(Topic ID: 115360)

The Big Lebowski Preorder Club (Members Only)

By Nilroc

4 years ago

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Topic index (key posts)

26 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 20

Post #2465 Tips on removing the upper playfield Posted by sd_tom (2 years ago)

Post #2474 Photo of the updated divertor Posted by sd_tom (2 years ago)

Post #2477 Photos of new tilt graphics side art for TBL Posted by jGraffix (2 years ago)

Post #2506 Factory visit update! Posted by rubberducks (2 years ago)

Post #2926 DP's response to their issue with ARA and game manufacturing. Posted by JimB (2 years ago)

Post #2971 pinghetto contacts ARA for information regarding the delays Posted by pinghetto (2 years ago)

Post #2973 pinghetto information regarding contacting ARA Posted by pinghetto (2 years ago)

Post #3056 ARA's email response about DP's claims. Posted by CrazyLevi (2 years ago)

Post #3483 Jaap from Dutch Pinball counters the ARA story. Posted by Rarehero (2 years ago)

Post #3491 ARA counters the Jaap counter to ARA's previous communication! Posted by Rarehero (2 years ago)

Post #3650 Report from a dinner with Barry of Dutch Pinball. Posted by Rensh (2 years ago)

Post #3951 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by Rensh (2 years ago)

Post #4259 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by Rensh (2 years ago)

Post #5004 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by Nikonokin (2 years ago)

Post #5229 DP update about an alternative manufacturer Posted by Nikonokin (2 years ago)

Post #5461 Details on June 19th DP Livestream Posted by Nikonokin (2 years ago)

Post #6420 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by KoenHeltzel (1 year ago)

Post #6684 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by Concretehardt (1 year ago)

Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

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#3222 2 years ago

I wonder what the profit margin is? I would think it would be at least 10% and probably more than that. If I use $8k as an average purchase price, the profit margin is $800 per machine. Someone stated that there are 40 machines being held by ARA, so that means DP would have to take a $200 loss per machine on 40 machines for a total loss of $8000.

In the USA, you can easily make a disputed payment without weakening your legal case. Add to that the fact that $8k isn't going to get you too far down the road in a legal matter and it seems, on surface, that the more prudent path would be to make a disputed payment or $40k, absorb the $8k loss and pursue legal action and new manufacturing options. I can only assume there is more to this story or the legal system is quite a bit different than what we have here. Can someone help me with understanding the Netherlands' legal system? Specifically, is there not a way to make disputed payments and what is an estimated cost range to pursue this type of case?

1 month later
#3996 2 years ago
Quoted from Hjbondar:

June 2016
ARA informs DP that the agreed price is too low because the cost price is higher than estimated (again). This time, ARA demands over €1.000 extra per TBL. After several negotiations, DP agrees with this new price, but only under the condition that ARA seriously speeds up production and delivers 300 TBL plus 50 units of our second title: Bride of Pinbot 25th anniversary, before December 31, 2016.
October 2016
DP finds out that ARA has not ordered a single part for the 50 BoP25s. When DP confronts ARA with this, ARA insists on the higher price. DP refuses to pay this price since the condition will not be realized. ARA announces production stop of TBL.

So DP agrees to the new price but then decides to pursue legal action because either (or both) ARA did not speed up production and/or ARA has not ordered parts for BoP? Why not just get the TBL's made since you agreed to the price (albeit at a slower pace than you would like) and then go somewhere else to make the BoP's? I am confused

#4009 2 years ago
Quoted from Rensh:

I know next question would be if the buyers would pay the extra money would it free the TBL?

But DP said they already agreed to the increase, so the $1000 is not the issue. The issue, per DP's statement, is that the production wasn't being ramped up fast enough and they had not ordered parts for BofP. This begs two questions. First, why would you want to deal with ARA for the second game given how difficult they have been to work with on the first. Unless there is some sort of exclusivity clause in the contract with ARA, you'd think DP would want nothing to do with them. This exclusivity clause with ARA seems unlikely. The second question is why the necessity of speeding up production? This second question does tend to lend credence to RareHero's assertion that the license is about to expire. And here, (obviously, pure speculation on my part), is where I can get to a reasonable basis for the lawsuit. DP needs games made by X. If not, they lose the license and suffer financial impact. Therefore, DP agrees to pay the extra $1000 with the quid pro quo being that the games must be finished by X. ARA says you need to pay the extra grand for the 40 sitting here first, then we will ramp up. DP has no confidence in ARA so they say, start the ramp up and once we are convinced you will make the date, we will give you the $. So, here we are at a stalemate. Both sides make a plausible case and the contract is ambiguous since it did not anticipate hitting the license deadline.

