You can now buy a virtual plot of land in Star Citizen for a chunk of real world money.

Plunking down a wad of cash will get you a land claim licence; a certificate that entitles you to nab a section of land within the game's billions of square kilometres of public land... once the mechanic goes live. As with many things Star Citizen, it's not clear when exactly this will be.

There are two licences available: a 4km x 4km parcel for US$50, and an 8km x 8km parcel for US$100.

Once Star Citizen has launched, you'll also be able to buy land with credits you earn while playing the game.

Once you own land in the game, you can build an outpost, mine for resources, or speculate on the game's real estate market.

According to developer Cloud Imperium Games, claim licenses are being made available for money in order to help fund Star Citizen's development.

In an FAQ, the developer said the land claim mechanic isn't pay-to-win, and also that there will be many great spots to buy as the game matures.

"Due to the billions of square kilometres of available land over many planets and moons and of course as new Star Systems are introduced and explored, all players will have the ability to find and claim new 'hot spots' throughout the lifetime of the game," the FAQ reads.

"Also, every player can have their own reason for what could be the 'best' piece of land, while some may judge a plot of land based on the type and quantity of natural resources that it contains, others might be looking for proximity to trade routes, and others could simply look for a quiet spot with a beautiful vista.

"This - combined with the fact that there's an enormous amount of real estate available - means that prospecting and the purchase of land are two pieces of a supply-and-demand equation governing how rapidly land of a distinct perceived value will come on the market."

RSI already sells virtual spaceships for Star Citizen, a project that has been publicly in development for nearly six years.

There is no official release date for the game, but the alpha 3.0 version – which CIG considers akin to a Steam Early Access launch – is available now.