(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over


By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago



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  • Latest reply 18 hours ago by Durzel
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  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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#13401 2 years ago
Quoted from HeighwayPinball:

LE production is also beginning now and we expect to ship significant numbers of LEs in June and July to paid-in-full customers first.

Glad to hear it. I've been paid 50+% for awhile now, but was waiting on a few things prior to paying in full. In particular, any ETA on final pics of the colored powder coat options, the LE "mini" backglass that goes with the LCD, and the gloss cab? I know you have more important things to do at the moment, but seeing those would certainly help me get my payment in.

Also, can you please clear up whether LE buyers that get the LCD will also get both standard and LE full and "mini" backglasses included for free (and, if not, explain what costs how much extra). Thanks!

#13402 2 years ago
Quoted from HeighwayPinball:

There are many questions about production so I want to give you an update.
We continue to manufacture and ship Standard Edition games on a weekly basis.
We are not at the point of 'mass production' yet as we continue to iron out any issues that may arise. We have had a lot more issues to deal with than we first thought, and we have made some significant changes as a result. Clearly, it is much better to make these changes when smaller numbers of machines have been delivered.
I'd like to take this chance to thank all of the early adopters for their patience, and their significant feedback. It really has helped us to develop a better, and more reliable game.
I understand everyone's frustration at the slow production figures - but this will change, and soon. We will continue to ramp up SE production to clear our current backlog. LE production is also beginning now and we expect to ship significant numbers of LEs in June and July to paid-in-full customers first.
We are 100% committed to delivering this game to everyone who has ordered - and as quickly as quickly as possible. It is our one and only priority

Any word on the playfield shipping crate? Just waiting to drop out kit into our Full Throttle cabinet at The Sanctum.

-Jim

#13403 2 years ago
Quoted from chrisnack:

It would be nice if you were 100% committed to customer service.
I know of 3 of us waiting for refunds and your company hasn't bothered to respond to a single one of us or acknowledge any of our requests for refunds. That's roughly $24,000 you are refusing to give back to customers.

I'm in the same boat. I have sent 3 emails asking for a refund of my deposit and I have not received a single response. Why are you ignoring us Andrew?

#13404 2 years ago

You know what irritates me is that i have an inbox full of the same story, people waiting for a response, getting the run around by Heighway and empty promises, anything to string people along longer. Anything to keep people on the hook longer.

It's ridiculous.

#13405 2 years ago

Andrew has to be very careful here. Refunds should be handled quickly. If too many people have trouble getting a refund there will be an "It's A Wonderful Life" syndrome with a "run on the bank." I hope it gets worked out for you guys.

#13406 2 years ago
Quoted from HeighwayPinball:

LE production is also beginning now and we expect to ship significant numbers of LEs in June and July to paid-in-full customers first.

This was a pleasant surprise to hear! Thanks for the update Andrew.

Eventually the LE owners are going to need to see actual photos/video of the finalized trim packages so we can make our choices. Really need to see what the green & blue trim look like first, so there's something else to look forward to

15
#13407 2 years ago

The biggest thing I spot in all these "new" pinball companies is that they seem to fail to recognize their fiduciary to protect deposits and pre-payments from loss until units are shipped,. They are not the owners of your deposits and pre-payments. They are stewards of the money until it is earned. If a company really wants to show their respect for your money, it would all be held in trust and the startup capital would be provided by conventional loans against the assets of the stewards. Also, manufacturing companies can purchase performance bonds to protect that money while they are unable to ship product. Cheap? No.

Another contractual technique to light a fire under these guys is liquidated damages for missing deadlines. If the price went down $100 for every week (or month) late, I'm sure the empty promises would stop.

