A backer for the KickStarter funded space sim, Star Citizen, has been refunded his entire donation after a lengthy dispute with developer Cloud Emperium.
KickStarter funded games haven’t had the best track record with fulfilling all of the promises that the developer makes about their game. The recent report of the declining popularity of KickStarter games confirms what backers for Mighty No. 9 and Godus found out the hard way; investing in a videogame KickStarter is a risky investment.
Now dissatisfied backers may start seeing their investments returned after a recent backer of the hugely ambitious space simulator, Star Citizen, was successfully able to obtain a refund for his donation of a whopping $2550. The backer recently made public a series of emails between him, Star Citizen’s developer Cloud Emperium, and the California Attorney General’s office.
The emails detail how the backer was able to obtain his refund on the grounds that, “the product remains unfulfilled and no longer constitutes the product(s) I originally purchased.” The backer’s complaints basically stem from the fact that Star Citizen has changed so dramatically since its initial reveal, and from the fact that it still hasn’t been released years after its initial crowdfunding campaign.
The backer also revealed that he was also contacted by “an L.A. County investigator” who wanted to find out information about Star Citizen because the investigator felt that the game was a “scam”. Cloud Imperium released a statement about the refund, saying:
“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.”
While this situation doesn’t make Star Citizen, and by extension all KickStarter funded games look too good, there’s still plenty of gamers willing to back games on KickStarter, which raised over $46 million for video game campaigns in 2015. But if developers want to win the favor of backers for their project they will need to stop making such impossible promises about their games, and show some sort of proof that they’ll actually be able to deliver on what they’re promising, like Night Dive Studios’, who released a fully playable demo of their System Shock reboot when starting their KickStarter Campaign.
The fact that Night Dive Studios was able to give a proof of concept demo for the System Shock reboot undoubtedly reassured backers that the game was something that the developer would actually be able to finish and release. Unless more independent studios start learning lessons from developers like Night Dive, KickStarter funded video games may soon become a thing of the past.
What other ambitious KickStarter funded games ended up being a total disaster on release?
Star Citizen’s full release is expected sometime in 2016 for PC and Linux, with Oculus Rift support.