Games News

Star Citizen removes the option to refund backers, lawsuit fails

Cloud Imperium Games
Screenshot from Cloud Imperium Games' space sim Star Citizen
Star Citizen

You know, if this wasn't a large company with so many backers, I'd start thinking that Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) are getting ready to pull a scam or something, as Star Citizen's Terms of Service were updated with a no refund policy.

Well, that's for all except for the most recent of Star Citizen backers, who have 14 days to change their minds before their donation is transformed into CIG's property. The rest of the players, however, can kiss refunds goodbye as of now.

Interestingly enough, one user has already managed to sue Star Citizen developer in court, although he ended up not having any success. A reddit post dated 11 June 2018 by user Firefly212 shows a photocopy of the lawsuit filed with the Superior Court of California against CIG, where he is asking for his money back via legal channels.

Once the case came to the Court on 13 July 2018 though, it was dismissed by the judge and sent to arbitration. That's all thanks to some seriously slick lawyer-work by CIG's legal team, since they defended their case loosely sticking to TOS when it fits them, altering it on the fly when it doesn't.

Apparently, the Court didn't find that the first sentence of the current Terms of Service document to be relevant, even though it stipulates that "transactions made before [TOS's] effective date" will not be affected. CIG's lawyers somehow managed to make it mean the opposite, triggering the clause for arbitration court, where Firefly212 found himself way out of his league.

Now Firefly212 may have lost a battle in court but he's still waging the war. He did add that the entire ordeal was really unpleasant, making him feel "more like a hostage than a backer" of CIG's Star Citizen. Some redditors have already offered their legal expertise for when the transcripts come, so if you're willing to help, you can find it here.

Even in failure though, the case sets a useful precedent that will at least shine the way for other Star Citizen backers, preventing them from wasting more money in trying to get some of it back from CIG's vault. It has been said that the amount of players who've unsuccessfully requested refunds from 2016 onwards, could've easily filed a class-action lawsuit, although CIG prepared for that with the new TOS.

CCP Games, Cloud Imperium GamesImages of Venture ship from Eve Online and Vulture ship from Star CitizenEve and Star Citizen - Top is Vulture from Star Citizen, bottom is Venture from EVE

Note that CIG have been planning this for a while now, having performed the first round of refund system crippling in June 2016. The company halted the entire system in December 2017 but kept diligently ignoring their customers' requests until the latest TOS update, which finally put the no-refund policy in writing.