ZX Vega+ News

(Unauthorised and Unofficial)

Vega+ Shipping Dates

  • End of September 2016
  • October 2016
  • In time for Xmas 2016
  • February 2017
  • A "few weeks" from March 10th 2017
  • Summer 2017
  • 8 weeks from August 9th (October 4th, 2017)
  • Mid October 2017

World of Spectrum

Searchable threads in one long post:

Vega+ Forums

All 2016

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Sunday 3rd January, 2016

Chris Smith takes various photos and videos of his prototype Vega+, and also records a full boot-up video.

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Monday 15th February, 2016

The Vega+ Indiegogo campaign opens, hoping to raise £100,000.

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Sunday 27th March, 2016

The Vega+ Indiegogo campaign closes, having raised £366,655 (367% of the product’s goal).

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Friday 8th April, 2016

Directors Paul Andrews and Chris Smith resign from Retro Computers Ltd.

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Saturday 9th April, 2016

Lady Angie Sinclair resigns as a director from Sinclair Research Ltd.

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Wednesday 13th April, 2016

Retro Computing News reports that Paul Andrews and Chris Smift have left.

Andrews UK sends a notice out to games rights owners informing them to contact RCL for payments and questions.

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Monday 25th April, 2016

Lee Fogarty (director of Creative Spectrum) posts a reply on World of Spectrum, claiming that manufacturing is full steam ahead (and if you are blocked from viewing, try this archived post).

Lee Fogarty claims manufacturing is full steam ahead
And when another member highlights problems, Lee Fogarty again re-iterates there's no problem:

Lee Fogarty again says there is no problem, manufacturing is full steam ahead
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Wednesday 27th April, 2016

Lee Fogarty posts on World of Spectrum, confirming that the Vega+ is in production (and if you are blocked from viewing, try this archived post).

Lee Fogarty confirms the Vega+ is in production
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Tuesday 24th May, 2016

The former directors Chris Smith and Paul Andrews are given a bank statement for the month after they left showing that within a period of nine days (16 to 24 May 2016) consultancy fees of £42,056.40 were paid to Mr Levy, £10,000 to Sir Clive Sinclair, £12,000 to Mr Mrsic-Flogel, plus £1,176.68 to Ms Martin. So in just 9 days, a total of £65,233.08 was paid out.

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June 2016

RCL post the following message to re-assure backers that everything is going well for the September delivery:

"We delivered last year, and we will deliver in September as promised to you and 3500 happy customers, and we plan on keeping them that way. We are sorry we haven't updated you, but that is because we are busy working with Rik Dickinson and in fact we are further ahead than we were at this point last year. We have a great team of programmers, and they are doing a cracking job. And the best bit of news - we have some new games - ones that we didn't have last time."

We will deliver in September and are further ahead
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Tuesday 21st June, 2016

MCV (the Market for Computer and Video Games) publish a statement from Chris and Paul. The article is called Chris Smith and Paul Andrews step down from Retro Computers and confirms the pair stepped down from the firm due to "irreconcilable differences" between them and the last remaining director, David Levy.

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Wednesday 13th July, 2016

George Cropper releases the ZX Vega+ Scandal video on Youtube, suggesting the project is heading into troubled waters and that backers should start applying for refunds.

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August 2016

A backer asks for something of substance from RCL:

"With under a month to go to shipping the 1st units you must have something of substance to show us by now! If you are, as you say "are further ahead than we were at this stage last summer". Don't get me wrong I think this will be a great product and clearly so do a few thousand others, but all you have is a prototype with a cracked screen and some painted buttons?"

RCL re-assure everyone that shipping is still on track for September:

"We are due to ship mid to late September. Next week we will be at Games Con and will have something to show then."

We will be at Games Con 2016

Later on during the month when RCL are called up on not being at Games Con, RCL say: "We are sorry that you misunderstood or misinterpreted our comment that we will be at Gamescon to mean that we would have our own stand."

