“It’s CIG. There’s always more; and it’s always worse” – Goons
The TL;DR recap on how I got involved in this farce
There is a lot of misinformation going around about the recent “Streetroller refund debacle“, as well as the involvement of myself and Goons in the whole fiasco.
As much as we’d like to claim this “victory” for a backer, truth is, we had nothing to do with the end result. At all.
The fact is that since July 2015 when I wrote my first blog, I have taken CIG/RSI to task over promises made to backers. Shortly thereafter I even got my attorneys involved in which I asked them – nicely – to refund backers who requested a refund as that’s the right thing to do seeing as they had broken every promise made to backers who had given them millions for a product they have failed to deliver in Nov 2014.
The response from Ortwin Freyermuth, their in-house counsel, and Chris Roberts’ long time biz partner, pretty much asked us to go pound sand. But we simply wanted responses from their camp – on the record. Which we got – along with his personal attacks and everything in between. Pretty much the same theme that both him and Chris Roberts followed suit with in their empty threats after The Escapist wrote a scathing expose (soon to be followed by the best one yet, written by @peterottsjo for Swedish magazine, LEVEL; and which is currently undergoing an English translation version for publication by an English outlet) about the project. Again, those responses are now on the record that shows a clear pattern of conduct.
Fun fact: The Escapist article was also about the ToS, and the conditional triggers within, all of which originated from my blog posts about it.
Anyway, since then I have spent time tracking, and taking the ToS apart, as well as writing about all the things that CIG have done which have led up to this point in time. My blog comments and forums have several specific threads and comments – by myself and others – showing backers what recourse they had if they felt they had been lied to and misled. That included links to State and Federal officials, as well as interpretations and comparisons of the various ToS that CIG foisted on backers.
Ahead of the latest ToS change, I had forewarned that according to sources, not only was the game never ever getting released as promised (To wit: back on April 18th, Chris Roberts confirmed this when he stated that the first release would be a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). More in this blog), but that they were well aware of the implications of the ToS which had conditions that triggered the end of May 2016.
True to form, precisely as I had predicted, right after that date passed, and the conditions (refunds and financial accountability) were to trigger, CIG released a new ToS on June 10th. Not only did it completely wipe away those safeguards and securities that backers to that point had, but it also signaled the liability shift from CIG (the entity that backers and investors had given all this money to) to RSI; an entity which for all intent and purposes was just one of several shell companies associated with this project.
In short, if you were a backer up to the June 10th, 2016 ToS, you are 100% entitled to i) a refund ii) financial accountability. If you however agreed to the new ToS, it was now harder not only to get refunds, but also you no longer have any rights to financial accountability as to what happened to the money.
But it doesn’t stop there. If you rejected the new ToS – as is your right – not only are they refusing to give a refund, but you would also no longer have any access to the game itself. Yeah.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF STREETROLLER & THE GOVT
Throughout all of this, there are numerous accounts of backers frantically trying to get their money out of the project, even ahead of the Nov 2014 delivery deadline. In fact, some even made headlines in various publications, including Polygon. In that August 2015 article, Chris Roberts went on the record and said the following:
“We don’t publicize it, but when people reach out to us and talk to us in a rational manner, in most cases we’ve refunded them,” he said. “We don’t want people to be part of the project if they’re not happy.“
It’s all pure and utter lies. Pretty much par for the course.
In fact, there are dozens of very public accounts of people requesting and being denied refunds. Some of them are posted right here in my blog comments, as well as in my forums. Just this morning, I received a Facebook message from someone who has over $6K (!) in the project and was seeking guidance on how to proceed in getting a refund. There are people joining the SomethingAwful forums – even with a $10 (!) paywall – just to confer with Goons on how to get their money back. A little over a month ago, when it was discovered that CIG was tagging its own backers inappropriately, a guy in Australia (which has some serious consumer advocacy laws) immediately pulled around $16K (!) from the project.
So this issue with Streetroller is not news, nor is it new. But here’s why it’s news now and why since I made it public, and it’s spreading from where he originally posted it, and lots publications (some which have never written anything about the project before this incident) are now writing (see running list here) about it. His experience was a blend of blind luck and perfect timing. It is no secret that several backers have been reporting this project to State and Federal officials. It’s an on-going thing. As I understand it, due to the fact that Streetroller got several agencies involved, and those agencies having seen the trends, chose this moment – and his complaint – to act. Why? Because of his detailed, and streamlined documenting of his plight. And in doing so, they also took the opportunity to inform the public that they could in fact file their own complaints. This was coming directly from a State agency. Nobody made this up.
The problem? This event shows clearly what I’ve been saying all along: the CIG/RSI ToS is pure – and utter – bullshit; that would never stand up to any legal challenge, and which they have unwittingly hung around their collective necks as the noose that completely holds them accountable for backer money. And that’s the noose that the June ToS change was supposed to remove; which is why they used the much awaited 2.4 game patch as a Trojan horse to deliver it.
Unfortunately for them – according to consumer law and precedent – when someone disagrees to a ToS, that’s it. The story ends there. A ToS does not trump law. It never did. And it doesn’t matter who wrote it. A ToS, like any written contract, is only as good as the challenge that it faces in a court of law. And anyone who marches into court and challenges this ToS, is automatically and immediately entitled to not only a refund, but also a complete financial accounting for the project. And when State and Federal officials are involved in consumer advocacy issues? Well then, they just cut out all that court-room procedural bullshit – and go straight to the heart of the matter.
Despite Ortwin’s written lies (to a government agency no less) to the contrary, Streetroller never agreed to the new June ToS. That was the whole point of his complaint. He never agreed. That made him entitled to his refund – as per the original ToS. Not to mention the fact that by disagreeing with the new ToS, he now no longer had access to a game that he spent almost $3K (!) on. Aside from that, it also made him entitled to financial accounting for the project if in fact CIG/RSI decided to imply that his investment had gone toward the “game cost”. They’d have to prove it. And in doing so, they’d have to release entire project’s finances to him and his attorney. Just as they promised to do in the ToS that he did agree to. And that, along with the State’s involvement, was the primary reason why they refunded him. If they wanted to refund him all along – as an act of kindness (<– lol) – they would have done so – without waiting for him to go through all this hassle. He simply called their bluff. Then came back with a rather large stick, in the form of State officials.
HOW STREETROLLER MET DEREK SMART & THE INIMITABLE GOONS
The long and short of it is we had nothing to do with the State’s involvement. As much as I would personally love to take credit for that, I can’t. Here is how it went down.
One day, Streetroller shows up on our Discord channel asking for assistance in obtaining a refund for the game. I sent him precisely the same links that we have collated, along with guidance on what to do if his refund was rejected. Then on June 11th, he subscribed over at the Goon enclave, Somethingawful.com, and proceeded to provide updates to his plight. After being rejected by CIG/RSI, he became even more upset, and got an attorney involved, and notified me in a personal message, as well as others in the Discord channel and on SA forums.
Then it got interesting.
Frustrated by the whole ordeal, he would show up on our Discord channel and give us updates. Leading up to this govt. intervention, he started talking about taking legal action. I already knew about this, but as it wasn’t my story to tell, I never revealed it. However, because we tend not to encourage that sort of thing over there, given the legal implications; on June 18th, he was subsequently banned by a moderator, Gorf from our Discord channel. He was later let back in once he agreed to refrain from such conduct (which would only harm his efforts).
Nobody paid too much attention to Streetroller from that point on. In fact, though I was in contact with him, we just regarded him as just another backer who waited too late in the day – despite all the warning signs – to ask for a refund. Some even found him annoying, and said so. In fact, now that I look back, his persistence and frustration were what seemingly led to the annoyance that some felt.
On July 12th, out of the Blue (I had no prior knowledge), he made his victory post (which became the now widely spread imgur) on SomethingAwful forum. Before that point, NONE of us saw it coming. The only thing that I was aware of up to that point, and which I chose not to make public, was that he was in fact in contact with the authorities (I have investigator and lead’s details), and that he was preparing to take legal action. As these things go, I’ve been in several of those, and obstruction of justice – as it relates to the govt – is not to be trifled with.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, he recently indicated to me that in a recent interview, he felt that the reporter was attempting to coerce him into saying that I had something to do with his actions, or that I had provided an attorney, financial aid, guidance etc. None of that is true. So of course he told the reporter precisely that.
Then earlier today, he messaged me, and showed up on our Discord channel, very distraught and upset. The problem? He had just been informed by Charlie Hall at Polygon, and with who he did an interview a few days ago, that because his complaint was in the public record, they were going to reveal his real name in the article. Something that he has expressly asked him not to do. Despite the fact that his name being in the public record doesn’t mean that anyone can look it up. You’d need to file a FOIA with the State in order to obtain his complaint. You can’t walk into the building and obtain it as far as I know. Considering the activities of the Shitizens, not to mention all the death threats that I have personally received over this fiasco, this, I thought was highly irresponsible and dangerous on the part of Polygon. So I tweeted my alarm at both Polygon and Charlie Hall – then asked Streetroller to immediately get his attorney involved. UPDATE: In the final Polygon article that went live after this blog, he gave them permission to use his first name only.
UPDATE1: In his first media interview, Streetroller talks to Peter Parrish over at PC Invasion. NOTE: There’s more in the audio than in the transcript.
THE REFUND MEDIA FRENZY
Despite the fact that the mainstream media have been aware for quite sometime that something wasn’t quite right with this project, and that gamers were about to be stiffed for millions of dollars, very few have bothered to write about the very visible problems with the project. In fact, it is widely known that nobody wants to even touch Star Citizen now, simply because of broken promises (all of which saw the media writing dozens of fluff pieces which ended up being bullshit, thus making the media complicit and culpable for the hype in some regard), as well as the toxicity of the vocal minority – aka Shitizens who descend on these sites. In short, most are either writing lazy, reactionary project updates and fluff pieces, or waiting to see what happens. Which is precisely what I have been writing about for an entire freaking year!!
So now, a backer – who got fedup – and went all the way, unwittingly gave the “media” enough ammo that they could hang their hats on, and write something truly negative about Star Citizen. In short, precisely what they would be doing the minute they learn that the project is either dead, someone attached to it is under investigation, indictment etc. In other words, until something very bad happens that they can generate click-bait from, they simply don’t give a shit. Only a few of the smaller independent sites, even bother nowadays. Heck, just a few months ago when news broke that Ben Lesnick, a CIG employee and a member of the community (the fountain that Shitizens drink from) team, was hosting and maintaining a site with stalking and racist content – nobody blinked. When news broke that they were tagging their own backers with defamatory and abusive tags – very few blinked. When after receiving over $116 million dollars to deliver a product on Nov 2014 – with an 18 month allowable delay period – and Chris Roberts went on the record that he was now looking to deliver only a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), instead of the products (Star Citizen and Squadron42) that he already received funding for – very few blinked. I could go on and on, but it’s all right there in my blogs and online. Then to cap it all, when CIG/RSI did the most egregious thing ever, and completely revoked two key rights that backers, who had given them millions, had – very few blinked. In fact, it barely registered on any media radar that a company who had made multi-million dollar promises in order to get funding, had now turned hostile toward backers, subsequently revised its own ToS and removed the two carrot sticks that got them that far and which most backers were latching onto.
It’s easy to say that everyone has already written off Star Citizen, that nothing those bastards over there at CIG/RSI do would make news now since it’s expected; but the fact remains: they’re systematically and regularly screwing the very backers who gave them millions of dollars in exchange for a game. A game which, to date, they have proven they simply do not have the expertise to make, nor the capacity to deliver as promised.
The fact that a backer has made public that a govt agency now regards the ToS as being anti-consumer, and has requested that others follow suit and file a complaint – regardless of where they live – is precisely why this is now making the rounds as “news”. The “media” proper don’t care about gamers – they only care about click-bait headlines. Here’s the thing, this fiasco is not new. I’ve been asking gamers to do this for over a year and that when it comes to State and Fed officials, the wheels turn slowly, but they do turn.
Meanwhile, true to form, CIG/RSI is busy issuing bullshit media statements like this:
“Any refunds with respect to Star Citizen are made on a discretionary basis,” a representative said. “There was nothing special about this situation. The fact that this particular party used a complaint form that is online and openly available, doesn’t make this any different.”
