(Topic ID: 98940)

PPS / MMR communication - it's NOT about the coin mechs (or is it?)


By jfh

5 years ago



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#1 5 years ago

A mod suggested that a new thread be created to discuss "the MMR coin mech issue", rather than having the discussion continue in the main MMR thread. I wasn't going to do that, but was encouraged to do so after some private discussions.

In thinking about it, I realized that some missed the point that the larger issue isn't about whether or not coin mechs ship with MMR, but rather how PPS handled the issue.

In case anyone doesn't know, here are the facts:

- Shortly after deposits on MMR became non-refundable, Rick announced that MMR would ship without coin mechs.
- This was the first indication that the remake would not ship equipped for a primary function of a commercial pinball machine and one that was obviously present in the original.
- Rick stated the reason for this omission was a logistics issue due to non-domestic orders and implied that it would be difficult for Stern to handle getting the right type of mechs with the right game on the assembly line.

There was a lot of discussion about the missing mechs. Rick stated that that PPS believed that only a small percentage of MMR buyers would be impacted by this decision, since the significant portion of the games produced were going into homes of private collectors who, for the most part, don't use/need coin mechs. I happen to agree with this point, and I know many others do, but using that as a rationalization/justification for not including mechs.

Any good project manager would conclude the same thing I did - that either this was a cost cutting move or the issue of needing different types of mechs by country wasn't appropriately planned for. I think it is the latter, as it doesn't make sense as a cost-cutting move for a number of reasons.

Instead of something like:

"Hey guys, we underestimated what was required to efficiently install the proper coin mechs during the production of MMR, so we believe it's best for the project that machines ship without them. PPS will send a set of coin mechs at no charge to the registered owner of a machine if they would like them. In addition, we would like to offer [something/discount coupon/whatever] to all owners as our thanks for your understanding on what we hope is a minor inconvenience."

What did we get?

- you guys don't understand how hard this is to do
- what's the big deal? Nobody uses mechs anyway
- if you want them, we'll sell them to you cheap (totally ignoring those folks would essentially pay for them twice)
- It wasn't our decision not to include the mechs, it was our contractor's fault.
- feigned ignorance over "missing parts"
- total ignorance of the real issue.

I don't think this is acceptable. I believe, as I know many do, that Rick has done (and plans to do) much for the pinball community and I am quite grateful for his efforts. I was one of the first to place an order for MMR, despite the fact I own a pristine original, as I wanted to show support for MMR and the concept of reproducing classic WMS titles. I want a new AFM, CC, BBB and maybe some others.

There seems to be a disturbing habit when someone questions a PPS decision/move. Many of the replies we get don't acknowledge the issue, but
- repeat the original answer, as if we didn't read or understand it the first time.
- tell us we wouldn't understand the issues involved
- slyly disparage the person asking the question
- totally ignore any constructive criticism or suggestions
- fail to attribute any responsibility to Rick and/or PPS. Everything is someone else's fault.

Let me be perfectly clear - the issue that mechs aren't shipping with the game don't bother me anywhere near the perception I have that Rick is tone deaf to the concerns that have been expressed in the MMR thread (mechs is the latest, but certainly not the first). Yes, I can afford mechs if I want them, but that's not the point - I shouldn't even have to think about having to do so.

Yes, nobody cancelled their order over missing coin mechs (which would have cost them $1k). Would anyone have cancelled before the deposit deadline? I suspect not, but no one had the opportunity.

Most don't care about the missing coin mechs. Fine. What if the game were to ship without legs? Most of us have a spare set or two - no big deal, right? What if it was "too hard" to figure out what power supply needed to be installed in the game?

Doesn't matter - it's not a parts issue. It's a communication and trust issue. I don't want snarky answers from someone who doesn't think I'm intelligent enough to handle the truth. If I mess up, I take responsibility for it. I expect others (including Rick) to do the same.

I say it's not about the mechs - what do you think?

#5 5 years ago
Quoted from jalpert:

Nobody is perfect. No company is perfect. No new product release is perfect. It's only $20.