If this story follows along the JJP narrative, we should be looking for "new investors" in Heighway by the end of summer (assuming cash flow is limiting the production in this case). You can't use production money to build a factory and then also to buy all the components in BOM.... and then hire and train people to do the assembly. The fixed overhead investment should be either paid for with investment capital up front or amortized over 15 years through borrowing. Using order revenue to pay for the fixed overhead of setting up factory production is not a long term winning strategy. I don't think this is what's happening here. I imagine that Heighway brought a lot of his own money into it. The big question is, "was it enough?" Think about this the next time some boutique promises to ramp up a factory while they are soliciting pre-order money. Look at how homepin (Thunderbirds) can't get it done in China. He says they are 10X over budget.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/homepin-official-thread-pinball-parts-machine-progress/page/9#post-3715255

FYI, a little trick I learned in manual labor manufacturing cost estimating is to look at the sales price as 1/3 materials, 1/3 labor, 1/3 gross profit. Through this prism, you can see that there is a pretty large number of games that must be sold to hit the Break Even mark in the operation as a whole. Hopefully cash starvation is not the case here, but we must always assume that's the case when things are as reported in this thread. A typical production line startup should demonstrate a doubling of production each week during the period while factory is running at 25%-75% capacity. I know we're not there yet, but that should be the litmus test. My first degree was in Industrial Engineering and I have been involved in the startup of two business that went from 0-$2MM in the first 18 months and from 2MM to 15MM in the second 18 months.

Anyways, my points are likely moot because games are shipping and people like them. It should be a lot easier to find money at this point.

#13408 2 years ago

Thanks for explaining that! I couldnt wrap my head around people saying they need $200k to keep production going! Made no sense! where do pinsider's get that number and what kind of company takes deposits to keep their bankroll flowing. Didn't seem/sound legit.

#13409 2 years ago

Posting on here seems to be the only way to even get a response from Heighway. After posting this morning, now all of us waiting on refunds got this canned email within the last hour:

--------------------
Hi xxxxx,
I sincerely apologise for any delays in our response to your refund request. Our standard refund policy is to refund your payment within 30 days. As we are moving towards full production this process maybe delayed up to 60 days. I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause but we will endeavour to resolve your refund as soon as we can.

Thank you once again for your time and your interest in our games.
--------------------

I don't honestly believe it for one bit, it's just yet another "wait, there's more".

#13410 2 years ago
Quoted from HeighwayPinball:

There are many questions about production so I want to give you an update.
We continue to manufacture and ship Standard Edition games on a weekly basis.
We are not at the point of 'mass production' yet as we continue to iron out any issues that may arise. We have had a lot more issues to deal with than we first thought, and we have made some significant changes as a result. Clearly, it is much better to make these changes when smaller numbers of machines have been delivered.
I'd like to take this chance to thank all of the early adopters for their patience, and their significant feedback. It really has helped us to develop a better, and more reliable game.
I understand everyone's frustration at the slow production figures - but this will change, and soon. We will continue to ramp up SE production to clear our current backlog. LE production is also beginning now and we expect to ship significant numbers of LEs in June and July to paid-in-full customers first.
We are 100% committed to delivering this game to everyone who has ordered - and as quickly as quickly as possible. It is our one and only priority

If that's the case why can no-one return the email on a paid in full order on a standard (including shipping) that I was told would be in the first 20? And the last update I got said that I could expect it late April or very early May? Something doesn't add up, and I am getting very concerned and upset. I've sent emails this week to two people at Heighway, one being Andrew and have gotten no response.

There's a big event at the location I'll be placing the game in this saturday but I can't use the opportunity to promote it if I don't know when or if it's arriving.

Also the phone number on your website needs to be updated.

Carrie O.

#13411 2 years ago

Pinball problems

#13412 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

Another contractual technique to light a fire under these guys is liquidated damages for missing deadlines. If the price went down $100 for every week (or month) late, I'm sure the empty promises would stop.

Any start-up or fledgling company which accepts such terms for an order is not very savvy. Always loved it when a customer would want to include a penalty clause in the contract, tied to ship/delivery date... As soon as the reciprocal bonus clause was mentioned, the penalty clause talk usually disappeared. I the last 20 years, I can recall only two customers have gotten such clauses written into contracts with the companies I have worked for... each time both contracts have included suitably reciprocal clauses. One contract was delivered early for a bonus and the other ended up being negated due to significant customer delay. Lots and lots of ways to get around penalty clauses.

One common thing all these pinball companies, perhaps except Spooky (no affiliation), suffer with is general communication. I'm chomping at the bit for Alien, but I learned my lesson regarding preorders with JJP and TH. I don't have the stomach for it. So, I'm waiting to be able to play Alien and to be able to order and have shipment happen within days.

