ALIEN PINBALL - Official Game Thread


By HeighwayPinball

3 years ago


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#18701 22 days ago
Quoted from way2wyrd:

Post away Delt.

if not for his tech related posts, what would be left?

#18702 22 days ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

ifnot for his tech related posts, what would be left

Just "the sky is falling" posts. It's good to see some positivity amongst the harsh reality and the end of the world

-Jeff

#18703 22 days ago
Quoted from way2wyrd:

Just "the sky is falling" posts. It's good to see some positivity amongst the harsh reality and the end of the world
-Jeff

+1....starting to breathe a bit...

-8
#18704 22 days ago

Ha, this thread has their heads so high in the clouds it's past insanity at his point. Heighway probably has the best customers here lol, give money and buy their BS and just say it's ok...it's ok...lol

#18705 21 days ago

One thing I just noticed for current and future owners is that my machine's ball launcher would sometimes not launch the ball straight through and it would bounce back (maybe every 10 balls or so this would happen once). I realized this morning that b/c of the arch of the switch arm on the shooter lane being so high. the ball would get put into the launcher but then hit the arch and not go into the center of the shooter lane causing the launcher to shoot it on the wrong angle. I just adjusted and it's shooting out properly each time. FYI.

Also - there are two metal lanes that are in b/w the CB shot and right orbit. I found by pushing those togethers with padded pliers it helps the right orbit have room to come back cleaner to right flipper (although not as consistent as I would like) and for the ball to roll over the switch and CB target for the lifecycle shot. I have mine on hard for CB which is why I mention target.

Best feeling when you hit that CB lane and target to get the life cycle icon. I recently hit it from the left flipper and as a former Tron owner twice, it's better and harder than Gem. Could be one of if not hardest shots in pinball (bottom left flipper to CB target). It's possible but hell if I can replicate it consistently!

26
#18706 21 days ago

Letter From the new team at HWP:

Hi

We are writing to update you as you committed to buy a pinball machine from Heighway Pinball, before we took over management of the company from Andrew Heighway in early June. There has also been much speculation on the various Pinball forums, and from some journalists, about what is going on at the company so we wanted to tell your directly as you have a vested interest in our company!

Nearly 6 months ago, we took over a business with a not quite finished Alien machine, an empty bank account, many refund requests, paid for and deposit down orders, supplier and other bills and hardly any parts at the factory with which to make machines.

We had hoped that more of you would have had their machines by now but due to technical delays, unforeseen bills and more refund requests than anticipated, to mention some, it is taking a little longer than we planned. We think that the extra time we are spending on quality control is paying off. The feedback we are now receiving on the Alien is good from customers. There are still improvements to be made but we are working on these every day.

We know that it has been frustrating sitting on the outside not knowing what is happening, but it has been just as frustrating for us, due to all the unknowns and uncertainties that have emerged since June. If we say something one week, we might have to change it the next week due to new developments. The difficult aspect for us is, as proven, whenever we have said anything it has been twisted and turned on social media and some of it has spun out of control. That is why we have decided to limit information from our side on these forums and keep our focus on getting the product out of the door at the right quality. We also see that many of the social media comments are honest reactions and comments, but some seem to be posted to pour gasoline on the fire, even from people that we do not have on our order book. We hope you can understand our choice of ”silence” in this matter. Factory updates will be posted on our Facebook page. We promise to be in direct contact with all of our pre-order customers with good news and bad and, as soon as we have the planned production week for your machine, we will tell you. We hope to have delivered the machines to all of you by late Q1 2018, but please don’t kill us if it takes a little longer. Unforeseen challenges surface every week and we solve them and keep moving forward.

All of the investors, that have now stepped in, were in the same situation as all of you until June, with ”lost money” on anything from a pre-order deposit payment to mulitple fully paid for machines. Just to make it clear, none of us have received any machines yet either and we have put all of our old "money down" orders at the back of the production queue. We will not get any machines we paid for before June until you have yours.

It was a big decision for us to step in and a very significant financial and time commitment. We believe that the prospects for those that ordered machines is much, much better now than they were in May.

We have made real progress and are now shipping the re-vamped SE machine, with much improved code and are working on further improvements. As we posted on our Facebook page, the next run of machines to be shipped will include both SEs and LEs and we know most of you have pre-ordered LE machines. We have paid many refunds dating from the pre-June period and we have also made amends to some who received pinball machines from Andrew Heighway.

In order to maximise production of machines for our Distributors and for you, we have adopted a clear strategy and cashflow plan that prioritises production of machines over all aspects of the business. In this regard, we have a production/ cashflow schedule that deliberately spreads the shipping of pre-ordered machines and remaining refunds from the previous CEO's time over a number of months. Similarly on the fixes for the machines shipped in the first months of this year. You will get your machines but we will not ship them all together. We have to do it this way if we are to continue to turn this business around, having decided to save it in June. We have your orders and plan to ship to you all. Some of your orders date back to 2014!

On the LEs, there are two coming pieces of news. Firstly, the 3 trims of the LE are currently being made up. Once we have them back at the factory, we will show you pictures of the production choices you have; Black, Blue and Green. In addition, we have negotiated with Roman Glass the option to supply their Roman/ PDI glass on our machines. This add on is offered at $250/ £195/ €220 once Roman's first pallet arrives at the factory during December.

The technical aspects and the support for the games is one of our primary focuses. At this moment in time we do not have a complete technical manual for the machines but this is currently in development as an online resource. The support structure for customers is also going through a transition as we hope to help in any way possible with any issues that may arise with the machine. This is a process and we are improving our procedures every dayto get the best possible online reasources.

We are hard at work here and wholy committed to getting machines to you all as soon as we can. This has been a difficult situation for all parties involved but we are getting through these difficulties together. Fundamentally we are all passionate about pinball and want to see the expansion of this great hobby. Alien is the first step to this and with the commitment from all of us here at Heighway Pinball we will make this expansion a reality.

