Star Citizen

CIG refunds Derek Smart’s Star Citizen Kickstarter pledge following blog post

If you’ve been following the news this past week then you’ll know there’s been concern over the progress and funding of Star Citizen. Derek Smart of 3000AD has been highly vocal on the situation and talked us through his concerns in last week’s podcast.

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In an odd turn of events, Derek received a notice on his Kickstarter account informing him that CIG were processing a refund for his pledge of $250. Derek told PC Invasion this evening that he did not request a refund for his Star Citizen pledge and it came completely out of the blue.

This is a puzzling situation but CIG can refund pledges if they so choose as detailed in Kickstarter’s Terms of Use.

You can refund individual pledges if you want. After your project has been funded, you can cancel and refund a backer’s pledge at any time. If you do, you have no further obligation to that specific backer, and no agreement exists between you.

The reason behind this refund is unknown but there are two scenarios to consider. Either CIG don’t want Smart being involved in the Kickstarter backer discussion and want to keep him locked out, or they want to make sure he’s out the loop should any investigations into the funding and development take place in the future. If he’s not a backer then he can’t complain.

Here’s the notice Derek received from Kickstarter and below another mail directly from CIG.

We’re not sure what prompted the sudden refund but it could be Derek’s latest blog post which has just gone live entitled “Why RSI and all Subsidiaries Need to be investigated– right now!”

In his lengthy update he explains why the Star Citizen project needs to be investigated and lists the following demands that backers should request from CIG.

  1. Disclose the full detailed (private jet travel? we want to see it) P&L accounting (money in off-shore bank accounts? we want to know about them) for every crowd-funded dime that has been raised and spent on this project. Allow an independent forensics accountant, hired by backers, to come and do an audit. This is standard practice in developer-publisher relationships. So you know how that works.
  2. Disclose the true state of the project in terms of what is expected to be delivered, and when. Allow an independentExecutive Producer, hired by backers, to come and do a project review in order to get an accurate picture of the game state, so we know when it is likely to see the light of day – if ever
  3. Disclose the true timeline for the project’s completion. As per the above.
  4. Setup a page offering refunds to all those who REQUEST it. The TOS is going to be the first thing attacked in any lawsuit. It is not likely to survive a legal challenge. Plus, the FTC will trump all that crap anyway, so there is that.
  5. Admit, in no uncertain terms, and apologize that the scope of the project has changed since the original $2.1m kickstarter crowd-funding campaign
  6. Halt all further crowd-funding activities until a sizable part of the game – as originally pitched in 2012 – has been delivered to backers who have paid for it. In other words, STOP selling virtual items and taking money for vaporware
  7. Address the nepotism issues associated with the hiring of unqualified family members to head key parts of this crowd-funded project. In this regard, explain the benefits of a) promoting your brother to an Executive Producer position, as opposed to hiring someone (like the departed Alex Mayberry) who has the experience to match the job. Also what new benefits (pay raise, shares etc) he now has access to, for going into that position b) hiring someone, allegedly your wife, to a position that she is seemingly not qualified to hold. And why a more experienced executive wasn’t put in this position. Especially since that dept has people, with more experience and qualifications to do the job. Instead, they get to answer to her; and naturally, she gets paid more, as per the position.

While not everyone will agree with all these demands there are a few points that some backers would get behind, especially the option of refunds. This latest development could open the floodgates to backers looking for refunds if they are vocal enough.

No doubt we’ll hear more about this in the days ahead.

Update: CIG have since responded and given a reason for the removal of Derek Smart’s account.

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Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.