Remember: CIG offers the oppportunity to (pledge) purchase ships for cash in order to help fund Star Citizen's development. The funding generated by such sales is what allows them to include deeper features in the Star Citizen world.
Beyond the affordable start ships, they will not be required to play the game. Not all ships are available at all times. All ships are said to be available in game after launch for in game money (although certain ships will be rarer than others).
To purchase, see: Pledge Store
Ships have different availability for various reasons, set by CIG:
- Always available - Common
- Time-limited - Uncommon ships - put on sale from time to time.
- Quantity-limited - Rare ships - Batches of ships offered for short periods.
- Promotion only - Only purchasable through promotion offers
- Not available - Certain alien or military exclusive ships.