We hope that this update is helpful.

The Management

#18707 21 days ago

"Cash Flow schedule"

New investors are still cash poor, or are not committed to going "all in". Troubling.

#18708 21 days ago

No mention of the fiber optic LE ramps? Seems they have been scrapped from multiple accounts, weird it wasn't mentioned in this.

#18709 21 days ago
Quoted from Jarbyjibbo:

Letter From the new team at HWP:
Hi
We are writing to update you as you committed to buy a pinball machine from Heighway Pinball, before we took over management of the company from Andrew Heighway in early June. There has also been much speculation on the various Pinball forums, and from some journalists, about what is going on at the company so we wanted to tell your directly as you have a vested interest in our company!
Nearly 6 months ago, we took over a business with a not quite finished Alien machine, an empty bank account, many refund requests, paid for and deposit down orders, supplier and other bills and hardly any parts at the factory with which to make machines.
We had hoped that more of you would have had their machines by now but due to technical delays, unforeseen bills and more refund requests than anticipated, to mention some, it is taking a little longer than we planned. We think that the extra time we are spending on quality control is paying off. The feedback we are now receiving on the Alien is good from customers. There are still improvements to be made but we are working on these every day.
We know that it has been frustrating sitting on the outside not knowing what is happening, but it has been just as frustrating for us, due to all the unknowns and uncertainties that have emerged since June. If we say something one week, we might have to change it the next week due to new developments. The difficult aspect for us is, as proven, whenever we have said anything it has been twisted and turned on social media and some of it has spun out of control. That is why we have decided to limit information from our side on these forums and keep our focus on getting the product out of the door at the right quality. We also see that many of the social media comments are honest reactions and comments, but some seem to be posted to pour gasoline on the fire, even from people that we do not have on our order book. We hope you can understand our choice of ”silence” in this matter. Factory updates will be posted on our Facebook page. We promise to be in direct contact with all of our pre-order customers with good news and bad and, as soon as we have the planned production week for your machine, we will tell you. We hope to have delivered the machines to all of you by late Q1 2018, but please don’t kill us if it takes a little longer. Unforeseen challenges surface every week and we solve them and keep moving forward.
All of the investors, that have now stepped in, were in the same situation as all of you until June, with ”lost money” on anything from a pre-order deposit payment to mulitple fully paid for machines. Just to make it clear, none of us have received any machines yet either and we have put all of our old "money down" orders at the back of the production queue. We will not get any machines we paid for before June until you have yours.
It was a big decision for us to step in and a very significant financial and time commitment. We believe that the prospects for those that ordered machines is much, much better now than they were in May.
We have made real progress and are now shipping the re-vamped SE machine, with much improved code and are working on further improvements. As we posted on our Facebook page, the next run of machines to be shipped will include both SEs and LEs and we know most of you have pre-ordered LE machines. We have paid many refunds dating from the pre-June period and we have also made amends to some who received pinball machines from Andrew Heighway.
In order to maximise production of machines for our Distributors and for you, we have adopted a clear strategy and cashflow plan that prioritises production of machines over all aspects of the business. In this regard, we have a production/ cashflow schedule that deliberately spreads the shipping of pre-ordered machines and remaining refunds from the previous CEO's time over a number of months. Similarly on the fixes for the machines shipped in the first months of this year. You will get your machines but we will not ship them all together. We have to do it this way if we are to continue to turn this business around, having decided to save it in June. We have your orders and plan to ship to you all. Some of your orders date back to 2014!
On the LEs, there are two coming pieces of news. Firstly, the 3 trims of the LE are currently being made up. Once we have them back at the factory, we will show you pictures of the production choices you have; Black, Blue and Green. In addition, we have negotiated with Roman Glass the option to supply their Roman/ PDI glass on our machines. This add on is offered at $250/ £195/ €220 once Roman's first pallet arrives at the factory during December.
The technical aspects and the support for the games is one of our primary focuses. At this moment in time we do not have a complete technical manual for the machines but this is currently in development as an online resource. The support structure for customers is also going through a transition as we hope to help in any way possible with any issues that may arise with the machine. This is a process and we are improving our procedures every dayto get the best possible online reasources.
We are hard at work here and wholy committed to getting machines to you all as soon as we can. This has been a difficult situation for all parties involved but we are getting through these difficulties together. Fundamentally we are all passionate about pinball and want to see the expansion of this great hobby. Alien is the first step to this and with the commitment from all of us here at Heighway Pinball we will make this expansion a reality.
We hope that this update is helpful.
The Management

got the same email so basically telling me i prepaid but i have to wait till first quarter 2018. they lost money and they are out money also.
smh

11
#18710 21 days ago

You complain when there is little communication and then you complain when they do communicate. Is there anything positive you can find in their post?

QSS

#18711 21 days ago

I find this to be very good communication. They are being honest, taking steps in the right direction, and have a proactive plan.

I was also recently contacted and they have a plan in place to bring our machine up to 100%. I have spoken with a few other early adopters and plans are in place for them also (each machine from the first pre-production/Andrew era are different so a different solution for each). I will be happy to update when the plan comes to fruition.

I am hopeful as they are taking steps in the right direction and the honesty is refreshing.

#18712 21 days ago

For the record I am paid in full on a all option LE since beginning of 2017.

So great to finally hear something straight from the horses mouth!

With out these guys all would be lost for most people that have money tied up in this. Give them the benefit of the doubt and I believe we will all be happy owners in the near future. I will rather wait a little longer and give them time to do it right and keep the company going. We all win if they keep pumping out machines and new titles in the future. Imagine getting a machine with the code 90-95% there when you unpack it instead of waiting 2 years for the finished code.

I have played it at DPO and I have to say I can not wait to get it home and into a dark quiet room, crank the volume up and kill me some Alien's.