Of course, this is wild speculation on my part so I'm sure I'm way off base.

#4125 2 years ago
Quoted from T7:

To clarify, I meant why doesn't DP just pay the extra $1K per game, since they were ready to do that previously according to the timeline/history they sent out.

Agreed. This is the question I posted earlier. Why tie it to production schedule and BoP parts being ordered?

#4126 2 years ago
Quoted from rlslick:

That being said, I'm not really sure calling Universal will resolve anything other than making things worse than where they stand today.

If DP is operating within the agreement, calling Universal would have zero impact on things. I assume this is the case.

As to what it might resolve. Well, for some reason DP tied the extra $1000 to expediting the production schedule. Why do this unless DP was under some sort of deadline? If impending license expiration is not the issue, the next best guess (in my opinion) would be some debt coming due. Therefore, understanding the license might provide clues to the true status and possibility/timing of a resolution.

#4138 2 years ago

Unfortunately, the best decisions are usually those made with the most information. Here you have a dearth of information and, to make matters worse, much of it from sources that can't be fully trusted. Contact Universal or not? start legal action or not? At this point, all you have is your gut.

I am not one who adheres to the 'if you don't have skin in the game, you can't comment' as I often think those without skin in the game are better able to separate facts from emotion. However, I have also found that, in the absence of information, the 'gut feeling' of someone in the throes of the situation is usually better than the intuition of someone on the sidelines. Given that I am not in the club (unless way down the road in the secondary market) and we are down to gut feelings, I don't think there is any value in my opining. I do hope it all works out

1 month later
#4853 2 years ago
Quoted from highdef:

but a well-structured contract wouldn't have allowed a price increase after production began.

I'm not saying they don't exist, but I've never seen a contract that did not provide a change order mechanism. I can't begin to tell you how many deals I've seen get sideways as a result of change orders. I've also not seen a multi-year contract that did not have some sort of COLA clause. Add to that contracts that require sourcing and/or labor from other countries having clauses covering exchange rate and foreign tax protections. In my limited sample size with large, multi-year deals, price adjustments were actually the norm, not the exception.

That having been said, these adjustments are usually well managed and accounted for. This suggests the contract was either poorly constructed (one-sided), poorly understood and/or poorly managed. Of course, all this supports your primary assertion:

Quoted from highdef:

Note to DP: Hire said "consultant" (or experienced attorney) BEFORE you sign a fricking contract manufacturing agreement. #business101

3 weeks later
#5267 2 years ago
Quoted from highdef:

Someone is going to repost the hosting details, so I fear that it will become a public forum with non-vested parties (much like this thread).

If this is a concern, they just need to set it up as a moderated conference call. Every conf call I've been on where sensitive/confidential info was discussed was done this way. You have to identify yourself to an operator, who checks against the list before letting you on the call. You also have to hit a key combo to enter the queue to ask a question. Of course, I'm not sure that would stop anything from becoming public....may slow it down by a couple of hours...make that a couple of minutes.

4 months later
#6307 1 year ago
Quoted from RTR:

Thank you Nitro Pinball!
I have tried to tell everyone that distributors keep DP deposit money in hand - no deposit money goes to DP, but hearing it from you should eliminate any more confusion.

Quoted from FlipperFreak:

Just to be very clear, NITRO has only ever accepted deposits on TBL. We've also refunded every customer immediately when a request has been made. Being pinheads ourselves, we understand everyone's frustration. We DO NOT and WILL NOT accept payment in full without games shipping. Even with Heighway.... although all of our deposits had been sent to Andrew... we still refunded customers when asked, and will continue to do so.

You do realize that Nitro's post suggests the opposite, at least with respect to Heighway. Nitro says they HAD sent the deposit money. They do not say anything about when deposit money is being sent to DP.

All of that is really irrelevant given the crux of the post (and I assume the intent of your post) is that one can feel 100% safe with giving Nitro a deposit. Nitro ate the loss with Heighway and would presumably do the same with DP. For this, Nitro needs to be commended.

6 months later
#7327 1 year ago
Quoted from iceman44:

That’s exactly what ARA is doing.
How else would they ever get paid? They are sitting on worthless inventory right now

This and/or ARA figures, well if they have the money to start over with another contract manufacturer, they have the money to pay off this debt. If not, well, to your point, they get the software for nothing since the software has no value to anyone other than ARA and can now sell the finished machines to pay off the debt.

