(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)


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#1053 3 years ago

For those interested, Scott Danesi (DP) and Dead_Flip will be doing a BoP 2.0 stream on Monday, and Koen & Barry will be in chat too.

Big week for Dutch Pinball. Shame they aren't streaming the factory tour.

12651005_956530124443141_353422127270575316_n[1]_(resized).jpg

2 weeks later
#1082 3 years ago

He's probably just busy. I doubt Stern have started putting hits on competitors' customers just yet.

3 weeks later
#1100 3 years ago

Hopefully someone will be filming it and it can be uploaded to youtube.

#1128 3 years ago
Quoted from Rensh:

Yep, I am. To my best knowledge TPF is not streaming and also not filming the seminars

I realise the Aliens one had embargoed info, but it's really sad that organisers haven't arranged for the recording of these Would be so easy to borrow a camcorder, tripod and mic ...

#1145 3 years ago
Quoted from Ed209:

My reaction is it looked better then it played. I was expecting a faster game but the ballplay just felt sluggish. Game I played the flippers were soft, the left sling wasn't firing and the car got stuck when it reset. I'd love to know if these were production games or the same pins they've been lugging around to a few shows. My takeaway was it could be a fun if the machine was dialed in properly. Looking forward to playing one fresh out of box that hasn't been beaten on at a few shows.

As engineering or test samples, already they might have been beaten more than most home games will get in 5 years.

#1157 3 years ago

Rule discussion and explanation begins at 21.35 of the video. I think the game already has a lot more rules and depth than people realise.

#1199 3 years ago

People throwing their toys out of the pram re: code and rules need some perspective, especially those holding Stern up as some shining beacon.

A lot of the rules are obviously placeholders and will change or become more elaborate, especially as more callouts, video and animations are added.

Re: Stern .... have people already forgotten how bad a lot of their recent games were at launch? Far worse than this. I played a TWD LE at an arcade at the end of last year, and it was running code 5+ updates old. It wasn't just bad, it wasn't even worth playing. WWE was left in a dire state for an entire year, and the most recent update only included a few rule changes and bug fixes ... no implementation of any of the many missing modes, wrestlers and art and sound assets. GB looks extremely limited for a game 3 weeks from shipping (though what is there looks ok). In terms of rules and DMD stuff it seems very basic, and number of sound effects and callouts seems incredibly small for a game 3 weeks from first delivery, so I'm not sure a lot has changed.

I don't really expect any of the manufacturers to buck this trend, as in the software and video game industry people are expected to pay in full for far from feature complete or hugely buggy alphas - a situation far worse than in pinball imo.

Given what they've done with BoP 2.0 I'm confident that DP will make TBL into a very compelling game. Maybe even a classic.

The only thing that really concerns me is how relaxed, chilled out and low tempo the music is. I almost feel like they should be running it at 1.1x speed. The pacing seems on the slow side for pinball. If that isn't changed, then I think sound effects need to up the tempo and make things more frenetic at least some of the time.

1 week later
#1219 3 years ago

Think it was Koen or Barry who posted in the BoP 2.0 forum (their own) saying that a new BoP 2.0 update fixing several things and adding stuff would have to be delayed a week or so. It was intended to go out last week, but they were locked in the office working on TBL code instead.

I think it's more likely a case of when they want to release the first production machines from a code point of view, not HW revisions.

I expect they're hoping to have made enough progress with code in the next 1-2 weeks that the first games will then go out ... otherwise they'd have said the BoP 2.0 update would be delayed more.

2 weeks later
#1291 3 years ago

Finish on the machine looks great. Congrats. Clearly your daughter is wise beyond her years.

Heard anything from DP about the code drop?

#1307 3 years ago
Quoted from Rensh:

Good that you decided after all to unbox it
Looks great. Now DP speed up production as soon as your move to a bigger hall is completed and pump out these beauties

Bigger hall? Larger production line in one of ARA's other buildings?

#1314 3 years ago

Do you know if that's because they found it wasn't going to allow for fast enough production in the original space, or because they've received solid orders through CoinTaker / indications from potential EU sellers? Two sides of the same coin, I know, but you see what I mean.

#1338 3 years ago

I think the low version number hints at just how much development they feel that they still have to do. Though I wonder if the next release will be 1.01 ...

3 weeks later
#1444 3 years ago
Quoted from JustLikeMe:

Next weekend is a three day weekend over here, so I've asked if I can pay extra to guarantee delivery on either Friday or Saturday - it would be great to have it for then.
I'll be sure to get some photos and video up once it arrives - I don't have a tripod setup or anything though, so I'm afraid it won't be ideal unless I can find one to borrow.

I'd be very surprised if delivery isn't on or by Friday anway, if it's a decent pallet shipment company they use. If the machine is picked up on Tuesday and doesn't leave on a ferry on Tuesday evening, it almost certainly will before midday on Wednesday. It'll be received at a London depot at latest on Thursday.

Quoted from ectobar:

You're definitely the oddball out on Pinside if you don't like either. This is a friendly club, so you're good here. I wouldn't go mentioning that stuff outside of here though.
FWIW, I'm a fan of both. Tron much more so than IM, but I'm always excited to put a couple plays on both when I come across them. Fortunately, one of the few places in the area just got a Tron, so I'll be able to get my fix now.
Anyways, keep it up DP! #30 needs to get here soon.

Can't say Tron or particuly IM do anything for me, either.

3 months later
#2223 3 years ago

Some people in EU have been able to place orders recently, and will soon receive them (not me) ... but I think that's mainly friends of DP.

DP, as far as I'm aware still intend to nominate EU distributors, but after all the pre-orders are out of the way. They would be mad not to, unless acting as their own distributor.

Given Stern's pricing and appalling quality, TBL should sell pretty well in both EU and Australia / NZ.

Why on earth would they stop after 300 unless they now intend to disband the company (opposite is true from what I hear)?

1 week later
#2323 3 years ago
Quoted from sd_tom:

I dunno about 12v. Right now I'm living off of the USB port in the back box to power ardunio.
I haven't looked harder for power yet but may.

What are you doing with an arduino?

1 week later
#2412 3 years ago
Quoted from steigerpijp:

So far the bowling alley ball is holding Out great in my game, playfield bowlers look and play nuts, but they do take a beating like glo-balls do, wont last more than 6-800 games I think..

The bill of materials on this game must be crazy, even compared with WOZ ECLE .... attention to detail, features, complication and quality of materials are insane.

4 weeks later
22
#2506 2 years ago
Quoted from Pinhead1982:

Any idea what number they are up to now? Emailed Barry at the end of September, he said they were going aiming for the mark by mid October but haven't heard anything!

Little report from factory visit:

#78 is the highest numbered finished boxed up game.

20 of them done, waiting for shipment.

Unfortunately all of them have to be depacked again as faults were detected on test samples of the latest batch of one of the boards, so they're checking all of them. Probably more of a pain in the arse than a major delay.

In my view it's highly unlikely any other companies in pinball would do this, or that any (save maybe for JJP - big maybe) would even detect a batch of PCBs with a minor fault after initial production, in the first place, before shipping them.

#92 is the highest number currently in production.

ARA are at a cadence of ~8 per week now. They've told DP that they think they can do up to 20 per week once they're fully up to speed. They're obviously picking up pace.

They have climate, wear and mechanical testing rigs set up in house. As the previous factory visit reported, all the bespoke PCBs can be designed, prototyped, tested and produced in-house ... which has to be a huge asset.

All machines are properly tested (technical and play) before they go out.

Still continually refining TBL in terms of assembly procedure, setup, and revising the odd part.

To put an end to the Pinside rumours, licensing is NOT an issue for TBL. The run of 300 has not yet been extended, because the contract with their manufacturing partner ARA is for 300, and it or a new one has to be negotiated. Nor are they quitting after TBL ... they're working on game #2 and have plenty more ideas. They wouldn't comment, but I feel like it may not be THAT long before we hear or see something, given the glint in their eyes. Guess it depends on how long they intend to produce TBL for.

Both Dutch Pinball and ARA seem very well organised, and far more professional than any other operations I've seen or heard of. I mean that both in the general sense, and that they are all professionals with expertise. Specific tasks are all delegated to those with the most relevant skills, experience and qualification, and the means and tools for them to do their jobs as well as possible are provided. That goes for everything from art, to code, to parts ordering, to software, to human resources. There's instruction and oversight at every stage of production, and protocol arranged to deal with failures. It's a typical example of studied, modern, lean production and management ... rather than the rather old fashioned, inefficient or chaotic garden shed like archetypes that tend to otherwise be associated with the industry.

