Feeds

ZX Spectrum game devs allege Elite Systems Ltd didn't pay their royalties

Steve Wilcox raises Kickstarter cash to resurrect console but 'ignores original coders'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A number of British developers who coded games in the 1980s for the 8-bit ZX Spectrum home computer have been complaining about Elite Systems Ltd, alleging it had not made royalty payments due to them.

The Lichfield, England-based outfit is run by Steve Wilcox, who describes himself as a producer for the firm, which - according to its most recent Companies House records - was saddled with debt owed to creditors to the tune of £81,388 for the year ended September 2012.

Wilcox has been raising money, via a Kickstarter campaign, to build funds for a Bluetooth ZX Spectrum keyboard.

At the time of writing, he had pulled in £65,430 from 830 backers*. However, some people are demanding a refund after hearing concerns expressed by a handful of developers who claim not to have received a single penny of royalties from Wilcox.

It's understood that Wilcox, 44, approached ZX Spectrum game coders to ink contracts with them on a non-exclusive basis to pay licences in order to use their software.

Dynamite Dan I & II developer Rod Bowkett told The Register that he had no response from Wilcox since he agreed to the licence deal. Royalties have gone unpaid for successive quarters, he claimed.

Bowkett added that the royalties themselves amounted to "peanuts" but alleged that Wilcox was in breach of contract for failing to make the payments.

The developer also discovered that others within the ZX Spectrum community were also claiming to have been frozen out of royalty payments from Elite Systems Ltd, despite the company selling their retro-style games via Apple's App Store and the Windows Store, for example.

Bowkett estimated that the total amount owed to all of the devs collectively is probably around the £10,000 mark. He said that his chief complaint was not related to the unpaid royalties, however.

His concern is with investors in Wilcox's bid to build a cash pile for his supposed Bluetooth ZX Spectrum keyboard plans.

And the clock is ticking.

Wilcox's Kickstarter - at time of writing - has six hours left for people to pledge money.

"The investors are like lemmings running straight for the cliff edge," Bowkett claimed.

El Reg has sought comment from Wilcox via email messages, a call to Elite Systems Ltd's landline and a voicemail left on his mobile phone.

However, Wilcox had not been in touch to defend himself against the accusations at time of writing. His company claimed on its Kickstarter page that a statement will be coming soon. ®

Bootnote

*Kickstarter Ts&Cs state:

Backers ... may not cancel or reduce their pledge if the campaign is in its final 24 hours and the cancellation or reduction would drop the campaign below its goal.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Disturbance in the force lets phones detect gestures with Wi-Fi
These are the movement detection devices you're looking for
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?