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Friday, June 17, 2016

Mailvox: no refunds!

MC tries, and fails, to get a refund
Recently tried to get a refund for Star Citizen, and today they sent back a boilerplate "nope!" with a bunch of "feel good crowdfunding garbage."

I've backed literally hundreds of Kickstarters, and less than one percent have failed as spectacularly as this train wreck.

Just one more data point, but I agree with your assessment that they're circling the drain at this point.
Now, I've only backed a few Kickstarters, so I am no expert, but this sounds distinctly suboptimal to me.

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33 Comments:

Blogger Austin Ballast June 17, 2016 10:37 AM  

I have had 2 board game kickstarters go bad that I know of. One was because the one running the KS was sued by someone he didn't pay for another project right after the KS campaign funded. The KS money ended up paying that lawsuit and the guy disappeared, to Australia I heard. (UpFront reprint)

Another was a small card game where the guy got caught up in life and let fulfillment drop, likely lying a bit along the way when he did engage at all.

Another set (Catan boards) is well behind, but still making some progress, so I have hope.

Likely over 100 others for a variety of different games have delivered. Spectacular failure is an unusual thing in my experience, though the page where you pledge your money notes prominently that KS is not a store.

I would say Star Citizen is a pretty spectacular snowflake, not in a good way.

Anonymous Anonymous June 17, 2016 10:40 AM  

lol what is a failure about it? i play it all the time

Anonymous Anonymous June 17, 2016 10:40 AM  

awww so sad you don't want anonymous comments fucking up your echo chamber

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus June 17, 2016 10:42 AM  

OK. I've seen (((Vox))) mention this Star Citizen thing a few times, but what exactly is it? Is there a quick and dirty place to find some info about it?

Blogger jaericho June 17, 2016 10:50 AM  

I wrote off my donation a long time ago. Well, I guess it was around the time I started playing Elite Dangerous.

Anonymous BGKB June 17, 2016 10:53 AM  

lol what is a failure about it? i play it all the time

A Barbie doll and dollhouse would be a lot cheaper for dressing up a character and walking around the hanger. You could still play with them in a power outage. You could also buy a glock and dress it up also.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus June 17, 2016 10:55 AM  

OK, so I found this - site - is this the Star Citizen everyone keeps talking about?

If so, was it supposed to be some No Man's Sky knockoff?

Blogger jaericho June 17, 2016 10:57 AM  

Yes, that is the same Star Citizen.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 17, 2016 11:01 AM  

It is astonishing what some people will get worked up about. I suppose it's good for those of us in the game industry that people are so passionate, but it's pretty pathetic to see someone leap indignantly to the keyboard when their favorite video game is criticized.

Unless of course they're one of the people getting paid by the kickstarter money. Then it's understandable, they have to keep up the propaganda.

Blogger SouthRon June 17, 2016 11:05 AM  

Astroturfing

You spread that bullshit around enough star systems maybe something good will grow.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus June 17, 2016 11:05 AM  

Okay thanks.

The extent of my gaming, unfortunately, is Civilization IV and Rome Total War.

Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2016 11:12 AM  

If you need some relief after being refused a refund, check this out:

Awesome Japanese commercial about Donald Trump

Some say it is anti-Trump, but if so, it failed.

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction June 17, 2016 11:28 AM  

If so, was it supposed to be some No Man's Sky knockoff?

No, if anything it would be the reverse as Star Citizen predates No Mans sky in terms of development; Star Citizen's kick starter was almost 4 years ago and per the original timeline should have been released by now. Still they aren't really the same game. No Man's Sky is almost exclusively about exploration while exploration was just one of the many tacked on promised components on what was really space to be a space flight shooter sim.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 17, 2016 11:36 AM  

Astroturfing

You spread that bullshit around enough star systems maybe something good will grow.


For $49.99, can I buy a mod pack so my hanger deck is covered in astroturf as I walk around it?

Blogger KWest June 17, 2016 11:43 AM  

There have been others; google "Zano Drone". Meanwhile I will continue to enjoy Elite Dangerous with (probably) multi-crew and in-ship movement this year and planetary atmospherics-vegetation next year. Braben has stated he wants to eventually allow commanders to engage fauna. So cool.

