Quoted from frolic:
To the mystery investor:
REBOOT today. Distance yourself from everything John said AND the contract. Flush it.
THEN present yourself, your plan, how you will do this and DO NOT ASK US FOR ANYTHING.
If people want refunds.... well, refund them. That will be the cost of doing business.
If you are planning on selling hundreds of games, well there is profit there. If you're an investor, then this is a risk/reward play.
This sounds great, but it's just unrealistic unless the "investor" wants to bail out the buyers (and unpaid contractors) out of the goodness of his own heart. It simply wouldn't be a sound business decision to pay well north of $1 million in refunds in exchange for the incomplete mess that JPop has thrown together so far.
I see two options:
1) People sue JPop, he goes into bankruptcy, buyers get little or nothing. Maybe someone buys the IP and actually makes the games someday or at least uses portions of the designs. But the current buyers would get no "credit" for the down payment money that Jpop pissed away if/when games are made using IP purchased in the bankruptcy. This is by far the most likely to occur.
2) Some variant of the (admittedly terribly pitched and probably not fully thought out) deal that JPop's currently hawking gets done. Every single buyer (or enough that refunding a few holdouts is not a deal breaker) signs on and agrees not to sue for a refund. Unless Zidware had insane profit margins on all of the games, something's got to give and the current buyers will effectively have to pay more than initially agreed for the pins. Otherwise, the new investor is promising to make the games for original MSRP minus ~ $5k, and that's just not realistic. These are niche market games, they're never going to sell 500+ to amortize away all the lost deposit funds.
Option 2 is unlikely to work out since most buyers understandably want out at this point. But if there's any chance of it working, I agree with you that it's got to be repackaged and repitched. Identify the new manufacturer, disclose all terms of the new deal, clearly disclose JPop's limited role (firm deadlines, penalties for non-performance, no veto power and no further money to be paid -- his compensation is avoiding bankruptcy). Then maybe there's a shot.