Star Citizen Backer Recovers $2,500 Pledge After Contacting California Attorney General
Some backers of the $117 million dollar Star Citizen are starting to get restless over numerous delays. The game, which was originally due in November 2014, is still in Alpha. The road forward is murky.
Many of those that funded the initial Kickstarter campaign and chipped in subsequently via Cloud Imperium Games’ site are in it for the long haul. Others, like a backer known only as “Streetroller,” took extraordinary steps to secure a refund.
According to images of correspondence, he obtained a $3,000 refund (though we only are privy to evidence of $2,560 of it). He attempted first to work directly with Cloud Imperium for the refund, but was rebuked. The company said that his pledges were outside the statutory 14-day window and he was therefore ineligible.
“Streetroller” points out that the CIG terms of service indicated (prior to being changed) that backers were entitled to refunds should delivery not happen within 18 months of the stated release window (November 2014). As of May 31, 2016, the grace period ended.
After being denied outright on June 16, “Streetroller” approached a number of agencies, including the State of California Attorney General. In CIG’s response to the Attorney General’s office, the company points out that “takebacks” aren’t fair to the other backers and that the delivery dates were simply estimates.
However, despite the objections, CIG granted the refund in order to “terminate his participation” in the Star Citizen fundraising community. “Streetroller” received $900 in refund first on June 23. Then he received another two disbursements for $1,650 and $10.
We’ve reached out to CIG for comment. We’ll update should we receive a response.
Update: Cloud Imperium Games has responded to our request for comment. "Any refunds with respect to Star Citizen are made on a discretionary basis," a representative told us via email. "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."
Note: We've corrected multiple instances of the backer's name so that it is correct. We regret the error.
Yes, asking for a refund for a crowdfunding pledge is antithetical to the process. Backing a campaign is a risky endeavor.
However, CIG did include that clause in its terms of service, suggesting that it would deliver within the 18 months of the expected release date (November 2014). It’s hard to suggest that the original projected release was a mere estimate when you’re tying the ability to request a refund to that tentpole.
Star Citizen has experienced mission creep, has missed milestones, and is one of the biggest enigmas in gaming right now. I suspect with “Steamroller’s” victory here, we’re likely to see the crack in the dam widen. The controversy around this game isn't likely to calm soon.