EPILOGUE & MAKING THE CASE FOR WAR
The funding of Star Citizen is not “free” money. Not even Kickstarter’s own guidelines regard it as free money. Just because it’s crowd-funding doesn’t mean that the creators have been given free money and carte-blanche to do as they see fit. The State and Federal officials are very – fucking – clear about this; and only Shitizens and CIG/RSI are trying to distort the facts, while seemingly attempting to strip gamers (aka consumers) of their rights. When a crowd-funded project, having failed to meet deadlines, let alone deliver on promises, turns hostile, then starts to alienate its own backers – and lie to them constantly – you should go digging.
The argument that refunding backers of a crowd-funded project harms the project, is pure bullshit. Cause and effect are at play, in much the same way that actions have consequences. CIG/RSI made promises to deliver a game – by a date certain. That date came and went. The 18 month “cure” period also came and went. That event triggered both refunds and financial accountability. So this is ALL on them; and victim blaming has no place in this discourse. None.
And in relation to the above, not only has Chris Roberts gone on the record and said that they have healthy financial reserves, he has also said that if funding stopped they have enough to complete the project. So why is it that instead of issuing refunds from those reserves (<— lol!), they are not only alienating backers, but also doing everything they can to continue raising money for a project they know is already doomed?
Mike Futter over at Gameinformer made a similar observation before this blog went to press:
“Yes, asking for a refund for a crowdfunding pledge is antithetical to the process. Backing a campaign is a risky endeavor.
However, CIG did include that clause in its terms of service, suggesting that it would deliver within the 18 months of the expected release date (November 2014). It’s hard to suggest that the original projected release was a mere estimate when you’re tying the ability to request a refund to that tentpole.
Star Citizen has experienced mission creep, has missed milestones, and is one of the biggest enigmas in gaming right now. I suspect with “Steamroller’s” victory here, we’re likely to see the crack in the dam widen. The controversy around this game isn’t likely to calm soon.“
Let’s not even get into the whole topic of delays, broken promises, scope creep etc, since all of that has already been discussed to death. Nevertheless, this was an Oct 19th, 2012 interview:
“TM: You have stated that you expect to have an Alpha up and going in about 12 months, with a beta roughly 10 months after that and then launch. For a game of this size and scope, do you think you can really be done in the next two years?
CR: Really it is all about constant iteration from launch. The whole idea is to be constantly updating. It isn’t like the old days where you had to have everything and the kitchen sink in at launch because you weren’t going to come back to it for awhile. We’re already one year in – another two years puts us at 3 total which is ideal. Any more and things would begin to get stale.”
And amid all of this noise, below is what people are missing in this narrative and which Ortwin unwittingly made clear in his communications:
He says “It would not be appropriate to use current backers development pledges to refund an earlier pledge“. Basically that if they have to refund money they have already spent making the game, that those refunds will have to come from new/fresh backer money. This means that they are living “hand to mouth”. Which means no cash reserves. Even the new June ToS says they don’t have to refund money because it’s being spent on making the game. This means that when they use that money to process refunds from older backers, even the new ToS does not protect them because they are NOT using the money to make the game. So that money is no longer “earned” i.e. they have to refund it if requested by a backer. Basically someone can say: “I asked for a refund, you said no, that it has been spent on developing the game. However, you’ve been doing refunds of new backer money. So now please prove to me that you didn’t use my money on a refund”
There are so many holes in this whole thing that the minute I even make public everything I know, I would no doubt have pretty much impeded on-going investigations. So we wait. But while we’re waiting, here’s a nugget. Please ask them if it’s true that: after they founded a studio (Foundry42-UK) to help develop this game, and Chris pulled in his brother and childhood friends in from another company to head it, that less than two years later, another subsidiary (associated with the project) then turned around and bought the company back from those very people. Thus taking out a significant amount of wealth out of the project and putting it into the pockets of those very friends and family. While still paying his brother Erin, what amounts to almost $250K in yearly salary; not including benefits or bonuses – which aren’t disclosed. Aside from this being reported to be almost 3x what he was making at his previous company, it’s also 2x the average for a director in the Manchester region. And in case you forgot, this is a crowd-funded project.
Meantime, while this is all going on, Chris is reported to have thus far spent almost 1/3 of the money raised on a game (Squadron42) that most backers don’t give a shit about because it’s not Star Citizen. A game that with the first half of 2016 over, nobody has seen any game play footage of; yet still listed on their own website as coming out in 2015(!). A game that was also due back in Nov 2014 – as promised.
There are many reasons why financial accountability for this project is only going to come through legal action, or if the State and Federal officials step in. Because CIG/RSI will never – ever – provide it to backers due to all the glaring Red flags that are sure to pop up and expose the truth about the money.
As I’ve said before, having offices around the world, staffed by some hard working people, doesn’t mean anything. At all. There have been many large fraudulent and scam operations which got shut down through legal and/or government authorities, and in some cases people ending up doing jail time. So that argument simply has no merit.
This whole thing is FUBAR. I’ve been saying this for over a year this month. But instead of people doing their research, they’re busy taking sides in a “Smart v Roberts” war that they started. I’m going to say this again: there is absolutely no scenario under which CIG/RSI get away with this. And anyone hedging bets on the outcome of them “winning” (the only scenario would be for them to deliver Star Citizen and Squadron42 as promised) by making this about me, is going to lose that bet. I made my bet a year ago – and I have no intentions of changing it because I know that I’m right.
Do your part: If you feel that you have been unjustly refused a refund, or have issues with this crowd-funded project, report it to the State and Federal officials; especially report it to the State of California where they are based. It is your right to do so. Ask CIG/RSI for a refund. If they refuse, collect all the materials, and file your complaint. That’s all there is to it.
GET A REFUND, SON!
As long as you DID NOT agree to the latest June 2016 ToS, you are 100% entitled to i) a FULL refund (not for gifted items!) ii) financial accounting for the project, showing what they spent the money on. Unless you are willing to initiate a lawsuit and see it all the way through, your best bet is to just get a refund and move on. And the ToS is your best shot at getting it. You can read more about that in this post.
If you have an RSI account, login to the account, and request a refund. If you don’t have an account, you can also fill out this contact web form, select “Refund” from the drop-down menu.
You will probably get denied, right off the bat. They will also likely state that signing the new ToS, does not change the terms of the refund, as they are identical to the terms in the previous ToS. It’s bullshit. If that were the case, why did they need a new ToS? Anyway, just ignore that. In the event that you DO get denied, all you have to do is state the following:
- The project was promised to be delivered on or before Nov 2014. That has come and gone. No game(s)
- The project was promised to be delivered within 18 months of the Nov 2014 promised that. That has come and gone. No game(s)
- The project is not what you originally backed, the scope has increased and changed, and it doesn’t appear that it will ever be completed; even in 2016
- Chris Roberts also stated recently that the first release of the game would be a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), instead of the full game(s) promised since Oct 2012
From this point onward, you have to be relentless. They have absolutely NO STANDING in denying you a refund. Regardless of when you pre-purchased the game and/or merchandise.
During all this, you should consider filing a complaint with State and Fed officials. The more complaints that are filed, the more likely that the government agencies will continue their investigations into this company and their business practices. You can read more about that in this post.
CA DEPT OF CONSUMER AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
File a complaint. In the event that they keep rejecting your refund, you can contact the investigator directly via email ([email protected]) or phone (312-881-7094). This is the State where the head office is located; so it is critical that you report them to this agency.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
The FTC has setup a special department that deals with crowd-funding complaints. You can fill out this form. Then select “Internet services, online shopping, or computers” then “Online shopping”. You can read more about that over here. Also read the FTC bulletin, Getting Your Money Back
Cloud Imperium, LLC
12322 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
YOUR STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE
Find out who your State AG is from this website; then contact them. If you live in one of the States (e.g. Washington State) where AGs have gone after shady crowd-funding schemes, then you’re in luck. These past months, we’ve contacted AGs in various States (based on people who reached out to us for help), and apprised them of the on-going Star Citizen situation. So hopefully you don’t have to spend too much time explaining it to them. Remember, the State and Feds take their time; so don’t be surprised if it takes awhile for them to do anything.
160 thoughts on “Star Citizen – The Refund Debacle”
Recently a backer with over $10K in the game, requested and ultimately received a refund. What’s interesting is that they have a new refund form letter now. It’s incredible.
Oh yeah, the financials will have to be pr.ied out of their hands. Again, it’s a case of you doth protest so much that you have to be hiding something. It’s one thing to make bad decisions (like 20,000 doors) but own up to them and don’t do it again.
I’ll get it cleaned up.
Yeah, they will never provide that outside of a lawsuit. Anyway, when you redacted your personal info, just catch me on Discord in a DM and you can send a copy of that response.
I heard again from the LA Consumer affairs. In my lost communication with them I had told them I had received the refund but no financial accountability. In their response to that CIG has refused to provide that – why am I not surprised <G>. I have a PDF but need to edit some information out if anyone wants a copy.
At this point if any of us want financial accountability that we are due then it will have to be through lawyers forcing them to reveal the information or through the Feds forcing them to divulge the information. I’d take part in a lawsuit but cost is a factor. Be nice to get someone to do it if they win they get paid, if not no pay.
New refund stories.
More here: https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen_refunds/
Oh you’re gonna LOVE this one.
So this guy, an attorney, got tired of getting the run around over a measly $125 refund. So he wrote them a demand letter.
“I’m an attorney, so I simply wrote a demand letter after the initial customer service interaction gave me a canned response of “Nope, terms of service, no refunds”. I’m reproducing that below here in case it helps anyone, although I think being an attorney helped, and my specific facts made anything but a refund pretty much impossible for them to argue.”
“The day after I sent Ortwin my demand letter by e-mail, I got my refund. Like, within 12 hours. It was nice, and I decided to forget entirely about the game.
Until! I got a letter this afternoon from one of CIG’s other attorneys. I’m honestly not sure why they bothered to respond with a letter two weeks after giving me a refund, but I share it here for entertainment purposes.”
This is $125. Imagine what’s coming down the road.
I swear these people over at CIG/RSI have lost all sense of responsibility. They never need have the sense of loyalty, but this takes the cake. LOOK at this!
Yes – it’s all pure and utter bullshit. Nothing has changed in this regard; it’s just the same old Chris’ bullshit. In fact, there are so many Red flags in that interview that I’m actually working on a new blog specifically for that. I expect to have it out during Gamescom.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvule1cD_zk&t=28m15s – hopefully, blah blah and potentially 1000 players in one place blah blah , lot of servers servers blah blah, cloud, blah blah blah isnt that all bullshit and impossible whith cryengine?
Yeah I loved that one, it was like he was having a major break down. You got so under his skin he was going nuts! 😀
Yeah. But he got his chance to really vent when he wrote his diatribe to me and The Escapist mere weeks later.
The curious case of the Star Citizen refund from an HSA account
As most of you know, I have spent a LOT of time, effort, and money helping Star Citizen backers obtain refunds, navigate the complicate quagmire that is the development etc. This effort started a year ago following my first blog in which I clearly – and in no uncertain terms – opined that the game, as pitched, could never be made.
Since that time, amid the on-going war of attrition being waged online by those (Shitizens) exhibiting cult-like behavior, I have stood firm on those opinions. And to date, CIG/RSI haven’t even come close to proving me wrong. And by all accounts, they never – ever – will.
To the extent that, again at my expense, I paid attorneys, online researchers, investigators etc to research and/or review every single facet of the material that became the body of work that are my blogs. We even had a legal exchange with aspiring attorney and project co-partner, Ortwin Freyermuth. In those exchanges – which we simply wanted in writing for the record – we asked for i) refunds and ii) financial accountability, for backers who, as they were entitled to, requested it. You have already seen the response to that in my blogs.
Having taken the various CIG/RSI versions of their ToS apart, I had predicted that rather than give refunds, let alone financial accountability for the money, that once the then current ToS expired, they were going to again revise it by extending the date as they had previously done back when it went from 12 to 18 months (from Nov 2014) for refunds and financial accountability conditions to be triggered.
As I wrote in the above blog, they did a lot worse. In the inevitable June ToS revision which came following the expiration of those terms in the previous version, they completely stripped both conditions from the new ToS.
And yet still they refused to give refunds to backers who rejected the new ToS. Not to mention the fact that any questions about financial accountability (as per the previous ToS), just ends up in a quick refund. Seriously, try it and see!
