Star Citizen backer gets his $3000 pledge refunded with help from the LA District Attorney

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

People have been funding the seemingly never ending development of Star Citizen since October 2012. For some backers, this has gone on for way too long and they want their sizeable payments back.

Last month, Star Citizen changed its terms of service to make receiving refunds even more difficult. It originally stated money would be returned if the "relevant pledge items and/or the game" hadn’t been delivered within 18 months. But this was updated to read that refunds would only be given if "[Roberts Space Industries] has ceased development" of the game and failed to deliver promised pledges.

But one of Star Citizen’s backers argued that he didn’t agree to these new TOS. While he did manage to get his $3000 pledge returned, it required help from the District Attorney of Los Angeles, the Federal Trade Commission, and the LA Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.

Streetroller (his real name has not been shared) argued that because the game has changed so much since it was initially revealed, and as it still hasn’t arrived after all these years, he is entitled to a refund. He said the game “remains unfulfilled and no longer constitutes the product(s) I originally purchased”.

In the lengthy correspondence between Streetroller and Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG), the company argues that the delivery dates were always estimates and that thanks to the constant contributions over the years, which have so far raised $117 million, the size of the game has expanded beyond expectations.

“Takebacks are not compatible with the whole concept of crowdfunding since it is simply not fair to the fundraising backers who join our community every month," said CIG.

But after the developer was contacted by the District Attorney and the other agencies, CIG begrudgingly refunded the money. A move it is said was in its interests, not because it was “owed.”

The question now is whether the incident will lead to more backers asking for refunds. Star Citizen, which Streetroller called a “scam,” may be looking pretty good in its current development videos, but there’s still no solid release date – and even its most ardent supporters must be running low on patience.

Speaking about the case, CIG said: "Any refunds with respect to Star Citizen are made on a discretionary basis. 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."

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psycros

TS Evangelist
Star Citizen is never going to happen. Too much ambition, too little project management.

In 5 years, Elite: Dangerous will likley have most of what SC had promised and failed to deliver.
10 mil of that 100+ is undoubtedly being used by Roberts and Co. to lawyer up for the inevitable crash-n-bail. I am so, so glad I didn't get in on this one. I'm proud to say that I only back developers who have proven they can deliver products within a reasonable time frame, in fully playable condition and in some cases without the help of a major publisher already. So far I have not been disappointed. However, I am sorely tempted to get behind City of Titans..
 
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Darth Shiv

TS Evangelist
Yeah I think you really need to be happy to lose the money if the venture fails going into these sorts of ambitious projects.

To the story, original ToS being binding should be compulsory by law - consumer should *always* be within their rights to chose to keep their original ToS or receive an immediate full refund.
 
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D

davislane1

10 mil of that 100+ is undoubtedly being used by Roberts and Co. to lawyer up for the inevitable crash-n-bail. I am so, so glad I didn't get in on this one. I'm proud to say that I only back developers who have proven they can deliver products within a reasonable time frame, in fully playable condition and in some cases without the help of a major publisher already. So far I have not been disappointed.
Indeed. I was tempted to donate a small sum a couple years ago but grew cautious of the project when the feature list began growing exponentially. That combined with their inability to deliver anything that functioned properly and on a consistent basis was a red flag -- evidently identifying a $100 million land mine.

 

wired420

TS Rookie
Star Citizen is never going to happen. Too much ambition, too little project management.

In 5 years, Elite: Dangerous will likley have most of what SC had promised and failed to deliver.
It was obvious to anyone that understood computer hardware that they were making promises that current hardware can't handle. It was a scam from the beginning. You can't promise things based on where you "predict" technology will go.
 

lripplinger

TS Addict
Vaporware. That is all this is. Plain and simple. For $150 million you could just make a move called Wing Commander or something (o wait...pile of **** Roberts already tried and failed miserably, just like at this scam he calls "Star Citizen."). Glad I don't fall for these vaporware scams. I hope more people who have put all this money in get their money back.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
Feature creep is killing star citizen. If their scope is "significantly larger" then it was originally, they should have been able to still deliver the base game on time, with the rest of the money used on new features in the following years.