#7447 1 year ago

The more I read this thread, the more convinced I am that people may be confusing contract manufacturing with other contract services. Given that ARA is in that business and DP isn't, the contract is likely favorable to ARA. Meaning, full pass-through of BOM costs plus a 'comfortable' standard burden rate to cover labor, COLA and exchange rate protection along with rock solid change control. Change something and everything gets reset. Speculation? No doubt; however, it seems likely that ARA would have had the upper hand in the initial contract negotiation and included the appropriate t's and c's to pass as much risk as possible to DP.

#7494 1 year ago
Quoted from Brijam:

I have a couple of decades with software contracting in the millions of dollars. No question that our contracts always had rock solid change control, but that didn't mean /everything/ got reset. Nobody would agree to that. And our contract generally favored us.

Don't want to get into a pissing contest around experience. I'll just leave it as I have extensive experience running consulting organizations and have seen change management processes in myriad contracts and in use from many, many companies. I've never seen a change management process that that did not provide for the ability to modify schedule based upon the nature of the change. In fact, the analysis for any requested change includes cost and schedule impact. Doesn't mean there is always an impact to schedule but it is definitely evaluated. Remember too, this is a two-way street. Client requests a change, the analysis is performed and a change order is produced. The client has the right to sign off or not. The contract simply provides the mechanism. DP saying they agreed to a $1000 change reads to me like: A change was requested, a change order was produced, the change order signed by DP.

#7504 1 year ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Eye burning garbage. It was instantly mocked upon reveal for its stupid theme, stupid title, and stupid art.

So, DP can put you down as a 'maybe' for preorder?

#7508 1 year ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Huh? I’m talking about the SkitB game.

Yeah, I meant SkitB, confused by the many meanderings of this thread...Hey, I'm old

#7509 1 year ago

It seems to my simple mind that that flynnibus is merely applying Occam's razor. Doesn't automatically mean he is right and Brijam is wrong; rather, food for thought.

#7554 1 year ago
Quoted from highdef:

Do you know if he was fired as a direct result of the contract? For all we know, he could've been terminated for stealing paper clips or pinching bums in the workplace.

Is ARA publicly held and are there financial records available? If so, it may provide some clues. How big is ARA and, therefore, how important was DP to them? Second, there may be a write-off listed related to this that would give some sense of if and how much was paid. I have no idea how the financial reporting works there but it might provide some interesting, fact-based, info.

#7661 1 year ago
Quoted from Rensh:

As agreed:
Price #1-#100 fixed, #101-"300" dependable on coming developments. Low costs version to be considered for >#200
-"300" to be delivered in 2016
BoP2.0 start deliveries in 2016, minimum 50 pcs.
Steps are taken to increase production capacity considerably after the summer holiday
Place orders in system and take care of documents.
Sort out the payments

Best regards,

Rene Versteeg

OK, I admit I'm not the brightest bulb in the box; however, I do not see a "parts will be ordered by X" What I do see is "take care of documents" Any experienced business person, let alone a company that has been in this business for 50 years knows that you don't have an agreement until the ink has dried. I also see "sort out the payments", which suggests there is a potential issue with payments/payment schedule. This is foreshadowed by the statement by JAAP "in your general conditions there is payment term of 30 days. I would like to hear from you how you are going to apply this in relation to the prefinancing of ARA as you know our financial situation via the reports from the accountant."

I can tell you from experience managing contractual relationships with vendors, there is lots and lots of dialog, verbal and written, related to modifications to an agreement. Many never come to fruition, many more evolve and morph into something much different from an initial agreement in principle.

As always, I do hope things work out for everyone, but I don' see anything compelling for either party.

3 weeks later
#7789 1 year ago

Is the playfield in the Xytech games different than the one used in the ARA games (in terms of mechs and/or positions of the mechs? If so, what does this mean to existing owners and the ability to maintain their games? If not, why would DP be selling them? Seems like they would use whatever stock they have on hand to reduce the cost of the Xytech games.

11 months later
#8864 4 months ago
Quoted from zaphX:

I dunno...if the assets get fire-saled as part of liquidation, one of those assets would be the IP in the game design and software.
Seems to me someone could buy those assets without acquiring the whole company, it's debt, etc.

Yes, it is very common to only acquire certain 'assets' of a company. This could be inventory, IP/patents, customer lists, maintenance agreements, etc. The complicating factors would be any existing legal actions and potential bankruptcy. I can't speak for the Netherlands; however, here, resolution of those actions may encompass disposition of assets in a prescribed manner.

1 month later
#9110 3 months ago
Quoted from RTR:

If this is just an extension of the Barry/DP show it does not give me a warm fuzzy at all. 40 machines x $12,500 = $500k a sort of magical number that sounds like a round settlement figure.

