A Bluetooth ZX Spectrum replica keyboard on Kickstarter may have been fully funded, but a report on Eurogamer suggests that a number of ZX Spectrum game developers are angry with Maker Elite Systems and have leveled accusations at the company that have disgusted backers.
According to the report, the developers took to the comments section of the project's funding page to accuse the company of stiffing them on royalties for their games. The company is accused by the developers of not honoring deals with Spectrum game developers and not paying to use their games.
The accusations relate to 2010, when the first of Elite's iOS ZX Spectrum apps was released. According to the developers, games were sold as part of the Elite Collection app and as standalone games but the game makers never saw a dime. One of those developers was Julian Gollop, who is best known for creating the X-Com series. He said on Twitter that he had never been paid by the company even though it used his property in the app.
More than a dozen of those developers took to the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum Kickstarter page to complain and let backers know:
"We ask you to not purchase any Elite product that either includes any of our games or supports IAPs of them," they collectively stated.
Elite Systems responded in the comments:
"The public statements are far too wide wide-ranging to be addressed in this single response," wrote company director Steve Wilcox. "However I acknowledge that I, as a director, have failed in my duty to ensure that some of the reports and some of the payments – due to the ZX Spectrum game developers, with whom Elite has contractual relationships – were made in accordance with the agreed terms."
"I am working toward that unacceptable position being remedied within the next 28 days, sooner if possible."
Backers have a lot of questions. Many wonder why this click of developers waited until three days ago to say anything – but not while the campaign to fund the project was going on. Other wonder why Maker Elite didn't provide an update on the page about the situation, and why it directed developers to a Hotmail email account and not one of the company's official email addresses. Mostly backers, who have either lowered their funding commitments or walked away, feel dirty. At least that is what some of them are saying in the comments section of the Kickstarter campaign page.
We will have more on this story as it develops. The Elite Collection app has been pulled by Elite Systems while the matter is sorted out.