By the time the dust settled, both Federal and California State officials became involved when irate backers started mass reporting them. And as recently as this week, as I wrote here, CIG/RSI has been issuing letters to State authorities, basically LYING and putting the onus on the very backers who got them this far. It is by far the most shameful display of arrogance and ungratefulness by these people. And considering the Beer/Sandi exchange, the tagging of backers with derogatory terms etc, that’s saying something.
Basically, the long and short of it is that backers have thus far given $118m to a shyster lawyer, a used car salesman/failed movie & videogame producer, a tickle porn (that’s no joke) actress, and a bunch of ex-Gizmondo execs. No way that could go wrong. At all. But here we are.
Anyway, having FAILED to deliver on promises, five years, over 500 people (at peak) involved, and $118 million later, backers wanting out, and requesting refunds, are now the bad guys. Seriously, you couldn’t make this shit up even if you were Chris Roberts, or high as a kite.
Given the involvement of State and Fed officials, people are now getting refunds here in the US. But it’s a long, and arduous process. You would think that this then solves the refunds issue. But no. Until all those who are asking for refunds are made whole, there is no conclusion. We’re still getting stories of all manner of tomfoolery on the part of CIG/RSI, all designed to either outright reject the refunds, or reduce the amount due to backers.
Then this week, this whole refund affair took a sudden twist when out of the Blue, a fellow I have been helping navigate the process, sent me this query.
Having received a refund check myself from CIG last year, this was of no consequence. But what piqued my interest was the guy asking about a specific bank. Seeing as this wasn’t one of the mainstream banks, and given that we still have no financial accountability for the project; knowing which banks they are using to move funds around, is part of the process of the on-going research.
So I decided to investigate, and subsequently tweeted about it.
“Amid all this, we’re now investigating reports of refund checks being paid by CIG out of an HSA (!!) bank account. More soon.”
I had expected to find an investment bank or similar, not a bank that deals solely in health savings accounts.
Naturally, adhering to the Star Citizen Ass-Clowns ROE: “It’s CIG. There’s always more; and it’s always worse“, alarm bells started going off as indicated in this tweet.
“now WHY would they be using an HSA bank account to pay refund checks? unless they were dipping into employee health accounts”
So I went digging. Subsequently I got a hold of an image of the check from the backer. I then redacted and shared it when a bunch of Shitizens parked on Reddit, were already claiming the check to be fake, that I was being trolled (by the backer) etc. They even contacted the bank’s customer service and came up with all sorts of reasons for the check to be fake or issued by the backer himself. Yes – that’s how unhinged those ass-clowns are. And all they do in that sub-Reddit is a constant circle-jerk aimed at harassment and attacks against primarily myself, and anyone who even dares express any dissent at the project.
The most hilarious part of this? As is the norm, these anti-social misfits parked on a hate-Red, are claiming foul play, that the project was being attacked (by me) again etc. Which resulted in this tweet, and my subsequent posting of the check.
“yeah, some people parked on /r/ds are – again – claiming that it’s false, they want proof etc. there you have it”
The issue here was simple. Though they are running low on cash reserves, especially with funding having taken a dive (not to mention the refunds, which, according to our scraped metrics are increasing and already making a dent), it makes absolutely no sense why they would be using an HSA/FSA/HRA account for refunds. Look, they’ve done some pretty dumb shit over there, but had they done this, it would have topped all the other dumb shit that came before.
So, after lots of arguments, discussions, and a thorough investigation which involved the backer, the bank, several researchers, an FBI contact (for the legality of someone issuing themselves a check and claiming it came from a third-party), Goons (amid all the hilarity and claims that I was the victim of an epic troll – yes, they do eat their own), that-one-guy-who-always-sends-me-stuff-through-lockbin, one media person, and at least two Shitizens, my conclusion is as follows.
So where does that leave us?
Seeing as I had been grilling him, explaining the importance of him proving that he didn’t issue the check to himself, then lied about it, pushed him to get in touch with CIG/RSI about the check, etc, the backer claims (we don’t have any verification of this, just his statement) today that he called up his bank (not CIG, as was previously reported) to ask about the check.
They told him that the check was for a chargeback of his pledge from 2013 (!)
Given this new info, it appears that the backer paid (yeah, I know – don’t even ask. I don’t see videogame listed there either) for that specific item from his own Optum HSA account (via the debit card attached to it) back in 2013. So in processing the refund for that (the rest went to PayPal, Amazon etc) item, CIG refunded it back to that same account. Then, due to the backer having closed that account when he switched to a new HSA bank, Optum had no way of putting the money back in his account. So the bank, having received funds from CIG for a closed account, issued and mailed the backer (their ex-client) a check. Hence the memo “CLOUD IMPERIUM GAME” that was used on said check, by the bank.
That’s the end of that.
ps: There are several backers going through refund process who no longer have the original accounts, credit cards etc; so this is not new. In fact, in some cases, CIG/RSI, knowing fully well that said accounts were no longer valid, still insist on refunding to them.
What I got out of this interview, was he ignores you and lets his white knights attack you. For an interview to ask him that question there should of been a few follow up questions. You can tell the interviewer was a CR fan.
I do believe CR missed his calling, he should of been a lying politician!
Oh what a difference a year makes.
What Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts thinks of Derek Smart
Kris, just wrote a blog about how he got burned by CIG
ROFL I hope this was just a /sarc post. If not if I was a backer that would make me go thru the roof. 😀
Yeah, so that person above here was me getting my refund of about $800. I considered the matter closed until I saw that response from CIG.
Here’s the thing – I’ve tried to be neutral and a good Vulcan and used fact against Derek. Yes, against Derek because he hasn’t always been factually correct. But equally CIG has made it easy for him to be more factually correct nowadays and haven’t been able to step up to the plate and deliver!
I’m all about the facts. I really started to worry when they launched a “landing zone” and said “we got planetary & social module done”. With one zone, out of promised hundred at launch? Then they revealed Nyx a year ago saying “soon”. Still at May 2016 nothing. So forecasting on that this game is going to be in development for a long long time and if there was anything to make me believe it was actually going to be released by 2020 I might have stuck in there. But it really doesn’t. So I didn’t. And they respected that and promptly send me a full refund, even about $200 I had on an alt account that I didn’t even remember I had!
But when I got that response from CIG it really upset me on a personal level. Because I try to use facts all the time. And everything I had stated was facts. And they throw “all that is internet rumor” at me?! That’s just insulting! I really was going to purchase the actual game, even if it costs $45 per SQ42 episode and an extra $60 for Star Citizen. I’m lucky enough to have that cash to throw at it. Now I’m really not so sure if I am going to. I still hope the game gets made though since the community deserves it and it’d be a major backlash for crowdfunding concept if the most succesful crowdfunding project ever were to fail.
Time will tell …
We’re investigating reports that CIG/RSI appears to be issuing refund checks out of an HSA/FSA/HRA account draw from this bank. If you received such a check, let me know here. You can also DM me on Twitter.
Congrats on getting your refund.
But how could you! This is a pivotal time for Star Citizen. GamesCon is right around the corner. And more important, the Roberts family has just left for a Hawaiian vacation. Between $7,200 in first class flight and another $15,000 or so in lodging–your pledge is needed! After the Monaco GP vacation and yachting on the Mediterranean during E3—it would be great if you could buy in for a Completionist package or two… That would really help with the development efforts.
Great to hear even more backers are getting the refunds they deserve. I find it funny how that fund raising app they have on site never shows when they pay back cash. Which should send up warning lights that it is more BS from CR and his porn wife SG! This whole show has been nothing but a scam after getting 20m and CR started to see he could make a fortune by selling jpg’s and never actually building the game he talks about.
As time goes on I bet we start to see some type of movie to come out and CR and his porn wife SG attempt to make money off it. Like any other movie the guy has made should do exactly what the Titanic did, SINK!
Once again in the spirit of Erillion who is given free advertising over at MMORPG (yet wants us to support their site by disabling adblocker)!
Seriously, what are these people going to do with this shit-show collapses?
Who Are the Star Citizen Superbackers?
Written last October, but so much more relevant now, +$28 million later
My Two Cents: Star Citizen the Micro Transaction
Thanks for reaching out and telling us your story.
To see how scummy these people are; below is a response they gave to the DCBA office in response to a backer (who they later refunded) who was one of their most vocal champions all these years. Until he decided that he’d had enough, and wanted a refund. I have removed any identifying info, but seeing as he frequents the blog comments and forums here, he is free to chime in here if he wants to.
So I considered they matter closed now that I had refund, even though I still followed the project from the outside and counted on buying the actually released game if it was ever released. Notice how I used past tense there? … because today I got a copy of their response to LA County CBA and it’s downright insulting! https://goo.gl/AR2s6u . Noone said it’s confidential information so I’m happy to share it… and this was my response:
Also guys, don’t forget that there is now a Star Citizen refunds sub-Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen_refunds/
I’ll repost my bit to /r/starcitizen_refunds with one addendum:
Derek, you and I have never spoken directly; my opinion of you until now was entirely based on usenet posts from ~25 years ago re: battlecruiser (so, uh…. skeptical). That said, you really came through for gamers here. I had my doubts before I read your stuff, but your posts really hit to the core of problems many of us had been feeling for quite a while. Thank you, sincerely, for trying to help people get refunds before it’s too late. In my case it means extra money towards a down payment on a nice single family house in the burbs; sure I could’ve lived without the money… but I’m VERY happy to have it support my family vs. an unethical developer.
Also, I’d be glad to joint the discord channel to share more details/info and talk to other recovering CIG believers 😉
TLDR: I got a full refund ($1250) and you probably should, too
I’m a fairly early backer. Not kickstarter early, but shortly after the RSI site launched (all my ships had lifetime insurance/original t-shirt/etc).
I was a HUGE Wing Commander fan, and there was a time when I honestly believed in what CIG was doing. Even now, I still hope they end up making a great game like the one they pitched so long ago (which I’ll gladly buy for retail price).
That said, between the ToS change and my most desired features (VR, co-op) getting essentially axed I’d had enough.
My first inkling of doubt came around the time the Austin office essentially shut down. I know there’s still an office there, but you could tell something massive had changed when Wingman and crew left. Once the focus shifted to LA, it was all about concept art and slick commercials. “Limited” and “special” ship sales for every stupid fucking holiday/event/etc.
That was fine for a while, but after a year of that shit when FLYABLE ships (Arena Commander) had been constantly delayed it started to get suspicious. When AC did land, it was quite frankly awful (it’s honestly only gotten marginally better since, 2 years later). OK, fair enough… it’s pre-alpha after all. “Early days” as Chris always used to say in 10 for the chairman. Funny thing though… he kept saying “early days” for like 2 fucking years. I’m in software myself, so I can smell bullshit on a dev manager presentation from a mile away and this started really stinking.
Around this time (1.5 years ago) my kid was born. I did what all new parents do and went into hiding for a while. When I emerged I was excited about SC again… landing zone content, more flyable ships (though the 890j and constellation phoenix I had were still MIA), and actual MISSIONS! So I loaded it up and…
Fuck me, it’s pretty terrible. The “missions” feel like something someone tacked on to say they existed and have absolutely no connection to the core gameplay mechanics mentioned in the crowdfunding campaigns. Where’s the trading, or exploration, or mining, or….!? Not a single core mechanic was actually done, and the the combat was EXACTLY AS BAD AS IT WAS WHEN I LEFT. And they’re STILL SELLING CONCEPT SHIPS.
Then as I was desperately looking for content/info/etc. to justify this shocking delay of development, I read some stuff about Derek Smart making noise re: Star Citizen.
Now I was around usenet in the original battlecruiser days so to say I was skeptical of Mr. Smart is an understatement. A lot of his bloviating this time echoed some of his famous rants from the old days and seemed bizarrely personal, so it was hard to take seriously… at first. Behind the ire and the personal vendetta though, there are undeniable facts.
Unfortunately, CIG has done absolutely nothing but prove him right over the past year. They brag constantly on AtV about how much “gameplay” is available, as if they’re trying to fend off a lawsuit by willing it into existence. That’s just absurd… I’ve been playing a lot of < $10 early access Vive games lately that are barely tech demos that have more in the way of core gameplay loops than SC in its current form. There are delays, and then there’s just directionless incompetence, which is unfortunately where I think we’re currently at with Star Citizen.
To make a long story longer, I submitted a refund request and was given the standard “you’re past the 14 day period and here’s a bunch of scary sounding but ultimately meaningless quasi-legal speak to get you to go away” runaround.
