Star Citizen has had a long and controversial road towards development, but the UK Advertising Standards Authority has admonished Cloud Imperium over how it promotes its concept ships.
A Reddit post from user matzy brought attention to the issue of the dev selling concept ships that have never materialized as payable or even accessible yet. He made a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority over a marketing email sent to subscribers that promoted a new ship concept - the Gatac Railen - as a limited item about to leave the store and attempting to drum up purchases.
The ASA released a statement to Eurogamer saying that the fact the ship mentioned was a concept that does not exist in the game yet (and has no timeline for being available or playable) "could have been made clearer". Ships offered in the store continue to fund what has come a long development process, and most are still merely concepts. The ASA issued a notice requesting that any marketing for the concepts clearly indicate that they are conceptual and to be clear about the limitations.
The limited response to the complaint is still having an effect, however, since Star Citizen marketing emails and ship order pages have been updated to include mention of named concept ships as "a limited vehicle concept pledge". Further information references named ships as pledges towards development costs and will be available in the game when it comes out. All players in the alpha and when further development happens, will get a "loaner" of similar size and capability until they materialize.
While the agency did respond, the original complainant wasn’t satisfied. Given the development crawl Star Citizen has been in for the past decade, and the sometimes very expensive concept ships on offer, Cloud Imperium’s approach may squeak in and satisfy the ruling with regard to its marketing. Yet there’s still some skepticism towards the continued promises that the ships and what people pay for will be in the game eventually.