Would I have wanted it sooner? Hell yes but:

All good things come to those who wait.

#18713 21 days ago

Got the same email as well. Still nervous but definitely appreciate the communication. I personally don't mind if it takes an extra month or two to get mine so long as, you know, i actually get a working, QC'd machine. Still anxiously waiting on the final LE "reveal" though.

#18714 21 days ago

TLDR; It was a bigger shit show than we anticipated. We're doing our best. Thanks for your patience.

What I didn't like is them blaming social media (ie: Pinside), but much of the complaints I've read here is frustration from people not getting responses by email from them. They don't need to blame anyone for that, they just need to fix it.

#18715 21 days ago

In lieu of post #18706 (I received the same e-mail this morning), I'm going to close my other Alien thread, addressing refund $$$'s owed. This e-mail is quite refreshing, and they are obviously aware of the challenges, have a plan (whether we like it or not) on how games/ refunds will go out, and aren't going to pay much mind to social media, providing updates as they see fit to the customers.

I appreciate them being as honest as possible, and no point in beating a dead horse. This does seem to show their intent in making everyone whole, and not abandoning early adopters. I wish them speedy resolution, in for the remaining haul (however long that might be), but see no point in discussing or attempting to clarify the now very, very obvious. More convinced than ever that games/customer support/ refunds/ etc. will be handled, but on THEIR timeline. Is what it is.......

#18716 21 days ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

In lieu of post #18706 (I received the same e-mail this morning), I'm going to close my other Alien thread, addressing refund $$$'s owed. This e-mail is quite refreshing, and they are obviously aware of the challenges, have a plan (whether we like it or not) on how games/ refunds will go out, and aren't going to pay much mind to social media, providing updates as they see fit to the customers.

were you prepared to wait until everyone was paid back refunds before sending them money? Just curious as you seem pretty anxious to get your LE!

Quoted from nman:

Got the same email as well. Still nervous but definitely appreciate the communication. I personally don't mind if it takes an extra month or two to get mine so long as, you know, i actually get a working, QC'd machine. Still anxiously waiting on the final LE "reveal" though.

what are you expecting to see different?! Maybe slightly different colors on the powder coating..but the LE don't contain no secrets at this point! People just wanna see them shipping.

#18717 21 days ago
Quoted from Dee-Bow:

were you prepared to wait until everyone was paid back refunds before sending them money? Just curious as you seem pretty anxious to get your LE!

Of course I am anxious, and actually was hoping more, if not all, refunds were issued before I received my game, hence the attempt of generating an actual Pinside refund #.

Make no mistake, when I get the call, Im taking my game. Also know Ive communicated the $$$ owed to others to date from the thread to Morgan and Dan. Simply trying to get more info in an easy to see format.

After much thought, I've asked the mods to keep the thread open, as it can still be a central point regarding $$$, etc. Even if we are the only ones reading it. Post away....

#18718 21 days ago

Great honest update HWP you bared your soul and filled in many missing pieces of the puzzle. We learned a lot today and better understand you - when and from where you started, recognition more work is required, acknowledgement of working to improve finish quality on games and recognition that pre-paid people are owed active communication and a game.

You continue by outlining progress of LE, gave a rough timeline when you expect to deliver the LEs, described how remaining refunds and new games will be issued as cash flow allows and promised enough funds should be there to complete all prepaid games and to supply as many new money orders as wanted. Existing Alien machines will need to be upgraded and this will occur alongside other components that require cash.

Thanks for letting us know, we will be following closely. This should help calm some nerves because it answers so many concerns and it indicates effort is being made on many fronts. The overall message I get from reading this is that HWP is committed to delivering as many Aliens as people want and that they are working to make an already great game, greater and they seem determined to satisfy all their customers. That is a great plan imo and I feel HWP is going to work things out. Being patient is hard, but as long as progress is being made and future updates are expected, we'll try to sit tight.

#18719 21 days ago

Funny how they can't understand how their ordering systems works lol "but some seem to be posted to pour gasoline on the fire, even from people that we do not have on our order book." Ummm you do know that people who order your stuff from distributors will not be "in your book", yet are still customers right lmao.

#18720 21 days ago
Quoted from Nethawk86:

Funny how they can't understand how their ordering systems works lol "but some seem to be posted to pour gasoline on the fire, even from people that we do not have on our order book." Ummm you do know that people who order your stuff from distributors will not be "in your book", yet are still customers right lmao.

Maybe by "order book" they mean: "everyone who has ordered from them directly or through distributors".

#18721 21 days ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

Great honest update HWP you bared your soul and filled in many missing pieces of the puzzle. We learned a lot today and better understand you - when and from where you started, recognition more work is required, acknowledgement of working to improve finish quality on games and recognition that pre-paid people are owed active communication and a game.
You continue by outlining progress of LE, gave a rough timeline when you expect to deliver the LEs, described how remaining refunds and new games will be issued as cash flow allows and promised enough funds should be there to complete all prepaid games and to supply as many new money orders as wanted. Existing Alien machines will need to be upgraded and this will occur alongside other components that require cash.
Thanks for letting us know, we will be following closely. This should help calm some nerves because it answers so many concerns and it indicates effort is being made on many fronts. The overall message I get from reading this is that HWP is committed to delivering as many Aliens as people want and that they are working to make an already great game, greater and they seem determined to satisfy all their customers. That is a great plan imo and I feel HWP is going to work things out. Being patient is hard, but as long as progress is being made and future updates are expected, we'll try to sit tight.

Jeff?

#18722 21 days ago
Quoted from solarvalue:

Maybe by "order book" they mean: "everyone who has ordered from them directly or through distributors".

Still makes no difference as they are claiming people are saying things that they don't have an order from meaning they feel people are saying things about the game or them that don't have an order.....there are tons that didn't order from them that it could be like many of us who've ordered through distributors. So they don't have my order on their books but through cointakers. So if I say something about them and they don't see an order with my name because it's not from them, it's from cointaker but it's still a order and I am customer none the less.