Not asking for perfection. Don't care about the $20. Just want responses from PPS that don't treat us like we can't handle the truth or would somehow think less of a MMR or PPS if we had reasonable discussion about issues and suggestions.

I did not create this thread to discuss who cares about coin mechs or not. I'm more interested if people think it's OK to be treated with distain. (Maybe no one cares, as king as PPS keeps making games).

#15 5 years ago
Quoted from littlecammi:

I don't trust anyone who already has an original MM and ordered an MMrLE anyway (especially if they say they are intending to keep both). And who buys a duplicate just "to show support" anyway?

I never said I was going to keep both, at least for any extended period of time. My original plan was to sell my game and have a new MMR for my game room. My plans have changed. But I fail to see why I ordered an MMR has anything to do with the topic at hand.

I have skin in the PPS remake game as do 900 some other people. And I'm more interested in hearing their opinions and those who had orders and changed their minds than worrying about why someone I've never met or dealt with doesn't trust me.

#17 5 years ago
Quoted from Hwawonyu:

The other thread was about updates and this one is about how folks feel about the coin mech issue.

Umm no.

Read the thread title - it's NOT about the mechs.

It's about how the issue of the mechs and how PPS handles communication on other issues that they see as inconvenient.

#60 5 years ago
Quoted from fosaisu:

Are there other specific instances where you think Rick/PPS mishandled communication with his customers? Maybe some examples would make more clear why you view this as a trend.

viper001 actually put together a pretty good list later in the thread and summed it up better than I did -

Quoted from viper001:

Rick has answered a ton of questions related to the 3 trim choices and other subjects that he either likes talking about, or else makes his product look good. He is careful to avoid answering anything outside of that.

And when Rick avoids a topic, he seems to use one of the approaches I mention in the OP to avoid discussing (or sometimes even acknowledging) topics that don't fit his talking points.

To answer your question directly - The other issue where I believe communication was mishandled (and really the only one that was a significant issue for me) was the warranty/ownership/transfer issue. That bothered me for a number of reasons, but mainly because Rick went out of his way to disparage me and others for commenting on the issue. I was in the third row at the Expo announcement session - I heard every word, every question and every answer. I even asked Rick point-blank follow up questions about the warranty until I was confident I understood the policy. Months later, the response was I must have misunderstood or heard something wrong. Rather than an honest acknowledgement of "hey - we thought it some more, changed the policy, here's why", I (and others) were simply dismissed as ignorant loons that didn't know what they were talking about.

A number if years ago I moved from a product development lab to field marketing support as a Systems Engineer. Less than a week in, I was giving a presentation on an upcoming product to a room full of mid-level executives and one of them asked me a question that raised an interesting issue. "I don't know, but I'll find out and get back with you." All of a sudden, there was dead silence in the room and I wasn't sure what had happened. After a few beats, I asked "was anything wrong?". Smiles broke through and someone spoke up - "No, not at all. It's just that no one from [company] has ever been that honest with us before. There's always some sort of marketing double talk answer".

My honesty (or naïveté) paid huge dividends for me. One of the customer execs took to me and I became his diving rod of sorts. In the long run, my company sold more than we otherwise would have, but we also didn't make certain sales because the exec trusted me to give him an honest assessment without having to worry if I was just trying to sell him something for the sake of making a quota. And I even had an $11M competitive win back on one project in the strength of "if Jim says he's confident this is the best option for us, that's enough for me" which is probably the most gratifying praise I ever received in my career.

I'm sure I could have avoided the original issue by deflecting it or coming up with some clever sounding technobabble, but it clearly would have cost me in the long run.

So far, Rick doesn't see the benefit to PPS of not fearing the uncomfortable questions and taking them head on.

-1
#63 5 years ago
Quoted from Ed209:

You should add a poll to see how many people care about the lack of coin mechs vs those that don't. I'd be curious to know.

The number of people who care about the lack of coin mechs is irrelevant and having a better idea of that number doesn't do anything to advance the cause of getting transparent info from PPS on issues that may not be of concern to them, but are to some of their customers.

#86 5 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I guarantee you, if this issue is just too much to handle and such a bait-n-switch, I bet you anything that you could get a full refund + deposit. Have you asked? Just get a refund…be done with it.

