UPDATE: The BBC has revealed Sky, owners of the Spectrum/Sinclair intellectual properties, is pulling its licensed branding from the Vega+ project. The decision was taken in May of this year, and any ‘ZX Spectrum’ and ‘Sinclair’ branding will cease to be associated with the Vega+ on August 7.
ORIGINAL: A long-winded, dramatic case of crowdfunding promises, delays, and threats of debt collection would appear to be over as backers of the Sinclair ZX Vega+ have reportedly started receiving finished versions of the hardware.
The wait to receive the barebones ‘Blankety Blank’ package – coming without the 1,000+ promised titles in the original Indiegogo campaign – lasted over two years and was fraught with bickering, slipped deadlines, and eventually the threat of debt collection agencies from Indiegogo itself.
The portable Spectrum handheld raised over half a million pounds in its initial campaign and was set to release in the summer of 2016, before changes in management at Retro Computers Ltd – company behind the project – and technical hiccups caused the delays to start piling up.
As you can see in the below video from Craig Wootton, what backers have apparently begun to receive is not exactly what might have been expected, with the build quality referred to as not being ‘all that great’.
According to Wootton, as well as none of the thousand-plus promised games (though he opted out of receiving them), the Vega+ also had no protective packaging and arrived with scratches on the screen protector. It also requires controls to be mapped on the few games included with the barebones version.
The Vega+ has had a tumultuous time making its way from Indiegogo project through to the finished piece of kit, with delay following delay – one of the last times MCV reported on the project, backers were promised it would be ‘a few weeks’ until units were shipped. That was March 2017.
Dr David Levy, commenting on the Indiegogo campaign page for the Vega+, wrote: “It has been a well documented long and difficult road for the company. Well, we have now proved all negative claims to be false… Last week we shipped a few units to some selected supporters who have had unwavering faith in us, and the response and comments on their Vega+ units has been uniformly joyful. Today we start shipping to the first 400 backers who asked to receive their unit without the 1,000 games pre-loaded, as they prefer to load their own choice of games.
“We would like to offer our sincerest apologies and thanks to those who have had faith in our company and its ability to deliver. Your supporting messages over the past two years have helped us to keep going through the darkest of periods.”