The RetroEngine Sigma was supposed to be “Retrogaming Simplified” What happened?
In late 2016, a young start-up company calling itself Doyodo launched an Indiegogo campaign. They wanted to launch a product that would be simple and easy to use. An emulator box unlike any other. Something with the power to emulate even the Sega Dreamcast or the Nintendo 64. That product was dubbed the “RetroEngine Sigma”. However, something went wrong.
The next estimated ship date was to be in May, however, that came and went. With no update once again, backers were beginning to get a little antsy. Evoking feelings of the ill-fated Vega+ campaign, where backers paid for something that simply did not arrive with no word.
Doyodo team came back to reassure backers that the RetroEngine Sigma was progressing. It was coming soon and backers should be patient. So, patient, they were.
Let’s skip right to July here, Doyodo team posted pictures of tracking labels printed in China on their official Facebook page. The units were finally coming. some waited another month, they finally began arriving in the homes of backers early August 2017. However, many quickly came to realize that what they received, was not what they had ordered.
So did the RetroEnging Sigma live up to its hype?
The system itself felt very cheap. As though it could crumble apart just by holding it. Upon plugging in the unit, backers were ear blasted by an awful guitar riff, every time they plugged it in. The system asks you to connect to wifi, with no indication on exactly how to do it. Many were left fending for themselves to figure out how to even turn on the device. It required a smartphone to turn on the Wifi. Which in and of itself was bizarre. Many users indicated they had to actually change the name of their Wifi or the Passphrase they use to log in. It seemed the Sigma didn’t play nicely with special characters or spaces. Two things most users would use to keep their network secure.
Unfortunately, simply activating the Wifi on the system wasn’t the least of users worries. After this rigamarole, some users reported having to wait upwards of 10+ hours for the install everything it required. Surely in that time, some less technical folks were flabbergasted by what they were going through.
Remember, the tagline for the system was “RetroGaming Simplified”. Sadly, this was not the case.
After the multiple hours install for some (luckily mine only took about 45 minutes), we were greeted with the EmulationStation screen. Finally. However, users quickly came to realize this was not all they had to do. In order to get games to run, there was still a little more work to do. With little documentation supplied to us in the box, once again, we had to venture to the internet to figure it out.
The RetroEnging Sigma was advertised as being a 4K media player. However, users quickly discovered the system is built on a board called “OrangePi Lite”. These boards are simply not capable of producing 4K images. Not to mention the lack of a heatsink. If these things could produce 4K images, they’d likely melt. Which brings us to our next point…
Backers quickly came to realize that what they were sold was simply a modified version of a free and open source software known as RetrOrange PI. Which in its license says specifically “Selling a pre-installed RetrOrange image is not legal. Neither is including it in your commercial product”. In order to bypass legality, it seemed Doyodo simply swapped an opening screen and inserted a weird wireless antenna, which would be the reason some users are experiencing difficulty connecting.
Ultimately, many users wanted to get away from the terribly buggy and downright awful OS that Doyodo team packaged with their cheap system. Because the Sigma was built on an OrangePi Lite and using a modified and stolen copy of RetrOrange Pi, users simply reflashed the memory card with the proper OS. This ultimately fixed many of the issues users were having with the stock OS. Amazingly, the developers of RetrOrange Pi had no idea their software was being stolen for use in this way. Doyodo Team even posted that they DO NOT use it in any way shape or form, as indicated by several Facebook messages.
The steps to install RetroRange Pi and fix the system is exactly the same as the steps used for flashing the Sigma version. Making it a simple fix at least, but not one we should’ve had to do.
Doyodo goes silent
Once backers began to receive their products, complaints began rolling in. Unsurprisingly, the systems were so cheap that buttons began falling off controllers. Some users never even received a memory card and many others just wondering how exactly they turn on this magical “Plug and Play” system. Doyodo Team has gone completely radio silent. They clearly took the money and ran. To that end, an unofficial forum was quickly created by someone via the Indiegogo page to help other backers of the ill fated project figure out just how to use it.
Sadly, it’s projects like these that make Indiegogo and Kickstarter projects seem like they aren’t worth it. They shouldn’t be popping up at all, but there will always be someone that’s in it for a quick cash grab. I for one am surprised we even received anything. Especially something so blatantly ripping off other developers along with their backers.
Did you get a RetroEnging Sigma? Sound off in the comments below with anything I may have missed!
Check out my Youtube video where I unbox the Sigma and try setting it up right here!