#13413 2 years ago
Quoted from Jawa:

Also the phone number on your website needs to be updated.

I told them that 2 weeks ago when I called them and they said they knew about it.

#13414 2 years ago

Why are people still so eager to send in thousands of dollars so far in advance?

#13415 2 years ago
Quoted from gliebig:

Why are people still so eager to send in thousands of dollars so far in advance?

sounds like an illness...a preexisting condition I suppose...

#13416 2 years ago

It takes TWO MONTHS to process a refund??? Why does the move toward production effect how quickly refunds can be processed?

#13417 2 years ago
Quoted from chrisnack:

As we are moving towards full production this process maybe delayed up to 60 days.

I don't understand this. Is the person that 'cuts the checks' assembling the game? Further, I would want to resolve cancellations and refunds as quickly as possible so that you don't inadvertently ship a game to someone that has cancelled his or her order. (Not to mention the legal muck of shipping a game to a new buyer before you've fulfilled the contractual obligation of the original buyer.) I assume all this will sort itself out but that statement is a head scratcher.

23
#13418 2 years ago

Can't refund what you don't have anymore.

Why else would Heighway let people with cash in hand jump in line in front of people who have been paid for a long time?

#13419 2 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Can't refund what you don't have anymore.

This

#13420 2 years ago

But we are talking about 5 machines worth of refunds here out of hundreds of orders, that shouldn't be a bank breaker?

#13421 2 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Can't refund what you don't have anymore.
Why else would Heighway let people with cash in hand jump in line in front of people who have been paid for a long time?

Likely they're selling small numbers of machines (probably to non-pinsiders) to people not on the paid list to generate some cash flow. This is a thought many of us have likely had but were unwilling to write. Glad to see Wolfmarsh break the ice there and get an upvote.

#13422 2 years ago

I guess they are worried that people are going to pull their money out and go for the new Star Wars pin?

#13423 2 years ago
Quoted from Sonny_Jim:

It takes TWO MONTHS to process a refund??? Why does the move toward production effect how quickly refunds can be processed?

Come on guys.

Let's be real here. It's a cash flow issue and has been for a long time

Andrew needs the cash to order parts, hire labor etc to "ramp up" and get games out the door

There are issues with the pin that have been discovered from the current play testers. Tough thing to deal with at this point

I would doubt anybody is getting a refund anytime soon, it's make or break time it would appear

I hope Andrew is able to pull this one out somehow

#13424 2 years ago

the one that was announced on Star Wars day?

#13425 2 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Can't refund what you don't have anymore.
Why else would Heighway let people with cash in hand jump in line in front of people who have been paid for a long time?

Yep, the same reason JJP did it with Woz. A fistful of cash

#13426 2 years ago

Well if anyone wants to watch some Alien gameplay I'll be streaming in about an hour, my school just released early due to flooding in the area so I've got some spare time.

#13427 2 years ago

Sorry, i have not kept up on the payment stuff...
Wasnt it only 1k deposit? Why are people paying the full amount?

In some cases people seem to have paid the full amount just a few weeks ago (to jump the line?) and now are wanting out? Anyone that fickle, i would advise you are better off sitting on the sidelines until you can buy a game ready to go.

#13428 2 years ago
Quoted from chadderack:

Likely they're selling small numbers of machines (probably to non-pinsiders) to people not on the paid list to generate some cash flow. This is a thought many of us have likely had but were unwilling to write. Glad to see Wolfmarsh break the ice there and get an upvote.

And I don't think anyone actually wants to bust Heighway's balls over doing that.

If that's what they need to do to make payroll, get the engineering issues corrected, and buy parts to build games, then do it.

Just stop jerking my friends around.

#13429 2 years ago

so you decided against the ramp lighting...

