviewed everybody behind the scenes, which was fun. The cockpit experience in the headset is a better experience than the first-person shooter experience. You’re actually seated there and you have a joystick. That’s as close to the real experience as I can get. Much more than running around on foot. It’s a natural for Star Citizen.

We did a pretty detailed survey on what the hardware is and what everyone was doing. We had close to 9,000 people respond, which is approximately 10 percent of our base. A pretty good sample. Of those people, 29 percent said they were going to play Star Citizen with the Oculus Rift. If you extrapolate that to our current 100,000 base, that’s 30,000 people. Even right there, that’s 3,000 people. That’s 30 percent of the people backing Rift right now.

The other thing that was an eye-opening stat for me was that 82 percent of our respondents in the survey build their own PCs. 90 percent of them game on desktops versus a laptop. I was shocked. I did not think it would be that high. The people who respond to a survey are a bit more of that kind of person who’d build their own PC. The bigger player base, it’s maybe not 82 percent. But with a statistical sample that big, you have to think that it’s still more like 70 percent building their own PCs. That’s pretty impressive.

It goes with my empirical evidence, if I look at people like Alienware or whatever. They’re having problems with Newegg and Tiger Direct and all those guys going gangbusters. What’s happened is that building a PC is not that difficult. People like to do it because they know they’re saving money, and they can specify their computer exactly the way they like.

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