-1
#18723 21 days ago
Quoted from Travish:

Jeff?

After what I assume was a legal action warning or possible cease and desist by Andrew and heighway, I am sure he has to act nice now for fear of reprocusions after Andrews call out legal threat.

#18724 21 days ago

2018: Announce 3rd HWP game, suckers gonna suck, take the bait, hook in mouth like a billy big mouth bass,
that $$,$$$.00 will fund a few ALIEN games and in the end a few but not all may end up getting their ALIEN games.

Now, I'd prefer that in the alternate universe of Earth that all of those that ordered by now get their game
in 2018 and it works and that support is good, etc etc etc... then at Expo 2018 they show the 3rd game
and that all shit it together and in gear, but...

24
#18725 21 days ago
Quoted from Chalkey:

"Cash Flow schedule"
New investors are still cash poor, or are not committed to going "all in". Troubling.

I understand your concern, but you have to be realistic:

To reiterate part of their statement today, and what others have posted, these guys (investors) ultimately lost out as much if not more so than anyone else, in purely nominal terms, and that was before they invested any more time and money, since the takeover. After that date, they have invested / 'lost' [if the business is not turned round & made profitable] much more.

Their record so far may not be perfect, and they have surely made a number of mistakes, but they inherited a horrible situation, and anyone who still thinks there was another way out ... sorry, there wasn't.

Whilst some of them purportedly have fairly deep pockets, they cannot possibly be expected to throw unlimited amounts of 'good money' after 'bad money'. Besides, this becoming a bottomless pit, even if they could afford it, would set an unwelcome precedent and be almost as bad for the hobby & industry as the company having gone under back in June.

There have to be limits, and things need to be slowly stabilised & rectified before people can hopefully all be dealt with and satisfied. Throwing money at a vortex of shit is just going to suck it all in and leave a revolting mess on the other side.

I know for a fact that they really thought they knew how deep the rabbit hole went, on the eve of taking over. They thought they knew roughly the limit of it, how bad things were with the machines themselves, and how to handle it etc etc. But they were blind-sided by the true extent and nature of it, and certainly in way over their heads to begin with. They were far too optimistic, restarted production too quickly, and have had a series of nasty shocks. That they haven't quit, and have continued to push forward and make progress is to their credit.

To underline the point about money, the new team as some of you may know, have some quite successful businessmen, objectively speaking. So you may be tempted to think it's just about money. They invest the cash, and then a turn around is a foregone conclusion, right? 1) Money 2) ..... 3) Profit??

Not really. As they are likely now acutely aware, cleaning up someone else's failure, especially taking it on as a going concern & assuming liabilities as they did, is far more difficult and time consuming than to make a success of something on your own, or taking the reins of a healthy business.

Something which needs to be mentioned and hasn't really been raised publicly is that there should be some sympathy for the staff. Both past and present. Along with external contractors, they were surely screwed more than anyone else. Aside from the vexed issue of pay, or total lack thereof in some cases (despite assurances otherwise), most were treated with total contempt (more so even than customers), misled and lied to, operated under absolutely miserable working conditions, absent morale and were expected to lie themselves. Some had their careers or lives seriously set back. Others escaped by the skin of their teeth.

The majority who got involved never would have done so if they'd assumed work on the basis of honest representations; just like customers and originally these investors wouldn't have put money down without the lies. They wanted to believe, like so many others, because they had a passion for the hobby. Some stayed on, or stayed on longer than common sense told them they should have. Aside from inertia and Stockholm Syndrome, from what I can gather, most never thought they'd benefit financially once they'd been around long enough to know how things were. They stayed out of solidarity with other staff - some of whom still hoped for white knights to ride in and slay the dragon, and to finally have the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to pinball and make it up to all the buyers.

Which leads into another problem for the company going forwards. Staff turnover was high, for obvious reasons, so many were burned, and had such bad experiences, that hiring new technical or creative staff is quite hard. Until the new guys have a long enough proven record, old people won't come back, and new people will be very reluctant. So, again, time is needed.

I'm not saying drop all scepticism, and don't criticise things which need to be improved, but do try to have some understanding. They're still picking up the pieces even now, and have all made personal and financial sacrifices to try to avert another pinball disaster. Per today's missive, they really have all lost along with you. Everyone involved has, so in that sense, they are in it with you.

It's hard to tell how this will look, a year or two from now. They need to get better, and game #3 will be a litmus test, as it will be a product of the new management rather than the appalling prior environment. But good luck to everyone.

P.S. To those still trying to make the new guys out as the bad guys, and Andrew as the good guy, both here and privately, give it a fucking rest. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it's insulting, offensive, unnecessary, and more importantly, hugely demoralising & dispiriting for the company's staff, owners and many customers, who obviously have very different experiences. It introduces doubt and division where there should be none.

#18726 21 days ago

Agreed, and can't be overstated enough.....they've only been at the helm 6 months!!!!....1 good decision simply doesn't rectify 1 bad one. Typically takes an exponential amount of "rights" to overcome a "wrong"....pure business fact. The rabbit hole was deeper than was anticipated, yet they still press on, at a pace they hopefully believe will get things in black ink sooner than later.

This e-mail was right to the point, and pretty easy to tell wasn't fabricated. I appreciate ( in a tough way) their unwillingness to "over promise/ under-deliver", attempting to stick to their plan.

Realignment in process (6 months old)......I'm very appreciative that games are going out, refunds processed, and they are moving in the right direction. We hope for the best.....