If it actually comes out, it will never live up to the hype.
 
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CaptainTom

TS Evangelist
On the one hand I have to say that anyone who backs something like this goes into with the understanding that this is a gamble to support.

On the other hand I believe that when a project goes on this long and with this many trailers/gameplay things shown off (Without any actual release date or measurable progress) we get into an Enron situation. By that I mean: they started with good/legitimate intentions, but eventually the show became more about keeping investors happy long enough to get more money instead of actually finishing the project.

Now I do believe this WILL come out within a year, but if it doesn't it may have been a sham all along.


You set goals, you try to meet them, you make money from them, and then you set new goals. If you mess up that order or let greed get in the way you have already doomed yourself.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
TechSpot Elite
"...and even its most ardent supporters must be running low on patience."
Naw, as a video game programmer, I understand how the development process can work. With more money comes a bigger scope on what they want the universe to be, and that will take time.
They have functional modules that show that they can indeed make what they are promising (and those modules are playable by backers already despite the amusing bugs lol), but they forget how fickle and impatient their consumer base can be.
I kind of hope they reach a point where they nail down what they want regardless of the funds they have (just to have a base game), but they're also given a rare opportunity to deliver a space game that some of them have been dreaming of for a while. Only time will tell whether or not that dream is feasible and deliverable with quality :p
 

DAOWAce

TS Guru
I'm still waiting for the multitude of features they show off in development videos to be anywhere at all in the game.

It's been YEARS since some of those videos, and there's still NOTHING even remotely close to some of them in the game.

The only thing that even came out was racing, and the implemented product looks worse than it did in the video.
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
To the story, original ToS being binding should be compulsory by law - consumer should *always* be within their rights to chose to keep their original ToS or receive an immediate full refund.
But that would make too much sense.

Honestly, if I had the spare cash when Star Citizen got started, I probably would have contributed. Now, not so much. I might buy Squadron 42 if and when it comes out. IF that is good, AND it will integrate with Star Citizen as promised, I may pledge into Star Citizen at the lowest level that will get me the full game on releases. But I doubt this sequence of events will actually occur.

I think Squadron 42 will be released, but it won't integrated with Star Citizen if it is ever released. I do not think (at this point in time) Star Citizen will ever be released in a playable form that delivers on just it's original feature set (nevermind the feature-creep sets).
 

roberthi

TS Addict
"“Takebacks are not compatible with the whole concept of crowdfunding since it is simply not fair to the fundraising backers who join our community every month," said CIG."

Oh, but changing TOS in the middle of a contract is???
 

roberthi

TS Addict
"...and even its most ardent supporters must be running low on patience."
Naw, as a video game programmer, I understand how the development process can work. With more money comes a bigger scope on what they want the universe to be, and that will take time.
They have functional modules that show that they can indeed make what they are promising (and those modules are playable by backers already despite the amusing bugs lol), but they forget how fickle and impatient their consumer base can be.
I kind of hope they reach a point where they nail down what they want regardless of the funds they have (just to have a base game), but they're also given a rare opportunity to deliver a space game that some of them have been dreaming of for a while. Only time will tell whether or not that dream is feasible and deliverable with quality :p
BS. I'm a programmer, as well. You can still deliver on your base project and build out from there. Companies do this all the time, which is why we end up with games that get patched later on.
 