You misinterpreted us having a stand at Games Con 2016
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Tuesday August 2nd, 2016

RCL announce a Vega+ Game Coding Competition, "designed particularly to stimulate the growing interest in coding amongst the current generation of schoolchildren, and thereby to create a similarly enthusiastic generation of coders for the UK in the coming years." There are 2 age categories (under 16 plus an open section) with prizes offered in both categories and "the best games will be available for free download for owners of the ZX Vega+ and its predecessor the ZX Vega". RCL promise that "the software utilities necessary to create games for the Vega+ (and the Vega) will be available from the Retro Computers Ltd web site at the beginning of September, together with full rules for the competition."

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Monday August 8th, 2016

RCL tweet that "We are in production and very happy to be..."

We are in production
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Tuesday 9th August, 2016

Dr David Levy, Chairman of Retro Computers Limited issues a statement on the RCL website claiming that RCL are investigating financial irregularities and that RCL are pursuing legal proceedings to recover funds.

(This statement turns out to be completely untrue, as the BBC will later investigate and find no proof of any of these claims. The statement is later deleted from the RCL website, but the original post has been archived).

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Thursday 25th August, 2016

RCL announce the "bar of soap" update with "Rick Dickinson Designed Vega+ Model Images Revealed For The First Time".

Bar of soap life sized model
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Thursday 1st September, 2016

The software utilities promised for the Vega+ Game Coding Competition fail to materialise.

Lee Fogarty tells George Cropper "they are still on track for shipping to backers end of sept"

Lee Fogarty confirms they are on track for shipping September
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Friday 2nd September, 2016

Confirmed reports that the BBC remove the lies from David Levy that legal action in progress to recover funds from Paul and Chris, as BBC investigated and no proof of these lies/claims are offered by Levy or RCL.

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Friday 30th September, 2016

The September shipping date is officially missed.

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Saturday 1st October, 2016

Lee Fogarty posts saying that the Vega+ is now going into manufacturing:

"Busy few months ahead. Vega+ moved from production to manufacturing, new software to be released in the new year, and some funky new clients on board! So I take a night off lol"

Lee Fogarty Vega+ moved from production to manufacturing
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Tuesday 11th October, 2016

Lee Fogarty posts the final date available for having your name added to the honour roll. RCL also confirm that they plan to have the Vega+ in online retail stores in time for Christmas. Highlights from the post:

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ to give our product its full name, comes complete with 1,000 licensed games built-in and is currently available via the InDemand phase on Indiegogo, will launch on the 20th October. Shortly before that, on the 19th October, the Roll of Honour will be frozen, and you will no longer be able to pledge to have your name or the name of a loved one permanently etched in retro computer gaming history. You will still be able to purchase a Vega+ via the IndieGoGo InDemand phase, but from the 19th October onwards we will no longer be adding names of backers to the list.

The team behind the hugely successful Vega+ also plan to launch on selected online retail sites in time for Christmas 2016 and will soon be announcing their new sales and marketing partner who won the account after a lengthy 4-way selection process.

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Saturday 15th October, 2016

The campaign receives "Arrow certification":

Arrow certification

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Wednesday 19th October, 2016

Mark Greenshields had generously donated the royalties for the game Kick Off to charity. David Levy emails Mark Greenshields claiming that RCL have already paid the royalty for the game KickOff to Great Ormond Street Hospital:

Mark,
We have removed the game KickOff from the Vega+ collection.
We have paid the royalty for that game to GOSH.
Please do not contact us again.
David

David Levy lies about paying the Kick Off royalty to GOSH

Solicitors Teacher Stern also email to back up the story. Clare Toomer writes:

Royalties in relation to Kick Off have been paid.
We ask that you direct any future queries as to royalties / any other operational matters etc to the Company directly.
Yours faithfully
Teacher Stern LLP

Clare Toomer
Solicitor

Solicitors Teacher Stern lie about the Kick Off royalty payment to GOSH
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Thursday 20th October, 2016

Launch party. People that attended had to sign a non disclosure agreement, and many people that paid for this perk were not invited.

