Illuvium vs. Star Atlas: My Reaction to the Debate

The great debate of Illuvium vs. Star Atlas just wrapped up and man did it live up to the hype. Both sides did not hold back in this one and there were some interesting takeaways from the action. My main takeaway from it all was the fact that 99% of the time was spent with Star Atlas CEO Michael Wagner defending his project. This stood out to me about half way through and I figured eventually some shots would be fired Kieran’s way, but it dawned on me, Michael had no ammo.

Transparency is key 

Illuvium’s level of transparency has made it so. Kieran’s greatest weapon is his brother Grant aka Von Leakman. The guy can’t be stopped, he leaks whatever he wants whenever he wants. We have seen the work happening in real time for almost two years now. There is no stone left unturned with Illuvium. 

Star Atlas

The same can’t be said of Star Atlas and so naturally all of the questions and skepticism was directed at Michael. Kieran may have come off harsh in some peoples eyes, but he asked what needed to be asked and quite frankly the answers we received were alarming. Here are the facts:

  • Star Atlas has sold over $200m worth of ships. 
  • These ships will be used in a game that may be ready in 5–7 years. 
  • Star Atlas currently has 4 Unreal Engines developers on their internal team. 
  • 50% of the Star Atlas team is external or outsourced workers. 
  • Star Atlas does not put their internal employees on their website because they are afraid that other projects will poach them. 
  • The Star Atlas scope is roughly 100x of Illuvium with half the internal team. 
  • Star Atlas would rather focus on polishing products for a video than building out a foundation. 

What I gathered from this debate is that Star Atlas is very good at marketing and selling assets for a game they are not even close to building. They are promising a massive scale game with 4 UE devs. The numbers simply don’t add up. Putting out polished videos to gain hype and sell $200m worth of in game assets for a game nowhere near ready is downright reckless. 

Kieran’s initial concern

This is why Kieran called them out in the first place. Over promising in this space needs to stop. For the good of the ecosystem as a whole, we need to be better. We need to be realistic. A lot can and will change in 5 years. $200m worth of ships sold with nothing backing it is scary. Look at what has happened in the crypto space with Terra, 3AC, Celsius. We are in a very fragile state. These reckless hype cycles with no substance behind them cannot continue. 

$200 million dollars and 4 UE devs. Make that make sense. As a community in Web 3 we need to demand better. Star Atlas is a ticking time bomb and I just don’t see how they can deliver on what they have promised. It makes me that much more bullish on Illuvium and thankful that they have the team and process in place to build an actual AAA Web 3 game. I’ve already seen it for myself first hand with the autobattler and I cannot wait for what comes next from the Illuvium team. Actions will always speak louder than words. 

As for Star Atlas, I wish it were different and I hope Star Atlas succeeds, but the details we heard today can’t and shouldn’t be taken lightly. This space is too volatile, unproven and risky to promise, raise capital and then build. People are eager to get in and that is fantastic, but this is not the way to do it. 

Thank You

As always, thank you for reading my article! Follow me on Twitter (@Rhamphy) to keep up with the latest Illuvium news, leaks and more.

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