I responded with details that I’d filed with various consumer agencies. In my case I’m lucky in that I have an easily verifiable connection to the FTC; once I pointed that out I had an e-mail the next day requesting my paypal address. As of today I’ve been refunded the full amount minus my physical goods (1 t-shirt I bought in the early days).
I’m writing this account because I believed the lie for so long myself. If you’re having doubts, take some time to do the research; chances are they aren’t baseless.
I want to thank Derek for his information and efforts to get people refunds. Whatever his motivations, he did provide a lot of useful info and seems to honestly care that people aren’t getting ripped off.
I’m FREE! Thank you so much for the support.
I’ve joined the channel. Thanks.
Discord invite: https://discord.gg/0sasVA7SRFEX9raG
You need an invite from Derek; I’ll let him know.
Thank you! Thank you!
Tell me the discord channel and I’ll be there.
“The wheels of the Gods grind slowly but exceedingly fine.” and eventually they will catch up with CIG et al.
Now I can say congrats ! Well done happy refund !
Feel free to join us on the discord channel where you’ll get real-time hilarious updates about the scam.
Outstanding!! See? I told you to stick it out 🙂
Yeah, I have heard the same. Also, the FTC have been aware of this Star Citizen fiasco for several months now. But like everything else, it’s not a priority, as they have other investigations ahead of Star Citizen.
No jinx. My full refund was transferred to my account Monday (I’ve been travelling and didn’t get to check until last night). This whale (a small one <G>) has escaped Ahab and swum away.
Thanks for all the work and research you did, Derek. I’m going to continue to hang around here and follow it all as well as play LOD.
An update. Yesterday I got a call from the LA Agent in charge of the CIG case. I updated him on where I stood. I’ve been out of town and just got back so will have to check my bank statement and see if it got in yet.
He was very helpful and informative. He did explain that they submit all these cases to the FTC also so that will help get the FTC involved eventually (it doesn’t hurt if you submit your own FTC case). He did explain that my case will be marked close only because I’m getting the refund but that doesn’t mean it’s over. All I have to do is let him know I did not get it or what I should have and it’s open again.
I thanked him profuesly for his work and his department’s standing up for consumers.
Meant to say thanks for starting the ball rolling by presenting the facts. In late 2014/early 2015 my project management experience as well as what knowledge of software development had started raising big red flags (no products, continual delays, etc.) and then I found your site and the facts laid out. They confirmed my suspicions and could not be argued with – they were the facts.
Somebody has to start a ball rolling in any situation and call attention to what’s going on in. Hopefully people will look at what facts/data the person presents, logically (yeah, I know!) look at this data/facts in light of their experiences. If they see nothing wrong then they can move on but if it starts them thinking hopefully they add to the number of people raising questions.
A decent person or company would take the questions as valuable, do some soul searching and then respond civilly. The answer may be “Sorry, we’ve considered your questions, but here’s what we have decided to do.” Of course that kind of company would be open and reveal changes like TOS ahead of time and allow for grandfathering those who purchased their products.
The end result of people/customers raising questions (whether they are dealing with individuals, religious organizations, companies, etc.) is that the entity being questioned can gain some insight as to whether their actions are good, proper, achieving the desired end, and that maybe they need to make changes.
But this is CIG and it’s always worse. Also, we are dealing with a corrupt gaming “press” system where the gaming press is afraid to raise the questions because they are more interested in the trips, free meals, and the “I get to see the game before you do” attitude. They only join in when it is safe and popular to do so.
CIG is at the end of it’s life/business cycle and are desperate to keep cash flowing. They are lashing out at everyone and putting obstacles in front of everyone who wants out.
Yeah, a lot of people are trying to cash out now that they have the chance to. The thing is that CIG have now started using shady tactics to reduce refund amounts. A couple of people contacted me and sent in their emails which had things like this “We are not willing to waver the chargeback fees, as these fees were incurred due to an abuse of the dispute process”
So basically, people who asked for a refund, didn’t get it, they tried to do a chargebag – a personal normal action for undelivered goods – are getting shafted by CIG over their fees.
Yeah, a bunch of folks came out of this with a different perspective. Just think about this. If it weren’t for me making all this noise, then a bunch of people jumped in, took a look at the furor, and amplified it, imagine how things would be. I never imagine that a little over one year later, there would be people getting mass refunds, the State and Fed authorities would be involved etc.
The worst is yet to come. Just wait.
Glad there were some of us who kept it civil and didn’t get nasty. I didn’t post much but the few I did I kept civil and focused on helping people or getting points of the game cleared up for me.
I’m glad Kris made it through, too and the blog post shows that he is a standup guy who is willing to admit the truth and do it in a gracious manner. We need more of his kind on the internet.
Yeah, I did, and was glad he made his way through. He’s now basically saying what we’ve tried to tell him months ago indeed.
Though he won’t go on speculation , I respect his neutrality, adn that prooves also one can be found of the SC project and not be a blind asshole in the mean while.; ( while for real Kristoffer, in this particular case of SC and CIG, speculating will lead you to proof undercovering).
CIG just ignores refund requests, especially if you choose the drop-down category “Refunds”. My first request (June 9-10) did not even garner an “auto” response, my 2nd request (July 15) did but no other contact until I just placed a 3rd request using the “Billing” drop-down category instead.
They say they are experiencing high volumes; most likely all of us who did not agree to the June TOS and are late, but still rushing for the door!
Follow-up comment: Thanks to all the trailblazers that preceded me, I did receive a full refund this Aug. 1st thru Paypal. I’m still out $220 for an annual subscription only 6 months in and $153 in merchandise, some delivered, some not yet, but all-in-all I feel better about leaving the project to others made of sterner stuff. Thank you for all your advocating and public awareness work.
“If so, just refund him …which in the context of our current workload…”
So it seems the refund floodgates did open with the above combined with reports from backers themselves. Congratulations to everyone!
Although I personally wonder how far up shit creek are those who bought ships/accounts off the grey market (most at a premium) if they have change of mind and try and get a refund now?
GNR 20 – Fucked Up Beyond All Redemption
Yeah, the think I love about Kris is that he’s a perfect example of an upstanding guy. If you recall, we use to argue – a LOT – on the forums. But it was always civil. Here we are, mere months later. Did you read his blog btw?
@Kristoffer,I’m happy you have asked and gotten for a refund. Our discussions weren’t for nothing in the end, even if you don’t approve many of the things we’ve talked in these blogs, I respect this. Congrats.
Edit : Could you post your refund story to reddit /r/starcitizen_refunds ? This would help a lot. https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen_refunds/
This is great! It looks like they are still trying to nickel and dime other people.
I finally recieved my refund for a total of $811. Although I’m putting $50 of that aside to buy the game when/if it actually comes out because I absolutely want to play it.
I asked for a refund, got denied, submitted a case with “Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs” and got an OK from CIG. There were some caveats though – they forced a full refund (which I hadn’t asked for), close my accounts and do the same for any alt accounts. At first they wanted to transfer every individual payment to the source but since credit card changes over 4 years time they agreed to pay it in a lump sump to my PayPal.
I wish I could say I’m a happy camper but to be honest, I would be happy camper if the game had actually been done by now and there wasn’t so many weird to happen to the project, but what do I know…
LOL I was just thinking about them charging for doing the chargebacks’s. They are so predictable!
For what its worth – the refund hit my paypal account today, in full.
So it’s entirely possible to get your cash back folks.
CHARGEBACK FEES WARNING!!
To all Star Citizens requesting refunds. If you get a CS message saying they are deducting “chargeback” fees, **DO NOT AGREE!! THEY CANNOT DO THAT!**
e.g. if you see something like this in the refund email, DISPUTE IT IMMEDIATELY with them AND with your bank and|or payment processor (e.g. PayPal)
Chargebacks lost: $XXX.XX
Chargeback fees: $XXX.XX
Trust me, follow up your initial mail and attach some of the relevant text from the article above, depending on whether you are in USA, Europe, Australia etc. … you wll get a reply pretty quickly after that. My initial request took a while to get a response, then I hit them with the EU directive/articles and suddenly it was all sorted out.
Never give up when dealing with crooks!
Good for you!
When i requested my refund one month ago was refused, same as i mentioned european laws.
Time to send another refund request.
Here is another one…
“at our discretion” <—- yeah, right. LOL!!
I received a full refund for my Star Citizen pledges and here’s how I did it.
30+gb for a buggy tech demo…
Happy for you Sir. Still haven’t even gotten an inital reply in weeks from them. 🙁
That’s precisely why I believe they are also resurrecting Star Marine; since it was promised from the start.
In case you missed today’s refund hilarity…
CIG ARE STORING REFUNDED USER DATA IN AIRTABLE
Aside from the fact that it’s not PCI compliant, let’s hope they’re not also storing PII or CC data in there.
@Dsmart the new dellusion is that if we get SQ42 it will all be ok and Satire Citizen might follow,eventually,maybe.
I have a feeling they will get SQ42 out the door then they will have fulfilled what was promised (nudge,wink) and SC may fall flat on it’s arse and nobody will be able to do anything. Endgame $116,000,000 and all they have is one big buggy tech demo with no PU and you can bet some of that has been used for personal crap like real estate,bling,drugs and cars lulz(hell i would if people gave me that much money, why wouldn’t Roberts)
The SC fanboys are like ADD Zombies in denial, it’s like when you complete GTA and much about after only it’s in space.
Disclaimer: this post is fiction not based on real life events :).
For over a year I had stated that the ToS is pure bollocks and would never stand up to any legal/State/Fed scrutiny. Then they made it worse with the June change.
Same here mate, just got my confirmation as well today… persistance has paid off.
Once you mention EU authorities they can´t wait to transfer your money back.
Really seems like the floodgates are opening and the pressure for them is rising
I just got my notice of a full refund as well, once you threaten them with EU authorities they very quickly change their mind about refunding it seems. I wonder why…
On a side note, I did agree to the new ToS just recently, so don´t let that hold you off. It´s rubbish and it can´t strip you of your statory consumer rights.
Just wanted to thank you Derek for your continuing effort as well!
Grats, glad it came through for you. I hope more people wake up and see the scam this has been!
My hope is to one day see Roberts and Sandi either in jail or living in a cardboard box on the streets of LA!
Update: Just got confirmation that I’m getting a full refund. Whoop!
That article was hugely useful so for anyone else in Europe who is looking to do likewise, I suggest you take the time to read it.
I found this same article “how to get a refund…” through a google news alert for Star Citizen related items and used it to get some progress believe it or not. Up to now I was getting the usual brush off but once I quoted the European directives and consumer protection articles they suddenly asked for my paypal details in order to ‘potentially’ provide the refund. So it seems to have struck a chord at least. Am waiting to find out if I actually get the full amount back….
Omg… it makes sense, that they bring it back, only to decline refunds. Wasn’t SM initially removed because “but this current version of Star Citizen offers more or less the same as Star Marine”? Now if they suddenly want to bring it back… undeniable signs of a sinking ship. Desperate attempts to limit the damage and not lose cash anymore. Wow, this is bad. This is really really bad.
How to Get a Refund for Star Citizen
Regarding refunds in the UK, well, after being given the standard refund refusal you have posted before, I did not give up, here is what I sent them.
“To who it may concern,
I recently asked for a refund of the monies paid to you 4 years ago for a game that still does not exist.
You cited that I was not entitled to one due to a 14 day period that had elapsed 4 years ago, I asked you to provided evidence of these terms and proof of my prior acceptance of these terms in email over 14 days ago, you have not done so.
You claimed that refunds were not in the spirit of crowd funding yet Kickstarter’s own guidelines suggest that this is not an acceptable provision for crowd funded projects. You suggested that you had not been giving refunds yet I see it widely reported that you are giving refunds.
As of yet in over 4 years you have failed to deliver on any promise in respect to a game, an Alpha release as if I need to explain why is not a game.
I would remind you that in both UK and EU consumer law I am entitled to a refund for failure to deliver a product in a resonable time frame and as has been widely reported you even failed to meet your own 18 month deadline recently.
Please do not quote or refer to your recent change in ToS, as in UK consumer law you can’t enforce a new contract with punitive terms retrospectively to an existing contract. I can’t sign away my rights because you decide you don’t like the terms previously in force.