Launch party

RCL release (and later delete) the following update:

Well what a day - we've had a manic week and yes today IS our launch day for the much anticipated Spectrum Vega - we've posted twice already today and for some strange reason none of our posts made it. We don't know why or what happened - but we're trying one more time - so fingers crossed we are third time lucky. Here we go!! Today IS our big day and we cannot believe we had computer issues today of all days, we have to see the irony in this. We have a few of our brand new consoles with some specially chosen celebrities, not least the very lovely Dermot O'Leary who was a huge fan of the original Spectrum, and we're hoping he likes his new one (with his name on) just as much. Re the practicalities many of you have been posting and messaging about, we will be contacting backers directly about the delivery schedule, so please hang fire for that. If you are a backer, please make sure your address is up to date and accurate. We are about to switch off the Roll of Honour, so make sure your name is correct on lndiegogo too. More than anything, thank you one and all for joining us on this journey which has been exciting, sometimes challenging, but always worth it - as all the best journey are :) And apologies for it taking so many attempts to get today's message out to you all - and those of you never waivering in your faith, the biggest thank you of all. We would not be here without you.

Launch day with Dermot O'Leary
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Tuesday 25th October, 2016

RCL release update 24 with a bizarre apology from David Levy for not wearing a jacket:

We will be issuing an update regarding delivery in the very near future. We are waiting for confirmation from one person and then we will be able to give you a more accurate date.  We are sorry that there has been a delay and we are doing everything we can to get your Vega+'s  out to you asap.  We are filming the Vega+ this week, and we hope you will be delighted with what we are able to reveal.  For now here is a picture of the Chairman Dr David Levy with a first run Vega+. (He apologises for not wearing a jacket in the picture - but it was very hot in the factory)

Failed businessman David Levy apologises for not wearing a jacket
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Thursday 27th October, 2016

As shown in the camera metadata, photographer A.J.Levy takes photos of the Vega+ components that will be used over the coming days to pretend these were taken at the launch party, 7 days earlier.

Fake launch party photos

RCL post a tweet, claiming to have been filming the production line and to ignore the clueless trolls!

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Monday 31st October, 2016

The October shipping date is officially missed.

October 20th launch date missed!
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Wednesday 2nd November, 2016

RCL publish a news article on their website confirming that their lawyers received a request from Darren Melbourne to remove his game Hades Nebula from the Vega+.

Darren Melbourne's request to remove Hades Nebula from the Vega+
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Thursday 3rd November

The RCL team are at Wired 2016. RCL release a short 17 second video of the game Cray 5 running on a Vega+.

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Friday 4th November, 2016

Paul Andrews uploads a series of photos from the original ZX Spectrum Vega launch party to Flickr.

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Saturday 5th November, 2016

The RCL team post that they are at the one day Wired 2016 Next Generation event, where 12-18 year olds will be able to try out the Vega+. RCL say that "the big surprise hit of the day so far has been our very own Spectrum Vega+ and right now we are staggered and moved to see the powerfully positive reactions from a whole new generation of Spectrum fans".

This is the day that RCL will later claim that children found a problem with the Vega+ buttons.

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Wednesday 9th November, 2016

RCL release an update saying that they intend to release the highest quality Speccy product, and they were invited to be be part of the Test Lab with Telefonica - "one of the most exciting and innovative elements of WIRED2016 and WIRED NEXT GENERATION 2016". RCL also say "WE WILL come back to you with our more precise delivery plans very soon".

This update fails to mention the faulty button problem.

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Wednesday 16th November, 2016

RCL contradict themselves by claiming they haven't given Vega+'s to anyone before backers. On October 20th they claimed they had given one to Dermot O'Leary at the launch party. This was their exact message:

"We were really lucky to be invited to #wired2016 but we haven't given Vega+'s to anyone before backers. The Vega+ got a lot of love..."

No Vega+'s before backers

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Sunday 20th November, 2016

Backer Daniel Newby asks RCL what has happened to the launch video, and RCL claim online bullying has forced them to remove it. (Note: RCL have deleted this post and their reply).

Daniel Newby: Has anyone seen rc's video of the launch event is it on another website anywhere was a month ago I think.

Retro Computers: Daniel a number of people who attended the launch have been subjected to online bullying. We do not wish them to be bullied further and so this video will not be shown for the foreseeable future. We will be releasing more footage of the unit but not with images of people who backed the campaign.

RCL claim launch party attendees bullied so video taken down
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Friday 25th November, 2016

Almost 3 weeks after the Wired 2016 event, RCL release the following news regarding the button:

Assembling and playing with these first units we identified an improvement we believed was essential to the Vega+ gaming experience. An improvement that would make the feel of the product far better, including a correction in the design of one of the buttons making it more robust and able to withstand the rigours of extended game-play.