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mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
"...and even its most ardent supporters must be running low on patience."
Naw, as a video game programmer, I understand how the development process can work. With more money comes a bigger scope on what they want the universe to be, and that will take time.
They have functional modules that show that they can indeed make what they are promising (and those modules are playable by backers already despite the amusing bugs lol), but they forget how fickle and impatient their consumer base can be.
I kind of hope they reach a point where they nail down what they want regardless of the funds they have (just to have a base game), but they're also given a rare opportunity to deliver a space game that some of them have been dreaming of for a while. Only time will tell whether or not that dream is feasible and deliverable with quality :p
BS. I'm a programmer, as well. You can still deliver on your base project and build out from there. Companies do this all the time, which is why we end up with games that get patched later on.
What he said. Continuously expanding your goals as funding increases is extremely poor project management, and is a good way to get funding (from VCs and Angels) to dry up real quick. Your original promise should not change. After you meet it, you release. If you had additional ideas and additional funding, that is what DLCs are for.

"But what about the original backers, who couldn't jump in on DLCs they might have wanted, but weren't proposed yet?"
You cut them a deal on re-upping on their pledges, or a deal on buying the DLC when it comes up. Not like you don't have their contact info or know who they are.

This is what Star Citizen /SHOULD/ have been. A basic 'fly around the universe' game, with ship-to-ship combat and factions. Want to be a trader? DLC. Want to be an explorer? DLC. What to be a scientist? DLC. Mercenary? DLC. And don't require DLCs to interact with one another, only to initiate or create. so you can always 'buy' another players wares, or be hired by them to help with their projects - but need the DLC to start a new mission. It is still ambitious, but at least the goals are broken up into fixed milestones.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
TechSpot Elite
BS. I'm a programmer, as well. You can still deliver on your base project and build out from there. Companies do this all the time, which is why we end up with games that get patched later on.
What he said. Continuously expanding your goals as funding increases is extremely poor project management, and is a good way to get funding (from VCs and Angels) to dry up real quick. Your original promise should not change. After you meet it, you release. If you had additional ideas and additional funding, that is what DLCs are for.

"But what about the original backers, who couldn't jump in on DLCs they might have wanted, but weren't proposed yet?"
You cut them a deal on re-upping on their pledges, or a deal on buying the DLC when it comes up. Not like you don't have their contact info or know who they are.

This is what Star Citizen /SHOULD/ have been. A basic 'fly around the universe' game, with ship-to-ship combat and factions. Want to be a trader? DLC. Want to be an explorer? DLC. What to be a scientist? DLC. Mercenary? DLC. And don't require DLCs to interact with one another, only to initiate or create. so you can always 'buy' another players wares, or be hired by them to help with their projects - but need the DLC to start a new mission. It is still ambitious, but at least the goals are broken up into fixed milestones.
You do realize that they have had stretch goals for the funds they get in, right? It's not like they all of a sudden decided to expand their scope. People donating can see that they have their stretch goals (sure, they've added more stretch goals, but it's always been before they reached the target).
All I'm saying is that they've made it known how their development process would be. The more support they got from the players, the bigger the scope (based on stretch goals).
I'm also NOT saying that I love this development choice, just that I can understand what's going on. As I said, I kind of hope they reach a point where they nail down what they want regardless of the funds they have...
 

StanBaldyMan

TS Rookie
BS. I'm a programmer, as well. You can still deliver on your base project and build out from there. Companies do this all the time, which is why we end up with games that get patched later on.
What he said. Continuously expanding your goals as funding increases is extremely poor project management, and is a good way to get funding (from VCs and Angels) to dry up real quick. Your original promise should not change. After you meet it, you release. If you had additional ideas and additional funding, that is what DLCs are for.

"But what about the original backers, who couldn't jump in on DLCs they might have wanted, but weren't proposed yet?"
You cut them a deal on re-upping on their pledges, or a deal on buying the DLC when it comes up. Not like you don't have their contact info or know who they are.

