'Star Citizen' suffers crowdfunding blow from LA district attorney

star citizen backer refund starcitizen header
Cloud Imperium Games, creator of the long-in-development spacefaring adventure game Star Citizen, has issued a substantial refund to one of its backers after attracting the attention of the district attorney of Los Angeles, potentially setting a precedent for future cases regarding delivery of crowdfunded products.

According to a lengthy forum post detailing the ordeal, Star Citizen backer “Streetroller” was flatly denied multiple requests for a refund after arguing that the still-in-development Star Citizen did not reach a state of completion within a time frame specified by its creators.

Cloud Imperium Games quickly changed its tune after Streetroller contacted the district attorney of Los Angeles, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs in response. Without acknowledging any wrongdoing on its part, Cloud Imperium Games subsequently issued a full refund of Streetroller’s $3,000 pledge.

Announced in 2011, Star Citizen is an ambitious, multifaceted game for PC platforms that promises a mixture of space exploration, interstellar combat, and first-person shooter sequences. A story-driven campaign titled Squadron 42 is also being developed alongside the game’s open-universe component. Cloud Imperium Games kicked off an ongoing crowdfunding campaign for Star Citizen in 2012, earning a total of $117 million in backer funding to date.

Many devoted fans of Star Citizen director Chris Roberts’ previous work with the Wing Commander series pledged thousands of dollars to help make his latest project become a reality. After years of development, however, Star Citizen remains in a playable but functionally bare alpha state.

Frustrated with Star Citizen‘s lack of development progress, backer Streetroller noticed that Cloud Imperium Games had quietly updated its user terms of service in order to head off refund requests.

“You agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date,” a previous version of the company’s TOS states.

The statement was later amended to read “You agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has ceased development and failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you.”

Noting the TOS discrepancy and claiming that Star Citizen “remains unfulfilled and no longer constitutes the product I originally purchased,” Streetroller issued his first request to Cloud Imperium Games for a refund, which was denied. It was only after submitting complaints to multiple local and federal consumer protection agencies that Streetroller received a full refund.

“Put simply, ‘takebacks’ are not compatible with the whole concept of crowdfunding since it is simply not fair to the fundraising backers who join our community every month,” Cloud Imperium Games co-founder Ortwin Freyermuth stated in response.

“Nonetheless, having review complainant’s interactions with our customer service agents, we have determined that it is also in our interest to terminate his participation in our fundraising community. We are therefore agreeing to close complainant’s account permanently and we will issue a refund of his pledge promptly.”

Gaming

For the first time ever, PlayStation will be a no-show at E3

For the first time in the event's history, E3 2019 will not feature Sony or PlayStation. The massive event almost always features a lengthy press conference from Sony, often after all other major companies give theirs.
Gaming

The best PS3 games of all time

Choosing the right PlayStation 3 game can be a conundrum, especially when there are nearly 1,500 titles to choose from. Thankfully, we've rounded up the best games to have ever made it to the platform.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Gaming

Find a fish and get your boogie on with Fortnite's week 8 challenge

The Fortnite season 6 week 8 challenges have arrived as we near the end of this spooky season. The big free challenge this week is the Fortnite fish trophy challenge where you need to dance with different fishes. Here are all of the…
Gaming

‘Gears of War’ designer Cliff Bleszinski says he’ll never make another game

Cliff Bleszinski, the game designer best known for his work on the Gears of War series, says he will never make another video game. His studio, Boss Key Productions, shut its doors earlier this year.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ gifts perfect for the video game fan in your life

Chances are someone on your holiday shopping list is a fan of Fortnite. As the most popular game on the planet, there are plenty of Fortnite-themed gift options available for purchase in stores and online. Here are the best ones we found.
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Computing

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Gaming

Every rumor about the PS5, including a new game from Luminous Productions

PlayStation 5 rumors have been circulating for over a year now but there's still plenty we don't know. Here's everything you need to know about the PS5, including rumors about its release, specs, and games.
Gaming

Nintendo and Microsoft say they’re all-in on E3 after Sony bows out of 2019 event

Shortly after Sony announced it will not participate in E3 2019 for the first time, Microsoft and Sony announced the show will go on as usual for each software giant. E3 2019 now presents a unique opportunity for Sony's major competitors.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.