It's not about the mechs.

Bait-and-switch? That's really pushing it.

What would getting a full refund accomplish? As I've previously stated, I want to see PPS succeed. I want to see other remakes made. I want to buy other titles from PPS. I just would prefer to buy them from someone who is willing to step up and admit mistakes when warranted and not seemingly take every criticism or suggestion as a hostile attack.

If Rick changes nothing about the way he communicates, I doubt it will impact my future buying decisions. But it will change about how I look at the company.

#90 5 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

If you knew anything at all about Roger, you wouldn't question his judgement. He's not a shill for anyone and has never been one in the past.

I'll go one step further - That there was a condition from WMS that Roger had to sign off that the remake played like the original is what sold me on the idea of the PPS platform. If Roger said the game played like the original, that was going to be good enough for me, so the decision to put a fully refundable $1k down was easy. I doubt I would have been in day 1 without the "Roger approval" being in play.

#91 5 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Rick communicates WAAAAAAAY more with more relevant information than almost any of the other pin manufacturers.

You have to admit that's a pretty low bar in comparison though ...

What about the issues on vid's list? It's one thing to talk about all the good/easy stuff. It's how you handle the other stuff that shows what you are made of. (And here Rick is not much different from Stern or JJP).

Quoted from Rarehero:

…the last thing I'm worrying about are coin mechs.

Ditto. But the how the coin mech issue was handled makes me wonder if we have any other negative surprises in store. If someone dances around an easy subject or can't give you a straight answer to a direct question, it's just human nature to have a little less trust the next time. I really think that's a key takeaway here.

Folks that keep posting that it's silly to be talking about coin mechs are either:
(a) doing exactly what Rick wants them to do - dismiss this whole thing as crazy talk sour grapes about a $20 part rather than question why Rick won't talk about anything in a straightforward manner if the topic is seen as being a threat to his agenda.

and/or

(b) too dense to realize this isn't about coin mechs, in which case maybe Rick is right - some on Pinside aren't smart enough to handle the truth ...

#101 5 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

It's childish to make that leap. He gave an answer about the coin mechs.

He gave an answer that any good PM knows was pure bull. I feel sorry for anyone that believes that answer. And then to back pedal and say "well, our contractor made the decision" - come on. Were you seriously satisfied with that answer? Trust me, there's a lot more to it. (And as I said, I don't believe it was a cost cutting move).

As for the leap, It may not be reasonable to make it. But no one would ever even think about it if Rick was willing to have a reasonable discussion rather than try and sell the idea that getting the right mechs in the right games was just so complicated that we couldn't possibly understand. Then add fuel to the fire by telling those who want coin mechs (thinking they had already paid for them) that they could buy them (again) if they really want to. Sorry, can't buy that as any sort of a reasonable answer.

You are right that I do to have to like an answer, but I should be able to think it's reasonable or, at absolute minimum, believable. What we got was an insult to our intelligence. There may be some truth in there somewhere, but there's certainly not enough detail for anyone to conclude that Rick's "answer" was nothing more than deception/deflection or simply refusal to take responsibility for a planning mistake. "Hey, we messed up" earns Rick far more respect than trying to push off the issue as "not my decision" when everyone knows the final decision on everything ultimately belongs to PPS.

Is your standard really "if Rick gives us an answer, all is fine?"

#102 5 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Have.
They.
Called.
Rick?

Since you seem to think this is so important, why don't you call Rick and post the answer here? No sense in having multiple people call with the same question.

#104 5 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

So MMR as delivered is not intended for commercial operation...

Was that ever stated or implied by PPS?

#107 5 years ago
Quoted from PoMC:

A little late for someone spending $8k to be asking these questions. No?

Umm, those questions were asked long before commitments were final. I think the point was that the questions weren't (reasonably) answered.

#108 5 years ago
Quoted from tamoore:

Stern sends pinball machines all over the world, with the appropriate coin mechs installed. It can be done, and can't be that hard to orchestrate.
That means there has to be a reason other than "it's too hard"...
Making a pinball machine is hard. Accepting a coin? Not too much.