You have 14 days to issue me a full refund, if you chose not to I will report you to my local Trading Standards Office, I will also seek legal redress as is my right UK under consumer law, this could lead to a CCJ against your UK subsidiary.”
Well much to my surprise they capitulated, 4 days after this I was offered a full refund, of which 2 days later I’m in recipt of the PayPal portion, so it seems they are not prepared for the legal scrutiny at least in my case
LOL!! I TOTALLY CALLED IT!!
Yeah, it was a blast. I think the YT recording is online now. I haven’t gone back to watch it, so I don’t have time stamps for those three notable events.
What a stream !!
First we’ve had the streamers/gamers point of view; came in StreetRoller explaining why and how he’s been refunded. Then Derek Smart joined in for more entertainment. At last we’ve had a Shillizen in that could share his point of view.
Curious gamers and interested Backers should definitly watch that stream.
STAR CITIZEN – FREE FLY WEEK
OK the 2016 Summer free fly week is over. This one definitely got a boost due to all the “refund” noise that was on-going, and gamers wanting to take a look and see what the furor was all about. Plus most of us were heavily promoting it so that those on the outside looking in, can get to see – first hand – what this whole furor is about.
Our resident Goon analyst has come up with the final charts.
Just gonna leave this here. If you’re on the SA or TCE forums, then you probably already saw these.
STAR CITIZEN – LEAK CENTRAL
Happening right now.
What’s really worrying is that half of these features are trivial to implement and yet somehow they’re not it the game.
Your Name in the Game, Repair and Items System Capability, Lowering Your Wanted Level, Multi-Monitor HUD, Kill Boards, NPC ranks, Thruster Trails, Owning an Alien Ship, Your Inventory When The PU Goes Live, Communication Between Two Ships, Currency Usage, Player Owned Cargo Space…
These are all systems any decent programmer should be able to make during his first month on the job. Most of these systems require almost no graphics (some art for GUI, most likely flash animations for Scaleform and that’s it). How, after few years of works, 100+ millions in the bank and with couple of hundred of people working on it they still don’t have this is beyond me.
Landable procedural planets are IMHO unneccessary for the game such as SC. Even if procgen works, even if it’s able to generate full earth-sized planets with all the details, what good would it do for your average gamer? Yeah, sure, it looks nice, but what would you do on a planet such as mars that has 56,000,000 square miles of nothing except rock? Or venus – 3 times as much? And even if you create earth-type planets with oceans and jungles and glaciers and rivers and mountains and forests and whatnot, it would still become repeating really fast if there’s no gameplay component involved (except flying around admiring pretty graphics).
What they should have done is stable basic gameplay where you can fly around (without bugs), fight against other player and AI bots, and make some basic persistance. That’s really not that hard to make. And once that works without bugs and without faking everything from physics to gameplay, then they would have nice solid foundation for every other feature they can imagine. Currently SC looks like they are trying to add the roof to the house without walls and floors… :\
Meanwhile, some folks in free fly test.
THE ON-GOING QUEST TO MISLEAD BACKERS
PROCEDURAL GENERATION PLANETS
So a few days ago, a German publication called PC Games, did an interview with Chris Roberts, and also visited Foundry42-GER. That was in June.
It’s quite the read. Someone has scans of the article up on imgur. You can see it linked here. There is also an English translation of the article at that link.
Knowing fully well that they still have procgen planets in early (remember that Nyx video was “coming soon” almost a year ago) prototype phase, I immediately discarded it for what it was: a prototype.
Well, inside sources are now saying that, not only is it NOT the current procgen work that was shown to PC Game, but also that what was shown, was in fact prototyping previs done months before as proof-of-concept to show what they were shooting for in the end result. In other words, a prototype that is not – and never was – running in the game’s live (SQ42 or PU) code branch.
In other words, the same stunt they’ve been pulling all this time in which most of the prototype work shown, never made it into the game – five years and $118 million later. Case in point: Star Marine.
As a developer who has in fact used procedural generation for planets (e.g. see Universal Combat CE on Steam), I know all too well the litany of problems associated with it.
And let’s not even talk about networking, performance, positioning (e.g. in this case, the server & client are likely going to disagree on height positions, resulting in clients ending up under the terrain. pretty much the same thing going on in the PU right now) – and loading times (incidentally, this new video outlines specifically that) etc.
And going from prototyping to live (forget about Alpha) is a major undertaking for something of this magnitude. If and when they do in fact implement it, what you should see – in live (PU) code, is the following:
That sequence above was NOT shown to PC Game. Reason being: it’s not in the live PU branch. It’s all standard proof-of-concept prototyping. Which also explains why this wasn’t even shown – let alone discussed – in any of the recent streams; or even with US media. And it’s not like they didn’t need win, given all the events of the past few weeks.
To be clear, prototyping isn’t even the issue, since it’s standard procedure in gamedev. The issue is that, once again, those backers engaging in an on-going campaign to mislead potential (and existing) backers, are now using bullshit translations of the article as yet another way to LIE about the actual state of the game’s development. To its credit, CIG have in fact recently started to curb this sort of thing, by taking it to Reddit (where most of the ludicrousness ensues) to clarify what they have said, and/or implied. That’s how crazy things are now. Heck, CIG even recently slammed INN (Shillizen site #1) for writing a completely pie-in-the-sky transcript of one of their broadcasts.
Let’s not ignore the fact that in the past weeks (starting in June when this visit/interview took place) they have had several anniversary streams and none of this was shown, let alone discussed. Heck, even the latest one had an entire segment dedicated to a studio walk through of Foundry42 Germany. Why are they doing studio walkthroughs instead of showing backers the game they funded? My theory is that it’s related to them wanting to show evidence (for the backers and authorities) that people are working on the game. It’s all bullshit. We know that there are people working on the game; this was never – ever – in dispute.
And in case you forgot, the primary show that Chris Roberts usually came on, 104TC, was canceled weeks ago. Meanwhile, he still has time to do interviews for fluff pieces in a foreign mag. And what should enrage backers the most, is that even those who are paying monthly subscriptions (which as I wrote in my last blog, they have been pushing), didn’t have most this new information. They had to read about it in a foreign mag, which had to be translated for them.
So much for this:
STAR MARINE. ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN
Speaking of Star Marine, it too was mentioned in this article as coming back. If true (it probably is, as I already mentioned that they were planning on showing it at E3 or Gamescom), that would mean that Chris Roberts – again – went on the record and lied when he said that Star Marine “was just an fps mode that was currently in the PU“.
Note that those same backers are claiming – falsely – that PC Game actually played it. They simply didn’t. And the article never even claimed that they did. It’s all in their imagination.
Now, you have to wonder why would Star Marine be in play – again – after all this time, and denials from CIG. My theory:
Then someone else expanded on my theory to point out that Star Marine has been one of the main causes of action for backers (especially those who went to the authorities) seeking refunds. So that might be another reason (tied to point #1) that they are considering bringing it back – regardless of how it turns out.
I have written extensively about Star Marine in several of my blogs, as well as on my blog forum. In fact, I was – again – first to break the news that it had been shit-canned by CIG. Subsequently, over the weekend there was yet another Star Marine article written by Gameranx (which Shitizens are – hilariously – claiming that I paid for!!) which expands on precisely what myself and others, for example this excellent timeline put together by a Goon, have written extensively about.
Here’s the thing. Even if they did bring Star Marine back, how does that erase the statements (mostly lies) that Chris Roberts previously made?
Not to mention that even if they did bring it back, like Arena Commander, Social, and Hangar modules, it will be just another stand-alone module with no connection to the Star Citizen (aka PU) proper. And if they can and will in fact bring it back, you have to wonder why it won’t instead be integrated into the PU.
If they do bring it back, what I envision them doing is using the existing fps assets (from the PU) to build a stand alone Star Marine module so they can say it’s in. None of all the awesome (which now pales against incoming competition) prototype gameplay they have previously shown will ever see the light of day.
The PU is stale. It’s a mess. It’s repetitive. There’s simply nothing to do in it. Even the hardcore streamers are no longer engaging. The custom engine they built on top of CryEngine is crap, due to the underlying engine never being designed for a game of this scope. Pre-Alpha aside, the shopping they hurriedly implemented, by all accounts, remains a broken mess. Funding is way down. And according to charts, the recent free fly weekend was yet another bust in terms of engagement and funding.
They have nothing new. So it makes sense that plans to bring Star Marine back, as well as implying that procgen planets are coming soon, are all designed to keep funding active.
A Goon recently put together a list of promises made (copy here) most of which will never happen. It’s sobering to say the least.
It’s all smoke and mirrors. Neither Star Citizen, nor Squadron 42 will be released in 2016. And they have yet to tell the backers the truth about this. Instead, Chris Roberts is busy doing fluff media pieces, while the company is doing studio walkthroughs instead of talking about real – and tangible – progress on the game backers have thus far given $117.5 million to.
Over at Goon HQ, someone put together a running list of promises made for the game, and which still left to fulfill.
Docking and Undocking Tech
Realistic Audio Options
Personally Owned NPCs
Hangar and Planet Side Module
Your Name in the Game
Getting Everyone into the Same Instance
Lowering Your Wanted Level
More Economical or Versatile Corvettes
Planetary Ship Entry
Repair and Items System Capability
Lowering Your Wanted Level
Ship connected to User Online/Offline Status
Picking Up Objects On Planets
Large Ship Damage Control Lockers
Dogfights Through Space Stations
Stealth Game Play
Ability for Privateers/Corsairs/Buccaneers
Landing on Planets
Starfarer’s Refueling Mechanic
Additional Star Systems
Anchoring to an Asteroid
Non-Leathal Combat Modules
Raid Supply Shipments
Owning an Alien Ship
Hidden Ship Compartments
Catapulting Through Space
Jury Rig Repairing
Starting in the Stanton System
Automatic Battle Flight Pattern
Insurance for Pilots
Escape Pods Functionality in Alpha 2.0
Personal Armor (FPS)
Extreme Ship Maneuvers
Your Inventory When The PU Goes Live.
Start up Sequence for Large Multi-Crew Ships
Remotely Hacking Ships
Incentives to keep your orginal Ship’s Hull
Game Generated Missions
Communication Between Two Ships
Controlled and Uncontrolled Space
Trading in Star Citizen
Inflation and Deflation
Hiring NPC’s for missions
Travelling in Fleets
Tactical Game modes in FPS
Trading weapon in the FPS
Player Generated Content
Loaner Multicrew Ships
Transiting Between Systems
Road to Developing Star Systems
Assigning Ships to Landing Zones
Future Playable Maps
Ships Developed by the Community
Multicrew Ship Tech
Warning NPC’s of Attack
NPC crew AI
Interior Damage System
Roaming Floating Structures
Ship Parking in the PU
Vehicles for Planetside
Electronic Warfare in the PU
Player Owned Cargo Space
NPC population in the PU
Salvaging in the ‘Verse
Ships in my Hangar aging?
A Linux client?
In game Banking
VR in the ‘Verse
Medic and Surgeon Skill progression
Mining and resource gathering
Fabricate weapons/armor/ship parts
FPS Armor Types
NPC control in FPS
Join in-progress free flight games.
Hangar parties & instancing.
Heavy personal armor.
Physical grappling beam.
Repairing Gold Horizon Space Stations
Natural areas in the ‘Verse
FPS environmental hazards
Store ore in your hangar
Non-combat ships relevancy
Search players for weapons
Flying a ship without a hud
Starting wars between the different races.
Using tractor beams defensively.
Flying while docked to another ship.
NPCs reaction to weapons.
Drop pods for soldiers.
Flying ships while limbs are damaged.
Using characters as crewmen.
Bounty Hunters and known associates.
Org recruiting NPCs.
NPCs using different loadouts.
Resources respawn in the PU.
NPC & Human scanning.
Over on SA, someone expanded on my hypothesis as to why they’re now saying that Star Marine is coming back after all.
Thanks for the correction. Missed that.
Yeah, it has all the signs of a business at the end of it’s life cycle. CIG is nearing the end of business portion of the business life cycle curve. As that point is reached a business gets desperate, usually for cash, so they do things like cut costs (no overtime, fire people, cut back on perks, etc.) however, whe a business has the states and feds breathing down it’s neck they get more desperate and that would be the only reason to bring SM back to show they are fullfilling promises. But never mind all the rest that’s not there that was promised <G>. For most of us this is a sign of management running around in circles and loosing site of what the objectives are (although that happend long ago) trying to patch holes in a sinking ship but for the Cultists it will be evidence CR is willing to listen and change his mind. Barf!!
