Star Citizen

Drama between CIG and Derek Smart over Star Citizen transparency continues – results in unrequested refund


Derek Smart has been a vocal critic of CIG for the last few weeks, and has made it well known that he wants the project to succeed, but has serious doubts about the financial management of the game. In a lengthy post on his blog about what he feels is the proper course of action, Smart outlined an extensive audit process that he feels should be given more voice among the community.

Contained within the post was quite a bit of inflammatory tone and inference that Smart feels somewhat betrayed by the goings on with Star Citizen. And the issue has now taken on new life with another development. CIG has cited sections of the Kickstarter Terms of Service allowing them to issue an unrequested refund for Smart’s $250 backer payment. CIG refers to Smart in their statement on the action as  a “troubled user”.

Here’s the full statement:

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 ToS (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 (until today, the most famous example being our old friend jcrg99/Manzes/PonyMillar/he of many other alts.)

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.)

The Kickstarter Terms of Use state: “You can refund individual pledges if you want. After your project has been funded, you can cancel and refund a backer’s pledge at any time. If you do, you have no further obligation to that specific backer, and no agreement exists between you.” These are the Kickstarter ToS under which CIG have given Derek Smart his money back.

However, Smart takes serious issue with the other comments and actions taken by Lesnick.
In an equally fiery response to the decision, he reprimands the action as unfounded and unwarranted.

“Contrary to what they posted” he tells PC Invasion, “I have NEVER – EVER – posted on ANY RSI [Roberts Space Industries] forum or website, nor advertised ANYTHING. My blog is mine, and I can post ANYTHING I want in it.”

Further, he says that “what Ben [Lesnick] said in the forum post, is … pure libel and a violation of privacy because they had NO business even disclosing WHY they refunded me.” Smart is citing Sections 2, 4 and 5 of CIG’s own Privacy policy in support of this statement.

He also feels CIG had “no cause” to terminate his Roberts Space Industries (RSI) account. Presumably as (since he has never posted on said forums,) he has not violated any Terms of Service regarding conduct.

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