Over the past year, a company named Retro Computers Limited promised to ship its Indiegogo backers a portable gaming device modeled off the original ZX Spectrum. Called the ZX Spectrum Vega Plus, it raised more than 367 percent of its initial goal, totaling £513,650, or $625,000. Now, Indiegogo is blocking the company from raising any additional money after it failed to ship their product to backers.
This story almost sounds run of the mill for crowdfunding. We all back and observe these campaigns fully aware they could go horribly wrong, with the company ultimately producing nothing. But Retro Computers’ case is a little dicier than usual. The company reportedly warned news outlets like the BBC and Gizmodo UK to halt their reporting of this story. The company asked for a delay in publication because its staff was reportedly being threatened. After saying police were investigating the threats, the BBC slightly delayed publication but then went forth with publicizing the shipping woes. After the story went live, Retro Computers updated backers on its campaign.
Apparently, it still plans to ship its first units in a few weeks, even if Indiegogo won’t let additional people back the product. It also clarified the reason for the delay wasn’t because it had to move its manufacturing from the UK but rather because it didn’t actually have the software it needed to get the device working. You see, when the company’s former managing director and former technical director resigned last year, they didn’t hand over the technical assets to get the Vega Plus working. Surprise! The team had to start over from scratch. Really, this whole thing sounds like a mess that probably should have been completely sorted out before taking orders. The company did ship a product previously, so at least it has one success.