-2
#18727 21 days ago

I’m willing to do a test and report back here if Heighway will do it.
I paid in full for a Full Throttle LE and Alien LE. I should have, at the very least, gotten my Full Throttle.
So here is my proposition. I will send full payment for another Alien LE, on the condition (with a personal guarantee) that they will use that money to build and ship my Alien LE immediately. If this works, then I will front the money (again) for my Full Throttle LE. After I get my games, I will then have my original two games on order awaiting production. I would expect to get the games I originally ordered in line with all the other prepaid customers. If they are promising delivery in 2018, then I would want assurances that I would get my games in 2018. This is a pretty big risk I’m willing to take and it will clearly prove their true intentions. If cash flow is the issue, then I ‘resend’ payment in full - again, and they have the money they need to make my pin. But if I do this, then it will be with the caveat and assurance that I will get my Alien immediately - next in line - just as Andrew originally promised AND I will require a personal guarantee from the owners.

If this works, I get my games while I’m still alive (hopefully) AND they have two more games on order. I will have paid for four pinball games. This is a win-win for both parties and certainly cheaper than a lawsuit. Worse case, I end up out another $9,000 with absolutely nothing to show for it. But if I get screwed again, I will pull out all stops to go after these scoundrels... They are only scoundrels if they agree to this, take my money and then do nothing, or make excuses dragging this out another year... or two... or three.

What does everyone think? Most important, what does the management of Heighway think about my proposition? Or should I do this thru Cointaker and just have Mellissa verify that they are building/delivering my game?

#18728 21 days ago

@davidus56 One ... please don't do that. Not with this company, or any other. Two, I highly doubt they'd agree to that, and if they did, it would bode extremely poorly.

#18729 21 days ago
Quoted from Davidus56:

I’m willing to do a test and report back here if Heighway will do it.

This is not how it works in a production environment. What you suggest is that with the money of 1 machine they can make that one machine. This is not true. If you buy parts for one machine it is exponentially more expensive than say for 100 machines at once. Those guys need to spend hundreds of thousands in parts to get some kind of production going. They may get parts from dozens of different sources. Only the transportcosts of getting all the parts in a single quantity could be massive.

I have no knowledge about how it goes at HP but this is true for almost every production facility.

#18730 21 days ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

I find this to be very good communication. They are being honest, taking steps in the right direction, and have a proactive plan.

Meh... they keep making promises about money, timelines, and communications and then keep failing to keep their own promises.

They keep blaming refund requests... but they aren't paying them in any sizable amount. So how is that an issue besides ignoring the mails every day?

"If we say something one week, we might have to change it the next week due to new developments"

So what... that's called UPDATES - if they popped up more than once every month or two, that's not a biggie. It's proven over and over and over... hiding the facts doesn't make bad news better.. it just adds to the pile.

"The difficult aspect for us is, as proven, whenever we have said anything it has been twisted and turned on social media and some of it has spun out of control. That is why we have decided to limit information from our side on these forums and keep our focus on getting the product out of the door at the right quality"

Problems getting the job done... blame the internet!! Problems with communications? Instead of improving, they think the answer is to just turn them off. Did they hire JPOP since the last update? These are all cards from the same deck of HOW NOT TO HANDLE SKEPTICAL, ENFLAMED, OVERDUE CUSTOMERS

"We have made real progress and are now shipping the re-vamped SE machine, with much improved code and are working on further improvements. As we posted on our Facebook page, the next run of machines to be shipped will include both SEs and LEs and we know most of you have pre-ordered LE machines"

So the next batch of games to be released... will include LEs... the game they have yet to finalize the parts for... Who thinks this makes sense? They are happy to tell you 'now shipping' but really mean "we shipped one batch.. and are holding up the next batch for an unpredictable amount of time to hold up for product not yet finalized".

This makes no sense... ship the game that is KNOWN... Get some inventory out to generate revenue.

"We have paid many refunds dating from the pre-June period and we have also made amends to some who received pinball machines from Andrew Heighway"

KEY WORD: "SOME"

"In order to maximise production of machines for our Distributors and for you, we have adopted a clear strategy and cashflow plan that prioritises production of machines over all aspects of the business"

Unless that means shipping SE games... because we are going to wait for the LEs...

"In this regard, we have a production/ cashflow schedule that deliberately spreads the shipping of pre-ordered machines and remaining refunds from the previous CEO's time over a number of months"

Translated: If we owe you, you get settled when we can 'fit it in'. Refunds... wait. Games owed... wait till we sell some more..

This is bad news. It means still cash strapped, and the same monthly overhead is going to eat into them the same as it did to Andrew. Notice the update lacked any confidence builders about games going out every week... or how many have shipped... or production volume... You can't boast about what you aren't doing :/

Lots of words... still lacking the insights to know how to restore confidence in a customer base you have raked over.

This was as if JPOP was brought in for PR...

#18731 21 days ago

Did anyone requesting a refund get the information email from the new ownership group?

I never did.

This gives me an uneasy feeling that they have no intention of ever refunding me.

Sad that I had to get this information from a poster on pinside!

10
#18732 21 days ago

Thumbs up to Rubberduck's post. Just wanted to add he's not inventing things. People working for Andrew were surely screwed more than anyone else.

About the new investors... Their mistake was probably (as successful businessmen) to imagine there was a certain level of competence in the way things were managed before the take over.

Their communication may suck, but it's nothing short of a miracle they accepted to invest in this company.

#18733 20 days ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

Meh... they keep making promises about money, timelines, and communications and then keep failing to keep their own promises.

First I want to say that I always appreciate your posts. They are mostly well thought out and to the point. But in this case I must disagree. The whole point of the letter seems to me that they do NOT want to make any promises, but inform us that they are still working very hard on getting the machines as best as they can. They do not seem to want to rush them out the door, as then we would all be over them if they are not up to par.

I had a long face to face conversation with one of the employees at Heighway and discussed a lot of stuff with him (not one of the new owners) and what I can tell you is that the people there are very passionate about Pinball and the employees are very happy with the new owners. The new ownsers are into it for the long run, not to make a quick profit and then abandon ship. I believe he was sincere and he did not have to lie about anything or was kept to an NDA or something.

