Over a quarter of Star Citizen backers say that a publically available refund option should be available to anyone who has contributed to crowdfunding the space sim.
The debate has been sparked following RSI’s decision to ‘cancel’ the $250 pledge of 3000AD founder Derek Smart, PC Gamer reports. RSI also chose to deactivate Smart’s account against his wishes.
The refund notification sent to him reference section five of Kickstarter’s T&Cs, which state that projects are able after successful funding to “cancel and refund a backer's pledge at any time”, thus dissolving any previous obligations.
"It was obvious he was not a supporter of our project and was just using our visibility as a platform to gain attention and promote his current game and his past games," RSI later explained. "We have strict rules about people using our forums and chat for self-promotion and it was clear that he didn’t care about the project, or the backers, or a good game being made. He was just trying to create a huge fuss to make himself relevant at a lot of other people's expense and distress.”
However, whether you see it as a refund or a cancellation, the very public move has led to other backers now questioning their right to a refund. Specifically, 25 per cent of respondents to this poll would like to see a publically available refund process.
RSI’s Ben Lesnick, however, has seemingly dismissed the calls.
“We refunded Mr. Smart’s package because he was using Star Citizen as a platform to gain attention as part of a campaign to promote his ‘Line of Defense’ space game. Our ToS (or in this case, the Kickstarter ToS) allows us to refund troubled users who we would rather not have interacting with the community,” he argued.
“Think of it as the video game equivalent of a ‘we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone’ sign in a restaurant. I do now want to stress that that is not to say you can get your money back by simply being as obnoxious as possible; we’re also able to ban accounts from the forums without requiring a refund. But sometimes we take a look at a user and decide that they’re so toxic or their intentions are so sinister that we simply don’t want them associated with Star Citizen.
“As for refund requests working the other way: per the ToS, we’re not required to offer them. We do try and work with backers who are facing hardships, but the hard truth is that the money is by necessity being spent to develop a game rather than sitting unused somewhere (that being the significant difference with Steam; those refunds are taken out of their games’ profits rather than their development budgets.)”
Smart has subsequently contested the claims, saying he has never posted on the game’s forums.