Exactly. So why feed us some BS "answer" rather than just tell us the truth? It certainly can't be proprietary.

-3
#123 5 years ago
Quoted from moto_cat:

If you are mad at rick then please pick up the phone and be mad at rick on the phone vs take up everyone's time and energy on a public forum ... my cell is 408-891-7878 (hasn't changed). I am always happy to be yelled at!
thanks,
rick@planetarypinball.com

I'm not mad at you, just disappointed. And I certainly wouldn't disrespect you by yelling. But me talking to you is selfish, since everyone would have to rely on my interpretation of the conversation rather than having the ability to see direct answers from you.

So, let's start with a couple of questions I would ask if we spoke on the phone:

1) in light of the reaction to your original announcement, if you were to announce "no coin mechs" today, would you do it any differently? If so, how?

2) if you believe the number of people upset/impacted by the decision not to ship mechs is that small, why not just send those people the proper mechs at no additional charge? Presumably the cost involved would still be less than the amount built into the game price if your numbers/estimates are correct.

3). I don't believe the decision to not ship mechs was made primarily as a cost cutting move (as in saving on parts, not necessarily time on the line). True?

4) you indicated thar CG made the decision not to ship mechs. I found that very hard to believe, as it is your game and presumably any final decision rests with you and not one of your contractors. Can you explain how the decision not to ship mechs could belong to anyone other than PPS?

5) Presumably you believed that including the proper mechs would increase the total time/length of the manufacturing run. Approximately how many weeks? Why is this/would this have been more of an issue for PPS than it is for Stern when they assemble their games?

6) is not shipping coin mechs a back-door way of saying that MMR is not and should not be considered a commercial machine? Does PPS consider or classify MMR as a commercial machine? If not, why not?

If you would prefer to address these in a PM or email, I'm ok with that, as long as I understand what I could and could not share. I used to have some pretty tough security clearances, so I know how to handle sensitive/confidential/proprietary information and am pretty good at summarizing.

Thanks. Look forward to hearing from you.

#128 5 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Motocat = rick/pps? What the heck is going on?

Oops - didn't notice that.

Motocat - are you Rick or someone authorized to speak for PPS?

#129 5 years ago

OK, guess I was punked. But since I wrote the response for Rick, I sent it to him and asked for a reply by email or post here.

#140 5 years ago
Quoted from herbertbsharp:

I thought you said it wasn't about coin mechs ?

And it isn't. It's about whether we get an opportunity to understand the real reason behind the decision/announcement/responses and if Rick understands the related concerns.

But answers to these questions also benefit those that do think this is about the mechs, so we can kill two birds with one stone. .

If I were to speak with Rick by phone, I would ask some other tougher questions, but wouldn't make those or the answers public without his consent, because there are some where I think a non-answer could be reasonable and/or appropriate without being seen as deceptive or evasive.

-1
#152 5 years ago
Quoted from Dirk:

I have bought 3 NIB stern machines in the past years (from different distibutors) acdc, tron and Metallica. Non of them had a euro coin mech inside. So this is not true.

Ok. Then why not just do whatever Stern does?

-3
#154 5 years ago

If Rick responds to my email, I'll post here, but perhaps this thread had run its' course.

Clearly I did not do a good enough job expressing my frustration that Rick was seemingly playing with us/feigning ignorance when responding to questions or issues he clearly didn't want to address for whatever reason. Given his apparent openness at Expo and through much of the process, I expected more and I know others did as well.

Look back at vid001's list earlier in the thread. Were any of those unreasonable questions? I don't think so. But none every got reasonable answers.

For me, how the whole coin mech issue was handled was just the straw that broke the camel's back. That's all. The idea that I or anyone would cancel an order over missing mechs is just as silly as some of the conspiracy theories. (However, most conspiracy theories start because of lack of information).

I want MMR (and presumably future remakes) to be a success. I think they will be. But I also think those of us willing to spend the kind of money involved deserve a little more latitude from PPS when it comes to information on topics that may not seem relevant or important to them, but are to some of us. I suspect most will apply to MMR and the new platform and will become evident over time. We don't have to like all the answers, but ignoring questions or providing flippant answers or those that strain credulity don't help anything.

