Some backers of the Kickstarted Recreated ZX Spectrum fear that they will never receive the unit they paid for.
An extensive Eurogamer report details what seems to be a troubled picture for the device, which was first announced back at the end of 2013. It was successfully funded to the tune of 63k in early 2014.
Most worryingly, the machine's manufacturer is currently taking legal advice over bills that the device's creator Elite Systems has not paid.
The Recreated ZX Spectrum, not to be confused with the Clive Sinclair's ZX Spectrum Vega project, is effectively a Bluetooth keyboard – styled in the design of the original machine – that runs emulated versions of Spectrum software.
A big press campaign kicked off in 2015. And many backers have received their devices. But for those that haven't, the silence since the media coverage has been deafening. Questions from backers have remained unanswered even as the device was officially released and put up for sale on the likes of Amazon.
In January of this year impatient backers were told that stocks of the machine had been depleted, and that those who had ordered the Signature Edition or pre-ordered through Elite Systems' website would not receive their units.
Elite director Steve Wilcox suggested at the time that the reseller stock” ordered by retailers was separate to the stock ordered by Elite itself to fulfil its Kickstarter orders, and that the company had no control over anything other than the 1,000 units it had obtained directly.
Eurogamer also discovered that the audacious press release sent in January claiming that Amazon UK had sold one Recreated ZX Spectrum every five minutes during its Boxing Day sale” actually represented 57 unit sales between 3:30pm and 7:45pm. Throughout 2016 Wilcox has also attempted to place the unit on TV channel QVC and told a TV presenter about his desire to get the word out”, however.
Current signs are not promising. The device's required Android app has been pulled and the unit is listed as unavailable on Elite's own site.
Eurogamer understands that there is an ongoing dispute with manufacturer Ceratech, with a source saying the latter currently has unfinished stock that Elite has not paid for.
Kickstarter has said that it has reminded Wilcox of his backer commitments, but that ultimately the burden lies with backers to take legal action.