Flailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has, once again, failed to meet yet another promised delivery deadline.
In a series of updates published to its Indiegogo backers over the past couple of weeks, RCL promised to start shipping its Vega+ device between 8 and 12 May. So far nobody appears to have received anything.
It did, however, reveal its Roll of Honour – the list of poor folk who paid just over £100 each for the handheld ZX Spectrum-themed console, which was advertised as being bundled with 1,000 games.
Regular readers will be well aware of the RCL saga, which began a few years ago when the company was under different management. Endorsed by Sir Clive Sinclair, the Vega+ was supposed to build on the retro-themed ZX Spectrum Vega, RCL's first (and only) successful product.
RCL's latest excuse for failing to deliver is an allegation that Paul Andrews, a former director of the firm, is trying to nobble delivery by contacting games rights-holders and persuading them to withdraw their titles from the device.
As The Reg has previously written, RCL failed to pay rights-holders their royalties from the previous Vega console, as well as not handing over £20,000 in contractually guaranteed royalty donations to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.
A statement from RCL on its Facebook page said:
It continues: "On the 10th May we received a threat from Mr Melbourne and Mr Andrews – copied to a number of our associates and rights owners whose games we have already removed.
"So imagine our surprise when we received a letter from one of our partners at the close of business on Tuesday 14th May saying the following:
"'This is in light of allegations by Paul Andrews that you do not have the right to include certain games in the consoles. I appreciate that you have deliberately held off circulating a final list of games as this is changing, but you will appreciate why we need this reassurance from you.'"
RCL has also accused Andrews of sending letters posing as a law firm, something he did not deny when The Register asked him about it. A copy of a letter seen by us revealed it was addressed as from: "LSB International Legal Services, c/o Paul Andrews".
If RCL fails to ship by the end of this month, Indiegogo has promised to send in a debt collection agency.
+Comment: There are pig farms less messy than this
RCL has repeatedly failed to meet its own delivery deadlines. Indiegogo's ultimatum with the debt collectors was supposed to encourage them to get on with delivery but it is increasingly looking like the company will not even meet that deadline.
With Andrews and fellow ex-co-director Chris Smith having called for a shareholders' meeting to dismiss the current directors, the clock is most certainly ticking. The Register believes the odds of any of the 5,000 or so Indiegogo customers receiving their product is minimal at this stage, and the only thing left to figure out now is what happened to the £513,000 pledged by the customers to put the already-designed console into production.
Legal wranglings and wars of words between the former and current directors, while all very well in terms of personal satisfaction, are not going to speed up delivery or help track down the money. Given that the console was originally advertised as having been ready for production, it is an increasing source of public concern as to why that simply has not happened in the period of more than two years that this has dragged on for. ®