They're happy to show anything in the production facility and have photos taken, no NDAs or no requests for keeping mum about anything. They happily answered any questions (save for timing or theme of game #2) all afternoon and night, including anything probing, inviting any scepticism or critique, including from customers who already had games and had parts fail ... indeed some of them left with bags of newly revised bits. Didn't seem like they wanted to brush anything under the rug or deflect. Nothing any of the staff said whilst I was there appeared optimistic or exaggerated (besides Jaap's personality ) and all of them seemed like realists. On the face of what I saw, heard and their demeanour, I'd be far more confident about ordering a NIB machine from them than anyone else, and them then standing behind their product.

Some of the stuff they use is of immensely higher quality and greater expense than other manufacturers. Two things that really stood out most were the backglass and bowling mech. The glass is 5mm thick and looks like bullet proof glass. It's ridiculously heavy, so much so they had to change the plastic guide it sits in as it kept breaking, and extremely solid. Thickness is so it can be bottom lit with LEDs and diffuse light through the panel. The bowling mech - it's even bigger and more industrial looking than it seems in photos, and surely the most expensive toy there's ever been or perhaps will be in pinball. But talking of cost, Jaap talked quite a bit about bill of materials, and efficiency. I strongly suspect TBL isn't as unaffordably costly to DP as many would think (or I suspected). The whole enterprise seems to be put together with a view to sustainability. But at the same time, Jaap and Barry clearly don't need to do this or aren't counting on it making them squillions; love of pinball does really seem to be the primary motivation, rather than a PR soundbite.

Without exception, the staff were friendly and informed.

They're looking at offering a high resolution mode on the LCD - default and only choice is a simulated dot matrix at the moment. Was a conscious decision to go with the latter, but they realise some would prefer it without. I certainly would given how many movie clips there are. A lot of colour and contrast are lost, and with the playfield and lights being so colourful, I think the ability to disable dots would make it a lot more eye catching.

Plenty more code planned. Though no exact ETA for next update. Wifi is ready to go now.

The product's finish, fit, feel and construction screams high quality. Stern, Heighway and Spooky aren't in the same universe. JJP are a bit different but definitely on the same planet, however I don't think they have anything like such stringent quality control and production procedure, and from what I've observed there will be a lot more variance and simple assembly errors & issues, or damage incurred in build or transit.

Was my first time playing. Lit up, the playfield looks prettier than any other. Shots all feel REALLY smooth, and most if not easy are immediately intuitive ... there doesn't seem to be any weird or potentially badly calculated geometry, unlike a lot of recent modern machines. I feel like the game would work whether flat as a pancake or raked as steeply as possible. Flipper feel seems excellent, though they use SuperBands as stock, which whilst I know many like them, I hate and would have to change - wish they'd use Titan Silicon. Sound design is good, and the low paced music wasn't an issue at all for me (I felt it might be). I liked that there are plenty of increments in adjustments for things like slingshots ... competitors typically offer few, in the games they do allow it. I think it will really benefit from code expansions in future, as it does still feel like such a rich game isn't yet making as much use of all its features as it can.

Don't know if I'll end up with one or not yet, probably depends on how large the run is and European pricing, as the theme has never been a huge attention grabber for me (sorry fans). But I do await their future titles with far more anticipation than anything else ... that and installing my BoP 2.0 kit.

P.S. Sorry for 1000 edits ... on tablet.

#2513 2 years ago

pinbalt game #2 was the only thing they wouldn't discuss, except to confirm that it was coming. Though i didn't ask that question - maybe someone else did and they can comment. I suspect though that if there are preorders they'll involve small deposits not huge lump sums this time. They are after all up and running now. I wouldn't have a problem giving them money. After what I heard and saw I'd trust them much more than any other companies.

I did try a sneaky question re: game #2 ... Jaap looked like he wanted to answer, and thought for a while, but said he couldn't in the end. It was - how long have you been working on game #2 since you made the decision on what game #2 was going to be?

#2514 2 years ago

www.twitch.tv/thisflippinpodcast

TBL being streamed live now

1 month later
#2639 2 years ago
Quoted from kidchrisso:

Man I hope not...I'd like to see this to be super exclusive with its price point

You'll get much more code for a run of 600 than 300 ...

3 weeks later
#2691 2 years ago
Quoted from hank527:

The piece did get sheared off. I took the entire game apart and cannot find where it could possibly go. Just no clue. It's easy to fix, if I could figure out where it goes.

Bolt looks large enough that you ought to be able to find where it went if it was missing.

I suspect there was an assembly error, it dropped into the bottom of the cabinet, and wasn't removed.

#2694 2 years ago

If that fell out of the mini pf, it would be visible where it came from. Like I said, likelihood is it was mess left in the bottom of the cabinet from assembly.

My WOZ (bought HUO from its original owner) still had a bunch of cruft hiding amidst the wiring looms, that had been there since the factory build 2 years earlier.

1 week later
#2726 2 years ago

Still streaming speed runs on TBL

https://www.twitch.tv/pinballjoe

1700-2000 viewers at the moment.

#2729 2 years ago
Quoted from ectobar:

Got the diverter working!
The diverter plunger and the coil stop bracket were becoming magnetized.
I was able to demagnetize the pieces using my stove top, but after energizing the mech the pieces would remagnetize.
I ended up putting a piece of electrical tape on the coil stop and that kept the plunger from sticking to the stop. I'm guessing this will only be a temporary fix, but for the time being, everything is working correctly.
Bring on the code!

The part probably needs to be made of aluminium, is all. Should let DP know what's happening, in case they don't monitor this thread.

#2731 2 years ago
Quoted from r6emperor:

If it was made of aluminum, it wouldn't work at all. It needs to be steel so when the coil is energized it is attracted to the magnetic field

Misunderstood what it did.

#2734 2 years ago
Quoted from burningman:

The results of this past weeks testing with the beta code will be sent over to DP this week. Not sure if they will release it as is or want to make some changes.
Code updates are sent via email.

Did it include an option for high res mode for the display? I.E. not the default simulated dot look.

#2736 2 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

Now with Stern's LCD out there, along with JJP, the time for dots is over. I hope they update to make the simulated dots an option.

They indicated that they would be adding this, when we did the factory tour at the beginning of November. I'm guessing they'll aim for the next code update after the forthcoming one. Hope it doesn't get tossed out.

It never really made sense to me to have the dot look in a game with so many video clips.

1 week later
#2797 2 years ago

Not excusing the silence, but:

One of the norms in pinball is frequently to outright lie to your customers, often outrageously, and constantly and willfully deceive them.

The crowds seem to love the latter, and begin writing what effectively amount to fan fictions about the product ... until the point that they realise they've been had, and become apopleptic.

Dutch don't do this. You can be glad of that, at least.

I don't have a horse in the race (except BoP 2.0), but the above was one of the factors in determining why I felt I'd be more confident buying NIB from DP than anyone else, after the Dutch Pinball weekend. No stench of bullshit, and no evasiveness (in person) or lies & half truths.

#2872 2 years ago

Jaap said they're still awaiting resolution from ARA, to me too.

2 weeks later
#2949 2 years ago
Quoted from JimB:

We are informed that ARA is spreading news about the issue. So we will do the same.
Our contract with ARA stipulates the delivery of 300 games in 2015 for a fixed price per game. Besides the enormous delay we had to accept (well over a year), ARA is now demanding far more money than we originally agreed upon (1000+ Euros extra per game!). This is unacceptable as you probably will understand. After numerous attempts to work things out with ARA, they have refused to honor their commitments as described in the contract. We therefore refuse to pay their bills and are thinking about starting a legal procedure against ARA.
Now for the good news! We are in discussions with several other manufactures. Our plan is to pick up right where we left off with ARA, and will be announcing in the coming weeks who will be producing our games and when you can expect to receive them. Our apologies for any delay. Thank you for continued faith & support in Dutch Pinball.

It's not surprising that this has occurred, when it dragged on.

I rather got the impression when we visited that the contract negotiation to extend beyond 300 with ARA could be an impasse. It seems to have come much sooner.