Of course we still have to wait and see what happens and if they can pull it off, but seeing how many refunds they did and still go forward I have much more confidence in the situation than 6 months ago.

#18734 20 days ago
Quoted from MikeHogue:

Did anyone requesting a refund get the information email from the new ownership group?
I never did.
This gives me an uneasy feeling that they have no intention of ever refunding me.
Sad that I had to get this information from a poster on pinside!

Well, i think i have an order , but i am not on their email list for communications.

I'm hanging on by a string , because of "lack of communication" . Let's see if they can do something simple like put me on the email list and follow through with THEIR offer which i accepted and am waiting for Morgan to respond.

Seems like they have time to read the forums (and react to that), but not communicate with customers specific concerns.

I do appreciate the update even though i did not really receive it. Unfortunately , i am not sure they plan on following through with keeping my order.

11
#18735 20 days ago
Quoted from ezeltmann:

Well, i think i have an order , but i am not on their email list for communications.
I'm hanging on by a string , because of "lack of communication" . Let's see if they can do something simple like put me on the email list and follow through with THEIR offer which i accepted and am waiting for Morgan to respond.
Seems like they have time to read the forums (and react to that), but not communicate with customers specific concerns.
I do appreciate the update even though i did not really receive it. Unfortunately , i am not sure they plan on following through with keeping my order.

They need more staff, and most of all, full time on-site management.

But anyway, to address the crux of your uncertainty as to their intentions. If the new owners had planned to leave all the people that got stiffed hanging, they wouldn't have taken the company over as a going concern and assumed its debts and liabilities. They could simply have waited for a formal declaration of bankruptcy, and then taken the assets as preferred creditors or for very little money from the administrators, whilst not assuming the burden of responsibility.

They chose not to. Perhaps they regret that now, but they chose to offer a safety net to everyone involved, and give themselves much, much more work. Hopefully they ultimately manage to stick to it.

#18736 20 days ago

I think they were very clear in what they were saying. They were left with few parts to build a number of machines. They need capital to buy parts in BULK to move forward. They will refund with extra cash when it becomes available. It seems they are trying their best, but the bottom line is they need money and I think they realize they will only get that when communication and quality control get better.

#18737 20 days ago
Quoted from ronaldvg:

First I want to say that I always appreciate your posts. They are mostly well thought out and to the point. But in this case I must disagree. The whole point of the letter seems to me that they do NOT want to make any promises, but inform us that they are still working very hard on getting the machines as best as they can. They do not seem to want to rush them out the door, as then we would all be over them if they are not up to par.

The "we won't make commitments going forward" is a cop out, not a "honest to a fault" type of response. If it were true transparency and honesty, they'd explain their failures in a way that you can sympathize with or they should accept blame for. Instead, they blame everyone else... including the customer base. They make claims that don't pass the sniff test.

They give incredibly vague references to forward progress "making some people whole", but give no affirmation about how much is in front of them or how they would realistically beat the obstacles in front of them. Instead, all they offer is the admittance that pre-order customers won't be the first deliveries... but instead of saying it outright, they say it some convoluted way.

Real transparency and showing your cards would be

- Recapping your prior commitments and giving progress status on them
- If you are behind or failed, give the reason for such and address how not to repeat it
- Outlining your current blockers and identifying how you plan on addressing it
- Reviewing your midterm plan and providing updates on how you are ahead, behind, or making changes

Remember in June the message from the Investors was
"Now to the exciting part – the production and time line moving forwards.
We are currently ordering loads of parts (there is stock from before so not all parts need to be ordered) from our suppliers to build 175 games until the end of August. That is our fixed target. The number comes from a short, but slower, start-up period starting second half of June where we need to adjust the production line accordingly, before hitting approximately 100 games a month from August and onwards. The production rate will then increase gradually to full capacity later in the year. This means that some of you will get your game before the end of August, but some will have to wait longer. If you have paid a deposit or partly paid your game you will be asked to pay in full prior to shipment, but not until we have a confirmed delivery week for your machine in place. The investor group will attend the factory on a daily basis from now on, but please let us remind you that is not us who actually build your games"

So, their plan was to have parts to build 175 games. Does anyone think they shipped that many games since? If they were to have parts for MULTIPLE containers worth of games, why the hold up to shipping more SE games NOW? (because there is some reality in there that their suppliers probably wouldn't ship them that many parts...)

And the plan for their production velocity? 100 games a month? Where are they on that? What is keeping games from shipping now past the first container load? That is the elephant in the room they didn't address in their update.

Investor Group at the factory on a daily basis? That would be an easy one to echo success on.

These are just simple examples to highlight how the problem isn't "refunds" or people picking apart their prior messages. It's that they continue to be vague, don't address the obvious blockers, don't outline how they plan on addressing their hurdles. That is how you show ACCOUNTABILITY and build CONFIDENCE in the projected outcome.

Quoted from ronaldvg:

Of course we still have to wait and see what happens and if they can pull it off, but seeing how many refunds they did and still go forward I have much more confidence in the situation than 6 months ago.

I'm the opposite... the number of refunds.. at what scale would you peg it at? To me it seemed like maybe a dozen or more?? Certainly not in the massive quantities. Honestly, I doubt the individual buyers are the biggest of their liabilities.. in terms of actually preventing forward progress. Things that require hard output before you can move.. like inventory, suppliers, landlords, labor... these things are much greater risks, and probably are at larger scales too.

This update was far worse than prior ones because
- It doesn't address the obvious gaps head on
- It doesn't provide any update on meeting their prior commitments or outlining changes to them
- It doesn't provide any plan to address how they are addressing the lack of progress on the plan

Instead it offers
- Excuses
- A "plan" to just stop providing information - As somehow this builds more confidence??
- A shipping 'plan' that for some reason is holding up orders now, for LE games, that you still don't even know the BOM for..
- A story on the progress of LE parts... stupid shit like powder coat colors.. really?? You're letting an entire factory be held up by that?