#13430 2 years ago
Quoted from chrisnack:

Posting on here seems to be the only way to even get a response from Heighway. After posting this morning, now all of us waiting on refunds got this canned email within the last hour:
--------------------
Hi xxxxx,
I sincerely apologise for any delays in our response to your refund request. Our standard refund policy is to refund your payment within 30 days. As we are moving towards full production this process maybe delayed up to 60 days. I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause but we will endeavour to resolve your refund as soon as we can.
Thank you once again for your time and your interest in our games.
--------------------
I don't honestly believe it for one bit, it's just yet another "wait, there's more".

so you decided against the ramp lighting....

#13431 2 years ago
Quoted from chrisnack:

I sincerely apologise for any delays in our response to your refund request. Our standard refund policy is to refund your payment within 30 days. As we are moving towards full production this process maybe delayed up to 60 days

Man it looks like NPO got out just in time :/

#13432 2 years ago

somebody should graph the ebbs and flows of the pinball freak-out....

#13433 2 years ago

If you build it. We will buy. Cmon heighway

#13434 2 years ago
Quoted from kidchrisso:

so you decided against the ramp lighting....

No it was on my order. But I was told the coding wasn't done yet. I requested the game ship without it.

I have also found out that it appears they haven't ordered the fiber yet from the supplier and when they do it's at least 2 months out. So I highly doubt LE's will ship in June or even July as they don't have the actual parts. Heighway can comment on that if they like.

#13435 2 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

And I don't think anyone actually wants to bust Heighway's balls over doing that.
If that's what they need to do to make payroll, get the engineering issues corrected, and buy parts to build games, then do it.
Just stop jerking my friends around.

I'm with ya buddy--I'm not doing the jerking.

#13436 2 years ago
Quoted from chrisnack:

Posting on here seems to be the only way to even get a response from Heighway. After posting this morning, now all of us waiting on refunds got this canned email within the last hour:
--------------------
Hi xxxxx,
I sincerely apologise for any delays in our response to your refund request. Our standard refund policy is to refund your payment within 30 days. As we are moving towards full production this process maybe delayed up to 60 days. I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause but we will endeavour to resolve your refund as soon as we can.
Thank you once again for your time and your interest in our games.
--------------------
I don't honestly believe it for one bit, it's just yet another "wait, there's more".

Interesting. I did not receive that canned response. I still have not had any response. What I've noticed on this thread is that the squeaky wheel usually gets the grease from Heighway Pinball. People have waited months for a refund and it has only been acknowledged once they post in this thread. Andrew usually chimes in at that point and says something like "My apologies <insert excuse here> I will take care of this tonight." So now it seems this is no longer the case. The wheels are still squeaking. I've never waited 60 days for a refund on anything.

Andrew, please explain to your existing customers and potential future customers why refund requests are being handled so poorly and often ignored.

#13437 2 years ago

Hmmmm... I only have the $1k deposit in but a few things strike me funny. I wrote Andrew a few days back about his projected April/May delivery of my machine and also to show off a Heighway neon sign I had made. I thought I'd get at least a "cool sign" and maybe a "small delays in shipment" response but nothing... nada.

This is in stark contrast to him bending over backwards to help get me in on an Alien SE. He actually wrote me after seeing a comment from me about delivery times in one of the Alien threads(probably this one).

I'm still "in" on Alien but I am having a bit of a "hmmmmmm" moment here... what to do if I get the email "please send the rest of your payment since we are ready to make your game". I'm not sure what I'll do if I get that email in the next week or two.

Ugh.

-Jeff

p.s. Just looked and I wrote him 11 days ago.

-1
#13438 2 years ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

Star wars was a legit killer theme in the 90s, the theme is burned out from the crummy movies imo. The latest movies help a little, but I still value the theme less than I did before episode one.

Kind of like Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, and Prometheus?

#13439 2 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Wasnt it only 1k deposit?

I was an early preorder and it was a $1500 deposit for Alien LE.

12
#13440 2 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Sorry, i have not kept up on the payment stuff...
Wasnt it only 1k deposit? Why are people paying the full amount?
In some cases people seem to have paid the full amount just a few weeks ago (to jump the line?) and now are wanting out? Anyone that fickle, i would advise you are better off sitting on the sidelines until you can buy a game ready to go.

Because we were told that paying in full puts you at the front of the line. I confirmed and confirmed the timelines with Heighway many times before I ordered. Shame on me for believing them.