I'm not trying to give you grief as I am as guilty as anyone of seeing life through the eyes of an American; however, I imagine the ARA/DP contract and settlement would have been using Euro. $500k USD = 444.390 Euro, not a particularly round number.

Of course, it really doesn't matter. If I recollect correctly, ARA stopped shipping games because DP did not pay for games already shipped. Therefore, DP ostensibly owes on the 40 hostage games plus some percent of the 50(?) sold. Add in legal expenses paid by DP and additional damages I assume asked for by ARA and it's hard for me to believe there is a ton of money left for DP. After you factor in the company history it's hard to imagine there are many people willing to offer up more than a token deposit for a preorder. I hope I am wrong; however, I think the only way more TBL's are made is if another company reaches out to Universal to see if it is possible to extend the license and, if so, pays a few $ for the IP. I can see them leverage the pre-approved assets of art, video and sound and maybe some of the software and hardware components.

#9235 3 months ago
Quoted from benheck:

I think DP ran out of money before the first 50 were even done. They probably told ARA "ship them and then more deposits will come in!" and ARA does, regrets it, and holds next batch hostage.
This explains why the cost to release next 40 isn't just the contracted cost, or the retail cost, but 4k ABOVE the retail cost. Think that's seed money to restart DP? Ha. It's probably to pay back what was owed on first batch.
This game is done. Not only is DP broke AF but the license probably expired years ago.

I agree. I believe this was what was originally asserted by ARA, i.e., they stopped shipping because they were owed on what had already been shipped.

**** Disclaimer ****
I have no comment on your last two sentences as they may be construed as providing legal advice to EA's who directly paid DP and are involved in or contemplating legal action against DP.

#9325 3 months ago

Any idea how many people had deposits with Cointaker/Nitro? You really need this info to determine how much below market the games were priced. If I had $8500 in CT for the past three years, I would have emotionally written it off, so it would feel like I was getting the game for only $4k. Yeah, I know I could have gotten a refund and I know that it really cost me $12.5k; however, I wrote the first check years ago. It's the same psychology used by companies to entice people to buy in installments.

I also wonder if any new buyers were able to jump the line leaving some who had deposits with CT on the outside?

3 weeks later
#9829 72 days ago
Quoted from VividPsychosis:

CT has seen the entire ruling and I trust Melissa as she wouldn’t lie to me about it.

This suggests it is a matter of public record and, as such, should be easy for someone to get. (I have no idea about on-line access to public records in the Netherlands but there are plenty of very prominent Dutch members of Pinside ) Seems like all this speculation could end pretty quickly.

1 month later
#10690 35 days ago

To all those that want the details...imagine you were going to implement a new system at work or no, build a new house or no, simply add a screen porch to your house. Now you could sit down and figure out how much lumber you needed and the lengths of that lumber. Same with the roofing, screen, flooring, even the smaller stuff like joist hangers, paint and nails. You could look at all the stuff you already have, maybe paint, nails, some wood and then you could figure out what all you need that you don't have on hand. You could then determine how much it will cost and you could order what you need, based on all those calculations. You could then go to the big box store and get all the stuff you need. However, you'd no doubt discover that same of the boards are too warped to use, some might get broken in transport. No doubt, you'd have unanticipated waste and there would be some things you just forgot about or didn't anticipate. You'd probably end up having to go back to the store, maybe multiple times.

Or you could just start building stuff and not waste all that time planning.

#10706 35 days ago

Remember the joke about 'how do you tell if a politician is lying?...his lips are moving'. I always tell people, "how do you know if I'm being sarcastic/a smart ass? My lips are moving"

First, I admit to an unreasonable bias towards planning, having been in the software, PM, pgm mgmt and consulting arena for many years. That being said, there are actually studies that support my anecdotal findings around the value of planning. Yeah, it takes a lot longer to start producing something, but the reduction in redesign, rework and quality issues more than make up for the initial 'delay'.

That for me, and what I thought benheck was referring to, is the most troubling aspect of this next phase. There doesn't appear to be a well thought out detailed plan in place. Now I could be way off and DP may have one that Barry just doesn't choose to share; however, the lack of a detailed plan coupled with past history doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

3 weeks later
#11002 9 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

I get it, he had to organize parts, and get his shop setup and that probably took the majority of his time.

I don't know, when I look at the pictures in posts 10923 10936.... it doesn't scream well-organized to me. Not throwing rocks here. If you looked at my workshop, well trust me, I have no room to talk about great organization. Looks like packing materials laying about boxes stacked on boxes (and not neatly), etc. It's probably a good thing that it's a one-man band right now. It's a whole lot easier to get by with lack of organization and process when you are the only cook in the kitchen. It will be interesting to see how things progress.

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