I think most people here are intelligent enough to deal with facts and honest open discussions. If anyone has taken my comments as bashing MMR/PPS, I apologize. I can't stand (or understand) all the Stern vs. JJP bashing on Pinside and certainly don't want to add PPS to the mix.

I also know there are a significant number of you that feel the same way I do, but would prefer not to express your opinions publicly. To those that have PMed, sent emails and called, thanks.

#185 5 years ago
Quoted from edwinpblue:

Question. Why are people giving your original post thumbs down? What kind of freaking moron would have a problem with you venting about this? Obviously at last count there were at least six...

Good question. I am actually more surprised at the three who thumbs downed my "thread has run it's course" post (#152). But it doesn't matter.

It was never my intent to crucify anyone for a mistake - though part of the issue was not acknowledging that there was one.

I received a note from Rick and his clarification in the main thread this morning shows that he may understand my primary point, at least to some degree (though I'm sure he would have preferred me taking a different approach).

If the end result is that we see more posts like the one from this morning that provide brief explanations on key questions, with enough detail so reasonable people can understand, everyone ends up being more informed, probably less worried and wild ass conspiracy theories get nipped in the bud before they have a chance to go viral.

#188 5 years ago
Quoted from Ed209:

..and they're pretty much the same answers that have been repeated many times about this issue.

I disagree. If I had known what Rick posted today about PPS/CGC relationship, I would have never called bullsh*t on a previous response.

#200 5 years ago

One of the things about how this was handled is that no one should have been surprised. It's one thing to surprise customers by including something extra, but to surprise them by taking something away at the 11th hour is totally different.

Somebody messed up and no one took responsibility. It's not like installing coin mechs in coin operated devices is a new concept - whatever you think of the decision, it's not one that should have been made at the last moment.

PPS/CGC could have made this a non-issue with a better initial response or by taking the suggestion of whoever suggested sending mechs/coupons to those that were upset. As far as I can tell, no one who suggested that option got the courtesy of a response. Somebody made a business decision not to do either, which only compounded the issue (e.g. All of the speculation that it was a cost-cutting move or something worse).

#208 5 years ago
Quoted from Pintucky:

IF . . . according to the naysayers . . . there are only 4 or 5 people on the forum who wanted the coin mechs, then this would have been a very plausible solution. If that was the case, Rick could have easily PM'd us to send him our mailing addresses and he would send out complimentary coin mechs. After all, that cost would be a mere drop in the bucket compared to putting them in every pin. Would have been a perfect PR solution and restored confidence.

Rick never provided the estimates but indicated the numbers were low, but low probably means <10% or so. Still, it still begs the question of why such an obvious solution wasn't offered if the estimates are/were low. I think you are correct that it would have been the perfect solution from a PR perspective (though more hassle for whoever would have handled fulfillment).

If the numbers really are low, why not do it? If they aren't, why say they are? (Rhetorical questions, since it's unlikely we will ever know)

#210 5 years ago
Quoted from tracelifter:

If you paid with a CC you could easily get the charges reversed, you can't take something out of a product and then tell the customer sorry you are locked in.

Don't know about the other distributors, but PPS doesn't take credit cards for MMR orders.

#211 5 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

...Are we STILL not talking about the coin mechs?

I think we're now talking about what Mr. Haney is doing with them ...

(Can't you just imagine how Haney would spin this?)

#223 5 years ago

Interesting that Rick's question starts of with "nothing related to MMR", especially at that point in time, because there would be no reason for anyone to believe the mechs hadn't been spec'ed before then.

Makes me wonder if the reason there are no coin mechs shipping with MMR is more "no one spec'ed them in the BOM until the last minute" - e.g. planning error - and that the "it's too hard" was more "it's more trouble than it's worth to fix it this late in the process" than "it's too hard to get the right mech in the right game". But then again, that begs the question of why not just say that in the first place? Surely the reaction wouldn't have been any worse.

Of course, it could just all be a fascinating coincidence.