None of it is in the game. It’s all prototyping stuff; not unlike selling JPEG ships.
Yeah. And it’s not PC Gamer btw. It’s a different publication, PC Games.
The most hilarious thing to me is that the backers – especially those paying a monthly subscription – get to find out more (and in some cases new) info about the project from a German mag. This despite the fact that they’ve had four anniversary AtV shows which had far less info. Meanwhile, in June when this interview and visit took place, Chris is doing interviews with the press instead of sharing info with the backers who gave him $117 million.
Aside from that, the Shitizens in the comments are the usual idiots. They are actually saying things that weren’t even written in the article! e.g. that Star Marine was playable by the mean. LOL!!
And others are trying to tie that German article to Gameranx Star Marine article. This despite the fact that nobody even knew about a German shill mag article before the past 24 hrs preceding the article.
They clearly missed the point of the Gameranx article, even though it’s right there.
And they’re talking as if SM coming back is somehow going to erase all the events that came before.
These guys are nuts.
And even if SM came back, how does that erase the croberts lies that came before?
The fact is that if SM does come back, it goes against everything croberts has said the last time he talked about it.
Also my guess is that they will probably bring it back for two reasons
1) liability issue since it was something they promised. now that State/Fed authorities are looking up their skirt, bring it back in all its ganky glory, alleviates that issue
2) the Star Citizen PU (Persistent Universe) is utter shite. they need something fresh to keep people playing. so SM is just another disconnected half-arse module like Arena Commander and which will be a short term deflecting tactic.
These two articles just show just how completely messed up the whole project is.
What’s bad for them is that there are so many fps shooters that only Spergs in sunk cost fallacy will be jumping up and down for a sub-par fps module that’s not connected to anything.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, there are different teams doing different prototyping. NONE of it connected to anything. The beauty of CryEngine and similar, is that you can do things like that in a controlled sandbox environment. That’s why even in the procedural planet demo that was shown to backers, they didn’t see any of the same transitions that gamers playing the PU go through. e.g. they didn’t start off in their bunk, go requisition an aircraft, go to a landing pad, take off, flying to a planet etc. That’s because NONE of that is connected to the current “game”. It’s all prototyping. The same thing they’ve done in the past and which never saw the light of day. e.g. Nyx was, what; eight months ago now? All those awesome Star Marine movies, over a year or more?
It’s all smoke and mirrors.
Yep great article with the timeline really hitting home on CIG’s bullshit. Just a game mode, the inevitable end.
Also as you mentioned those shills/shitizens in the comments. Wow, their desperate use of the German article as a shield in defense against the simple facts of the matter. And whats actually in that article?
You have to be part of the cult to get excited over this shit, that as you say has been done before (and better) elsewhere.
Interesting read. I guess it’s now okay to write negative things about SC although this guy is pretty honest about the mess. Some thoughts.
* Zero G, boarding ships, planetary exploration, cargo loading – Done in Elite Dangerous, COD:IW, No Man’s Sky, maybe Mass Effect:Andromeda
* Fidelity – Three stances is fidelity. Most games I’ve played since Castle Wolfenstein (original) days have had this. Even COD 1! Breathing and stamnia – hmm, seems familiar. Shots in different body parts affects you differently. Seen that before.
* Fix serious animation issues (quote from Ben) – like T-Pose, arms swing wildly, no head or body <G>??
Basically, everything has already been done but CIG played it up as if all this were making gaming history by going where no game has gone before.
And the shills hit the comments but get slapped back. Even referenced the German PCGamer propaganda, er article. Sounds like PC Gamer, De. is drinking the kool-aid without question.
PC GAMES (GER): STAR CITIZEN ARTICLE
What Happened with Star Marine?
You would be covered under the original ToS and totally due i) refund ii) financial accountability. More here on my forum which outlines all the different ToS versions.
As a Kickstarter backer who has never downloaded the game, which ToS would I be covered under? I’ve tried to read through and understand as much of your coverage as possible, and want to clarify if I am eligible for a refund and under what pretenses; my understanding is I’m eligible because my pledge was not delivered within the 18 month estimated timeframe?
The dont even refund with out legal action even if your house burnd down and yah hade to sleep on the curb!
You can’t fix stupid. The blameshifting is strong with them! It’s one of the signs of a cult – if bad happens it’s someone else’s fault.
Not only will SC go down as the debacle that killed crowdfunding it will go down as the game that has a real cult and the most toxic community in the history of gaming.
Indeed. Yet – get this – Shitizens are blaming me for people trying to get refunds because it “will affect CIG’s ability to complete the project”. I mean seriously, these people are whack.
this is so surreal
They wanted me to open a Paypal account – said no so it will be a bank transfer which is great because it will be faster and Paypal won’t get their grubby hands on it. Sent the information so we will see.
What is interesing is that all corresondence is with CIG – [email protected] games. Guess they haven’t finished hiding everything yet.
You deserve all these and mine! You pulled the informatioon together and gave us what we needed to know in pursuing refunds. If it wasn’t for your reports on the SC project no one would ever know.
PC Invasion now has a write-up
Star Citizen Squadron 42 appearing in reality TV show
Squadron 42: Video Games & Cheerleading Dames
This is not a Photoshop.
None of this is made up. And no, it’s not click-bait either.
And no, I didn’t have ANYTHING to do with this. So try not to Napalm the messenger.
So, you know that Squadron 42 is one of the games promised as part of the Star Citizen project.
That would be this shite right here:
Well, what you don’t know is that, Chris is apparently spending all his time on mocap because he’s making a movie (think cutscenes) like it was the 1990s all over again.
Meanwhile, wife Sandi, is promoting the “hit” game as part of a….*GASP* reality show. That aside from all the movie shoots she has been doing on backer funded property in LA.
I kid you not. These were dug up within the last 24 hours and verified to be true. Seriously.
Video Games & Cheerleading Dames featuring SQUADRON 42
And here you thought they were, you know, actually MAKING A FUCKING GAME!!
Several people getting refunds now. Each time I get email, tweet or DM about someone getting Star Citizen refund, it means that I’ve been doing something right. You’re welcome 🙂
This person is about $12K in. Their account has been deleted, which means they’re in the process of getting a refund
The quest for financial accountability, and what happened to $117 million in GAMER money, continues. More soon: it’s going to be epic!
They may be inundated with refund requests because some people are getting responses. In fact, someone with almost $12K said that they already closed his account, though they have yet to process his refund.
Looks like they’re not even replying to refund requests at the moment. #daysofsilence
Thanks. As with many groups (cults) there are always those who will follow the leader no matter what and not think for themselves and that applies to politics, religion, and now game development! I think that Streetroller started things rolling and coverage of his refund and the attacks on him are making many others think again and many who have had questions and even posted them in CIG forums are now being more vocal. On top of all this there are many who have gotten to the point where they have been uinhappy with waiting but just didn’t pursue refunds and figured they would wait and see but all this is making them think again.
As for CIG/RSI is concerned they will do what is normally done when the business is going down and the executives know it – they will transfer funds to safe places, go somewhere they are safe from prosecution or extradition and close it all down.
This is great news! Good work hanging in there and standing up for your consumer rights. Are the floodgates slowly being forced open? or temporary blip before a lockdown of sorts?
Either way there will be people saying they will buy jpegs to cover CIGs loss just like they did with Streetroller. Get popcorn ready.
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problem is that Australian’s can’t contact the US agencies, they ask us for address and then refuse to let us submit because we aren’t a ‘valid’ state 🙁
I only put down like 55$ but I’m tired of not getting what I backed.. I wanted the game advertised originally a Wing Commander Style game with the possibility of open play after.. instead I have broken ass tech demo’s and an ever growing hard drive eatter.
I find it sad that Elite Dangerous could deliver on what they promised and they where using their own engine and had their own money at risk (Maybe that’s why they delivered!) but Chris Roberts can’t.
By the way DS, when you gonna get back to the roots and just bring out a straight BC2000 style game again.. I still have my original CD!
Free fly stats are cratering. Panic time! Unleash the shills! Export all JPEGs!
Sorry, got carried away and used logic and thinking <G>. As you say not that I care but if it ever gets to that I pity the guy on DSL who buys it and tries to download it! Not that it will get that far.
LOL!! you don’t count anymore; you’re getting a refund, remember? 🙂
And they say final (if it ever gets to final) size would be 100 gig!!! Wow. That will definitely limit who can by it. I’m on cable with no limit but that would not be doable for me and if patches are the same size as the first install, which they were in 1.x, then it’s not doable.
Why I Didn’t Get Off The Ground During Star Citizen’s “Free Fly” Week
I’m glad that everyone is getting the chance to try out the game so they can see for themselves first hand what five years, $117 million in backer money, and almost 500 people who have worked on this game, amounts to. And is the primary reason why people are trying hard to get refunds.
Nothing to do with Derek Smart. I didn’t develop it. And I’m not responsible for the train-wreck that it has become. Just as I’d warned for the past year.
For $117 million, I’d freaking build the game for $20 million. Then spend the rest improving on it via sequels, add-ons etc. You know, just like what us pros tend to do.
Meanwhile, back at the Goon enclave, this post.
LOL!! don’t jinx it!! 🙂
Let’s make sure A) I get it and B) it clears my bank <G>.
I won’t cheer and believe it until the check has cleared my bank <G>. They will probably whine about no paypal and hopefully when I get the refund it clears the bank.
Congrats ! Happy refund , well done
This is FANTASTIC!!
Who is responsible for Star Citizen’s toxic community?
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I had dropped $125 and was expecting a decent space arena shooter waiting on PU in development.
Firstly cryengine can be very heavy on systems especially when devs start customizing it and try make it their own..it literally becomes CRYengine.
When I realized that the arena game was very buggy with crap machanics and very lame weapon customizations (no way to distinguish weapons, try and slap it on and hope for the best..that was buggy too) and all people seemed to do was ram… that was my $125 bucks a ramming game with fancy pixels.
The problem is this is a collection of art/ships that they are now trying to make a PU for, the cart before the horse so to speak. The real game everyone wants is the mmo the single player is the add on at this point.
On the other side we have Elite Dangeorus, yes it’s not always the most action packed but you know what you are getting and the dog fights are well paced and weapons have variety. The other notable diffence is ED has the foundation laid and can add modules to that base game. $60 bucks and you are set!
After contacting my state consumer protection and updating LA that I had not received a refund I received an email today. “Further to your recent communications, we have discussed this internally and decided that it would be mutually beneficial to close your account in accordance with your request.
Your orders are all outside of the time frame that our system allows us to process refunds, therefore we will need you to provide us with your Paypal email address so that we can return the funds as a manual Paypal “Send Money” request, thank you. ”
I’ve responded – I don’t have Paypal so a check would be acceptable so we will see where that goes.
I gave up Paypal a long time ago as an entity that is a bank/financial institution but is exempt from the laws governing such institutions and after dealing with their non existent support that was simply canned emails from robots.
About this whole “delay” thing
Above is a great thread on Reddit.
Lots of great comments…
What your next step is would really depend on which european country you live in.
I would strongly advise that you take a look at your countrys contract laws. For example in germany we have very strict laws on the non-fullfilment of contracts and what has to be done. Because they haven’t delivered in time, you would be obligated to a full refund. Here we have too, a 14-Day grace period where you can return anything bought online or via telephone within 14-Days without the need to state a reason. After that it gets more complicated, but is still possible if the goods are damaged or they in any way don’t fullfill the contract. And then confront the support with it. (this most likely applies only if you bought it of thier site and not kickstarter)
Some countries in the EU even have free legal counsel, if you can’t afford a laywer straigth away. So you could try to get information if this is a possibility for you.
And then Derek is right: Go to your local customer authorities and inform them. At least go to a consumer advice centre (for example they often have legal counsel too) and tell them of the issue and get information on what options you have to get back your money.
I’m shocked at how many people I’ve seen claiming to have contributed in the upper thousands to that game (like in the comments there.) That particular turd sandwich has got to be hard to swallow these days…
That’s correct. Which is why reporting them is what people entitled to refunds should do. There is no other remedy, short of legal action – which most people aren’t able to do. By holding on, not agreeing to the ToS, and reporting to your consumer advocate office, you get the State and/or Fed authorities to assist. That’s what they are for.