It's very unfortunate that the first 300 couldn't be finished before a potential change for further runs and game #2.

Obviously we're only hearing DP's side of the story., but hopefully the two parties can settle without going to court, as I'd imagine it will be a considerable time sink.

#2951 2 years ago
Quoted from DCFAN:

What is ARA for those that have not followed the whole thing in detail?

The contract manufacturer and supplier of boards and I think some of the wiring amongst other things.

DP don't have a production facility.

#2993 2 years ago
Quoted from pinghetto:

Better to send a couple hundred extra than being our $8500. That's my thought. Just to get this done. At least I'll have a piece of wood, electronics, and some wire to show for my money (working or not).

For the production phase, I would imagine they pay on completion (shipping). Probably hence ARA, if reported correctly, feel they have room to negotiate a higher fee and the leverage to do so with a bunch of completed games.

Also probably why DP appear to think they can move to another CM ... but how long that takes would be interesting to say the least.

#2995 2 years ago
Quoted from DCFAN:

If Dutch Pinball wanted to become a regular pinball company rather than just making one game, they really needed to set up their own factory. Maybe a factory in the JJP mold only smaller would have been a good option for them. Otherwise they are at the mercy of the contract manufacturers for everything. At least with a factory the pinball company can go to alternative manufacturers for parts when the main supplier fails to produce quality or quantity or goes into contract disputes.
Also, why is the software not super deep and amazing by now? The whole project smells of cashflow issues.

Rather the opposite. Huge fixed costs are the primary drag on solvency. That they have none is their one trump card amidst all the delays and meanderings. Nearly sunk JJP and others are in dire trouble.

Assuming of course that DP pay on completion and ARA aren't holding large deposits for machines finished or under production in eskrow ...

#3010 2 years ago
Quoted from DCFAN:

What does Dutch have to sell an investor to keep them afloat? It does not even sound as if they still have the license to make more than the 300 games they are supposedly committed to do.

Manufacturing facilities are pretty basic in pinball, if costly. They only become an asset rather than a huge liability (in ongoing costs and staff) if you have a bulging order book to keep it busy long into the future.

New infusions of cash tend to be needed precisely because they cause huge cash haemorrhages during delays and dry periods ... as they do in manufacturing generally.

#3096 2 years ago
Quoted from Bryan_Kelly:

Sadly, I wonder why nothing has happened since ARA quit producing in October.

They didn't. Though it was mid afternoon on a Friday, there were still 2-3 ladies working on assembly when we went on the factory tour in early November. Production definitely hadn't stopped at that stage.

So that part of the letter is untrue.

It would also be extraordinary if that dispute was active with the stipulated reasons and they'd allowed DP to tour round their facility with a group of 30+ customers and interested parties.

I don't buy it.

#3097 2 years ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

As ARA reportedly wants another $1k per board set based on their understanding and DP has shipped 30(?) games, ARA would want immediate payment of the 30k. Possibly a detail in their contract was triggered that requires this payment up front before delivery of each machine.
My solution: DP pays ARA the 30k owed, and alerts its buyers that their final costs have increased $1k. If they want a refund, full amount will be returned, as new orders come in. Chaulk it up to bad management, and save yourself headaches of finding another CM just pay the ransom.

There's no way they could do that. It sets a very dangerous precedent.

Also, if that's the case, €1k per boardset INCREASE sounds very difficult to justify.

We have extremely imperfect information, and two contradictory stories, neither of which adds up really.

Impossible to reach a general conclusion.

#3102 2 years ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

I can't see how any formal, professional, dutch company thinks they could 'negotiate a higher fee' on items they already have a contract to deliver. The price was agreed to. I'd speculate it is more likely something like change orders, or other add-ons that ARA feels they are owed that DP doesn't. Imagine something like
ARA: To make this happen, we need to make these changes..
DP: Its your build, you do what you need to do to deliver on the project
ARA: Here is an invoice for the necessary things we did
DP: We aren't paying that.. you agreed to build the game for X, that cost is your responsibility...
ARA: These items were not part of the original deal.. you owe us for it, pay the invoice
DP: No (or probably just silence...)
ARA: Fine, you won't pay, we won't release the goods or other work until you do
And it goes from there. They could be disagreements over what should be billed items or not.. changes made.. what the original SoW and costs covered..
Lots of possibilities for disagreements on scope/inclusion without one side simply trying to blackmail the other because the games are ready.
Given the history in the past where Silence was DP's way of addressing things they didn't like.. I can see how things could escalate to this roadblock.

Potentially quite plausible.

But ARA lied about production being halted in October.

Staff were working on sub assemblies and machines when we arrived on the afternoon of November the 3rd 2016. They did knock off before we left ... but that seemed normal for a Friday afternoon when the whole place was quite quiet.

#3230 2 years ago
Quoted from Pinhead1982:

Started a seperate thread with a pole to gage what buyers want. DP should listen to us, after all it is our money they are paying with.
Please vote.

Sorry, but the only people they should listen to is their team of legal counsel once they have one selected. Also, the licensor may get involved.

This isn't a dispute that buyers can or likely will influence. The ramifications of not taking sound legal advice could be pretty dire ....

I'll reiterate again, ARA are definitely being economical with the truth (as DP may be).

ARA claim they halted production in October but it was still ongoing on November the 3rd. Also, there were 20 games packed up as of that date ... if there are 40 now, they didn't appear from thin air and production must have continued for several weeks more.

Make of it what you will, but this is definitely not the black and white issue that some of you seem to see it as.

#3239 2 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

The flip side to that. One could argue that ARA put Dutch on notice in October but continued into November on good faith hoping for resolution while amassing 20 more completed games for a total of 40. I'm not entirely sold that ARA continuing production past the October stop date is somehow indicative of them not being forthcoming. As I have stated before, it's all conjecture on my part. The one concrete piece of evidence we do have is Dutch willfully and deliberately deceived their customers with the lie about the boards.

There is no indication of that.

They claim they halted production in October.

If there are 40 games packed up and ready to ship, then they likely continued until near the end of November, at least.

Dutch lied. ARA lied.

#3259 2 years ago
Quoted from EternalLife:

Reading between the lines, ARA went over budget to produce the game. DP can't absorb $1K per game if the profit margin is under $2K per game - it's too lean. ARA can't/doesn't want to absorb the overages either. I would gladly pay more to end the standoff and get the game. IMO it's possibly the best game ever, and I never did pay for that chrome upgrade.

I don't think that's going to happen. It would set a dangerous precedent for DP, potentially present liability issues for buyers, and I expect DP are being asked to look at libel action by their lawyers given the claims made by ARA.

#3407 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Mmmm....yeah, so - yeah...I don't want to "sit back and watch". I want FACTS. I want to know why my game has been held hostage for ~5 months. I want to know at what point the relationship completely broke. I want to know if there have been talks within that time period or if they were just waiting each other out. Dutch claims ARA is breaching contract...I want to know if they've lawyered up. If not, why not, and when? I want to know who they're talking to to take over from ARA. I want to know what happens to the games sitting at ARA if they find someone new.
I want to know EVERYTHING so I can make an informed decision about how to proceed further on my end.

There's a fairly serious contract dispute, which almost certainly isn't going to resolve itself without at very least the threat of legal action.

I think you know enough to realise that what you want from DP - full disclosure - is absolutely not going to, or at least shouldn't happen, at this juncture.

1 week later
#3515 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

There are two sides to every story. Here's the most recent ARA letter. They claim Dutch didn't pay for the shipped containers & ~40 are ready to ship as soon as they're paid.
Who's lying? Who knows. Either they'll work it out with each other or they'll work it out in the courts.

I can't comment on the truthfulness of DP's statements regarding the dispute.

I can however comment on the truthfulness of ARA's statements:

They claimed that production was halted due to non-payment in October '16 and will only be resumed if their demands are met.

This is categorically untrue. They were still in production on November the 3rd, when 20 games were finished. About 30 of us bore witness to this. Magically, despite production ceasing before that date, the number of finished games has doubled?

DP may be at some fault in this, but if ARA are willing to 'out' the dispute to DP's customers and lie in doing so (including making up easily disproveable information) , I wouldn't trust much of what they said.

- and yes I'm aware I've made posts to this effect before, but people are still debating the veracity of ARA's statements, when they're not really debateable.

