Cloud Imperium Games, the maker of Star Citizen, is offering players the chance to buy plots of land on the planets, moons or asteroids controlled by UEE, within the game. The purpose of the land claim mechanism at this time is admitted to be for development fund raising (and to help pay for the military campaign against the Vanduul). It is noted that while they are only up for sale initially for cold hard cash, the lot claim licences will in the future be purchasable with in-game credits or some other in-game play mechanism. At the time of writing plots are not yet available to claim or purchase.
Each claim license comes with a claim beacon which, placed on the land, stores the coordinates of the land parcel you own. In the game you take the module from the placed beacon and head on over to the UEE Planetary Development office in order to execute a claim license on the designated property - as long as it doesn't encroach upon previous registered claims. A further purpose of the beacon is to monitor your land for intrusion, for weather conditions, and so on.
The benefit having of a Lot Claim with UEE is that the land is protected by the UEE and any infringement upon your rights as a land owner will be enforced. People who violate the law by destroying your beacon, or mine your land without permission, for example, will be committing a criminal offence and there will be consequences, warns a FAQ. As well as the protections offered, land owners can extract value from an area’s natural resources, or financially speculate in the real estate market.
Speculators might choose certain sites for land purchases due to their location, terrain, resources below or above the surface and so on. Some areas can't be invested in; national parks, wildlife refuges, and nature preserves can't be claimed or exploited legally.
The initial offering of land parcels are priced at $60 and $120. The lower fee provides you with a certificate of ownership for a single 4km x 4km parcel of UEE land that has been zoned for commercial, residential or industrial use as well as a GEOTACK marking beacon. For $120 you get a much larger 8km x 8km parcel of land with a GEOTACK-X marking beacon. Alternatively Star Citizens can build upon and mine planets, moons and asteroids outside of the UEE zones without any fees (or protections)
Perhaps Star Citizen lot claims could be a great investment, the next Bitcoin? Addressing this, and the worry that the 'best' plots will be grabbed by speculators quickly, Cloud Imperium says that there are billions of square kilometres of available land over many planets and moons and the enormity of the resource should moderate demand-based price increases.