By law, only execs are liable for a company’s actions. So people like the devs, Ben, Lando etc – are rightfully exempt. Only Chris, Eric, Ortwin, Sandi, and others like the CFOs for both CIG/RSI and F42 would be liable for any wrong-doing.
It means, if you read the TOS, that if you make a purchase, they agree to refund you completely up to a period of 14 days after your purchase. If you’re outside of that period like I am, having backed the project on the first day of the kickstarter campaing, they consider not to owe you anything even if they cut 80% of the features they promised.
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It means, if you read the TOS, that if you make a purchase, they agree to refund you completely up to a period of 14 days after your purchase. If you’re outside of that period like I am, having backed the project on the first day of the kickstarter campaing, they consider not to owe you anything.
I got a long winded response basically saying ‘no’ but which included a reference to some 14 day period as below:
“I am very sorry to hear that you no longer wish to back Star Citizen, however we have reviewed your account status and we regret that we are not able to accommodate your request for a refund since it was received outside of the statutory 14 day period. I understand that this may seem unwelcoming, but unfortunately we are now obligated to send over the following information as protocol”
Does anyone know what 14 day period they are referring to?
Well I got the response from CIG which basically said tough, you’re not getting a refund. To quote the email here’s the bulk of it:
I am very sorry to hear that you no longer wish to back Star Citizen, however we have reviewed your account status and we regret that we are not able to accommodate your request for a refund since it was received outside of the statutory 14 day period. I understand that this may seem unwelcoming, but unfortunately we are now obligated to send over the following information as protocol:
You made your pledge to the crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the development of “Star Citizen.” When you contributed your pledge it was applied to the building of the game and the team and resources needed to make it happen. The funds are not idly maintained in a bank account for months or years in case someone wants his/her money back. Cloud Imperium Games has been working diligently on the development of the game and has published extensive information on the development process on its website at robertsspaceindustries.com. We are very serious about accomplishing what we set out to do, which is to build a great game. We endeavor to keep everyone informed and educated on the progress of game development and what is accomplished with their support: reports, updates and web shows have been made available regularly, and our first gameplay offerings came online as early as fall of 2013. These offerings have been progressively and incrementally expanded over time to share access to the work in progress. We have created a substantial foundation for the game, and early release versions are currently available (see further detail below).
As noted above, your payment was a deposit to be used for the “Game Cost” as defined in your crowdfunding pledge agreement (see Sec. 4 of the Commercial Terms, and Sec. IV.A of the subsequent Terms of Service, as applicable, https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos), and the deposit has since been “earned by CIG and become non-refundable” since it was “used for the Game Cost…” You also agreed to “irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any deposit amount that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost ….” The only exception would be a return of unearned funds remaining in case of an abandonment of the project; this exception does not apply as we have not abandoned development. If you pledged on Kickstarter, you agreed to these terms when you transferred your pledge account to robertsspaceindustries.com.
Terms to this effect have been in the Terms of Service and/or Commercial Terms ever since Star Citizen’s crowdfunding began. They are consistent with the specific nature of crowdfunding and the foreseeable use of your pledge –it would not be appropriate to use current backers’ development pledges to refund an earlier pledge which has already been used for Game Cost. Put simply, “takebacks” are not in the spirit of crowdfunding, the effect would be to pull the rug out from under a team that is working hard to build what the crowd has asked them to build with their pledges.
While quite a lot of the promised gameplay is now available, we acknowledge that delivery of some game elements has been delayed. This is a direct result of the community’s declared desire to have the initial release version of the game developed to a much greater depth, detail, and fidelity than contemplated originally upon start of the campaign. It is inherent to the nature of crowdfunding that such an adjustment to the project may occur. We acknowledge that some individual backers may find the additional wait undesirable. However, as per Sec. VII of the Terms, you did “acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time.” Ultimately, this evolution of development will benefit all backers including yourself, since every backer will be receiving a much greater value for his/her pledge, but it may – as in this case – cause an extension of the delivery dates.
Star Citizen is a project for gamers, by gamers. By financing the project using crowd funding, our team is not beholden to a publisher who would insist we ship a game unfinished, de-featured, or broken to meet a particular schedule. Thanks to continued backing of our community, we have the needed creative freedom over the project to push the boundaries of what is possible in gaming technology and to create a unique game with a unique approach. We feel the results such as unparalleled immersion and fidelity which have been highlighted in many reviews and community reactions, are already speaking for themselves!
Please try out, if you haven’t already, the significant gameplay which is now available (see https://robertsspaceindustries.com/feature-list) and we encourage you to download the installer from this url: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/download to patch up and play the latest version of the game.
Again, we regret that we can’t comply with your refund request for the above reasons and sincerely hope you enjoy the updates both current and future in the Star Citizen ‘Verse.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter, and if there is anything else we can assist with please let us know, thanks.
Well said and I believe by making an example of Roberts and how he has abused KS/Crowdfunding we need to get all the facts of where every penny went. White Knights may say or think that doesn’t matter but if we don’t get oversight and hold everyone at CIG/RSI accountable, it can only lead to even more people being scammed from more despicable developers.
I just wonder if more than just Roberts his brother and Ortwin along with Sandi would be the only ones held accountable. It may be possible (not being an attorney, but I did beat one in court) to also hold Disco, Ben and a few others accountable of what has been going on over there. To pull off what they have, would need more than just the top people to make this scam work. Others had to know they were telling falsehoods in a few of those videos.
Can’t wait for this to all crash, so we see new regulations to KS/Crowdfunding to keep tabs on developers like this. I believe it can be a good thing but right now all it looks like to me is a great way to scam gamers. Lord knows we can’t trust the gaming sites to tell the truth on what these guys are doing. I wish in some way we could make them libel for not reporting the truth on scams like Star Citizen!
Marty aka BigM!
I agree. He might have intended that but money with no accountablity leads to excess. When there is no oversight and someone asking questions or you know there will be an accounting it’s easy to convince yourself “it’s for the business” and if he was broke and got all that money it must have seemed like he’d never run out. Then reality hit with the problems getting anything to work in the game (yeah, 2.4 gives us persistance so each time we start it remembers we only have underwear on or maybe no body) he’s getting hit with reality. The expenses are still there and the income is going down and there is no way he can deliver anything he promised because he has nothing to build even SQ 42 on without junking everything. CR is desperate now.
I’d like the cash back but at this point it’s more the principle of the thing to do what I can and not let them get away with it.
I have just under $2500 invested. I am under the TOS from early 2014. I’ll talk to them if nothing happens soon. I’d like to see a class action suit with CIG refunding and paying all costs. A class action would allow those who can’t afford attornies to benefit.
I’ll wait and see what my state and LA do.
When you get free money – with no strings attached – what tends to happen is you spend it foolishly. Imagine how far along they could have stretched the development if they weren’t busy spending backer money foolishly.
I have been directing people (including Streetroller who says he spoke with them) to Ryan and Michael over at MorrisonLee. Remember, depending on the amount, legal action may not be worth the hassle; though if they lose, they will be liable for attorney fees in a matter like this. I am not sure what ToS you are under at this point, but you should probably also read the arbitration clause. All the ToS links are in my thread over there. Speak to or email them, but I think the State/Fed agencies are everyone’s best bet at this point.
Nothing shocks me anymore with Roberts and his wife.
I still laugh when reading how Roberts said he would only use the money on development of the game(s). Then you look at his LA office and wonder why he needed all those expensive decorations. What also strikes me funny is how these White Knights make excuses for him needing those for future backers or something.
Ranger Man I hope this all gets settled soon and get all the cash back.
Marty aka BigM
We march onward! Although my state Consumer Agency received notice on June 30 that I would be getting a refund “promptly” I have not heard a thing from CIG. So emailed my state case agent and updated him as well as pointing out the lies about it being RSI, not CIG and the TOS they reference were the new which I had not agreed to . I urged them to follow up and get more cases against CIG.
I also emailed a copy of their response to the Los Angeles agent listing that
* I have not heard a word on my refund and have had not contact.
* They lied about the TOS by referencing the current TOS that I had not agreed to (and pointed out they lied in Streetroller’s case, too) and that I was still under the old TOS which gave me a refund and an accounting and that I have received neither.
* That CIG, not RSI – a shell company, is the entity we have dealt with.
Derek, I need contact information on a lawyer.
Good to know. Thank you.
I’m from germany and got a refund (110$) in – I think it was – march. Most important point seems to me to state that you are an EU Citzien. First I just requested a refund and they seemed reluctant to give it, after I mentioned that I’m from europe they just asked for my paypal account and that I again state that I want a refund and a week later I got the money on my pay pal and credidcard. (because I had made two purchases one with cc and one with bank transfer.
You always have to try to get it from CIG first. Then your bank/payment processor. If both of those fail, you have no recourse other than legal action. But even if you don’t have that route, reporting it to the authorities at least adds your voice in the event that consumer agencies do decide to take action as they seem to be doing now.
Do you happen to know if they just ‘requested’ said refunds from CIG, or did they have to go the legal route like streetroller did over in the USA?
O ‘Star Citizen,’ ‘Star Citizen,’ Wherefore Art Thou, ‘Star Citizen’?
Yeah, people in various parts of Europe have received refunds.
Derek (or anyone else reading this)… do you happen to know if anyone in Europe has managed to successfully get a refund yet? And if so what the process is beyond asking CIG for one? Thank you.
WHEN STREETROLLER MET A SPERG
Transcript by resident Goon, Jones.Something, reprinted under Stolen Goon Valor license.
The exchange starts at @12:07:30
If… if… you know… you say this is a very COMMUNITY DRIVEN GAME… I’ll be frank with you, I really haven’t been that involved in the community, I watch a few streamers, I watch… MERCENARY THORN… I used to watch him a lot back in the old days because he used to do a lot of STAR CITIZEN… I watch BAD NEWS BARON, I actually LIKE Bad News Baron quite a bit, I think he’s a really COOL GUY, I think ah… *sigh*… what’s his name, I think… WHAT THE FUCK SAURUS… he’s… he’s… he’s REALLY COOL… I mean he gets a lot of TROLLS in his chat and he’s kind of a TROOPER I think, he takes a lot of PUNISHMENT…
But what it comes down to at the end of the day is… I haven’t been that involved in the community, I have something like maybe two hundred posts on the forums, and… me as a SINGULAR PERSON who put MONEY into this project, I didn’t VOTE in all the POLLS… and one of my major concerns about the game is I don’t keep up with all the STAR CITIZEN YOUTUBE VIDEOS, I don’t keep up with every single thing that Chris Roberts puts out, such as someone like YOURSELF, you STREAM this game, you see every single update along the way, I’m literally sitting here, you know, and basically looking at things from the OUTSIDE and I come back and all of this stuff has CHANGED… it’s extremely HARD to keep up with Chris Roberts and all of… like he’ll just CHANGE SOMETHING, he’ll come along and now we’re spending money on THIS, or spending money on THAT…
So you have to look at it from my point of view too, as somebody who just put money in the game, I wanted a PRODUCT, and now everything’s CHANGING… and now you’re saying ‘OK, well we have three hundred employees so now we can move forward with the actual GAME’, that’s… that’s the ARGUMENT. How do I KNOW that? How do I know that in another year he’s not gonna CHANGE EVERYTHING AGAIN? That the whole idea of the persistent universe isn’t that he wants us to connect our BRAINS up like you have in the MATRIX, just put our MINDS into the game. Know what I mean? Like that could be the NEXT BIG THING he wants.
So because I put three thousand dollars into the game when the idea was SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, now I have to be forced to ENDURE all of the changes of this game going forward, even if it’s something I no longer want at this point? So that’s where I’m coming from.
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
Alright, errm… the biggest thing… the first thing I wanna… I wanna… EMPHASIZE is that I don’t think anyone in the community, ah, is… would be ANGRY at anyone for a REFUND. At… at… ahhh… at the very base. Not everyone is going to be BACKING IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS, some people come in and say they want it BACK, and the thing about ST… about… about… CIG, is that GENERALLY SPEAKING there is… there are WAYS you can get refunds. Sometimes you have to raise a little HELL to get a refund, but in… generally speaking most people get refunds back pretty EASILY in fact they do have a refund policy within 30 days I think… maybe 15 days… of getting the game, if you buy the game within 15 days and want it returned you can get it back, uh, you can get your money back.