Fickle? I don't agree with that at all. I'm sorry but as I've stated before I'd you pay $8k-$9k for a machine you are owed some degree of information.

Is it my opinion, let me state that again, my opinion that Heighway doesn't actually have the money to refund customers that want out. I also believe that games have not shipped and there is no evidence otherwise to suggest so. Games have shipped to events because it's good PR and it generated interest and revenue. Given how active this thread is it's unlikely that people with machines wouldn't post them if they had them. We only see pictures if games from people who had pre-prod units and people who brought them home from shows. I haven't read all 13k posts but I would imagine give all the excitement that if somone had a machine they would have posted something.

Heighway also does a good job of coming on here and posting just enough smoke to keep people happy and dangle the carrot yet again for people.

There is no evidence that games are actually being built and delivered. There is no evidence that games are production ready. We know of issues with the xeno board, we know the fiber coding isn't done yet and I'm sure there are other things.

It's harsh but that's what I see. I tried to hold off on posting something like this, but I feel obligated that information needs to be posted so that people can be informed and make a good decision if they choose to order a game.

I also understand that it is law in UK that refunds have to processed within 14 days or 10 working days.

#13441 2 years ago

Question for those more familiar with Paypal policies than myself. My deposit was done through Paypal 2 1/2 years ago. Since I have never received the product my deposit was for, do I have the right to file a claim with Paypal at this point to get my deposit back?

#13442 2 years ago
Quoted from chrisnack:

I also believe that games have not shipped and there is no evidence otherwise to suggest so.

What are your thoughts on the Moon Landing?

#13443 2 years ago

Wondering again, why people are bailing out when production is just starting? Why did you wait this long and then suddenly, when games start to trickle out decide I need my money back ASAP?

#13444 2 years ago
Quoted from dgposter:

I was an early preorder and it was a $1500 deposit for Alien LE.

Me too

I'll either be getting a pin or just writing it off

Not looking for a deposit refund after 3 yrs

Also won't drop any more funds in unit and if it gets rolling

People can move right on up to the front of the line as far as I'm concerned

#13445 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

Wondering again, why people are bailing out when production is just starting? Why did you wait this long and then suddenly, when games start to trickle out decide I need my money back ASAP?

A lot happens in 2 1/2 years.

#13446 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

Wondering again, why people are bailing out when production is just starting? Why did you wait this long and then suddenly, when games start to trickle out decide I need my money back ASAP?

Games are shipping based on what? Your horoscope for the day?

Other than a post by Heighway what proves that games are actually shipping and being delivered?

Why doesn't Heighway provide a list of how many games to what countries?

#13447 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

Wondering again, why people are bailing out when production is just starting? Why did you wait this long and then suddenly, when games start to trickle out decide I need my money back ASAP?

Because at some point the momentum is gone and people lose interest and want to move on.

#13448 2 years ago
Quoted from chrisnack:

Our standard refund policy is to refund your payment within 30 days

Quoted from chrisnack:

this process maybe delayed up to 60 days

Unacceptable!

No excuse for this!

#13449 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

What are your thoughts on the Moon Landing?

I am also aware that some people in this thread will provide blantant support and help the Heighway marketing engine for some reason.

And I'll continue to get bashed for providing information to help others.

And posting on here is the only proven way to solicit any sort of response from Heighway.

#13450 2 years ago
Quoted from chrisnack:

Games are shipping based on what? Your horoscope for the day?
Other than a post by Heighway what proves that games are actually shipping and being delivered?
Why doesn't Heighway provide a list of how many games to what countries?

Seems like you are going off the rails a bit, no offense.

Anything is possible I suppose, but as a Heighway customer I'm confident things will get moving. They are a new company, not Stern. It would be a major collapse for Alien to actually NOT happen at this point. Is that your contention?

Everything in life takes a bit of trust.

You'll either get your refund back or you won't. People will get their games or they won't. The world keeps on turning for now. I'm loving my Full Throttle and I trust I'll be able to get an Alien game kit at some point.

Bottom line, after all this static being broadcast here, the most likely answer is their production is starting slow. That's it. I would calm down and appreciate your health and that the sun still rises.

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