If you were a manager and this was your team reading out their progress report to you... you should be beating them in the head and telling them never come back with a fluff report like that again or they're all fired. Instead the buyers here are all like "ooo, yeah, don't let those naysayers interfere with you, hears hoping the games still get made" and ignoring the real issues.

The biggest thing hurting any startup struggling to ship products is OVERHEAD - the recurring cost of running every day. The new HWP is now 3 months behind their first milestones, and has yet to demonstrate the ability to CONTINUALLY put out games. That's the #1 item they should have been addressing... how they will achieve sustainable velocity (parts in... games out!). Because with that, everything else can be prioritized and determine who can wait the longest. If they can't do that... It's Andrew all over again.

This isn't people picking apart their words... This is intelligent people looking beyond their promises and looking to be soothed with a CREDIBLE plan.

Instead they act like the 'noise' is what is holding them back... No, that's just people refusing to face their customer base.

#18738 20 days ago
Quoted from spfxted:

I think they were very clear in what they were saying. They were left with few parts to build a number of machines

In June, the Investors said "We are currently ordering loads of parts (there is stock from before so not all parts need to be ordered) from our suppliers to build 175 games until the end of August"

It took from June to the end of November to realize that wasn't real? Or what they really can build?

Notice from the update... any realistic (or even attempts at..) addressing quantities or velocity.

Your comment made sense in June... now not.

#18739 20 days ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

In June, the Investors said "We are currently ordering loads of parts (there is stock from before so not all parts need to be ordered) from our suppliers to build 175 games until the end of August"
It took from June to the end of November to realize that wasn't real? Or what they really can build?
Notice from the update... any realistic (or even attempts at..) addressing quantities or velocity.
Your comment made sense in June... now not.

If you are not working there, you cannot even begin to know anything about the situation. It was precisely like you said, they ORDERED parts. That does not mean they got all the parts from the suppliers or even got parts that they could use immediately. That is exactly what the letter is saying. They run into a different problem almost every week.

But I guess you can read the letter in a positive way or a negative. I for one choose to look at it positively. Not that I am saying all is good now, I outed my reservations in my first post regarding this, but the guys over there are not begging for any more money or promising people their machine first when they pay now. Instead of that they do keep the lights on at the factory at their own expense.

I am not saying that I believe everything is ok, I will wait for that when everyone that has paid gets their machine or their refund.

#18740 20 days ago
Quoted from ronaldvg:

If you are not working there, you cannot even begin to know anything about the situation. It was precisely like you said, they ORDERED parts. That does not mean they got all the parts from the suppliers or even got parts that they could use immediately. That is exactly what the letter is saying. They run into a different problem almost every week.
But I guess you can read the letter in a positive way or a negative. I for one choose to look at it positively. Not that I am saying all is good now, I outed my reservations in my first post regarding this, but the guys over there are not begging for any more money or promising people their machine first when they pay now. Instead of that they do keep the lights on at the factory at their own expense.
I am not saying that I believe everything is ok, I will wait for that when everyone that has paid gets their machine or their refund.

Meh... the whole "we won't take our game.." line is just pandering. These guys have now outlaid money individually that is probably 10x-30x their 'game' money... do you really think getting a 7k toy (or even multiples) or not is the big sacrifice here? That's a nice gesture I look right past because it's not really representative of anything of substance.

New problem every week... we can't relay any of those stories to help build confidence, but we can take the time and effort to blame the internet multiple times. I have no doubt they are facing all kinds of things they as individuals didn't expect... but I don't really buy the story about supplier parts issues... unless the problem is they couldn't get parts from the guys they did before.. or problems actually getting the volumes in the way they want. The parts have already been through all the iterations. Does not pass the sniff test.

If parts still continue to be a problem, then they should be addressing how that is being handled... not "sorry for the wait, but we really care... stay tuned".

It's the kind of fluff that doesn't actually build any confidence in their ability to deliver.

#18741 20 days ago
Quoted from jlm33:

Thumbs up to Rubberduck's post. Just wanted to add he's not inventing things. People working for Andrew were surely screwed more than anyone else.
About the new investors... Their mistake was probably (as successful businessmen) to imagine there was a certain level of competence in the way things were managed before the take over.
Their communication may suck, but it's nothing short of a miracle they accepted to invest in this company.

This..^^^^^^

And anyone thinking they have only shipped one container of machines is simply wrong. That "175"# may not be as far off as you might think.

We're getting our games, people are getting refunds, and the machine itself is a legite contender.

Glad to hear a unified response, and looking forward to finally seeing the true LE builds.

6 months? They've done a great job w what they took on. 6 more months? Quite sure much more will have been accomplished. Grateful they didnt just let it fold.

The email was more of a "state of current affairs " that was well received ( by me).

A business doesnt have to ( and pretty much never does) disclose business details as outlined " should have been disclosed" by others here. Get over that one.

#18742 20 days ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

Meh... the whole "we won't take our game.." line is just pandering. These guys have now outlaid money individually that is probably 10x-30x their 'game' money... do you really think getting a 7k toy (or even multiples) or not is the big sacrifice here? That's a nice gesture I look right past because it's not really representative of anything of substance.
New problem every week... we can't relay any of those stories to help build confidence, but we can take the time and effort to blame the internet multiple times. I have no doubt they are facing all kinds of things they as individuals didn't expect... but I don't really buy the story about supplier parts issues... unless the problem is they couldn't get parts from the guys they did before.. or problems actually getting the volumes in the way they want. The parts have already been through all the iterations. Does not pass the sniff test.
If parts still continue to be a problem, then they should be addressing how that is being handled... not "sorry for the wait, but we really care... stay tuned".
It's the kind of fluff that doesn't actually build any confidence in their ability to deliver.

More a statement of good faith, not intended to give a $$$ inference. They care about this game, and (now) their Company.

