I'm not afraid to be critical of Star Citizen, I firmly believe that the product delivered will not satisfy the community no matter what, due to the large amount of "investment" (it's not an investment, it's a direct donation to the game, as the community will not tolerate the notion that paying $2,500 for a ship isn't paying to win, it's making the dream a reality). However, such an opinion to question if the game is going to be satisfactory to most backers is heresy and will usually get you flamed online endlessly as people question various facets of your life, which Derek Smart has met a new form of interesting reaction - CIG has allegedly issued him a refund.
Now, anyone who has backed Star Citizen should know that refunds for your donation are unacceptable and shall not be issued. If you have giftable ships, you can sell these on the grey market, or you can sell your entire account, EULA violations galore. Otherwise, you're a Star Citizen for life - although there have been players posting in the previous years that they have successfully gotten refunds near the time they purchased the items. The interesting thing that has happened here is because Derek Smart has critized the game, CIG has taken it upon themselves to refund him, without him asking.
CIG hasn't said anything in response (an update below on this), beyond closing some forum threads, but another thread has shown up with Star Citizens raising the question - if Derek Smart gets a refund, can we get a refund as well? (So far with 30% of the votes saying yes, refunds should be available) In the discussion, there is some interesting points raised about refund timelines - like the ability to request a refund during the first week of launch if the game isn't what you believed in and others wanting to know if this could just be an honest option now that they're fatigued on the idea of the game.
I think it's a complicated matter. The donations that players have given CIG are for development expenses and need to be available to them to spend in order to make the game, but on the other hand, the entire project has changed in scope so dramatically from the beginning that I don't specifically see it the same product that someone who donated when it was first announced and someone who donates today. Additionally, the idea that you can be removed from the game, refunded your pledge, without any cause in the ToS/EULA is a disturbing trend of censorship. Any game out there should love for people to question it and poke it, because if it's a good game, it can withstand the criticism and through transparency, should be able to easily let such accusations roll off their back.
Anyway, if you're curious about the saga of Derek Smart vs. Star Citizen, it all started as far as I know on Something Awful and Derek Smart's blog. Derek Smart's twitter feed is a good chronological look at what has been happening. Smart's "treatise" (my words, not his) can be read here, in which Derek Smart goes as far as to suggest the FTC step-in. Before this reaction by CIG, I believe his article was an interesting opinion and a discussion that has to happen at some point, but considering CIG's response, I wonder what contained within it caused them to have such a reaction and if there is some (possibly giant) nuggets of wisdom within his article?
As a general FYI, I don't censor comments, but I do ask people to keep it civil and avoid the personal / targetted insults and just to remind everyone I do not want the $2,500 ship and no I am not jealous about it. Since that's a recurring theme. By all means, I have never urged anyone not to specifically back the game, just to have caution about the tiers and the setup. You can, for all intents and purposes, buy into the game for around $35 and easily earn these ships in-game, if what is said about the pledge packages is true in that they're just a head start and nothing more. You can also at this point just wait for the game to launch and buy in once it has released at a state that you're interested to play at. The pledge system should exist until launch.
Update: CIG has officially responded, stating that they have removed Derek Smart because he is utilizing Star Citizen as a method to promote his game and that backers should be aware that refund requests will continue to be handled on a case by case basis:
This raises the question if Derek Smart's intentions were to utilize the controversy to promote his "Line of Defense" game or if CIG is now intending to quell dissension. I don't personally see the conversion from SC to LoD in Smart's statements so far, but CIG has responded by putting this on the table. At least a response has been made as to why Mr. Smart recieved his refund. I think another important thing is that AFAIK, Smart hasn't advertised his game on their forums, doing all of this on his blog. I'm receptive to links of his advertising, but it appears that Star Citizen is okay with banning people who speak out about their game outside of the ecosystem. I'll look into this more though to make sure Mr. Smart didn't spam the forums up with links to his game.
Update: I've reached out to Mr. Smart who claims he has never posted on their site, meaning that this ban came from their reaction to his posts on third-party websites, unless I can find evidence otherwise.
I might not touch this news story for awhile unless something notable comes, but it's odd to me that someone who has a dissenting view and causes a commotion gets a refund when people who have asked nicely have been declined. Something to think about for a bit.
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