This change has caused a brief delay while we improved the product and we have now completed the necessary revisions. We have also produced the first batch of custom made modified buttons and will be spending the next few days manufacturing units, using the already completed electronics and the newly modified buttons. As soon as we have completed the necessary tests to ensure that the revised Vega+ is now perfect, we will be able to announce our delivery schedule.

So to be clear the product and gorgeous designs that you have already seen remain unchanged. It is purely to do with the response time and durability of one of the components. We know that you all want to know a delivery date and we really want to ship to you - but the most important thing to us is making sure that the Vega+ is as brilliant as you deserve it to be.

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Monday 28th November, 2016

Chris Merriman posts an article called ZX Spectrum Vega+ production is delayed but RCL 'hopes' for pre-Christmas rollout in The Inquirer. Chris talks to Suzanne Martin asking to clarify some of the burning questions from backers. The article explains that there will be a further delay to the Vega+ after playtesters had identified a problem with one of the buttons. RCL can no longer promise Xmas delivery, but confirm that backers' money has been ringfenced. Suzanne also confirms that they have been deleting comments on the Indiegogo campaign, and that they will not be giving any delivery dates unless they are 110% certain. Suzanne also says that the project is a "labour of love", which is interesting considering they have half a million pounds from backers. Quotes from the article:

Retro Computers Limited (RCL) has confirmed that there is to be a further delay to the ZX Spectrum Vega+, the handheld version of last year’s ZX Spectrum Vega, a recreation of the iconic 8-bit computer.

The problem was revealed on Friday night on the project’s Indiegogo page. The team explained that playtesters had identified a problem with one of the buttons in the small production run that had already taken place, which led to the decision to pause the full-scale production, pending a change to the component. RCL will also retroactively fit the new button to consoles already manufactured.

Does that mean Christmas delivery is off the table?

"We still hope to get some units out before Christmas, but being completely honest, we can’t promise that until we get the test results back this week."

But what about customer money?

"It’s safe. It was ringfenced from the beginning and anything you hear otherwise is completely untrue. The disputes are about the proceeds from the original Spectrum Vega. Retail of the Vega+ will happen after all the backers have their machines."

One other matter of concern is that when there have been problems, comments have been deleted from your Indiegogo page. Generally, that’s not the done thing.

"True. It’s not something we do lightly. Much of what has been deleted is rude, multiple posts (sometimes over 100), attacks on other backers and offensive. Some of it comes from elements that are not only known to us, but to Indiegogo as trollers and spammers."

"We’ve worked closely with Indiegogo over what we should do and are only deleting posts that break their community guidelines, after confirming with Indiegogo that it was the right course of action."

The main complaint is the lack of communication over a delivery date. What do you say to those people?

"We've opted to stop giving delivery dates until we are 110 per cent certain that we are going to meet them."

"We will deliver. It will be brilliant. In the meantime, don’t believe everything you read elsewhere on the internet. This remains a labour of love for all involved and we are passionate about exceeding your expectations."

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Thursday 8th December, 2016

RCL force-refund backer Peeto against his will. Peeto had been asking questions about the campaign, and to remove him from the comments section, RCL simply marked his contribution as refunded to silence him.

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Wednesday 14th December, 2016

RCL release an update called A Pain in the Buttons, featuring a video of a Vega+ being assembled and the infamous "labour of love" comment:

We had hoped to post an update a few days ago. Unfortunately, we have been swamped working on the improvement to the Vega+ we previously told you about. The testing has proved to be slightly trickier than previously suspected and the new buttons caused all sorts of additional issues - they really were a pain in the buttons!

We now believe we have finally solved most of those problems and we have a series of production meetings between now and next Tuesday to confirm this, once we have attended all of those meetings, we will be able to come back to you with a clearer delivery schedule.

We have faced a number challenges over the last few months, and each time we have overcome whatever challenge has come our way, and we will continue to do so no matter what anyone puts in our way. We have said it before, and we will say it again "We will deliver. It will be brilliant. In the meantime, don’t believe everything you read elsewhere on the internet. This remains a labour of love for all involved, and we are passionate about exceeding your expectations."