#3518 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

Your argument is flawed. ARA's "lie" is beneficial to all involved. ARA's "truth" (if it is true) of not being paid for completed production is a thousand times more significant to the issue.
Perhaps they mean that they have not started any new production, but finished the units that had started.
You are using a 'gotcha' to bolster your emotional investment. I suspect what really happened is DP refused to pay for change orders once production was in process. This is really not uncommon at all in contract manufacturing.
It doesn't matter who is publicly most honest. What matters is how DP idled construction for over 4 months because a financial dispute. They take the blame from me for two reasons. First, they chose their counter-party and entered into an obviously non-succinct agreement. Second, it's extremely unlikely the dispute will work itself out by waiting longer.
Reading between the lines, this is clearly an engineering/manufacturing change order dispute having to do with the bad boards. If DP is trying to stick their CM with the costs of engineering errors and changes, this will not be resolved. Look for a 2 year delay while courts settle the dispute between DP and ARA.
In the meantime, we can expect DP to search for the Holy Grail of a CM who will do work for an under-capitalized company that has already spent the revenue that was generated by selling the product - a CM that will start a program to be paid for in "love of the game". Good luck!
It's really simple to me. A financial dispute has arisen that DP is incapable of solving in the short term for certain. And the long term solution is only solved by first catching a Leprechaun.
This does not look good.

They made specific claims. Which are categorically not true.

#3525 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

So does that get you your game more quickly? And further, why are you so sure that DP hasn't told more significant lies?

You're constantly making things up out of thin air. There isn't even tenuous implication for most of what you're saying.

I don't have a horse in the race. Nor did I claim the latter.

#3616 2 years ago
Quoted from Superchicken:

Well if I were a betting man, and I must be, #106, my money would be on American Pinball picking up the manufacturing of TBL. They are a start up with coin-op roots, hungry and they have a facility. They've already popped out their first pin, Magic Girl...OK, Jpop screwed the boards and mechs in place, but AP did almost everything else other than art, playfield, cabinet and programing. DP moves to a new CM and ARA is left with 40 boxes of parts they can't sell as a complete unit. I really hope ARA's claim that they haven't been paid for the games shipped is true, what great leverage that would be to free those 40 completed games and any inventory being held hostage. You know ARA must have made all 300+ sets of custom boards in one batch.

I don't think DP considered any CMs outside of NL, Germany and possibly Belgium (perhaps one of the Dutch here can correct me if I'm wrong), and they said they submitted a tender to about 10 of them, originally. I would imagine they probably won't this time.

Bad as their current dispute is ... imagine having to fly 10-12 hours just to see progress, or butt heads?

#3655 2 years ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

Rensh, thanks for the info. If this is only a financial / contract issue, would it be ridiculous to suggest DP ask for -> ARA to ship the already made games at the contracted price, DP to pay monies owed from first container of delivered pins, DP to put funds in escrow for the 40 built pins to be shipped, ARA to ship 40 games and ARA initiates a lawsuit for what they feel is unpaid to them and a path forward? This would be in everybody's best interest and the games won't be held hostage.. a win-win-win-win! Oh well. .. someone mixed my medicine, I don't know what I'm on.

There's just no way this is going to end without legal arbitration unless ARA suddenly back down. Even then, it seems unlikely. From what I've heard through the grapevine, there is little doubt that ARA definitely are asking for significantly more than the contractually agreed price ... whether they have any case for it or not, I have no clue.

Either way, there's no chance of DP cooperating in the way you suggest or any other.

This is a divorce, not an argument and someone sleeping on the sofa for a few weeks.

As with any divorce, all parties should hope for the cleanest, quickest break possible. As is often the case though, those hopes may mean very little and it could become very messy.

#3674 2 years ago
Quoted from MrBally:

Interesting that no one from Expo said anything about a medical or injury reason for the seminar cancelation. Again the cancelation was revealed at the last minute.
Did this injury occur in the States? If not, wasn't anyone else available to represent DP?

It was said weeks before that he couldn't travel.

#3675 2 years ago

From what I've now heard, Rensh's post is broadly representative of what's going on, and indeed there has been significant progress since then on moving forwards.

Guess we'll see if Jaap can say anything publicly at TPF.

#3677 2 years ago

What would be nicer is if TPF (and other shows) finally started recording all the seminars and posting them to YouTube immediately .. it's so easy technically and logistically to do these days, and ideally live stream them.

#3681 2 years ago
Quoted from fastpinball:

I don't think that shows needs to stream immediately, but archiving and sharing shortly afterwards would be awesome.
Seeing speakers in real time is part of the value provided by shows. If fewer people came to shows because they could see all the content online for free, shows would be less motivated to have speakers, especially when some speakers cost the show money one way or another.
Aaron
FAST Pinball

I think it would encourage more people to go. Not recording and archiving content just seems like lack of effort and organisation to me and many others. It doesn't convey a good impression to people who've not attended these shows before.

#3749 2 years ago
Quoted from Superchicken:

I know in the past, when Stern gives away games as a prize in a tournament the winner can receive a pro version game or $2,900 cash. Maybe for DP it is $4K or $5K that is still off by 20%.

If you think the cost of a TBL is anywhere near a Stern (S)LE, let alone a Stern Pro, you're nuts. Try more than double the former (SLE).

Still not sure how people expect full disclosure and constant updates when they're in dispute with the CM, legal action is likely pending, and they appear to be in advanced negotiations with another CM. Why would they jeopardise the latter and weaken their position in the former by posting here?

The situation sucks, but beating your head against a wall when you know there's no way there will be significant updates until they're ready to say something is stupid.

#3751 2 years ago
Quoted from Superchicken:

$6,000? And then ARA wants $1000 on top? That math would never work. Shipping plus CT's cut plus IP. DP stands to make $500 a game or $150K! Out of that minus art, programing, admin, office rent, lawyers. DP would be a nonprofit pinhead hobby.

The high volume Stern Pros are likely closer to $1500 BOM and assembly costs than $3000. But I'd say given the issues with ARA $6k is probably conservative.

If the new CM works out, and they are indeed larger and can produce the games more quickly and efficiently, that probably also means cheaper too. Also more likelihood of more than 300 being produced. So possibility of some silver lining. We'll see.

#3756 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

The license has expired. They'll have to renew it...I don't see that happening.

That's new information? When was that disclosed?

#3761 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

The usual badmouthing? I've supported this project since its inception. I've supported Dutch since day 1. I was order #1 of BOP 2.0. Sorry if I'm not playing the part of company ambassador.
Pinball licenses last 3 years. 3 years is up. Can't imagine Universal would renew it after how things have gone...I wonder if Universal knows how their license is being handled at the moment. Do they know of the hostage games and this whole situation? I'm biting my tongue until after Texas - if I don't like what Jaap has to say, I'll be contacting the licensing people at Universal the following week.

They tend to get shifted forwards until production date begins, often with a date by which production must start.

Given that this is neither a blue ribband IP for Universal, nor have DP ever made any claims of high production (and thus any real revenue for Universal) for the title, I doubt they wouldn't have been flexible.

Jaap stated in November that licensing was not the issue behind no announcement about a further run beyond the 300, but that contract negotiations with ARA would be necessary to extend further than 300. Could be untrue. But it certainly makes sense in light of recent events.

#3768 2 years ago
Quoted from highdef:

Most of their customer base is US-based. It's not like we could enjoy the fruits of a party or factory tour like you and other UK/European locals. They had no business celebrating until all games shipped out the door.
rarehero has every right to push for answers. I'm glad someone is digging, otherwise we'd have zero idea of where this project stands.

It was a short notice replacement for the lack of Dutch Pinball Open (not DP the company) last year, and people paid a modest sum to attend and cover the costs.

#3826 2 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

This position requires DP to have their customers confidence.
If they didn't need funds to finish Big Lebowski they would have paid the $1000 euros per game and gotten them out the door. The idea they are sitting on a pile of cash and letting ARA hold games hostage because of the 'principle of the thing' is crazy.

No they wouldn't. At least, not unless they were completely out of their minds, and were likely prepared to fly in the face of all the legal advice they've received, and basic common sense.

Let's say they pay another €1000+ per game. That's at least €40k they're down (further), and they're still in a hole with no solution to produce the final ~210 games of the initial run (they hoped to do more later originally). Let's say they find at least another €200k to pay ARA to do the rest, and ARA actually start to produce them in a timely fashion ... they then stop and request more money again. Do DP then say enough's enough and sue them then? They'd be screwed. They would have already set a precedent for caving in and paying the CM more, against the terms of the contract. What about game #2?

