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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:
Dog Ate My Homework
Retro Computers Ltd have promised a lot, but delivered very little. Each date seems to be treated more as a guideline than a deadline, and once they fly out the window, no real reasons are given as to why each deadline was missed.
Missed Delivery DatesRCL are more than a year behind schedule, have set 8 delivery dates, missed 7 so far (with the 8th to follow shortly), and every missed delivery date has been met with silence and an optional "dog ate my homework" style excuse. David Levy in particular seems to have no idea that backers are angry with RCL's appalling lack of communication.
1st missed delivery date: End of September 2016
RCL never gave an excuse for missing the September 2016 delivery date. On September 26, RCL posted update 19 stating "The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ to give it it’s full name, will launch on the 20th October".
2nd missed delivery date: October 2016
On November 26 (almost a month after the missed delivery date) RCL announced that children at the Wired 2016 Next Generation event in early November had identified a problem with the design of one of the buttons.
3rd missed delivery date: In time for Xmas 2016
On November 28, an article in the Inquirer by Chris Merriman stated that RCL could no longer promise a Xmas delivery, but confirmed that backers' money had been ringfenced. Suzanne Martin stated they would not be giving any delivery dates unless they were 110% certain.
On December 23, a VentureBeat article was published called Retro Sinclair ZX Spectrum handheld console to ship in February after series of delays. The article said, "In short, the company is now confident it will be able to dispatch the first units in February."
4th missed delivery date: February 2017
On February 10, RCL posted an update stating "First Vega + units will ship after the 20th February 2017".
On February 24, Indiegogo closed down the Vega+ campaign due to missed delivery deadlines and a lack of communication to backers. RCL immediately posted an update stating that the honour roll had now been closed.
On March 10, David Levy announced "During what we had expected would be final testing of the product prior to the first shipment, we discovered that the software for three of the user features, which had been announced for the product, had not yet been implemented. The net result of all this is that we expect to make the first shipment of Vega+ units a few weeks from now."
5th missed delivery date: A "few weeks" from March 10, 2017
No excuse was posted for the 5th missed deadline, but on April 12, the store on the RCL website stated that "Vega+ units were available for pre-order and would be shipped in Summer 2017".
6th missed delivery date: Summer 2017
Although summer in the UK officially ended on September 21, RCL quietly extended the release date on August 9. In update 61 RCL stated "We aim to begin shipping the Vega+ to backers within the next 8 weeks, and to follow this immediately with our first shipments to retail. And to the RCL trolls, we’re not going anywhere. Peace out."
7th missed delivery date: 8 weeks from August 9th (October 4th, 2017)
On September 1, RCL released update 63 and extended the deadline in their "Happy Friday" update: "Well, it's the first day of September and we are on track for the Vega+ reaching your game-hungry mittens by mid October."
8th missed delivery date: Mid October 2017
It doesn't require Nostradamus predictive skills to realise RCL will fail to deliver the Vega+ in mid October. The address confirmation emails have not been sent out, no PEGI rating has been applied for, the box has not been designed and according to bank statements, RCL are broke.
Never refused a refundOn March 10, 2017, backer Nigel Malin asked "When backers ask for a refund, why don't you give them one" and asked if they would delete his question.
Suzanne Martin replied "We aren't deleting any comments - but we are aware of a number of bugs. Some people can't post. We have never refused to refund a backer."
On March 28, 2017 Suzanne Martin posted on the "democracy" Facebook group saying that within 14 days (by Tuesday 11th of April), RCL would have worked through their backlog of emails, including the spam and refund requests.
Approximately 10 people have been refunded, with almost 200 outstanding refund requests.
On September 9th 2017, backer Paul Spann updated backers on the small claims case he opened against RCL on August 22nd via an Indiegogo comment:
Update on my asking the court to get my money refunded.
Basically MrLevy has replied to say he intends on defending the action fully.
So that is proof that they ARE refusing refunds.
Who would have guessed….EVERYONE!
This shows that David Levy is prepared to go to court to refuse a refund!
Launch Party VideoRCL promised a video of the Launch Party would be put online, but RCL posted comments on the Indiegogo campaign stating this would not be happening due to online bullying and trolling. RCL's excuse was made in a reply to a question from Daniel Newby:
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.
The majority of the launch party photos themselves were faked, taken a week after the event by David Levy's son Alastair Levy. Only 4 of approximately 40 photos were taken on the day of the launch party, and Alastair received over £1500 from the supposed "ring-fenced funds" for the photos.