We can read the letter anyway we choose. Not a stretch to believe it, actually.

#18743 20 days ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

They need more staff, and most of all, full time on-site management.
But anyway, to address the crux of your uncertainty as to their intentions. If the new owners had planned to leave all the people that got stiffed hanging, they wouldn't have taken the company over as a going concern and assumed its debts and liabilities. They could simply have waited for a formal declaration of bankruptcy, and then taken the assets as preferred creditors or for very little money from the administrators, whilst not assuming the burden of responsibility.
They chose not to. Perhaps they regret that now, but they chose to offer a safety net to everyone involved, and give themselves much, much more work. Hopefully they ultimately manage to stick to it.

Spot on, sir.

#18744 20 days ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

A business doesnt have to ( and pretty much never does) disclose business details as outlined " should have been disclosed" by others here. Get over that one.

A business under water and facing multiple failures is not under normal operating conditions and a top concern should be CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE. Everything I outlined was about how you build CONFIDENCE, not just about curiosity.

But hey, if you all are willing to smile and bend over because of the offer a free toaster... I'll check back in in February and see if the toaster has still kept you as a happy customer.

#18745 20 days ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

A business under water and facing multiple failures is not under normal operating conditions and a top concern should be CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE. Everything I outlined was about how you build CONFIDENCE, not just about curiosity.
But hey, if you all are willing to smile and bend over because of the offer a free toaster... I'll check back in in February and see if the toaster has still kept you as a happy customer.

Are you still in for an Alien?

#18746 20 days ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

A business under water and facing multiple failures is not under normal operating conditions and a top concern should be CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE. Everything I outlined was about how you build CONFIDENCE, not just about curiosity.
But hey, if you all are willing to smile and bend over because of the offer a free toaster... I'll check back in in February and see if the toaster has still kept you as a happy customer.

I didn't get the toaster deal...:)....bastards.....

All good...your assessment is a legit one (as they usually are), but believe there is a better than average chance this gets done, just maybe (definitely) not how we had hoped.

This is not a JPOP or SkitB story (scam) for sure...just an extended JJP parallel to me (from across the pond). That turned out well, and we now have a third (counting Spooky on a smaller scale) supplier of games to feed our need. Sincerely hope we have a solid #4 to talk about next year.....

#18747 20 days ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

I didn't get the toaster deal...:)....bastards.....
All good...your assessment is a legit one (as they usually are), but believe there is a better than average chance this gets done, just maybe (definitely) not how we had hoped.
This is not a JPOP or SkitB story (scam) for sure...just an extended JJP parallel to me (from across the pond). That turned out well, and we now have a third (counting Spooky on a smaller scale) supplier of games to feed our need. Sincerely hope we have a solid #4 to talk about next year.....

I liked the odds better a month ago... The drag to LE finalization is perplexing. The lack of steady output is concerning. The JPOP-style pr response is extremely disappointing and frightening at the same time.

Scandinavian culture is terse as it is... but they are usually direct and clear. Several of these investors are of that background. Id expect more direct addressing of things.

The inability to make their early adopters whole as well as getting ferret a proper production build yet are failures holding them back from building champions. Small things they could do that would have much greater payoffs as the outcomes scale.

We go back to holding on and seeing if output improves...

#18748 20 days ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

I liked the odds better a month ago... The drag to LE finalization is perplexing. The lack of steady output is concerning. The JPOP-style pr response is extremely disappointing and frightening at the same time.
Scandinavian culture is terse as it is... but they are usually direct and clear. Several of these investors are of that background. Id expect more direct addressing of things.
The inability to make their early adopters whole as well as getting ferret a proper production build yet are failures holding them back from building champions. Small things they could do that would have much greater payoffs as the outcomes scale.
We go back to holding on and seeing if output improves...

Most of the context of this email was somewhat already known by those who are still communicating ( I generally reach out every other week, and always get a response). The LE powdered hardware was ordered in bulk ( hope it looks good), and you can see 3 machines in the back of the last pic showing them being partially being assembled.

It was stated to me a month ago that they would provide pics of the 3 colors on actual LE machines, allowing owners to choose. They stated ALL machines outstanding would be built by end of first quarter ‘18. This doesn’t stop the “ mixed” batches going out in December, etc. ;)...

I really believe they have been focused solely on getting Standards out the door, hence getting cash flow, making qc improvements along the way.

While it may not be a popular decision, I’m convinced that consistent, accurate communication has not been one of their priorities ( obviously). I don’t like it either, but also know that a quality end product will ultimately stabilize the company. A great machine is a great machine, and it will sell in spite of the other shortcomings.

I’ve had my hands on, and played one of the new Standards. It’s a great machine. This is happening...just on their timeline, not ours.....

#18749 20 days ago

Exactly. Slow and steady wins the race.

I’d rather them employ prudent QC, work out all the kinks, instead of rush machines out to placate the impatient ones and potentially have a huge recall on their hands (for god knows what issue) in their haste. I’d rather wait and have a LE that works great when I receive it, than one that I need to send back or ask for replacement parts.

#18750 20 days ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Exactly. Slow and steady wins the race.
I’d rather them employ prudent QC, work out all the kinks, instead of rush machines out to placate the impatient ones and potentially have a huge recall on their hands (for god knows what issue) in their haste. I’d rather wait and have a LE that works great when I receive it, than one that I need to send back or ask for replacement parts.

That sounds like the approach being described. Get enough parts in and tested to build the second batch, build and qc the hell out of them and only ship then. True, the factory is not humming on all cyclinders but the second batch should go smoother and quicker than the first. Final QC checklist is long but should guarantee improvement with each build cycle.

Providing status updates is going to be their Achilles heel, and this was not directly promised. But with five weeks left in the year and 13 weeks in the first quarter, that is an 18 week period. Once a month updates would mean four more updates - and that feels about right.

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