How can you or anyone possibly think this is a good idea? Doing the above would absolutely seal their fate, and many of those with money down.

Let's hope that the announcement of the game #2 means they've reached a deal with the other CM they've been talking to.

Saturday's 3 days away.

#3829 2 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

Yep, I have no proof. I'm just trying to put 2 and 2 together. I also have no skin in the game, I do not have a TBL on order. We wouldn't have to speculate if DP just sent an email around to its customers, even a short one. It's out there they lied about circuit board issues. So I guess why is this the truth?

I guess? I am trying to see it from my point of view, if I were running a business. If they received legal advice telling them not to ship games fine, but I can't see any scenario where not shipping games is cheaper. Let's say there's 100 games to ship and so $100,000 is additionally on the line. Let's say it takes 1 year in court to resolve this and the best case scenario happens: ARA is ordered to complete the rest of the games at original cost. However it cost them $20,000 in legal fees and $20,000 in lost orders. Plus an additional unknown value of money not handed over for game #2 because DP has lost customer trust. So to save $60K in this scenario, they are going to drag out the process and spurn potential customers for an entire year?
Or, they could finish the games and sue ARA after the fact to attempt to clawback. Or finish the games and write off the loss, but in the meantime continue forward with finding a new CM. Or come to ARA and say, we will do $750 additional per game and strike a deal.
In the end, you can be right but still be made broke. And if you're running this like a business what is really important is continuing to collect revenue and ship games. And while this thing plays out they are doing neither, which is not good for any business.

Per my expanded post above, there's no way they could move forward with ARA.

#3852 2 years ago

Mad Max, Blade Runner and Pulp Fiction have all been mentioned a bit. But I don't think any of it has been based on reliable information, just on what people hoped and thought likely they'd do.

#3857 2 years ago
Quoted from taylor34:

No way. I have 0% interest in TBL

So little that you post here.

-2
#3911 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I heard 25 LE's @ $12,500. Total desperation cash grab...probably to pay off ARA or lawyers. Are there 25 suckers who'd buy a new BOP for $12,500? I can't imagine...but hey, if that helps get Lebowskis back on track then who am I to judge.

I doubt you heard that.

Also, even if true, do you really think that would be enough to ameliorate their position if it's as dire as you seem to think? It really wouldn't be.

I do know the reason why Mayuh's excellent 2.0 decals had to be stopped being distributed is because they wanted to sell Barry's design for 2.0 decals themselves (which he has on his own machine) ... that idea may have morphed into making full BoPR 2.0s. So there will have been some foreshadowing, if that's what it is.

-4
#3913 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Don't accuse me of making things up. You want a pic of the text?
We'll find out tomorrow, won't we? If I'm wrong, my source was wrong...I don't lie. If I'm right, I'll look forward to your apology.

It makes absolutely no sense. Hence the scepticism.

Your righteous indignation does potentially hint at its own story, though.

#3915 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

How does it not make sense? Stern just made 80 SLEs for $15,000. JJP offered Dialed in Collectors Editions for $12,500. Pinball makers know low number LE/high prices can move.
I heard this news on Wednesday. Rench shows the poster reveal today. My source isn't proven wrong yet....

Because 25 machines at a vastly lower profit margin??

Let's assume that for this tiny run they somehow get ALL costs within $7,500 per unit (unlikely). They sell all 25 units, and thus make $125,000 gross. The extra bill to finish all 300 TBLs with ARA that you and others still keep suggesting can happen is likely to be an EXTRA $300,000 - 400,000.

It could turn out true. Stranger things have happened. But the price and number are utterly bizarre if so. Not to mention being a PR disaster.

#3917 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

No use speculating back and forth about it. I know what I know....Saturday will prove that information wrong or right. I'm not trying to fuck with you.

We'll see. But as I say, it makes absolutely no financial sense whatsoever ... not to mention everything else.

#3926 2 years ago

He either doesn't understand my post or is playing purposely ignorant. Neither do you.

#3935 2 years ago
Quoted from dzoomer:

LOL, your entire premise is predicated on a non-existent condition, a massive GDP plunge. GIGO, and an obvious argument from ignorance fallacy. You are ever-entertaining though.

Again, you're either trolling or grossly ignorant. All that graph does is underline a small part of what I said. No possible interpretation of it runs counter to anything I said or which could be implied from what I said.

#3942 2 years ago

If no-one appears to be recording it, can you try with your phone?

#3986 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

This is f***ing BS. If they're going to a new mfg, the FIRST THING they should be building is Lebowski!!!!
(edited by mod team)

You know as well as anyone that simply isn't possible, or would risk their total ruination if they don't have a legal end in sight, either by agreement reached between the two parties' lawyers (ARA / DP) or a court judgement.

Quoted from Hjbondar:

This is unbelievable - It basically says to TBL pre-order customers - too bad - we are moving on in the meantime - Wow- Who runs a business this way.

Anyone of sound mind. It could take another 2 weeks or 2 years for the legal wrangling to shake out.

Quoted from mgpasman:

I wonder, would any of the TBL buyers be willing to pay the €1000 and free their machine?

This has been gone over many times. It just isn't going to happen. Either DP paying or customers paying.

-----

The situation sucks, and I'd never consider paying $12,500 for a pinball machine, let alone what it'll cost after tax in EU. Many will though, I'm sure. But let's not continue to pretend there are fantasy land solutions to this.

VDL, if they do sign a contract, is definitely good news. They're a big, capable company.

They produce various BMW Mini cars on contract, at a former Mitsubishi factory which they acquired, and will probably exceed the production of the Oxford plant, in a few years time.

Previously they were primarily makers of buses.

From Wikipedia:

"The bus and coach division consists of coaches, public transport buses, chassis modules, second-hand buses and mini & midi buses. The finished products sector is extensive: suspension systems for the automotive industry, production automation systems, heating, cooling and air-technical systems, systems for the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, sunbeds and roof boxes, container handling equipment, systems for the agricultural sector, cigar-making and packaging machines, production systems for optical media and medical systems."

They had revenue of €2.54Bn in 2014, and over 10,000 employees.

#3988 2 years ago
Quoted from Damon:

Does anyone know why this isnt the case? It would seem from just a logical standpoint that if they got/get a new CM the first games they would make are the games owed and not a new set of games. There may be some logical reason as to why they wouldnt make TBL and instead theyre making BoP 3.0 but i guess im just not getting it. I gotta say, ive tried to be supportive and understanding through this whole process but this is the type of money people get murdered over

They can't just tear up the contract with ARA. There needs to be an agreement after arbitration or court judgement.

#4079 2 years ago

The BoP 3.0 undoubtedly seems like a case of bad timing, optimistic pricing, and art that (having been influenced by mayuh's work) took the game far too far from its original and loved look.

Still think there are likely to be quite a few people nuts enough to pay that money, though. Even if they were proven insolvent, that wouldn't deter a lot of people ... it hasn't and continues not to with other companies. Pinball is truly a sense free zone, in many ways.

On this note, if they do show us that they've signed a contract with VDL, there's no way a company like that would not do due diligence and request tangible assurances of ability to pay. But as I understand it, they haven't yet signed a contract ...

For me, this will be the acid test.

TBL on the other hand, I think people are being very unrealistic about. *IF* the situation as described by DP is somewhat representative of what has transpired, there's really no easy way out and they and people with money down just have to wait for the legal meanderings to play out.

#4094 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

They just need to suck it up and work it out

That's not how these things work. You can't just say stuff like that and have it magically happen.

If what they say about events that transpired is true, then they clearly were very accommodating and tried to work things out with ARA.

That time is long past.

There's not going to be anything useful that comes of this without legal negotiations and perhaps ultimately a court case. There wouldn't be a situation where ARA are holding games and parts hostage, and DP refusing to pay them if the two parties hadn't completely fallen out.

#4105 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

This is exactly how these things work out. Businesses, on advice from their attorneys or not, frequently work out things out without going to court. 99.9% of the time. There isn't enough money on the line for either entity for a court battle.
The major problem with your post is this phrase:
"If what they say about events that transpired is true, then they clearly were very accommodating and tried to work things out with ARA."

