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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Indiegogo Halted Retro Computer Campaign (bbc.com) 42

An anonymous reader shares a report on BBC: Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo intervened to stop a handheld retro computer console campaign from acquiring further funding, the BBC has learned. The Spectrum ZX Vega+, backed by Sir Clive Sinclair, had achieved its original crowdfunding target. But then Indiegogo halted further fundraising because of delivery delays and a lack of communication to backers. The project's organizers had asked the BBC not to reveal the development. The BBC understands no consoles have been delivered to backers, despite a pledge last month that they would "ship after 20 Feb 2017." And the company behind the project -- Retro Computers Limited -- suggested these details might put its team at risk.
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Indiegogo Halted Retro Computer Campaign

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  • by lord_mike ( 567148 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @02:12PM (#54007851)

    Apparently, sometime in the last two years, some of the directors left the company and started suing the remaining board for various things causing some strife and chaos. I have their original product, the original Vega that plugs into the TV console. It works well, and I got it on sale so it wasn't horribly expensive. It got good reviews, and many were excited about this new handheld version coming out--then something happened. Support simply vanished: the user forum disappeared, never to return; emails to the staff were never read or returned; and the promised OS update never arrived. Meanwhile, they were still shipping plenty of the old Vegas, constantly promoting the Vega handheld, and updating their twitter feed. Despite all the problems, they assured everyone that everything was fine.... except the product was getting delayed and delayed and delayed. Something weird is up with them--it's like the company is only half alive.

  • The BBC understands no consoles have been delivered to backers, despite a pledge last month that they would "ship after 20 Feb 2017."

    Technically, at this point as long as they ship they have fulfilled their promise as it is after 20 Feb 2017. It could be a month from now or 2 years, but they've still met their pledge.

    • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @02:25PM (#54007975) Homepage

      Technically, at this point as long as they ship they have fulfilled their promise as it is after 20 Feb 2017. It could be a month from now or 2 years

      If you want to look at it that way, they could deliver it five minutes before the heat death of the universe and they'd still technically have met their promise...

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        Technically, at this point as long as they ship they have fulfilled their promise as it is after 20 Feb 2017. It could be a month from now or 2 years

        If you want to look at it that way, they could deliver it five minutes before the heat death of the universe and they'd still technically have met their promise...

        That was kind of my point. In my mind I read that statement along the lines of the Blizzard definition of soon [battle.net]

      • Quite.

        Which is why you should never trust any company making any claims with such weasel words. If they mention a deadline, the deadline should be phrased as the *latest* acceptable date - "Will shipped by xx/yy/zzzz". If they're talking performance, it should be the minimum acceptable performance.

        Witness the vast majority of ISPs selling packages with performance "up to" aaaa Mb/s - good luck ever seeing those speeds, but since "speeds up to" includes everything down to zero, they're never in violation

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      So what if they fail it?
      Crowdfunding is not purchasing. People who put in money should have the expectation that it may fail to deliver, and be willing to accept that.
      Don't gamble unless you're willing to lose.

      If it was a sure thing, they would not have needed to go the crowdfunding route - financial backers would have queued up to support them. It wasn't, so they didn't, so they didn't.

      • The problem is getting VCs. Last time I approached investors for something new, they wanted me to be able to get them richer on the way out if they hopped on and decided to leave at any time, and anything less, don't bother. Another VC said he was either interested in data going into the company, ads coming out of the company, and anything else is not worth his time, and mentioned the Meitu app as the ideal product.

        So, trying to get venture capital is tough these days. Crowdfunding is a good solution. Y

  • by Anonymous Coward

    From all sorts of forums a synopsis seems to be

    Two guys set up the idea, do the first Sinclair vega sign up with two other guys to do the vega plus, making four directors of a company

    Original guys Have an idea, do a totally unrelated Commodore type project (the64) for a different company, still haven't been paid for the original vega or new vega work

    Two other vega directors get the grumps, get legal,
    Two original directors quit well before crowdfunding campaign finishes / hands over money

    Two vega directors t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's pretty close to the truth. Basically the original two guys were real Spectrum fans, but apparently Clive Sinclair would only give it the go ahead if they partnered with one of his old chess buddies. Chess guy sees pound signs and decides to draw £50k a month in salary. Two original guys object, knowing that kind of money would mean no chance of delivering project. Chess guy acts like an arsehole. Two original guys quit in protest, but keep shares so Chess guy can't shut the company down a

  • by neilo_1701D ( 2765337 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @04:49PM (#54008981)

    Us old-timers who grew up with Sinclair machines are shocked: late, under-performing and funky keys and you expected anything different?!

    Every Sinclair machine has had a horrible keyboard: the ZX-80 and ZX-81 was diabolical; the Spectrum 16K / 48K awful; and the Spectrum+ & QL merely horrible.

    Every single machine was late, buggy and idiosyncratic enough to make you wonder if Sir Clive simply should get a better dealer.

    BUT they were cheap and relatively robust. The BASIC manuals were typically better than anything else available. There was lots of software and other people who owned them. As an introduction to computing, the Sinclair machines were wonderful. I credit my ZX-81 for being the launch-point for where I am today (ERP technical consultant).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It was a horrendous system even for the time period in which it was released. It's color palette was terrible and the attribute clash was ridiculous. It's sound/music was just a bunch of beeps. Compare that to the Famicom which came out in '83, it had both better graphics and sound, faster loadin, not to mention the games were fundamentally better despite less RAM. The Commodore 64 is similarly superior and its price dropped quickly.

    • Why the Spectrum?

      It was cheap, and people already had familiarity with it's BASIC via the ZX-80 and ZX-81. Coming from those machines, the Spectrum represented a technicolor nirvana.

      • by Ed Avis ( 5917 )
        I believe that the Spectrum hardware was very similar to the ZX81, with the (rather horrible) colour support and more RAM the only big differences. I say this because, decades later, someone managed to port the Spectrum ROM image to the ZX81, giving compatibility with at least some Spectrum software: https://groups.google.com/foru... [google.com]
    • The Famicom was not available outside of Japan, so that is not comparable, and the Commodore 64 remained expensive in the UK due to tariffs. The Spectrum was the lowest priced color machine on the market in the UK by far, and it became very popular as a result. With a huge amount of software titles, It maintained good market share even though there were superior computers available--just like the Atari 2600 maintained market share for years after it was technically outdated here in the United States.

      More im

  • by Anonymous Coward

    WTF is wrong with people who put money into Kickstarter, Indiegogo or whatever?

    Surely the deal is clear enough. You put your money into a speculative venture. Development and/or manufacture of a thing that does not exist yet. It may come to fruition or it may not.

    Why on Earth are they kicking like infants when it all fails?

    Me, I have backed a few projects on Kickstarter. Because I think it's a neat idea, because, well, I want one. I checkout who is behind it. I check their track record. I place my bet, or

    • by Shimbo ( 100005 )

      WTF is wrong with people who put money into Kickstarter, Indiegogo or whatever?

      Surely the deal is clear enough. You put your money into a speculative venture. Development and/or manufacture of a thing that does not exist yet. It may come to fruition or it may not.

      Why on Earth are they kicking like infants when it all fails?

      Normally I would agree with you: sometimes a project burns through all the cash before getting a working product and then they go silent whilst they scrabble around trying to salvage something. However, they don't usually then have the money to burn on lawyers to try to keep the story under wraps. That does smell bad, and they deserve to get Streisanded all over the net for that, at least.

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