A 1 and a half minute video is released which includes footage of a Vega+ being put together. At crucial spots in the video (47 seconds), the footage is suddenly sped up, and when the technician attempts to screw the screws down, they do not seem to be grabbing onto anything. As the second screw is being screwed in, the first one pops completely back up!

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Tuesday 20th December, 2016

Backer Richard Ratcliffe releases a 41 minute video The Evidently [Vague-A] Plus on YouTube, detailing how he was forcibly refunded after RCL confused him with somebody else. The video contains screenshots from the campaign, an email trail, a look at the company house records and much more. Suzanne Martin refunded Richard's pledge without his permission, then as a gesture of goodwill for their cock-up, RCL said that the "refunded" status of his order would be undone (meaning he would be sent a Vega+ unit anyway). He was also told he would be invited to the launch party. (The launch party invite never materialised, and he has been abused for months in the Indiegogo comments, saying that he is not a backer.)

Paul Andrews and Chris Smith release a statement to confirm that they left RCL before any funds from the crowdfunding campaign was received. The statement confirms that the remaining directors and employees of RCL have been creating a smear campaign and spreading lies. The full statement is available but a part of it has been reproduced here:

Sadly we have been forced once more to issue an immediate statement with regards to the company we founded but resigned from on the 8th of April 2016. To confirm we still remain joint 50% shareholders of Retro Computers Ltd.

Once again we have to draw people’s attention to the fact we left the company before any of the money from the Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for the ZX Vega Plus console was received by the company.

We have issued this statement as it has been drawn to our attention in both documented and verbal evidence that the current directors and employees of RCL (Mr David Levy, Ms Susanne Louise Martin, Mr Janko Mrsic-Flogel, and Mr Lee Fogarty) have been spreading lies and disinformation about us. This includes false allegations as to (non-existent) unaccounted funds, missing stock and also claims of fraud, allegedly prior to our resignations from RCL. This misinformation has been given to multiple people and companies, including employers, business contacts, and online social media outlets and so on, in what appears to be some sort of smear campaign, to what ends we do not know. For clarity RCL have been unable to actually identify any such unaccounted for funds or missing stock: all stock was held in high security and tracked storage facilities of a major distribution company which we had no physical access to and no stock was authorised to be sent (under our watch) to anyone but company approved retail agents.

On a personal note we wish to make it very clear that had we known of the past business records or interconnections of the current directors of RCL neither Paul Andrews nor Chris Smith would have become involved with them at all. We also wish to be clear that prior to our departure Mr Janko Mrsic-Flogel was not involved with the company in any way and Ms Suzanne Louise Martin had been no more than a part-time contractor PR consultant, not an employee or director. We also wish it to be known that they were appointed as directors of RCL without our consent and in breach of the Shareholders Agreement by Mr David Levy and that neither of those parties own any shares of RCL.

Vega+ backer Peeto posts on the Indiegogo comments section to say that he was force-refunded against his will:

Peeto: At least some honest update. But I am out/not by my wish/
Retro Computers: Peeto... do you want to come back? RCL
Peeto: yes. I know, what to expect and still answer is yes. What should I do? I would like to have same pledge with same amount. thx
Retro Computers: We'll contact you by email and see what we can sort out. RCL

Peeto forced refund
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Friday 23rd December, 2016

The "In time for Xmas" deadline is missed. A VentureBeat article is published called Retro Sinclair ZX Spectrum handheld console to ship in February after series of delays. The final few lines of the article says:

In short, the company is now confident it will be able to dispatch the first units in February. How many that will be still isn’t clear, but if it fails to deliver this time around, there could be more than a few people asking for their money back.

George Cropper releases RCL's Christmas Carol - A Radio Play on his Funky Spectrum YouTube channel, a satirical look at the current state of the project.

Latest Funky Spectrum RCL Video

Finally Lee bites the hand that feeds him with a sensational series of online tirades against his former masters.
(14/11/2017)

Vega+ Status

  • All refunds processed:
  • Roll of honour email:
  • Address confirmation:
  • Battery specification:
  • PEGI certification:
  • Final specs released:
  • Games list released:
  • Finished box design:
  • Manual released:
  • Final devices made: 0
  • Prototypes made: 20-30