Sales and Marketing PartnerOn September 26, 2016 RCL posted the following as part of update 19. "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."
No partner has ever been announced by RCL, and it was backers that noticed both PCube and Argos had both posted the Vega+ as being available at one stage (then pulled from both websites).
RCL have rarely mentioned the games list, instead leaving it to RCL spokesman/contractor Lee Fogarty to spread rumours and misinformation on facebook messenger. Lee has been quick to blame Paul Andrews for supposedly contacting developers. Here are a selection of posts from Lee Fogarty:
On August 9, 2017 RCL posted "We can also confirm we have secured rights to some of the biggest games in the Spectrum scene, and the final games list will exceed all expectations."
Nothing has been mentioned since this date, although a newspaper article published an article stating that hundreds of games had been pulled due to the non-payment of royalties. Spectrum programmer Jonathan Cauldwell has offered to write the missing games, all 1000 games if necessary, and has also mentioned he would quit the Spectrum scene if the Vega+ does not materialise.
Roll of Honour Email
On February 26, 2017 in an Indiegogo update, RCL posted "Also, keep a look out for ROLL OF HONOUR email... "
On March 15, 2017, Lee (in grey) described the roll of honour as "another fuckup" whilst talking to a backer:
User ManualOn February 23, Lee Fogarty told a backer in a private message "I've got the manual here, and still can't post that as an update".
In a February 24 update on Indiegogo, RCL posted "Keep a look out for our new website it should be up in the next 15 mins.... we will be adding an editorial page to the website in the very near future. We are restricted by the size of posts here.... user manual and second update to follow...."
In a February 26 update on Indiegogo, RCL posted: PS we haven't forgotten the "User Manual"...
No mention of the user manual has been made since.
Making of the Vega and Vega+ Book
For a pledge of £25, backers were able to support "The Creation" perk:
Receive a copy of our new book, “Creating the Sinclair ZX Vega and Vega+”, by Sir Clive and the rest of our “gang of four”, signed by some of the team. Plus your name will be on our Roll of Honour.
Absolutely nothing regarding the book has ever been posted on the campaign, but Suzanne Martin did post one comment on facebook where she stated, "It will all come out in the book".
Vega+ Game Coding CompetitionAn Indiegogo update stated "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."
The competition never materialised, none of the software utilities were ever added to the RCL site as promised and there were no rules for the non-existent competition.
RCL released update #56 on the Indiegogo campaign on March 29, 2017 showing a preview of the proposed Vega+ box design, and a couple of bizarre photos of a monitor showing a sleeve design for the box:
Boxing Clever... So here we go.....first preview of the proposed Vega+ box design. We have tried to stay true to the original "Speccy" designs principles and we hope you like it. We plan to make the box a similar size to an iPhone7 Plus box and the reverse will feature a quick start guide.
A backer posted "My only question is that how was the vega going to be delivered previously promised on 22nd Feb if the boxes weren't even a twinkle in a graphic designers eye?" Suzanne Martin replied "We have had the box design(s) for months."
Chris Matthews posted on the "democracy" Facebook page, suggesting that the image of the Vega+ is such low quality that the graphic designer should be sacked. He suggested that it must be a mockup only and that they must have a finalised version to show. Chris also pointed out that there is an on-screen tell indicating that RCL are not using a genuine version of Adobe Illustrator. Suzanne re-iterated that the design "was finalised months ago":
The Camera-Shy PR consultantPR consultants are usually the types that will use any opportunity to get their photo and name out into the public arena, directing people to their website and social media accounts. Suzanne Martin of RCL appears to do things very differently, running away from the camera at all costs, while ignoring social media and emails.
At the Dizzy 30th event, the Oliver Twins were presented with their prototype Vega+ test units. The public would have expected Suzanne Martin to front the event and hand them out, but this was left to RCL spokesman/consultant Lee Fogarty. One of the units that was handed out turned out to be defective and had to be swapped, another in the long line of RCL blunders.
Lee Fogarty has claimed that Suzanne Martin was at the event, but nobody saw her at all.
New Retro Computers HQ
The new headquarters for RCL was trumpeted but never announced. It was switched from Paul Andrews' offices to David Levy's one bedroom flat in London, and it remained on the website until recently, when it suddenly switched to the accountants address at Accommodation Road - Retro Towers!
Latest Funky Spectrum RCL Video
Finally Lee bites the hand that feeds him with a sensational series of online tirades against his former masters.
- 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 ✔