Gameband’s Retro-Themed Game Watch Program Is Dead and There Are No Refunds In Sight

Sometimes a crowdfunded program can just go wrong in all the worst ways. A product shows up in a lesser format than expected (looking at you, Mighty No. 9); a developer can go nuts and spend all the money on something else (like strippers and alcohol); or the project can drop out completely and leave investors high and dry. And for the Gameband smartwatch, it’s definitely the latter.

Atari

Based on this report from Variety, the watch, which reached over $75,000 in funding early in 2017, is no longer happening. Feargal Mac Conuladh, who helped bring the project to Kickstarter, attempted to further its life with an additional $500,000 in funding. However, he recently noted that the project will not be “going forward” in terms of development.

“Ultimately the time, cost, and complexity have turned out to be far more challenging than we expected, and as a startup we simply do not have the finances or resources to continue to forge ahead,” he explained in an update on the product’s page. “We have looked at it from many angles, met with new potential partners, and tried to find additional funding to keep going, however we have not been able to make progress.”

As for refunds to those that invested in the project, they aren’t happening immediately, but Conuladh is apparently looking into it. “We will do our utmost to do so (with refunds), and in fact we are determined to do it and when we can,” he explained. “For now that is not the case. Our costs have far exceeded the $500K to date as we have dealt with the delays and technical challenges.”

Though the project was high on ambitious ideas, there was never really a working prototype to please fans, apparently. On top of that, Atari, one of the key partners on the project, dropped out midway through its development, leaving some wondering what games it would have as a result.

Conuladh added, “Even when our communication was not at its finest, the team has worked incredible hours, and for most months without salary. We believed in this more than we can possibly say. Some of you will understand the challenges and empathise, some of you will not, and you will rightly be angry with us. Regardless of how you feel today, you backed us, we have not delivered, and for that we are truly truly sorry.

“We came on here to build a dream product, and like with any dream there were nay-sayers, however if you backed us you also believed in us, and for that we are incredibly grateful. It makes the decision we have come to today all the more difficult, as we are letting you down.”

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Just a reminder that not every crowdfunded project is a success story. Here’s hoping the Gameband investors get back their money sooner rather than later. There may be legal action coming around if that isn’t the case.

(Hat tip to Variety for the details!)