Earlier this week it was revealed that Elite: Dangerous, another extremely interesting space simulator, would be dropping the promised offline mode that made up part of the game’s original Kickstarter pitch. Frontier are completely within their rights to change anything about their game, but some fans were understandably pissed off. That’s become even worse now, as most won’t be able to get a refund.
Following the announcement of their game being always-online, Frontier posted a lengthy Q&A explaining what it meant for the game and it’s backers. Part of that was explaining how backers and fans could get a refund if they were unhappy, although the criteria are surprisingly strict. If you’ve backed the project and played the game at all you’re excluded, and there doesn’t seem to be any way around that. From the game’s weekly newsletter:
We have started responding to requests where there is a clear outcome:
- Those who have pre-ordered an Elite: Dangerous release version from our online store and have therefore not yet played the game are eligible for a refund.
- Those who have already been playing the game online in the Alpha and/or Beta phases, regardless of whether they backed the project via Kickstarter or purchased access to Alpha and/or Beta through our online store, are not eligible for a refund.
It’s even tricky for backers of the project who haven’t touched the game to get their money back, as each case has to be sifted through individually and evaluated. That’s an incredibly poor way to treat people who essentially made your game possible, and are only looking for a way out since you didn’t deliver on a feature that was removed at the last second.
I also don’t understand why people who’ve played the game are immediately excluded as well. Beta access to Elite: Dangerous is far from free, and actually costs a lot more than simply pre-ordering the game. Fans have willingly forked over more money to help fund and develop an unfinished product, so why are those same people now barred from getting a refund?
It’s incredible poor form from Frontier, and another reminder that the market of backing theoretical and unfinished games can still be extremely murky at times. I’m still looking forward to the game’s launch in December, but I’m more glad than ever that I haven’t yet handed over a cent of my money.
Last Updated: November 20, 2014