Ahm… but… I think… I think the BIGGER issue is… there are a lot of people who want REFUNDS and a lot of people who are USING refunds because they PERSONALLY FEEL that like, they got INSULTED by the game, by the game DEVELOPMENT… to use that as to a LASH OUT AND ATTACK STAR CITIZEN… uhm… as a GAME. Rather than looking at it from the perspective of OTHER BACKERS, as… as you said Streetroller, you are NOT part of the community, you haven’t really been part of the community but the OPTIONS were open for you to do… to join the community.
You could have ah uh ah… you didn’t even have to POST in the FORUMS, you could have still done the POLLS, you still could have… ah… ahm… you know… uh… eh… INTERACTED with other members of the community, you still could have TYPED IN BAD NEWS BARON’S CHAT, or anything else like that… so it’s ah… THAT’S NOT STAR CITIZEN’S FAULT, that’s not CIG’s fault… at the end of the day.
Uhm… with… with the issue of COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT is… it’s completely separate from the issue of GAME DEVELOPMENT… and ah… as for if… uh… if Chris Roberts said, ‘OH WE’RE GONNA UPLOAD YOUR BRAIN INTO THE MATRIX IN THE FUTURE WE’RE GONNA DO COMPLETELY VR EVERYTHING’, I think people would probably get ANGRY about that. We’re at a stage in development where the game’s starting to come together, it’s starting to look like a game that people were hoping Star Citizen would be… ahm… so people are… CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC about the future, I think people are MORE OPTIMISTIC now than they were a year ago… I think a year ago there were a lot of depressed people who were like ‘screw this game it’s never coming out’
I would disagree. I think optimism is definitely NOT HIGH… but I mean that’s just me… and to be clear, I don’t agree with people who want refunds just to lash out at the game. I got a refund for a very specific reason and for a very specific purpose and… I do have a question for you, since we’re here… the reason that I got a refund was because the terms of service had changed, that put the production of Star Citizen in perpetuity effectively. And my question to you is, do you think it’s FAIR for me as an individual who didn’t sign on for that kind of production time, to then say, ‘I’m done, I don’t want anything to do with this any more’?
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
You did get your money back right? So… I don’t know… I mean… YES, yes you did jump through a couple of hoops…
No, I’m asking you your OPINION
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
I’m… I… but I’m just saying, like, that’s… that… ah, that has nothing to do with… with my OPINION, it’s… do I think it’s FAIR that people get it? Generally? Sure, yeah, why not, if you don’t wanna be a part of this game there’s no reason for you to be in this game. However there are some, some… issues that… there’s a lotta people who came in to the game with hopes and dreams and spent three thousand dollars and DIDN’T DO ANY RESEARCH. They didn’t look into the game, they didn’t look into Star Citiz… to ah, Chris Roberts PATH, they didn’t look into lots… lots of other THINGS, they did… they just kinda started…
Do you understand…
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
I DO UNDERSTAND LET ME FINISH PLEASE… uhm… I kind of said… the HOPES AND DREAMS were in the future, and then… and then… and… get ANGRY because they didn’t FOLLOW the development, they didn’t SEE what was going on, even though, they were… so… while I UNDERSTAND people getting refunds, I have NO SYMPATHY FOR PEOPLE WHO WANNA GET REFUNDS when they’ve spent LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY and then… uhhh… and then they… the game’s completely changed I want my money back… sure, get your refund but I… if you ever… if people like YOURSELF would like to come BACK into the game when the game’s COMPLETED or more closely completed… I don’t know if that should be ALLOWED… just because there’s… there’s… there’s a… an ISSUE with… as it is right now… TRUST… in… in… in… within the GAMING COMMUNITY… and… there’s a LOTTA people who are ANGRY about this game… not EVERYONE in… in… the gaming thing is angry about this game but there’s definitely a lotta people ANGRY about this game… and… you… are you entitled LEGALLY to a refund? Sure. Morally should CIG give refunds? Personally sure, I believe that they should be able to GIVE SOME REFUNDS, especially if you… you’re… you know… in your situation.
But at the same time I don’t think, um… people who have been using this as LEVERAGE… a way to kind of… ATTACK AND SPREAD FUD should be allowed to come back.
So do you think… so essentially you are LABELLING ME as one of those people who are spreading FUD?
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
Why are you on here?
Oh no, I ASKED him to.
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
Oh ok. So who got the information for… there’s a lot of uh… uhm… there’s a lot of uh… uhm… ARTICLES that were written SPECIFICALLY about Streetroller’s case. That have been liberally released. Who released that information?
Who released that… who… are you asking me?
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
Yeah I’m asking, did you go out to IGN, to other news agencies and say ‘this is my ca… my story’?
No. It was picked up independently.
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
How was it picked up independently, do you know?
*sigh* If I had to take a guess? I’d say it was probably Derek Smart that… that… well he wrote it on his blog first… NO. I don’t… I honestly don’t know how it spread to be honest. I remember, the only thing that I did, and I’ll tell you MY point of view, I was ANGRY at the terms of service update and I was searching for a refund, so I typed in STAR CITIZEN REFUND in Google. I literally went and I found the SOMETHING AWFUL FORUMS, and there I was saying, ‘look, I’m trying to get a refund on this game’, and, I mean to be honest they could have said, ‘awwww, you’re shit outta luck, HAHA’, laugh at you, cos you guys paint a picture of these guys that they’re, you know, TERRIBLE EVIL PEOPLE for some reason, but the honest truth is…
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
I know SEVERAL GOONS, uh… personal friends of mine that are BIG CONTENT CREATORS including like uh…. uhm… uh… sorry… just so… so like… I… I understand WHO GOONS ARE, I’ve been friends with some of the GOON LEADERS who are in Star Citizen before so…
Ok, so I literally went on the thread and I said, ‘look, I’m trying to get a refund from these guys’, and I… I said this is what I’m trying to do, and all I did was, you know… they had said, ‘can you please update us with your… with your… PROCEDURE, because we know an awful lot of people and they’re trying to get refunds, and they’re being DENIED’. And I feel that I’m in the RIGHT for getting a REFUND. I mean I understand what your position may or may not be, I mean you said it was morally correct or legally correct that I should get a refund, so other people were trying to get a refund and CIG was effectively saying NO. LEAVE.
So I went on there and said I’m trying to get a refund, they said please update us cos we would like to keep up to date with this. So ok, so when I finally got my refund, all I did was, I posted in the forum, which, by the way you have to PAY TO SEE, it’s a PRIVATE FORUM, and I just updated and I said, ‘look I got…’, sorry, would you mind muting your mic cos you keep hot miccing…
So, uh… so all I did was I went in the topic, I said, ‘listen, this is the update, I got my refund, this is what happened’, that was it.
That was literally it.
That was all I posted.
And then all of a sudden PC INVASION’S running it, all of these other sites are running it, to be honest I’m pretty sure they just copy paste each other…
Cultist Sperg From The Brown Sea:
So I APOLOGISE Streetroller but it’s one of those things that you can see it from my perspective that suddenly…
I totally understand your perspective, but I’m just saying… you gotta understand, like since I’ve done my refund process… like you haven’t received the EMAILS and the PMs that I’ve received on REDDIT and through EMAIL.
I have literally gotten people saying that I SHOULD GO KILL MYSELF.
That I am a SCUMBAG, the WORST PERSON TO BE ALIVE RIGHT NOW because I’m DESTROYING THEIR DREAM. Their DREAM GAME.
I mean can you understand that the COMMUNITY that you are a PART OF, I have literally never received such HATEFUL AND TOXIC COMMENTS. In my LIFE. EVER. Than the ones that I received when I got this refund. And yeah, it blew up, and a lot of people were sending me emails and saying, ‘hey, do you mind if we do an interview with you’ and I said SURE.
Well unless you intend on buying it before they finish it, you have nothing to worry about. You can still agree to the ToS, and try it out.
The ToS issue is with current and future backers. If they ever hope to run the game again, they have to agree to the new ToS.
In either case, you can still create a new throw-away account with a new email and use that during the free fly week.
I can’t try it out. That would mean I would have to agree to the ridiculous June 2016 ToS (and download a whopping 30 GB afterwards).
IGN surprises me by not writing about the refund and what the guy had to go thru to get it. I thought they had more cred than to ignore it completely. At first I also thought MMORPG.com not doing a article on it yet doing the free fly week was kind of telling about them. But i guess if you look at how crazy the Star Citizen threads are over there you are getting the info out about it. Still doesn’t do their cred very well by not posting about it.
Yes, you’re right, I really see this whole living in denial syndrome. They love developers so much, that think that being hurt and robbed is a part of foreplay.
Holy shit! Until I’ve found your site today, I have been feeling like I’m the only one seeing through this scam artists milking naive a dangerous childish people. It’s so fucking sad that people are willing to give away millions of dollars for this kind of scams, so easily. And they don’t ask questions after. Just wait like meek for the developers to throw small pieces at them, and to be asked for more money. Is it really so easy to fool people?
List of all the media outlets which have covered this story in the past few days
One Angry Gamer
PC Invasion (Streetroller interview)
Polygon (Streetroller interview)
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
So Kris (those of you in my blog/forum comments know who he is) my favorite Star Citizen debating backer, and one of the most reasonable (and polite) fans, has written a blog (!) about his Star Citizen thoughts.
Kris, like many, is huge Star Citizen fan who, for the past year has reasonably debated the pros and cons of the project. We’ve clashed multiple times, but unlike those crazy Shitizens, there was always something to take away from his points.
His blog gives a very good insight into how some people got so drawn to this project, and were feverishly defending it at all cost. It’s shorter than any of my blogs, so it’s a quick read.
STAR CITIZEN SUMMER 2016 FREEFLY
Seriously, go try it yourself so that you can see – first hand – what we’re talking about. That’s the “game” which, five years, and $117 million later, is merely 10% completed, and nothing more than a glorified tech demo.
Amen. But sadly, you’re preaching to the choir. I tried reasoning with them a year ago. Instead, they just doubled down on the bullshit, and declared an all out war not only on me, but also on the very backers who made this project possible.
You can still file with the CA office since that’s where they are based.
I think fail or not, consumers do need to take a measure of responsibility and risk acceptance for a crowd-funded project that are pure concepts. What was missing here was initial consumer education to highlight basic fundamentals of software (or any iterative) development. Any gamer, however, should have a rudimentary understanding that things don’t always work out; gaming’s history has been mired with disappointed fans across the entire industry. A mixed bag of expectations and expectation management.
Despite the apparent innocence of the crowd-funders, these people were promised a product, no matter how unrealistic, and of course CIG needs to be accountable, especially with all the missed deliveries.
If people want refunds, that’s their right, but it also could become the cause of death and a viable scapegoat: “Well, we failed because Derek Smart sowed doubt and we were overwhelmed with waves of refunds” I don’t want to see a movement for consumer rights kill the project outright, either.
I think the next step, short of all out legal warfare, should come from CIG in the form of better, more frequent status reporting. For $100MM, these folks should be able to get some analysts to build a coherent dashboard or client-facing status report.
People do have the right to know where the project status is in order to make informed decisions on refunds, legal action or whatever. Right now, I’d have to spend hours and hours filtering/sifting through bits of information from status report essays, forum posts and hearsay to have any sort of idea where the project is.
That’s something that needs to be fixed immediately or CIG can count on the downward spiral picking up speed. (I bet they’ve spent a lot of effort already on contingency planning with their lawyers rather than communicating effectively to their support base)
Well crap, I filed a complaint with my state’s attorney general, should I have filed a complaint through the website linked in this blog entry?
POLYGON: INTERVIEW WITH STREETROLLER
I think that the ‘shitizens’, to borrow your term, are sadly too emotionally invested in this now to turn back. They’ve burned all their bridges, insulted their friends who said “lol, really?” and invested wayyy more cash into this than any game they have before – they aren’t about to admit they have been incredibly foolish, no. I think whatever is released (if anything substantial is at all, aside from the minigames they have currently) will still be praised by the ‘shitizens’.
If at the end of the day, it all crumbles down and finally reveals itself as the monumental failure that it appears to me, a part of me just knows that they will stockholm themselves into not only congratulating roberts on “giving it a try” and “doing what no others would dare” (lol) but probably thank him also for their “incredible journey”.
PC INVASION: INTERVIEW WITH STREETROLLER
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