Sir Clive Sinclair’s handheld ZX Spectrum gets dropped from crowdfunding site – despite raising over £500,000

The Spectrum ZX Vega+ was the retro games console that promised to give players all 14,000 Sinclair ZX games from the 1980s in their pocket .

Launched on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, the games console quickly racked up investment as eager gamers handed over their cash to help the concept become a reality.

But the project has come to a shuddering halt.

Citing delivery delays and a lack of communication to backers, Indiegogo has reportedly dropped the project from its site – even after it raised over half a million pounds.

The Vega+ will be able to play thousands of ZX Spectrum games

Despite the company behind the ZX Vega+, Retro Computers Limited, promising it would ship to customers in February 2017, nothing has been delivered.

What’s more, the company has suggested its employees are at risk from reprisals for their failure to deliver. As such, they requested that the BBC refrain from publishing details of Indiegogo’s decision to halt the campaign.

"Following a credible threat of violence against personnel of Retro Computers Limited, including threats made as recently as last night, we asked [technology desk editor] Leo Kelion and the BBC to refrain from publishing a story we believe to be factually inaccurate and might put people at risk of physical harm, alarm and distress," Retro Computers Limited founder David Levy said in a statement to the BBC on Wednesday.

The BBC says it delayed publication to give the company enough time to come forward with evidence of the threats.

Social media is filled with backers of the project wondering why it hasn’t been delivered yet.

Even though the company reached its funding target, it listed the games console as "in demand" and continued to accept donations for its development and distribution.

"In recent weeks, many backers have expressed anger that they still have not received their console and claimed their requests for more information were going unanswered by the company," said the BBC.

Sir Clive Sinclair - 1985

Sir Clive Sinclair in 1985
(Photo: PA)

Sir Clive Sinclair said last year: "The present surge of interest in retro products inspired me to plan the Vega+ as a handy games console which can be played anywhere."

A message on the Retro Computers Limited website hits back at any concern regarding the production of the product.

"We are about to launch our new website and so it’s temporarily off line whilst we switch over… we hope to be back up and running later today. We have a whole new look and new branding," it says .

"We’re sorry for the outage – and that the usual suspects are using our changeover to perpetuate panic.

"Please don’t believe the hype. We’re here, we’re not going anywhere – and your Vega+ IS real and IS coming to you.

"We’ve had a high volume of emails from and we’ll be getting back to genuine enquiries as soon as we can.

"We’ll have another update later today, including news about the user manual and further clarity regarding delivery. Please stay tuned. In the meantime, quoting the wonderful Terry Pratchett ‘A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.’"

The Vega+ is a hand-held console that will play all the 80s classics

In a statement emailed to journalists, Luton-based Retro Computers set out reasons for the delay:

"During what we had expected would be final testing of the product prior to the first shipment, we discovered that the software for three of the user features, which had been announced for the product, had not yet been implemented.

"We are taking immediate action to rectify this situation but realistically we now expect it to take a few weeks before we will be ready to ship the first units.

"This problem is part of the legacy that the company inherited when our former Managing Director, Paul Andrews, and our former Technical Director, Chris Smith, resigned on April 8 last year."

The company goes on to explain that it had to develop the software for the system from scratch after Mr Smith left the company. Furthermore, it is pursuing the rights holders of games to allow them to appear on the system.

"The net result of all this is that we expect to make the first shipment of Vega+ units a few weeks from now. We will provide updates to our progress as and when we feel it is appropriate."