Retro Computers Limited had some success with the ZX Spectrum Vega, which was an emulated machine in a ZX Spectrum style case with a directional pad and four keys. The machine came with several games–over 1,000 according to the press release–but you could also add games by putting them on to a SD card. Some gamers were not enamoured with the on-screen keyboard system, but it still managed to sell reasonably well. Moving on the back of the success of this, Retro Computers Limited started an Indiegogo campaign for the next generation of Vega. The new Vega+ machine was to be a handheld version and to no surprise, the campaign was a success, but many troubling events have surfaced since, threatening to derail the project.
The campaign raised over £513,650 in funds. That was 367% of what they asked for, so it seemed the project was funded on March 27, 2016. Once again, they went to Rick Dickinson for the design (the man who designed most of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum range) and all seemed to be hunky-dory. Buyers were keen to have a handheld version of the ZX Spectrum, as the only way to do it otherwise was to hack the firmware of consoles such as the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. This was not the easiest thing in the world to do and would invalidate any warranty you had.
However, delays happened in production. Issues such as problems with buttons were reported. Things that would seem easy. Release dates started to slip. People started to get angry, and things started to get very messy. People got very vocal on the World of Spectrum forums, causing many a headache for Lee Fogarty, who is now administrating the site, and who also happens to be involved with Retro Computers Limited. He was accused of collusion and much more.
Then came an internal issue when two directors, Paul Andrew and Chris Smith, actually left the company. They were accused of many things, including potential fraud. This is still an ongoing legal battle that may take some time. Paul Andrews has issued a statement to the effect that they were pushed out by the other two directors of the company and they have not received various fees. This has gone to the High Court and may go beyond.
Others have waded into the discussion and being very vocal on YouTube with opinions that the Vega+ will never appear. I will not list names; you can search them for yourself. However, Retro Computers Limited have said the Vega+ is still coming. Many issues have also being raised regarding payment for games, ratings, and so on. The release date has been changed several times and there is still no guaranteed date when it will arrive.
Many backers who have previously accepted the issues are now getting unsure. May this lead to a mass pull of backers and many refunds to be given? We shall see.