Blogger YIH June 17, 2016 12:29 PM  

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus wrote:OK, so I found this - site - is this the Star Citizen everyone keeps talking about?

If so, was it supposed to be some No Man's Sky knockoff?


Well the more direct answer is just pop the words 'Star Citizen' in that search box. But another would be to read what Derek Smart has written extensively about it.
The bottom line appears to be that CIG (the developer) has made promises that the tech just can't fulfill - not now, and probably not anytime in the next few years.
Now they are doing the classic trick of making suspicious ''investors'' jump through hoops in order to either get their stake back or rewriting the rules to make it impossible to do so.
Like I've said before, this is going to wind up in court, I suspect Kickstarter might have to initiate action to protect itself as the digital Ponzi scheme known as Star Citizen implodes.
Which it appears could well happen before the year is out.

Blogger Ilíon June 17, 2016 12:32 PM  

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus: "The extent of my gaming, unfortunately, is Civilization IV and Rome Total War."

I know nothing about 'Rome Total War' (when I glanced at it, it looked too much like a shoot-em-up, but with swords).

However, if you'd care for "Civ-on-Steroids", might I suggest any number of titles by Paradox Games (*).

If it interests you, here is an old post on my blog about an older Paradox title focused on the late Roman Republic.



(*) Though I will tell you, they're "special snowflakes" -- for instance, in the game I'm currently playing ("Crusader Kings II"), they just *had* to introduce a mechanism to make characters "gay". Also, they clearly scorn Christianity and they are afraid of Moslems -- for instance, if in game you trace back the lineage of a character with the "sayyid" trait, you'll eventually find ol' Mo or one of his uncles as ancestors of the character -- and unlike all other characters, ol' Mo is not represented by a face, but by an islamic-green circle with arabic text.

Blogger Paul June 17, 2016 12:33 PM  

Speaking only of crowd funding in general, isn't that basically the goal of the big con? You have money. Please send it to me. Like "accessing resources". You have resources. I'd like to access them. Please send them to me.

Blogger YIH June 17, 2016 12:54 PM  

I know, Whackopedia:
Ponzi schemes occasionally begin as legitimate businesses, until the business fails to achieve the returns expected. The business becomes a Ponzi scheme if it then continues under fraudulent terms. Whatever the initial situation, the perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to sustain the scheme.[2]
That pretty much describes everything I've read about Star Citizen.
When a Ponzi scheme is not stopped by the authorities (rarely happens) , it sooner or later falls apart for one of the following reasons:[2]

1. The promoter vanishes, taking all the remaining investment money.
2. Since the scheme requires a continual stream of investments to fund higher returns, once investment slows down, the scheme collapses as the promoter starts having problems paying the promised returns (the higher the returns, the greater the risk of the Ponzi scheme collapsing). Such liquidity crises often trigger panics, as more people start asking for their money, similar to a bank run.
3. External market forces, such as a sharp decline in the economy (for example, the Madoff investment scandal during the market downturn of 2008), cause many investors to withdraw part or all of their funds.

Blogger residentMoron June 17, 2016 1:14 PM  

The recent changes to the ToS are a huge "Fuck You!" to every backer, and very probably illegal. The class action lawsuits that this thing will spawn will drag on for years and become legendary warnings for the unwary ...

OTOH, Civ VI is due out soon.

Blogger Dwight House June 17, 2016 1:32 PM  

My strategy is this:
1. Find something you want on Kickstarter that appears likely to reach its goal, but not blow it out of the water.
2. Give it the minimum amount necessary to gain one of said product.
3. Wait patiently about 5 months longer than estimated
4. Get your product in the mail.

So far, I've only backed 2 failed projects:
1. A security go-between for your network that would route all traffic securely - Within a day after donating, I realized it was a scam along with hundreds of others, and we got our refunds before the Kickstarter ended. Kickstarter wisely banned the project.
2. A combination Keyboard/Mouse system - The creator made an error in manufacturing, by assuming that parts that could be 3d printed could also be, with reasonable effort, converted for mass creation methods such as mold injection. This was not the case. He refunded all backers as soon as he realized.

