It’s the crowdfunding campaign from hell. The team behind the Sinclair Spectrum Vega+ have finally shipped a few units, but are stripped of iconic branding.
If you’ve been following the shit show that is the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign you’ll know that it hasn’t been going well.
Two years behind schedule, Retro Computers Ltd (RCL) have finally shipped a small number of its long overdue handheld Spectrum units. This comes a little over a month since crowdfunding platform Indiegogo took action by instructing debt collectors to begin the process of recouping backer’s pledges.
To say that most backers are not at all pleased with the product they received is an understatement. One recipient took to YouTube to showcase his delivered Vega+ console. In the video he describes how the unit came inadequately packaged and made from cheap components, including a paper screen surround.
The console is lacking the 1000 games initially promised at launch and the faceplate is scratched in several places.
One of the first shipped Vega+ units
Despite being a huge disappointment, those that have received their consoles might actually be the new owners of a significant piece of gaming history.
True to form, things have once again gone from bad to worse for the project. The BBC reports that Sky, more commonly recognised as a satellite television provider and network in the UK, have now revoked RCL’s right to use the Sinclair and ZX Spectrum brands on the product.
Sky become the owners of the brand names in 2007 when they bought UK computing firm, Amstrad. Amstrad had in turn acquired marketing and merchandise rights for Sinclair as far back as 1986.
Sky had initially granted permission to RCL to use the brand names royalty free, but have now reversed that decision in light of the campaign’s well publicised failings.
This news certainly presents a problem for RCL, but wouldn’t prevent the company from fulfilling orders with unbranded units as Sky has no rights to the hardware or software being used.
We will continue to monitor the story with the same morbid fascination one might view a car crash on the motorway. You don’t want to witness the horror, but you can’t look away either.