I called this one back in Sept when I heard about it from sources. At the time, it was speculated that it would be released with the new website which was also expected to go live around the time of the 3.0 “release”. But the website didn’t launch, 3.0 was an unmitigated disaster, then the holidays happened. Compared to the previous June, 10th, 2016 TOS version, it’s amazing.
If you have been following my tracking of these changes, then you should already be familiar with how they have systematically not only revised them to continue screwing backers, but also to reduce their liability and obligations. This latest version is worse. First of all, the Fundraising & Pledges section has been completely re-written – again. It also now comes with a disclaimer:
“RSI is conducting a crowdfunding campaign to support the development of the Game and the related RSI Services. You do not purchase anything, you make a pledge towards the development of the Game and the other RSI Services. Your pledge entitles you to receive the selected in-game items when they are developed and introduced into the Alpha releases of Star Citizen and/or to receive the game Squadron 42, as selected. Please read this clause carefully to understand the differences between crowdfunding and a purchase.”
Not sure how they are now going to explain charging VAT in EU nations.
If you thought the above was bad, wait, there’s more…
The Pledge Funds will be earned by RSI at the earlier of:
- when the Pledge Item becomes functional in Star Citizen’s Alpha Persistent Universe (or is delivered separately, such as the game Squadron 42), or
- when your Pledge Funds have been expended for the Game Cost.
Yes. So basically, once you have bought into the game, say they implemented a particular ship which you own, they can deny you a refund, even though the rest of the game may be incomplete and not delivered at the time.
Remember back when I said 3.0 was the MVP? Now we see why sources were saying back in the Summer that this TOS coming with 3.0 was going to set the stage for what was to come.
Then, buried in the Miscellaneous Terms section at the bottom is this…
These clowns really think that, with their head office and base of operations being here in the US, that if they are sued under the TOS, that a US court is going to totally allow an English court to have jurisdiction. I can’t wait.
And it came to pass that the new June 2016 ToS has been released with the latest 2.4 “patch” going live.
I am working on a blog; but the highlights and implications of this new ToS are:
- They can deliver anything (e.g. Minimum Viable Product as I wrote in this blog) they like, and it doesn’t have to resemble anything promised and which you backed. Which means that everything you see here in the stretch goals – and which you backed – is now meaningless. Those concept ships which have yet to be modeled, let alone flight ready? They don’t have to create them
- They are under no obligation to deliver anything – like ever
- You are not entitled to refunds – for any reason – like ever
- They can ban your account – for any reason – delete it, and not refund you
- If you buy an account and they find out, they can terminate the account and not refund you. This is essentially to kill the Grey market (Star Citizen trades has now been removed from the Reddit subs), prevent people from buying accounts and/or holding CIG accountable etc
- The disparaging CS tagging (1, 2) that occurred just this week, gives rise to how they were seeking to identify backers outside of their website/services, in order to identify their accounts and terminate them – without cause (other than because you were a dissenter)
- They no longer owe backers any financial accountability for where the money went. This was one of the key points they used as a carrot during this funding. That, and the ability to do refunds. Both have now been removed.
- There is no release date for anything. The 18 month (which was previous 12 months in prior ToS revisions) time frame to deliver following the original Nov 2014 date, has been removed
- The new ToS is an agreement with RSI and not CIG as before. Considering that they have a bunch of corporated entities associated with this, the implications of this change are not yet clear to me. UPDATE: After speaking with my attorneys, we view this move as an attempt to shift liability (lawsuits, creditors, investors etc) from CIG, and to the subsidiary (RSI). This is a common tactic used when businesses are setup. In fact, it clearly explains all these entities associated with this project. So when this project collapses – as I am certain that it will, seeing as they can’t deliver it as promised – CIG (which is the parent) will be shielded from the lawsuits and liabilites of RSI. However, according to the law, in cases where fraud is uncovered, there is no such protection.
- They say you agree not to sue them – like ever
In the meantime, if you ever want legal recourse, do NOT download the 2.4 patch and do NOT do ANYTHING on their site and/or services in which you are required to agree to this new ToS. The only way you are able to give expressed consent, is if you download the 2.4 game launcher and press the AGREE button. Visiting the website, sending them emails, opening support tickets etc do not convey consent.
TO BE CLEAR: This new ToS only applies to i) new backers from this date forward who download the game and agree to the new ToS ii) existing backers who are presented (e.g. in the game launcher) with the new ToS, and which they have to agree to
Since July 2015, I have been making a lot of noise about the ToS (which they have changed many times to suit their actions) and the fact that RSI/CIG are required to provide refunds and financial accountability to backers for failure to deliver the promised game, 18 months from the expiration Feb 2015 ToS v1.2. Those two clauses triggered on May 31st, 2016. And instead of abiding by them, they decided to create a new ToS which not only removes those clauses, but it also strips even more rights from backers who have thus far given them $115 million. A lot of Shitizens said I was wrong about the ToS interpretation, that I didn’t understand it, blah, blah, blah. Yet, with the latest 2.4 patch disaster hurriedly pushed to live (conveniently ahead of E3 which they recently backed out of attending), they have done precisely as I said and expected that they would.
UPDATE 16/05/24: Sources are telling me that a new ToS revision is in the works and will be shoved through either in the upcoming public release of 2.4 or thereafter. If you ever hope to get financial accountability or refunds – two of the key provisions of the current ToS v1.2 – do not agree to it. On June 1st, backers have the legal right to both a refund and financial accountability as promised.
Make no mistake, several things are in the works, and there are going to be legal ramifications – including the complete decimation of the arbitration clause introduced in ToS 1.1 by people who never agreed to that ToS revision.
Everyone knows by now that since the shoddy and premature release of Star Citizen (aka Persistent Universe) v2.0 in Dec 2015, they’re now claiming that it is substantial update, so they’re refusing refunds.
Below are all the different ToS revisions since the start of this project. The Kickstarter ToS would be active from 12-10-18 to 12-11-19 when the campaign started and ended there.
12-09-13 // Original version from RSI website before they moved the campaign to Kickstarter. No arbitration clause.
13-08-13 // v1.0, No arbitration clause.
13-08-29 // v1.1, Arbitration clause appears in VIII
15-02-01 // v1.2, Arbitration clause appears in XXII
NOTE: If you pledged on Kickstarter, then you are subject to their ToS, as well as the RSI ToS which was active after the campaign ended and you had to access their site to create your citizen account.
According to their ToS v1.1 of 08/29/13 they said if they failed to deliver within 12 months of Nov 2014 (the original Kickstarter estimated delivery date), they would issue refunds. At the time, this non-delivery period would kick in during Nov 2015.
Since that time, having already i) missed the Nov 2014 delivery date and ii) embarked on the increased scope (aka “vision 2.0”), thus extending the delivery date for the project, they surreptitiously made another changed in ToS v1.2 of 02/01/15 (which remains the current one on their website). The previous section was moved; and now reads:
And in the current ToS, here is a key section that ties into the above:
The trigger in ToS v1.2 which will require (they won’t do it voluntarily) them to provide refunds and a full accounting, will expire 18 months from when they promised the project to be delivered on Nov 2014. It was set to expire in Nov 2015 as per the previous ToS. Then they extended it from 12 to 18 months. So the new expiration date is May 31, 2016 depending on when you backed the game and agreed to the ToS.
However, it doesn’t matter when you backed the project; as long as you accessed their services (game, forum) and agreed to the ToS v1.2 revision when presented, you are subject to it. All previous versions would then be null and void. However, if you NEVER accessed their systems, and thus never agreed to ToS v1.2, then you are not only due a refund, but also due a full accounting as per the previous ToS versions.
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