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I love Project CARS; I love the videos that the community produce; I love the regular updates from the developers; I love that the game is being marketed and designed by the community, for the community, and I love that this game will compete with all the big-budget corporate disasterpieces out there and will show them up for the schemes that they are. However, all is not well in the line of sight for Slightly Mad Studios' road to success.
A new detailed report on Eurogamer breaks down a new investigation from the FSA, the UK's Financial Services Authority (also known now as the FCA), who keeps in check any and all kind of financial transactions they deem potential schemes happening across the great pond. Unfortunately, this comes amid a massive delay for Project CARS, pushing the game back to the second quarter of 2014.
As noted in Eurogamer's report...
The FSA spokesman I spoke to would not comment on Slightly Mad's situation while the investigation is ongoing. He pointed out that some investigations do not result in any legal action, and usually no one is any the wiser since the FSA only goes public if it decides to take such action.
The only reason that we know of the FSA's probe into Slightly Mad is because the developer had little choice but to tell its backers why it was putting a freeze on any more contributions.
The good news is that no regulatory actions – outside of freezing any additional crowdfunding support – has been made against or toward Slightly Mad Studios. If the FSA finds that all is well in the world of Project CARS' crowd-sourced development, then they will let it all slide into the endless file cabinet void that lays rest a great deal of other cases that come and go with no real recourse.
The reason the investigation started is because the WMD Portal promises an ROI, or a return on investment, for crowd-funders. This means that anything you put into Project CARS you'll get back as an investor when it's time to sell the game (or as the revenue begins racking up). The FSA easily felt that a scheme could be brewing in the midst, and decided to get involved with an investigation before another WarZ scenario broke out.
However, things have become ugly because originally WMD was considered as an investment opportunity with contributors having a possible ROI, but after some conflict it's all become very shady and gray, and now it's looking like members may not get a share of the pie.
Swiss contributor Christoph Zürcher commented about the potential nix of a contributor ROI, saying...
“As my involvement is very low, I do not expect any financial gain. But this was never my goal. I certainly don't want to accuse them of any misconduct. It may very well be possible they have disclosed the information about the investment before - I just remember that I have only found the relevant info months after I signed up."
It's all really unclear how this will turn out, but most members who contributed to the project don't see it as a scheme – from the outside looking in, I certainly would never say it's a scheme and Slightly Mad Studios, of course, would never call it a scheme. Besides that, all the proof is in the pudding, you can literally see where all the money is going. For instance, check out the latest promotional trailer for the game below...made by a member who contributed to the crowd-funding of Project CARS, of course.
You can look for the game to launch next year for the Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.