One Star Citizen backer was just denied a refund from a small claims court in Los Angeles, California after they requested the $4,496 they put towards to the crowdfunded space sim be refunded after long delays and claims of broken promises. The claim was rejected.
Star Citizen was a massively successful crowdfunding project which raised more than $190 million in its initial KickStarter crowdfunding, and then additional funds through pre-sales. Ken Lord, a data scientist from Colorado, backed the project through the initial Kickstarter, and then through additional payments after the Kickstarter ended.
Lord told Kotaku that certain changes like the removal of multiplayer co-op and addition of mandatory first-person portions to the Star Citizen shooter spinoff Squadron 42 felt like steps in the wrong direction. Lord is a fan of Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts' Wing Commander series, but due to Lord's multiple sclerosis he won't be able to play Squadron 42 if the direction for the spinoff continues. "So they added something I can't do, but got rid of the part where at least I could have friends carry me.," said Lord.
Unfortunately for Lord, once he began to seek a refund it had been too late. Roberts Space Industries added to its terms of service that refunds are available for 14 days after each pledge, but the company added that it offers refunds for up to 30 days after the pledge. "No questions asked," according to a statement RSI provided Kotaku.
Even after sending a five-page letter to RSI, Lord felt that his request for a refund weren't be responded to. Lord decided to file a lawsuit in early July even though RSI's Terms of Service included a non-arbitration clause. Lord cited how the initial Terms of Service he agreed to didn't include this clause, but RSI argued that since Lord made payments after the clause was added he still agreed to non-arbitration, to which the LA county judge agreed.
Among the issues cited by Lord in court included the many development, kickstarter goals, and stretch goals promised to backers that haven't been fulfilled yet or were cancelled. The fact that Star Citizen has also been delayed several times was cited by Lord, but according to Ars Technica RSI countered by arguing that Lord had access to the Star Citizen's closed alpha through the company's "Evocati" program and that was proof that a product was coming.
Star Citizen is a Kickstarter project that was billed as a successor to Wing Commander. The game would include 100 star systems with players able to build ships, conquer planets, and live a robust space life. The game made more than $190 million and then some, but after six years the game has yet to deliver a full product.