#241 5 years ago
Quoted from hollywood:

I've been an advocate of yours since day 1; perhaps not as vocal mind you, but playing Devil's advocate to your above post: Wouldn't it now be EASIER to include the coin mechs? I assume all MMRLE's have been paid in full now? They, PPS, now know the address of where every game is to be shipped (USA, CAN, AUS etc), would it not be easy to now order the appropriate mechs and install them? Just curious!

Not all the games have been paid for in full. Don't know about the other distributors, but final payments on games purchased from PPS aren't due yet.

It certainly takes more coordination to match the proper country mechs to the right game on the line, but does PPS have the shipping addresses of customers that ordered through other distributors? If not, that could be part of the issue. But you would suspect they do, since they are tracking original owner for the warranty.

You actually bring up another solution - if they have the addresses and if it was too hard to match them on the line, just ship the mechs separately using the owners address to determine mech type. That would have been simple (Of course, that would have probably been the most expensive solution of any that has been proposed, assuming that the customer wasn't asked to pay for shipping the mechs)

But I'll go back to this - if PPS estimates show that relatively few would be impacted by not shipping mechs in the game and you assume the majority of games are being shipped in the US, why not just ship them separately to those who ask?

I don't think we are ever going to know the real story and in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter. If PPS learns from this and admits (at least internally) that the way this was handled was a PR nightmare and fixes it so something similar doesn't happen down the line, then that's good. But until then, I'm going to be disappointed that folks at PPS and/or CGC think that their customers or potential customers can't handle or shouldn't know the truth.

(I keep seeing people post "Why not just call or write Rick?" - what makes you think that a private answer is going to be different than a public one? Or that you will even get an answer? Rick has been very generous in encouraging anyone with a concern to call or write. But that's a two-edged sword that can just as easily be used to shut an uncomfortable topic down as it can be to provide transparency)

#264 5 years ago
Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

Dude! Even if you flip burgers for a living, the amount of time you've spent chastising from your high horse about the coin mechs (or not about the coin mechs?) could have bought you several new coin mechs!

I was in tech for my career and pretty much been retired since I was 49, so, while I appreciate your concern about my time and the well being of my horse, unless I need a few hundred thousand coin mechs I'll be just fine.

#265 5 years ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

I am still offering the OP an icecream cone (with chocolate ice cream) if it will make him happy

I'm a vanilla guy, but thanks for the offer.

#267 5 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

Ok! Time to change the Thread Title to" It's ONLY about the missing coin mechs....

I fixed the thread title for you.

18
#268 5 years ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

You know most pinsiders are laughing AT you, don't you?

They can laugh at anything they want. Anyone that believes PPS handled this issue well (either communication or the mechs themselves) is perfectly free to drain this thread.

There are people (like me) who believe PPS handled this poorly and would like to avoid seeing anything similar from happening in the future.

There are others that are genuinely upset that coin mechs aren't coming on a premium priced game.

Those are the folks I hope to see in this thread. If it provides amusement to others, that's fine by me.

#285 5 years ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

Yes, the OP has a right to feel cheated
But after 3 days crying, either cancel your MM order or buy a coin mech

You need to read my original post again. I never said I felt cheated and I have plenty of coin mechs.

#287 5 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Did you contact Jack?
Seriously, if anyone is THAT pissed off about this….demand a refund and say you paid for a game with coin mechs & it's not cool that this was announced so late in the process.

1) you're missing the point - no one should have to be a squeaky wheel because PPS screwed up.

2) I don't think it was ever stated that MMR would come with coin mechs, so technically no one ordered a game that came with them. Everyone just assumed that since MMR was billed as a functional equivalent of MM, that the remake would come with the functionality to accept coins. AFAIK, all the other MMR changes (trim choices, LEDs, plywood bottom) are cosmetic, not functional.

#290 5 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

It still has the functionality to accept coins. It's statements like this that are confusing people into thinking it's some kind of home-only game without coin slots.

Anybody spending $8k on a game knows the difference between the ability to drop a coin through a slot and doing nothing as opposed to registering a credit.

The idea that people don't know what a coin mech is is a bit of a stretch for me.

