Shock news has reached Retro Computing News tonight as we hear that two of the prime movers in UK company Retro Computers Limited have resigned, leaving the company’s future uncertain.
Managing Director Paul Andrews and Chief Technical Officer Chris Smith have left the company, leaving Sir Clive Sinclair and Dr David Levy the sole remaining members of the original management team. Mr Andrews and Mr Smith resigned on 8 April 2016.
We understand that Mr Andrews’ company has sent an email to everyone that has licensed games for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega console, which we reviewed in February. In this email the company states, we hear, that it will no longer be managing game licensing royalties, and that from now on Retro Computers Limited will manage them directly.
Dr Levy is apparently now solely responsible for everything related to the Vega console, including royalty payments to game authors (or donations to charity).
The company website has already been updated to reflect the changes in management, and details of the firm registered at Companies House show a change of address from the company’s original Luton addresss to 34 Courthope Road, London, England, NW3 2LD – the correspondence address of Dr David Levy.
The makers of the popular ZX Spectrum Vega, a ZX Spectrum-compatible games console, today announced the follow-up to their first officially licensed Sinclair-branded product.
The stylish new low-cost console, dubbed the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ is, say Luton-based makers Retro Computers Ltd, ‘The world’s only hand-held LCD games console with 1,000 licensed games inside that can also connect to your TV.’
The PSP-like portable gaming machine, the concept case design of which has been created by original Sinclair computer industrial designer Rick Dickinson, not only has its own built-in LCD screen, so gamers can dispense with the TV altogether, but a contemporary combination of low-profile joypad and control buttons that promise an even better playing experience than the first in the Vega line.
Sinclair with style
The Vega+ incorporates all the features of the ZX Vega and more, in a more attractive, if a little less nostalgic (no wobbly rubber keys!) package, including stereo output for ‘…great reproduction of gaming sounds and music’. It offers a built-in Micro SD card slot, composite video output (PAL or NTSC) combined with the headphone socket and +- volume buttons.
The Vega+ technology has been designed and developed by a team led by Chris Smith, who, say the company, is the world’s leading expert on the technology behind the 1980’s Sinclair ZX Spectrum range of home computers.
The name most closely associated with the Sinclair brand and the original Spectrum computers is, of course, the inimitable Sir Clive Sinclair, who said:
“The present surge of interest in retro products inspired me to plan the Vega+ as a handy games console which can be played anywhere.”
There and back again
The Sinclair ZX computer brand name was sold to Alan Sugar’s Amstrad in the late 1980’s; that company later sold it on to Sky In-Home Service Ltd, and the right to use the name was re-licensed back to Retro Computers Ltd, a Luton-based start-up in which Sir Clive’s company, Sinclair Research Ltd, is a shareholder, in 2014.
The Vega+, like the Vega before it, has been designed to reduce costs compared with the original and much-loved ‘Speccy’ by applying modern technology in the form of a fast but low-cost micro-controller which is the heart of the new machines.
The first Vega successfully went through the crowdfunding process at Indiegogo.com and the new Vega+ has been launched today on the same platform, with a price of £100 GBP plus shipping for the console itself, as well as a range of associated perks including limited edition colours, books, a Roll of Honour, signed art and Spectrum computers, and other options. For more details see:
Retro Computers Ltd are looking to raise £100,000 within a month to get their latest venture in production and on the market, and the project has certainly hit the ground running, with a prototype all ready to put into production and more than £11,000 raised in a day from over 100 backers already. Their initial aim is to manufacture the first production run of 2,500 units and get ready for the second run. Production and shipping of the first Vega Plus consoles are planned for late summer 2016.
Watch this space
Needless to say, Retro Computing News will be keeping a close eye on the progress of the Vega+ while preparing our review of the original Vega this week.
The new console certainly looks like a device with great potential to grab not only a share of the retro/nostalgia market but also a new market of modern gamers who will not only be able to have a lot of fun with the shiny new gadget, but will hopefully also be encouraged to take an interest in the history and heritage of one of the most iconic brands in British computing.
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