You just said they couldn't afford lawyers so had to dispense with them and just get something done with ARA (without mediation). What you now propose is exactly what's being done - the lawyers for both parties trying to negotiate a settlement. If that fails, the only option left is court.

That isn't a problem with my statement. All we know about the situation is contingent on what we've been told. Their statement does have some credibility given that it appears to line up timings wise, and with what ARA have said, to an extent. But, we don't know.

We won't know for sure unless it goes to court and documentary evidence becomes a matter of public record.

Neither party is now going to disclose any evidence as it risks any potential settlement that may be being worked on, and if it is going to court then they won't disclose anything prior to that.

If there is a settlement, we'll likely never know exactly what happened and when, because the terms of a deal are likely to dictate that there is non disclosure.

#4109 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

Rubberducks, you are a good dude and I am not trying to argue with you.
People in business, even in two businesses that become short term adversaries, will often talk with each other sans attorneys, work out a deal and then let the attorneys paper it. It is the cheaper and faster way to go. When two companies only let their lawyers talk, it slows things down, is super expensive (attorneys get paid to talk and write letters, not make pinball machines), and can result in one side running out of money or a court case, which is likely not gonna be in DP's favor.
I base this assumption (court case not in DPs favor) on the poor way in which DP has continually handled the business side of their project. I cannot imagine that all of sudden they became business experts on contracting with contract manufacturers, the one thing they knew the least about in the whole process.
As far as going on what Jaap says, well that ship has sailed. About 5 times, lol.
I still think they are in a position to take some lumps right now and get the project moving, but time is not likely on their side. If $1000 per unit gets the assembly line moving, then they should PROVE IT with a third party, and see how many takers they have.

I think you're grossly underestimating how bad relations are between the two parties.

A stalemate of months where one party refuses to ship games (and holds parts hostage which they do not legally own), whilst the other party refuses to pay for shipment of completed or future product ... that's pretty much as bad as it could get.

Negotiations without counsel present or directly acting as advocates, at this stage, would be extremely inadvisable for both parties.

Hopefully court can be avoided - not necessarily on a cost basis - but because it could take a very long time, if judgements are appealed.

Despite recently moving to the Netherlands, I'm not particularly familiar with the legal system here ... but AFAIK there are 3 levels of courts, plus several tribunals - which this would preferably be heard under, I imagine, as it might avoid a long appeals process in the courts proper.

#4112 2 years ago
Quoted from jackofdiamonds:

Somebody owes somebody some money.Money will fix it.Why do you think they have a new product.DP needs cash.

Pretending it's that simple is stupid.

What isn't in question is that ARA were very late starting production (could be partly or wholly DP's fault), and EXTREMELY slow to start ramping up production speed ... the schedule that both they and DP spoke of at the production launch event this time last year was immediately tossed. You would think ARA are primarily or entirely liable for the latter. They will have signed off on a production ready machine. From there, it's their job to hit targets, and they should be held liable if they miss them. ARA haven't claimed so far that they weren't paid initially, or weren't supplied with enough parts quickly enough (indeed evidence points to the opposite on the latter).

If that's the state of affairs, even without the he-said-she-said about rising costs and related demands, then it doesn't seem like money can fix that. Especially if the client, DP, have doubts about the contractor's ability to deliver either at all, or in a timely manner, even if they are paid to the full extent of their demands.

#4119 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

First of all, we don't know who owns the parts at this point. I would imagine that the project is secured in part by the parts on hand. For sure, since we haven't read the contract, we have no idea who owns the parts.
If you read Jaap's letter carefully, you will find that in part of the timeline, they "find out that ARA hasn't ordered a single part for BOP". That suggests to me that perhaps ARA buys parts and may not have been paid. It's also a kick in the balls to TBL owners that DP was (supposedly) gambling money they didn't have on 50 pins no one ordered. It also sounds a lot like bullshit.
Lastly, you may notice in the timeline (and again, I am doubting Jaap's description of everything at this point) that the delivery timeframes, even in his description, were always exceeded. Why? ARA? Probably not. DP - Re-design? Changes? Going to manufacturing too early? Starting/stopping? Missing design deadlines? Signing a manufacturing contract too early? Maybe.
The assembly pricing timeframes are not open ended and the contract would explicitly state those timeframes. When the changes in design or just delays by DP push the date, then that is likely a legit opportunity for ARA to change pricing.

I think it's a reasonable assumption to make that DP are the owners of most or all parts not directly sourced or supplied by ARA. I'm pretty sure the supply agreements with Mirco (pfs), Multimorphic (P-ROCs), mini PC, power supply, geert's car painting, backglass, and possibly cabinet and LCD, for example, are all with DP. ARA supply or produce the custom mechs, wiring, boardset etc. No idea who'd order generic pinball parts - coils etc. So they'd have to place orders regardless. So Jaap's statement isn't necessarily in conflict at all.

You say it's bullshit they were working on another machine. Wouldn't it be rather more concerning if they'd given up on future projects? Likely means they'd fold the whole company.

The burden of proof would have to fall on ARA to explain why they immediately fell massively behind the stated production schedule, once production finally began. They spoke at the event early last year and endorsed the schedule, and it is their sole responsibility to produce the production machines.

#4300 2 years ago
Quoted from Manimal:

Sure it is....I will willingly admit that with no argument. Pretty much this whole thread is speculation. But stand back and look at this from a distance and it makes perfect sense. 1K will not bail these machines out or either ARA or DP would have already went down that road. There is a lot more to this story and you are only hearing one side of this from folks that have already been caught lying to you. How can you trust anything they say?

I wish everyone would stop pretending that money is the only issue here.

ARA stood beside DP a year ago and laid out a production schedule that they immediately fell behind on, and got progressively more behind with ... seemingly whilst asking for more money.

Assuming the ARA representative who spoke was not an imposter, there is clearly more at play than you or others are willing to acknowledge.

#4306 2 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

That's certainly a possibility, that it's all as Dutch says and ARA is doing this as a money grab. I don't really think that's likely given:
Dutch has shown poor business dealings before with Philgate
Dutch lied to their customers previously about the ARA issue
ARA has been around for a long time as an established business whereas Dutch Pinball is a brand new startup.
I mean ARA could be a shitty business partner but they seem to be doing very serious and legit business:
ARA is 9001 certified so has had its processes independently audited.
ARA has a medium sized company partner list
ARA employs > 50 employees.

Doesn't matter what kind of business it is. As someone else mentioned, if one or more people at ARA fucked up horribly, do you think they're likely to fall on their swords and do a mea culpa, particularly if they're relatively senior?

Highly, highly unlikely. They'll do anything they can to save their job, save face, or both. Wagons will circle and they'll dig their heels in.

It's what usually happens in these scenarios.

The chances that something like this will happen increase exponentially even if it has either never or rarely happened before, doing a CM job for pinball, which they were no doubt completely unfamiliar with and it looks like inadequately prepared for.

I'm not saying this is what happened, but it is not at all unlikely.

#4308 2 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

I believe it to be unlikely. If there was evidence that ARA was trying to do a screw-job to Dutch, then Dutch would be better off getting the lawyers. If ARA is in breach of contract or specific performance requirements, then Dutch could win damages from ARA enough to have the games made elsewhere. They might even be liable for punitive damages (I am not a Dutch lawyer so...) in which case Dutch could gain MORE than they paid back to ARA.
Again, same thing applies... if I were Barry / Jaap here, and my company's existence were on the line, and I needed a lawyer to save the company, I'd take out the loan and hire the lawyer. Most of these lawyers work for damages anyways.
It's just incredibly charitable to Dutch Pinball to give them the benefit of the doubt here.

It could still take years, even if they win.

You don't need to give DP the benefit of the doubt, but you and others are being grossly naive in imagining that a one way street is the only explanation.

#4365 2 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

No, you are so bent over carrying DP's water you can't see the one and only fact. It doesn't matter one damn bit if ARA screwed DP. They chose to partner with ara. They reviewed and signed the contract with ara. They touted ara as a reason people could trust them. Their responsibility it to the purchasers of tbl. All the other stuff is happy horseshit. ARA is DP's problem to figure out and news flash, waiting it out months or years as Jaap said is malfeasance of the highest order. What's naive is to continue to beat DP's drum even after they have faltered time and time again. I struggle to see how someone could be at diametric ends of the reality spectrum as you are to myself. It is then that I come to the conclusion that you will quite literally say anything needed to maintain your narrative no matter the facts to the contrary. I'm sure you're a good guy but on this matter you are simply unhinged.

