ZX Spectrum Vega+ Crowdfunder Ended by Indiegogo
Ashley Allen / 3 weeks ago
A crowdfunding campaign for a handheld version of one of the Eighties most iconic computers has been closed by Indiegogo. Retro Computers Ltd. launched a crowdfunder for the ZX Spectrum Vega+, a portable reinvention of the popular retro system, around a year ago. The campaign was 367% funded, raising £513,650 by its end, but no devices have yet been shipped, despite a planned delivery target of September 2016. This delay – and lack of communication from Retro Computers to the device’s backers – has caused Indiegogo to halt any future funding for the campaign, according to BBC News.
Prior to BBC News publishing the story, Retro Computers asked the outlet to publish it for fear of reprisals from angry backers.
“Following a credible threat of violence against personnel of Retro Computers Limited, including threats made as recently as last night, we asked [technology desk editor] Leo Kelion and the BBC to refrain from publishing a story we believe to be factually inaccurate and might put people at risk of physical harm, alarm and distress,” David Levy, founder of Retro Computers, told the BBC in a statement. “Since December 2016 the BBC have formally been on notice that this is a police matter, and we ask that the BBC and Mr Kelion do not compromise the police investigation.”
New information, published to the ZX Spectrum Vega+ Indiegogo page a matter of hours ago, reveals that Retro Computers was forced to delay the hardware’s release due to an 11-month legal dispute with its former sales agent, a fact that it was not in a position to discuss due to on-going court proceedings.
“During what we had expected would be final testing of the product prior to the first shipment, we discovered that the software for three of the user features, which had been announced for the product, had not yet been implemented. We are taking immediate action to rectify this situation but realistically we now expect it to take a few weeks before we will be ready to ship the first units.
This problem is part of the legacy that the company inherited when our former Managing Director, Paul Andrews, and our former Technical Director, Chris Smith, resigned on April 8th last year. In their letter of resignation they wrote:
“We will within 7 days of date of this notice hand over or deliver to the Company any and all assets, work in progress, tech and data currently in our possession and belonging to the company.”
Unfortunately the handover did not include any technical assets, and specifically excluded the software for the Vega+ which had already, in December 2015, been developed to the point of having working prototypes available in time for the January 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We therefore had to create the Vega+ technology completely from scratch, starting in May, and the development work had to be carried out by a small team who did not have any of the specific Vega knowledge and experience of Chris Smith who led the development of both the Vega and the company’s Vega+ prototypes.
In addition to the above problems it is also taking us longer than we had hoped to fill the gaps in our list of 1,000 games caused by some games rights owners withdrawing their permission to employ their games in the Vega+. For some time now Paul Andrews has been contacting rights owners and encouraging them to withdraw their permissions. Why someone who is still a 25% shareholder in the company would do such a thing is a question best asked of Mr Andrews himself. We are making good progress in bringing the number of games back up to 1,000, thanks to many game developers and rights owners who support our project and wish to help us, but we anticipate needing a few more weeks to complete the roster.
The net result of all this is that we expect to make the first shipment of Vega+ units a few weeks from now. We will provide updates to our progress as and when we feel it is appropriate.”
Hopefully, backers will receive their Vega+ within the next few weeks.