#291 5 years ago
Quoted from Firebaall:

Actually....closer to $30.
Also.... x2 per machine.
That's $90,000.00
You guys just tipped PPS a nice sports car.

No, we just got taken for a ride ...

#313 5 years ago
Quoted from jalpert:

So, after all is said and done, what's the point of this thread? Are we all supposed to be inspired to cancel our orders? Are we all supposed to feel and admit we were ripped off? Are we supposed to form a mob and demand coin mechs?

I think I was pretty clear about the point of the thread in my OP and it was more about how Rick/PPS handled the issue, rather than the issue of mechs not shipping itself.

I wanted to see what others thought to see if I was alone and to see if the PPS estimates that only a tiny fraction of the customers cared. Clearly what we see from this thread is that people do think it was handled poorly by PPS and that PPS may have also underestimated the number of people who were bothered by either issue.

I had hoped to see a response from PPS admitting what everyone now knows which is that this was also handled poorly. I really wanted to see PPS say "we'll make it right by sending mechs to those who are really upset by our announcement they won't be installed on the game". That wasn't my suggestion, but that of a number of other people. An incredibly logical and simple solution if you believe the PPS estimates are correct.

What really got me was why such a logical solution was totally ignored (i.e. Not responded to) by Rick in both the threads and private messages when he responded to ideas that were a lot less logical. There had to be a reason, but it is now abundantly evident we will never get the real story on mech-gate because that would require Rick to answer questions he clearly wants to ignore.

I've also said that I think MMR is/will be a great product. I want it to succeed because I want to own likely future titles.

Not liking how someone chooses which questions to answer is a far cry from "wow, you must really hate this product - why would you ever want one" (which seems to be a conclusion a lot of people have jumped to in my case).

Was I trying to incite people to cancel their orders? Of course not. I'm pretty sure there isn't even a hint of that suggestion in any of my posts. (I wouldn't cancel an order where I would forfeit $1K because I was t getting $50 in parts. I've walked away from deals before on principle, but it seems that would be cutting off your nose to spite your face)

Are people supposed to feel/admit being ripped off? Of course not, though I totally understand that some do.

All I want people to do is to not give PPS (or anyone else) a free pass when they do something that so many people see as wrong on one level (poor communication with their customers) or another (taking something away, whatever it is, at the 11th hour after locking deposits) or even worse (maybe Rick wasn't being honest when he said he posted as soon as he knew there was an issue).

People got really upset over WOZ delays, over the Tron coin door, over Stern games coming out with beta level code. It sure seems like JJP and Stern are working to see that those are historical issues, not perpetual ones. Did most people impacted by any of those cancel their orders? No, though WOZ may have pushed the envelope.

No reason PPS/CGC should be any different.

-1
#347 5 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

We're not talking about something that's missing and irreplaceable. This is comparable to a Stern Pro that comes pre-drilled for a shaker but doesn't include the shaker. If you want the shaker, you CAN put it in. Likewise - you CAN put the coin mech in.

What if the game didn't come with dragon wings? Or the translight? Or bolts for the legs? Or legs?

None of those are irreplaceable either.

It would only be comparable to the Stern Pro if the MMR flyer said "ready for coin mechs (not included)"

#355 5 years ago
Quoted from chuck1972:

you should call Rick and talk directly to him. He has been very open with communication during this project, he has been here in this forum all the way answering questions..

As others has pointed out, Rick appears to only answer the questions he wants to and, as this thread shows, that doesn't include something as logical as "why not just ship mechs to those for whom this is an issue (if the numbers are so low)?".

I doubt Rick is interested in talking with me. He declined two opportunities by email to answer questions and has not responded to unrelated questions and offer of help since. He also assumed that since I didn't like the way this was handled, that I was upset about the game and wouldn't believe anything he said ("If you are really upset about the game and have all of these theories, it is unlikely that you would want this game, and it is also unlikely that anything that I say you will believe"), which doesn't sound like someone that understands or wants to understand my position. It's not hard to see that Rick just wants this all to go away (which it will, probably as soon as we see pictures of MMR on the line).

I admire Rick for what he's done, I think MMR is/will be a success, I want to buy what I hope become future remakes. I can do all that and still believe he has handled this situation poorly (and compounded it by not further addressing it).