Again, per the post I was responding to, you can't see beyond the end of your own nose and see everything as absolute.

The reason I'm making the arguments I am is because of the circlejerk here. There are no shades of grey as far as either you or 90% of the other posters are concerned. There are many.

It was exactly the same with AP, on both ends of the spectrum, when they first appeared and now, and indeed DP when they were apparently heroes and now villains.

Facts? People, including you, are constantly claiming completely made up or inferred narrative as fact.

#4370 2 years ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

sorry ducks but do you think holding the machines to hostage, having the pitchforks and torches and publicity generated by doing this is saving face or their job?! I don't think so! I doubt this is a one way dispute, but possession is nine tenths of the law. ARA are chilling out drinking wine and eating cheese. DP are sitting on the shitter dumping all over their customers and ruining their own future.

The whole thing clearly got way out of hand long ago on both ends.

I sincerely doubt there isn't significant anxiety, anger and regret on both sides.

To claim that "ARA are chilling out drinking wine and eating cheese" is ridiculous.

Regardless of whether either party is ultimately exonerated, doubt will always remain for some, and it's appalling PR and business for both.

Obviously for DP in such a small, incestuous industry. ARA are to some extent insulated given that this is firmly non-core business, but word travels quickly in a country as small as NL ... and all these newly google cached mentions of their trading name.

#4375 2 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

While I generally don't engage people that resort to the "I know you are but what am I" retort, I'll humor you for for one more post. Please direct me to one item in my post you quoted where I, in your words, "completely made up or inferred narrative as fact".
I'm waiting...

You even claim in your prior posts that all contracts (you deal with - and imply others by extension) are black and white with no grey area.

Seriously? I guess that's why so many disputes take so long to go through the courts, and cost so much money, pinging back and forth to courts of appeal, judgement going in one party's favour, then the other. Many of those clients were no doubt assured by their lawyers that their contracts were ironclad, and sure of it.

In the event of disputes there's no such thing as black and white until courts have delivered their verdicts and the appeals process has been exhausted, or they are resolved or withdrawn. You may try to make things as explicit as possible, as much as anything to deter other parties from acting in poor faith or taking legal action, but there's no such thing as a surety.

I wasn't beating DP's drum in the post that got you so riled up. Merely pointing out that if ARA either organisationally or on the part of individual staff had made significant mistakes, there could be every reason why they'd dig their heels in, whilst others were claiming there was no conceivable reason why they would.

#4478 2 years ago
Quoted from Skins:

So I asked you to point out one thing in my post you quoted where I, "completely made up or inferred as fact" something and you didn't/couldn't do it. Just as I suspected. Instead you speak in hyperbole and change the argument. Riled up? Hardly. People who make poorly framed straw man arguments aren't worthy of eliciting such a response. You pointed to a post where I said contracts are black and white. I stand by that statement. How a contract is interpreted can be misconstrued and thus gray area. That is the failings of the parties involved but the framework of the contract is what it is.

I did exactly that, and you're still claiming a ludicrous opinion as fact. I didn't change the argument at all.

Hadn't bothered to check the thread for a few days, but what a massive (non)surprise that things are nowhere near as black and white as either you or many others seem to think, either with regard to the below or anything else.

My post specifically related to why, if individuals at ARA had fucked up, they would circle the wagons and act in an aggressive manner towards DP, to try to save their own skins.

It now appears that this may be exactly what happened.

To those jumping the gun re: the firing of the MD at ARA, I'm told that the DP situation played a large part or was instrumental in his dismissal ..... but even if that's entirely true, the whole situation still resides in a hole - how quickly or even if the two parties can mutually dig themselves out and move forwards together still remains to be seen.

If talks are constructive and there's a rapprochement with ARA, I guess we'll hear from DP sooner rather than later.

#4505 2 years ago
Quoted from highdef:

"I had a former executive from the company, who I believed had taken off with the money, bizarrely invite me to come eat ice cream with him at his apartment somewhere in Europe as his response to my demands for a refund when things looked the bleakest..."
Very Wes Anderson-ish. I can't help but feel slighted that I wasn't invited for ice cream.

The ice cream bit is surely a JPop meme .... after his infamous "went to get ice cream with my dog" blog post in response to people's concerns.

#4522 2 years ago
Quoted from jwilson:

I dunno, personally I would like to see confirmation from ARA about this productive meeting, given DP's proclivity to bend the truth to suit their needs.
Once bitten, twice shy.

Unless DP ask them to, they're quite unlikely to say anything ... unless there is another deterioration in relations, and like the now fired MD, they take matters into their own hands in talking directly to their client's customers.

1 week later
#4553 2 years ago
Quoted from jackofdiamonds:

yeah,Im stupid....money never fixes anything.and building machines is probably free
oh yeah and nothing about the history of this game,company would EVER make anyone think there was a financial component to it all.

Go back and look what happened since you last posted

#4573 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Communication is good - but I'm trying to decide if this is just poor writing - or more vague excuses. Not sure yet.

It would likely be vague until such time as they did have something specific and substantive to share; presumably either that they'd come to an agreement with ARA, or talks had failed and they were back to square one.

#4586 2 years ago
Quoted from Rensh:

While awaiting the outcome how about a TBL related Anekdote.
Went with a good friend earlier this year to see a motorbike he wanted to purchase. While he is testdriving i talk hobbies with the seller and I mention playing pinball. He looks at me and asks if I know DP? I say, duh, never heard of them
Than it turns out he made the very first Proto translite for TBL which Universal rejected unfortunately. How small is this world !!
Enclosed a picture I made of his PC screen how this would have looked. Isn't it awesome? Hand drawn art is so beautiful
Something to share among my fellow dudes

Perhaps he should make a few ... just for hobbyists, you know ... not a commercial run

Shame they didn't approve it.

#4600 2 years ago

Re: code.

They may not have had a machine to test code on.

If the engineering sample they had with them for the party (post factory visit) in November was returned to ARA afterwards, then Koen may not have had access to a machine to test code on for months. Since they were supposedly shut out completely. Pretty sure the rest of the sample / proto games were at ARA when we visited, in a back office. 3 or 4 of them.

That wouldn't necessarily totally stop work, but it would make it very slow.

If this was the case, hopefully access to TBL test machines and the BoP 3.0 proto are now being allowed, at least in the interim.

Anyone know what the situation on this was / is?

1 week later
#4640 2 years ago

I'd be surprised if there was anything absolutely definitive from today, unless it ended up with fisticuffs and the two parties having to be dragged off each other.

In a situation where the MD of a reasonably sized company is summarily fired, over mishandling of not just this case but allegedly rather more, and a caretaker manager (or managers) are brought in from the holding company not just to clear up the mess but establish exactly what has gone on, things are unlikely to happen very quickly.

Who knows what the previous MD did to warrant that kind of dismissal. The DP case could be the most significant or the least significant thing he breached protocol on.

But then again, maybe I'm wrong. Guess we'll see.

#4644 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

IMO they've both had ample time to get their houses in order and today should have been the day to finalize plans to move forward. NSN's tend to drop in the middle of the night (PST) - so hoping for info when I wake up tomorrow.

Depends what went on at ARA. They could have forensic accountants pouring through everything at the moment ... or it was just the DP case, and all their focus is on resolving that. Maybe someone here does know, but I don't and I don't think m/any do.

#4664 2 years ago

Content of NSN and prior ones *could* be stalling and there's been no progress with ARA and little amelioration in the relationship.

However, I don't think it's anywhere near the stage where that is the only explanation as some of you seem to think. ARA or the new management likely have rather more duties to attend to than one small / medium sized client who *may* have been badly treated by the ex MD. It was posted here that the company didn't pay a bonus to its staff for the first time in its 40 year history. You would expect things have gone badly wrong, in that case. The management will be acting to protect their shareholders' and staff interests first, then DP, not the other way around.

Perhaps the books *are* looking alarming at DP as some suggest, but it's possible they could be at ARA too. With all the good will on both sides in the world, it may come down to a case of what each side can afford. That may take time to reach a consensus on.

If there's no substantive, concrete information by June, I think people can rightly then expect the worst. Now? Too soon.

#4667 2 years ago

Btw, did CoinTaker ever have a pre-order page for BoP 3.0 on their site? Since they were taking them at TPF, you would imagine they would?