Blogger Tiago Paolini June 17, 2016 2:37 PM  

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus wrote:OK. I've seen (((Vox))) mention this Star Citizen thing a few times, but what exactly is it? Is there a quick and dirty place to find some info about it?

Here: http://www.dereksmart.org/forums/topic/gen/#post-3347

It should provide a good summary on the situation so far.

Anonymous dsmart June 17, 2016 2:45 PM  

Yes - the situation with the recent ToS change is a huge "FUCK YOU!" to backers.

Seriously.

Once they knew that, as per the previous ToS, come June 1st, 2016, having failed to deliver the game(s) as promised, they would be subjected to two key points (refunds, financial accountability) to backers; they issued a new ToS, removing both of those provisions. Just like that.

And they did it in the most surreptitious way possible. They used the 2.4 patch as a Trojan horse to deliver it to unsuspecting backers who were waiting several months for that patch to go live to the public.

I break it down here:

http://www.dereksmart.org/forums/topic/star-citizen-tos/

Now I'm hearing that neither game (Star Citizen, Squadron 42) is going to see a 2016 release.

Blogger Salt June 17, 2016 3:13 PM  

dsmart wrote:Yes - the situation with the recent ToS change is a huge "FUCK YOU!" to backers.

Sounds like a challenge. I expect backers to up the ante... with a few lawyers. Game on.

Blogger SirHamster June 17, 2016 4:43 PM  

Ilíon wrote:

I know nothing about 'Rome Total War' (when I glanced at it, it looked too much like a shoot-em-up, but with swords).



Come on, how hard is it to get to the first sentence of the wikipedia article?

"Rome: Total War is a PC strategy game"


Most of the game's screenshots are world maps and overhead battlefield views ... you'd have to only see the box art to confuse the game for a shooter.

Blogger Ilíon June 17, 2016 4:46 PM  

"... you'd have to only see the box art to confuse the game for a shooter."

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Anonymous LastRedoubt June 17, 2016 4:54 PM  

With some care, every Kickstarter I've backed (ACKS Sinister Stone of Sakkara, Shadowrun PC Game, OGRE, a couple others) have come to fruition, with the exception of the (still pending, but expect it to ship) Squadron Strike Traveller game from Ad Astra.

That said, The OGRE kickstarter was nearly the picture perfect example of catastrophic success, which significantly delayed them shipping out the goods.

Blogger Ilíon June 17, 2016 4:55 PM  

... I looked at the box, and that made the game seem like a slightly updated Age of Empires.

Anonymous FP June 17, 2016 5:59 PM  

This was announced at E3 this week, a sandbox space game called Dual Universe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7QF0QsjkY8

http://www.dualthegame.com/

Single shard world, build ships, factories, stations and it will be a MMO. Almost too ambitious, like SC. Still, they at least seem to be sane about their universe creation.

Blogger Akulkis June 18, 2016 9:10 AM  

@27

Dual Universe....

Sounds like "Second Life".... ugh.

Blogger Sagramore June 18, 2016 4:29 PM  

@18 @21 @22 What is the SEC view on this? This sounds like pink sheets on steroids, but material fraud is still illegal last time I checked.

Blogger B.J. June 20, 2016 5:00 PM  

@dsmart:

I don't think that TOS would hold up legally; you can't withhold pre-sale refunds for a product that was never delivered. It's fraud. I smell a class action lawsuit coming...

Blogger Unknown July 01, 2016 5:17 AM  

Wow.. there is so much lack of knowledge here, and you guys actually listen to Derek Smart?

I mean.. say what you want about the game, I don't care, but Derek Smart? Really? The 60 year old failure game developer turned troll? Come on. I shouldn't even mention how his game, Line of Defense MMO, followed literally the same exact practices as Star Citizen. He took money from people, missed 6 release deadlines, and a 7th is just about to pass.

Not to mention there is an entire subreddit based on debunking Smart, and so far he hasn't been correct about a single, solitary thing with the game. Literally not one. I suggest you guys do your research before going with his rhetoric.

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