Last year, we reported on the theft of £500,000 worth of Evercade EXP systems in the UK. The units impacted were the black Limited Edition versions of the machine. Blaze, the company behind the Evercade, has just revealed that replacement units have been issued to customers and are clearly marked to differentiate them from those stolen late last year.
If your unit is purchased from the UK, US or anywhere else in the world other than the European Union, then you'll find that the outer packaging of the Evercade EXP Limited Edition has been changed. The screenshot shown on the console shows the Capcom Collection, and there's an 'Evercade authenticity badge' printed on the bottom-right of the packaging's sleeve. There are also differences in the carts listed on the sides of the inner box.
Make sure that you check everything you can in the listing as well to confirm if it is a stolen item. Any cartridges in these collections will also have no barcodes on the back of their cartridge box and the included Certificate of Authenticity has been altered to the new “Heroes” certificate. There are no cosmetic changes to the unit, as our European customers already have these units legitimately and it would be unfair to them if their unit was different due to circumstances beyond all our controls. However, the unit itself has been slightly revised with a wider cartridge slot to better accomodate original cartridges.
For European customers, there are no cosmetic changes to the packaging, as this version of the console was released as expected via Blaze's European distribution channels last year. "However, we did email each customer a unique digital certificate that includes their order number," says Blaze's PR. "This is proof that the unit they have is not stolen and is a legitimate item. If you buy this second-hand, on a European marketplace, make sure to check the location of sale and if the seller has this certificate."
Blaze adds that it has been doing all it can to remove listings for stolen consoles on Facebook and eBay:
We are aware that there are multiple units that are being sold online via third-party marketplaces like Facebook and eBay. We have been vigilant in reporting these listings that involve stolen goods and appreciate all of the listings that have been reported to us from the community. We thank you all for your support on this.
For some context, we are personally unable to remove the listings from eBay as only law enforcement personnel are able to report stolen items on the marketplace. We have passed and regularly continue to pass new listings to the investigating police department of all stolen Evercade EXP Limited Editions. But at that point, it has been out of our hands. With other listings both us at Blaze and we know many of you have been able to report any of the stolen units to the platform. We are able to identify stolen units once activated, and this information has been and will continue to be provided to law enforcement.
A quick look on eBay reveals that stolen units are still being listed for sale:
Andrew Byatt, Blaze CEO, gave us this statement regarding the news:
This event has been an awful episode for our customers and also internally for Blaze Entertainment. We thank all our customers for their understanding and our community for their patience and vigilance on Limited Editions orders. As soon as the news reached us of the theft, our hearts sank. On a week that we were about to celebrate the release of the EXP, and were excited to see many people enjoying the new Capcom games and the new arcade titles from IREM and Toaplan, we were faced with a huge challenge. Instead, after the initial shock, we rallied together and immediately started working toward how to fix this.
We very quickly made the decision after the theft to try and make this right for everyone with a replacement unit for all affected orders. This meant very quickly ramping up production for these units, making changes to the artwork trying to create a supply chain and logistics solution. This is normally a process that you’d take months to prepare, and we had less than five weeks between placing an order and the break caused by Chinese New Year celebrations, to get this all prepared.
It was a mammoth task and our team and our factory rose to the challenge magnificently. We’ve been lucky enough to get these units slightly ahead of our projected time and have managed to get these units out and in people’s hands. It’s wonderful to see this and we’re thankful that everyone is now enjoying their Evercade EXP Limited Edition consoles.
Sean Cleaver, Blaze Marketing Manager, added:
One of our biggest challenges has been making sure that our community and our customers know what we’re doing, what the progress is, and also to keep everyone’s spirits high. We understood how disheartening it is to see others enjoying both the Limited Edition deliveries in Europe that were unaffected and the release of the standard edition Evercade EXP. Especially with the hype high over the new features, the new games that were available, and the content created on social media and YouTube on the units.
We’ve been mindful of this in all of our communications and publicising of the products, and are equally aware that the show must go on with our continued cartridge announcements. But we’ve also made sure to keep telling those affected about what was happening when we had firm and useful information. We’ve kept our lines of communication very open and as is our tradition at Blaze, we’ve remained as honest and open as we can be with the information we have and progress that was made, via direct communication with those people affected. Our community has been incredible in sticking with us and their orders, understanding the situation and being patient with the process and we hope that that patience is now rewarded.