Retro computer project directors row

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+Image copyright
Rick Dickinson

Image caption

Concept art for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+

The founders of a crowd-funded project to make a retro computer games console, backed by Spectrum inventor Sir Clive Sinclair, have distanced themselves from the company they used to run.

Retro Computers has received £417,375 ($542,000) from an Indiegogo campaign.

But former directors Paul Andrews and Chris Smith said they had been unable to answer backers’ concerns and were now “publicly distancing” themselves.

The company accused Mr Andrews and Mr Smith of developing a rival product.

‘Irreconcilable differences’

A company with a similar name, Retro Games Ltd, has a website registered to Mr Andrews.

It has also attempted to crowd-fund a retro computer device – although its is based on the Commodore 64 – but failed to meet its target.

Mr Andrews and Mr Smith said in a statement they had had no control of the Spectrum company, Retro Computers, since their resignation in April.

However, the pair do retain a joint 50% shareholding.

Mr Andrews and Mr Smith said they had received many emails from the project’s backers questioning the production status of the Vega+ handheld console but had not been able to get answers from the company.

In a joint statement, they said: “Andrews and Smith therefore feel they have no choice but to publicly distance themselves from Retro Computers Ltd, and make it very clear that as they have no knowledge, control or say in anything that has happened in the company since they resigned on 8 April 2016, they are unable to answer any questions relating to the company or its projects.”

Their resignation followed “irreconcilable differences” between the two men and company chairman Dr David Levy.

Legal proceedings

On its crowd-funding campaign page, Retro Computers is urging concerned backers leaving comments to “trust us for a little while longer”.

Dr Levy said: “The current team at Retro Computers Ltd has been and is focusing its efforts on the completion of new and better software for its forthcoming product, the Vega+, and is making every effort, supported by the factory, to deliver the first production run of the Vega+ by the end of next month, as originally planned.”

His statement added: “We can also confirm that the current management at Retro Computers Ltd have issued legal proceedings to recover company funds that are unaccounted for whilst the company was under the sole financial management of Paul Andrews, as managing director, and Chris Smith, as chief technology officer.”

BBC News has approached Mr Andrews and Mr Smith for a comment.

Image copyright
Press Association

Image caption

Sir Clive Sinclair shakes hands with Alan Sugar in 1984

The Vega+ is not yet on the market, but promises to sport a colour LCD display and 1,000 pre-installed games.

It is currently set to launch in September 2016, with an initial price tag of £100.

It is based on the ZX Spectrum, a home computer released in 1982, which has been widely credited with launching the UK IT industry.

Sir Clive Sinclair, founder of Sinclair Research, endorsed the Indiegogo campaign, which was launched in February.



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