That that of course being crowdfunding, which began as a modest Kickstarter project years ago (where it originally had a planned 2014 release window), to the overly ambitious ever expanding universe that was born from the massive response from fans and backers. Where now, in-game purchases of ships has been generating a steady stream of income for quite some time.
As a point of reference Star Citizen hit $100 million USD in crowdfunding late 2015, roughly three years ago. Although funding has slowed Star Citizen managed to nabbed a healthy $1 million in funding for a week in October
thanks to the debut of version Alpha 3.3 of the game, and a new cinematic trailer for the single-player star-studded off-shoot Squadron 42.