This is what Star Citizen /SHOULD/ have been. A basic 'fly around the universe' game, with ship-to-ship combat and factions. Want to be a trader? DLC. Want to be an explorer? DLC. What to be a scientist? DLC. Mercenary? DLC. And don't require DLCs to interact with one another, only to initiate or create. so you can always 'buy' another players wares, or be hired by them to help with their projects - but need the DLC to start a new mission. It is still ambitious, but at least the goals are broken up into fixed milestones.
You do realize that they have had stretch goals for the funds they get in, right? It's not like they all of a sudden decided to expand their scope. People donating can see that they have their stretch goals (sure, they've added more stretch goals, but it's always been before they reached the target).
All I'm saying is that they've made it known how their development process would be. The more support they got from the players, the bigger the scope (based on stretch goals).
I'm also NOT saying that I love this development choice, just that I can understand what's going on. As I said, I kind of hope they reach a point where they nail down what they want regardless of the funds they have...
You can't understand what is going on - only what you are told. You are also being incredibly arrogant to think that experienced industry professionals don't know how projects should be managed and developed.

SC development is a complete shambles at best and a scam at worse.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
TechSpot Elite
You can't understand what is going on - only what you are told. You are also being incredibly arrogant to think that experienced industry professionals don't know how projects should be managed and developed.

SC development is a complete shambles at best and a scam at worse.
Says you, the experienced industry professional? Ha, you obviously don't have any idea how much time goes into a AAA MMO if you're claiming such things so early on (key word being MMO, as it's not just some SP space sim). If they didn't crowd fund, they could keep the game under wraps for several years (instead of pre-alpha) and launch an alpha/beta when the game is more or less feature complete. But then again they wouldn't have got the funding to build a game with this large of a scope either.
They're the first developer to do something like this at this scope using crowd funding. I'd say YOU are the arrogant one to think you understand what's going on enough to pass absolute judgement.
All I'm saying is that things look fine and play half-decently where they're at considering the scope (to rule out a scam). Also, it's not horribly off schedule, though I would bet they've had mismanagement somewhere along the line. But again, first time this type of things been done. No one can say for certain if it will sink or swim this early on (hence why I'm not going to say this project is on track or say it's doomed).
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
BS. I'm a programmer, as well. You can still deliver on your base project and build out from there. Companies do this all the time, which is why we end up with games that get patched later on.
What he said. Continuously expanding your goals as funding increases is extremely poor project management, and is a good way to get funding (from VCs and Angels) to dry up real quick. Your original promise should not change. After you meet it, you release. If you had additional ideas and additional funding, that is what DLCs are for.

"But what about the original backers, who couldn't jump in on DLCs they might have wanted, but weren't proposed yet?"
You cut them a deal on re-upping on their pledges, or a deal on buying the DLC when it comes up. Not like you don't have their contact info or know who they are.

This is what Star Citizen /SHOULD/ have been. A basic 'fly around the universe' game, with ship-to-ship combat and factions. Want to be a trader? DLC. Want to be an explorer? DLC. What to be a scientist? DLC. Mercenary? DLC. And don't require DLCs to interact with one another, only to initiate or create. so you can always 'buy' another players wares, or be hired by them to help with their projects - but need the DLC to start a new mission. It is still ambitious, but at least the goals are broken up into fixed milestones.
You do realize that they have had stretch goals for the funds they get in, right? It's not like they all of a sudden decided to expand their scope. People donating can see that they have their stretch goals (sure, they've added more stretch goals, but it's always been before they reached the target).
All I'm saying is that they've made it known how their development process would be. The more support they got from the players, the bigger the scope (based on stretch goals).
I'm also NOT saying that I love this development choice, just that I can understand what's going on. As I said, I kind of hope they reach a point where they nail down what they want regardless of the funds they have...
Stretch goals stopped at $65M - https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals

They have put a stake in the ground at this point. As a developer, this is an extremely ambitious project. Yes, the code has some major bugs. No the code set that was promised in the beginning is not yet done. If it does succeed, it could be yet another Chris Roberts groundbreaking effort. If not, well Chris Roberts will go down in flames, I am sure.