If he sees this issue as important or doesn't understand what it is, I'm more than happy to talk with him about it. He has my phone number and I'm here pretty much all day every day. I'd prefer he discuss it in this thread for all to see, and will be pleasantly surprised if either happens.

#447 5 years ago
Quoted from beachybrid:

Why would anybody on earth preorder a pinball machine?! Especially from a company that hasn't established itself with many machines yet.

Because Rick and PPS were brilliant - MMR was the perfect storm, priced perfectly for the market at the time. A remake of a game that people either loved or thought they should love that had become pretty much unobtainable because the supply/demand had bubbled all out of whack.

Rick announced an LE he thought would sell in three months. It sold out in three hours which led to a non-LE for the same price.

Everyone preordered because they could now have a shot at a new, possibly improved version of a holy grail machine that they had no chance of ever owning a week before.

NOBODY ordered because PPS/CGC was producing a pinball game - they ordered because they could finally buy a new Medieval Madness.

If Rick had announced any other title (even at a lower price), $8M wouldn't have been committed on paper in a matter of hours, the title wouldn't have instantly sold out and buyers would have been more rational and less impulsive.

Most would have taken a wait-and-see approach and bought after real games started showing up at distributors, especially since all they saw was a slide of a beagle board in a MM cabinet with a promise that it would work. (The second genius move was the Roger Sharpe seal of approval guarantee, but I've mentioned that before).

#595 5 years ago
Quoted from sammiesguys:

I wonder if PPS is having any reservations about their choice to be the 'face' of the game when it appears they don't have complete control regarding build decisions. Someone else makes the choice, they take the beating.

Edit: I can also understand from this why PPS would be hesitant to simply ship out free mechs, when they weren't the ones who made the decision not to include them. Good luck getting CGC to compensate them if they did.

I still don't understand the CGC / PPS relationship. If the relationship is as Rick describes it (and we have no info to indicate otherwise), why is PPS the lead distributor and setting guidelines for the other distributors and not CGC?

#611 5 years ago
Quoted from fosaisu:

PPS seems like at the least a very involved "licensor", or maybe even a "partner" depending on which part of Rick's statement you look at. If PPS wanted CGC to take lead on manufacturing but wanted to retain control over distribution, the contracts could easily be negotiated to allow for that.

OK, but as a very involved "licensor" or maybe even partner, I wouldn't expect PPS to give up control of what is spec'ed for the machine, which is what we are being told WRT the coin mechs.

I'm a little biased because whenever I think of CGC, I think of cabinets (good) and Pinball America (not so good).

#692 5 years ago

If it isn't about PPS communication, the coin mech issue or other PPS issues, start your own thread.
Some consider this thread silly enough without going completely off course.

I don't care about other coin doors. If MMR has a real coin door, it should have the mechs to go with it.

On the communication front, anyone have a thought on why we've had radio silence on the production start?

#696 5 years ago

Mods, maybe this thread has run its' course. Can we lock it please?

(Rick, I really hope you do the right thing and be a little more transparent in the future. Especially when it comes to answering questions on topics that you don't care for. I think this thread has shown that the PR and confidence hit for not being straight forward or simply ignoring topics is real).

#698 5 years ago
Quoted from mof:

The bottom line is — running a small business is about setting customer expectations and meeting them, and it's about maintaining trust with your customer base. When you fail to meet expectations, how you respond to the situation defines you as a businessman. It's not about being perfect. When expectations aren't met, if communication and action are delayed or missing, trust is appropriately brought into question.
We've observed vendors on Pinside (including PPS) deal with bumps in the road and overcome them with prompt communication and action. From what I've observed, many people were hoping for a high level of communication and responsibility regarding this issue to match the faith they demonstrated to PPS in a 3-hour sellout of the product offered. The customer base demonstrated a truly remarkable level of faith and trust up front in being delivered an excellent product. I presume PPS earned that trust with their previous track record with the customer base. I imagine that anything less than an excellent performance on the delivery side will meet quick scrutiny.
-mof

Great post, I think you summed things up perfectly.

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