Star Citizen’s Refund Policy Has Fans and Backers Upset

Star Citizen’s Refund Policy Has Fans and Backers Upset

Star Citizen is a game that almost every PC enthusiast and gamer is looking forward to. With extremely life-like graphics and a huge open world that has you travel across planets and all over outer space, this game has had people excited and hyped ever since it was first announced in 2012. The Kickstarter campaign began in 2012 with an estimated time of release stated to be around 2014. As the years have gone by, the game has evolved in terms of what they first started out as but still seems to maintain a few of the core features. These changes to the game in addition to the numerous delays has made some of the fans change their minds due to the direction the project was taking and wanted to get their money back. This hasn’t been going too well lately since the developers, Roberts Space Industries (RSI) have continually been updating their Terms of Service(ToS) every two years or so.

The following is the original 2012 draft. Some parts have been highlighted to see the difference between future updates to their TOS.

“CIG agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by CIG since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time.  Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of the deposit shall not be refundable until and unless CIG has not delivered the pledge items and/or the Game to you within 12 months after the estimated delivery date.”

During this time the estimated delivery date was around 2014. Come 2015, this was their TOS.

“RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, 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.”

They then changed the time period from 12 months to 18 months. Now, this is where it get’s interesting because come 2016, they changed their TOS again.

“RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website.  However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, 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. (Pledges made under previous Terms of Services continue to be governed by the corresponding clause of the Terms of Services, or of the Commercial Terms, as applicable, which were in effect at the time of making the Pledge).”

They removed any sort of time frame and just state that if they stop developing only then are you allowed to ask for a refund. And the following is the current TOS, at the time of writing this.

“RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the Pledge Item(s) as soon as possible. You agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge Funds shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has ceased development and failed to deliver the relevant Pledge Item(s) to you. In consideration of the promises by RSI hereunder, you agree that you irrevocably waive any claim for a refund of your Pledge Funds except as set forth in the preceding sentence.”

Basically now they have you waive away your right to ask for a refund unless they stop developing the game. This is quite a stab in the back for people who have pledged money over the years but want their money back since there have just been delays after delays and the game itself has changed and evolved quite a bit from what it initially started out as.

Backers like Ken Lord who have put in $4,500 and such cannot get their money back because of these reasons, and they’ve pledged money over the years because of which their pledge comes under the new TOS as he told Kotaku in an interview. There’s even a subreddit just for Star Citizen Refunds which goes to show how much of a hassle this is and how there’s quite a lot of people looking to get their money back.

Who knows when Star Citizen will actually be released, but for a lot of people, it seems like a waste of money because they’ve been waiting for a product for the past 6 years but then again, that is one of the risks you take when you back a Kickstarter. Only time will tell how Star Citizen pans out and if it actually will be all that it claims to be but until that day there’s going to be a lot of unease among the fans especially with issues like this coming to light.

Thanks to PCGamer for info on the TOS.

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Jul 18, 2018
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