Being one of the most successfully crowdfunded games to date, Star Citizen has gained attention both to gamers and to developers looking to get into crowdfunding. If Star Citizen is a success, it will show the power of crowdfunding and consumer power on choosing what games get produced. If it fails, the crowdfunding industry will certainly have a chink in it’s armor. Any chance that Star Citizen will lose funding or go out of control can topple Chris Robert’s house of cards. Thanks to a poll within the Star Citizen forums, that has a possibility of happening.
The poll asked if players would want to receive a refund for in-game items or for purchasing into the game, with 25% of those answering responding that they would want a refund. After Star Citizen’s Space Marines module, a FPS set in the Star Citizen universe, became delayed indefinitely, the question has recently been raised within the community if refunds should be allowed.
Recently, the developer made this statement after seeing some complaints about giving one of the backers a refund.
“I believe I can clarify this. 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 [terms of service] (or in this case, the Kickstarter ToS) allows us to refund troubled users who we would rather not have interacting with the community. The process lets us entirely disable their accounts, preventing them from playing the finished game. Think of it as the video game equivalent of a “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” sign in a restaurant. We’ve used this ability a limited number of times in the past, always with the aim of improving the community…
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.)”
Should a game being delayed allow people to ask for refunds if the game was set to release on a certain date? Possibly, but right now, the Star Citizen community doesn’t have the ability to do that. Do you think that backers should be given a refund for delaying a game’s release? Sound off in the comments!