As is typical of other threads on TS, this thread had devolved into another argument. Pretty soon, I expect someone to chime in and blame Trump and/or Obama. :p
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
Stretch goals stopped at $65M - https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals

They have put a stake in the ground at this point. As a developer, this is an extremely ambitious project. Yes, the code has some major bugs. No the code set that was promised in the beginning is not yet done. If it does succeed, it could be yet another Chris Roberts groundbreaking effort. If not, well Chris Roberts will go down in flames, I am sure.

As is typical of other threads on TS, this thread had devolved into another argument. Pretty soon, I expect someone to chime in and blame Trump and/or Obama. :p
Personally, I think it is all Hillary's fault. :p
 
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m4a4

TS Evangelist
TechSpot Elite
Stretch goals stopped at $65M - https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals

They have put a stake in the ground at this point. As a developer, this is an extremely ambitious project. Yes, the code has some major bugs. No the code set that was promised in the beginning is not yet done. If it does succeed, it could be yet another Chris Roberts groundbreaking effort. If not, well Chris Roberts will go down in flames, I am sure.

As is typical of other threads on TS, this thread had devolved into another argument. Pretty soon, I expect someone to chime in and blame Trump and/or Obama. :p
Yeah, I saw that. I was implying from the original kickstarter funding goal.
And they are still deciding what they will get out (they cut the FPS module to devote more time to integrating it in the actual game). Personally, I think that would've been more fun than the dogfighting module out right now. But it would also be nice to get this game out a bit sooner lol
 

richcz3

TS Enthusiast
Chris Roberts ambitions are steering him into Duke Nukem Forever territory. Inside, he most likely knows the game will never quantify its $100+ Million in backing. Keep churning and burning with feature creep ala 3D Realms instead of setting realizable goals. If and when its released it will likely be a heap of performance and game play inconsistencies... and bugs. The idea that it will require an beefy PC to run, this is all the makings of a disaster.
 

CaptainTom

TS Evangelist
Chris Roberts ambitions are steering him into Duke Nukem Forever territory. Inside, he most likely knows the game will never quantify its $100+ Million in backing. Keep churning and burning with feature creep ala 3D Realms instead of setting realizable goals. If and when its released it will likely be a heap of performance and game play inconsistencies... and bugs. The idea that it will require an beefy PC to run, this is all the makings of a disaster.
Bingo! You set goals, and then you meet them. I don't care how much extra money you get -> you have to meet your original goals before you start on new ones.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Chris Roberts ambitions are steering him into Duke Nukem Forever territory. Inside, he most likely knows the game will never quantify its $100+ Million in backing. Keep churning and burning with feature creep ala 3D Realms instead of setting realizable goals. If and when its released it will likely be a heap of performance and game play inconsistencies... and bugs. The idea that it will require an beefy PC to run, this is all the makings of a disaster.
Bingo! You set goals, and then you meet them. I don't care how much extra money you get -> you have to meet your original goals before you start on new ones.
Which is why the stake in the ground at this point. Perhaps CR's original success went to his head.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Stretch goals stopped at $65M - https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals

They have put a stake in the ground at this point. As a developer, this is an extremely ambitious project. Yes, the code has some major bugs. No the code set that was promised in the beginning is not yet done. If it does succeed, it could be yet another Chris Roberts groundbreaking effort. If not, well Chris Roberts will go down in flames, I am sure.

As is typical of other threads on TS, this thread had devolved into another argument. Pretty soon, I expect someone to chime in and blame Trump and/or Obama. :p
Yeah, I saw that. I was implying from the original kickstarter funding goal.
And they are still deciding what they will get out (they cut the FPS module to devote more time to integrating it in the actual game). Personally, I think that would've been more fun than the dogfighting module out right now. But it would also be nice to get this game out a bit sooner lol
There are claims that there is something of an FPS in the game right now - https://robertsspaceindustries.com/feature-list