A SpaceShot update

At Space Access ’06 Thursday afternoon, Sam Dinkin offered an update on the progress of SpaceShot, which launched its skill-game contest for Rocketplane seats earlier this month. A few highlights:

  • He said that he has a patent pending on SpaceShot’s “asycnhronous” single-elimination tournament concept, which allows people to enter at any time, waiting until a competitor is ready to participate. Otherwise, SpaceShot would have to wait until it got all 260,000+ contestants signed up before the tournament could begin.
  • Having a single-elimination tourney is better for the “average player”, he said; multiple-elimination alternatives would weigh in favor of better players.
  • Quote: “It’s not rocket science, but it is game theory.”
  • One of the requirements of the company’s legal counsel was to put forecasts for Central Park on the web site so that information would be available for gamers without undue research.
  • The cash alternative prize is not $300,000, he said, because if you offered that, “most people would take the cash.”
  • Why use the National Weather Service data for the contest? “The National Weather Service has a lot more credibility at stake than I do.”
  • After his presentation I asked him how far the best contestants had advanced. He said some had reached Level 7, and someone may reach Level 8 as early as today. (There are 17 levels, for the record.)

After taking questions, Dinkin then brought Chuck Lauer of Rocketplane up to the podium. He explained that half of the deposit for the first Rocketplane ticket was due when SpaceShot and Rocketplane signed their agreement, and the other half two weeks after the game started. Dinkin then presented Lauer with a check for the second half of the deposit:

Dinkin, Lauer, and check

If you’re curious, the check’s amount reads only “Balance of First Flight Deposit.”

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