#4674 2 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

Who cares about speculation. This is a DP issue period. So fing tell us why I can't get a refund? Duh no money! Or refund me now DP. Why does everyone stick their heads in the sand ? This is a DP issue. DP is telling us absolutely nothing. Why? Legal lol get fing real. They are stalling to find money. They owe money. They owe us money / machines. Give us the fucking answers and tell us where are money is and where our machines stand. Anything else is complete and utter bullshit. 5 weeks and not one piece of information. Get your heads out of your ass!

You know as well as anyone, that regardless of finances there's absolutely no way they're going to process refunds whilst ARA continue to hold both parts (some of which DP have paid for) and fully built games hostage. What was it, supposedly €100k plus in P-ROCs alone? Again, obviously operating on imperfect information, but if true there's no possibility of any refunds until such time as the ARA situation is resolved.

#4679 2 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

They aren't paying because they don't have the money to pay them. That's fact.

It's speculation. Just like everything else on here. Rest is redundant.

#4683 2 years ago
Quoted from Compy:

Hmm, plot twist... Apparently DP's main (or only?) software engineer (Koen) no longer works at DP according to LinkedIn...

Looks like it.

Listing shows that he has not just started a new job, but ended his period with DP in April.

Could be working on an informal basis ... but seems like rather bad news. What are the prospects of someone new taking on and (competently) finishing TBL at this stage? Probably quite low.

-2
#4685 2 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

No its not I have an email from them stating they can't. They don't have the money. I don't state things ever as speculation. I leave that for you.

You stated that before. That they can't. Anyway, my post was not contingent on that (their financial position), as it explicitly states. I don't see how you can believe on any pragmatic basis that they would refund anyone in advance of getting potentially hundreds of thousands worth of paid product released from a 'hostage' situation.

That entire premise could be bullshit. But unless you're now going to claim that it is, and wholly fabricated, then it seems ridiculous to completely ignore it.

Nowhere do I state any certainties or claim to know exactly what's going on. You do constantly, but I'm not sure you do.

#4688 2 years ago
Quoted from blueberryjohnson:

It is interesting how so many people treat these pinball businesses differently than basically any other businesses. If someone paid for something on Amazon, still hadn't received it years later than he was told he would and decided he wanted a refund, would you fault him expecting to be able to get his money back?

They could be acting entirely in their own interests. But has it occurred to either you or Mr. Brandes, that with the current state of things, if talks with ARA fail, the whole thing could have to be shuttered?

They may or may not have enough money to pay for the mandated number of TBLs to be finished, but if the company is shut down, they almost certainly won't have enough cash to refund everyone in full.

If that is so, granting anyone a refund now is COMPLETELY against the interests of the vast majority of their customers with skin in this, because that would then mean that the majority of people would get less money back. It would be less fair and less equitable.

Can't blame Bill for wanting to protect his own interests, but those interests aren't necessarily conversant with everyone else's, as above.

Again, I'm not claiming this is what's happening, but some of you would do well to realise that this is potentially more complicated than you seem to think.

#4729 2 years ago
Quoted from gmkalos:

So code is code I'm sure someone will dup it somehow especially if it's p-roc based the hardware is available and as far as making things worse I don't think Exxon has enough fuel to throw on this fire sorry buddy lol.

"Code is code". Ah, glad it's that simple.

1 week later
#4818 2 years ago
Quoted from cooked71:

How much did Jack have to "sell" to his investor stay afloat. Sounds like a similar path.
I'd speculate it's a Debt for equity swap. Dutch can't pay. All they've got to sell is goodwill.
Unless there is another angel investor floating around, sounds like the only way Dutch can possibly survive.

I don't think it's really comparable.

Given the situation, this would be a hostile takeover by a contractor / creditor with huge leverage over DP.

The investors in JJP, and Stern, had no leverage over them besides the opportunity cost of refusing capital when in a situation of total insolvency in Stern's case and a poor, unsustainable one in JJP's.

#4829 2 years ago
Quoted from unigroove:

1. While I applaud DP for sending out more NSLs I really wish they would put more thought into what they communicate. The most recent NSL reveals one condition they have to take into consideration, but none of on this forum (including me) know the other conditions. So there no way of judging whether giving ARA a 51% share in the company is a good thing or not for DP. What DP's intention with this NSL was, was to inform us buyers that ARA is playing hard ball and difficult decisions have to be made, which takes time.
2. Forget the assumption that DP is broke. I have no reason to even assume that and nobody who suggested they are have any form of proof even remotely indicating that. The only reason they refused to pay ARA in the first place was because ARA raised the prices of the games due to poor project management and overpaying for parts on their end. In the decision not to pay ARA were principles involved, which is completely unrelated to whether DP could pay them.
3. Let's take a look at this from a different perspective: Why would ARA be interested in 51% of a broke company? Because DP isn't broke. ARA did the math and they like what's in it for them. Either they raise the price per game DP has to pay them (which ARA can decide on once they own 51% of the company), or they take a cut of DP's profit (which is what they will do if they own 51% of the company), or maybe even both. In case of the latter the profit will be less, but the money still comes in via what DP pays ARA extra per game. If ARA gets 51% of DP the question then is: will Jaap and Barry be comfortable working for ARA? Will there be enough in it for them? That's a question only they can answer. One can also wonder what Barry and Jaap will be doing once ARA owns 51% of DP. Keep in mind that ARA doesn't have any experience in selling pinball games. The collectors market they may be able to sell some games to, but the operators market requires a different approach. Being able to make games doesn't mean you're able to sell them in the qualtities you want them to sell.
So is there any good news? Actually yes. The fact that ARA is playing hard ball to take control of DP indicates the company could do very well once they start making games again. The other reason they may be playing hard ball is that ARA may think they have leverage over DP because they think they are the only ones who can build these games. So that's what Barry and Jaap are dealing with and that's why these negotiations take time. You don't want them to make a wrong decision by rushing things, so I suggest to let them take their time to give every option plenty of thought. It would also be incredibly short-sighted to just think about getting your game. It's about more than that. DP have shown they can design a kick ass game and it would improve the pinball landscape a lot if they would keep on doing so. That may only happen if there's enough in it for them. If there is, teaming with ARA may be a brilliant move, so I can only hope ARA will offer DP some very good prospects for the future – which should go a lot further than TBL.

Not sure I'd paint quite such an optimistic picture for DP or a potential partnership between them and ARA working in future, but generally I agree.

Particularly agree on your first point.

People, as per usual, are drastically oversimplifying this - and Dutch aren't helping. There will be a multitude of conditions that both parties will have and which will likely require lengthy negotiation to come to mutually agreeable terms, if they are to proceed with this option, or one similar to it. It can't possibly just be a transfer of ownership.

There would need to be numerous guarantees and provisos for both parties ... chief among them that Barry & Jaap will have considerable say over the machines, direction of the company, and guarantees of future investment by ARA ... and for ARA that Barry & Jaap would stay on and act in good faith - otherwise who's going to do the pinball bit?

Also, if as you think DP are a potentially valuable asset, without onerous liabilities, then supposedly being in advanced negotiations with VDL will likely complicate matters further.

#4892 2 years ago
Quoted from MIL:

Wait . What the !! . START after Pinfest ? . I was under the assumption that production had already begun on games , especially for those who have already pre-paid .

If it were the Heighway definition of production, then production would have started 18 months ago when the first parts were finished.

I assume this is the more conventional definition of production in pinball. I.E. final assembly.

#4893 2 years ago
Quoted from Ballypinball:

Really like predator ha?
Have you seen the contract date and number of games and deadline, expiry date?
Normal license is 2 years

Kulek never had anything. He was first hoping to get away with not having one, then that they would just retroactively grant him one after he'd already started taking money. It's not remotely alike.

Also, Sharpe recently said in an interview that he'd extended the TBL license for DP and that it was a formality.

#4914 2 years ago

Btw for people expecting major progress, one way or another, this week ... it may not happen.

Tomorrow is another national holiday, a lot of people finished work at lunch time today here, and many don't go back on Friday and instead take a long weekend.

#4952 2 years ago
Quoted from JimB:

At this rate we will be at the August month off. Say they get a deal end of July. We start up in Sept. After being off all August they come back and say all parties have been refreshed and now we agree we were premature and need to start the negotiations over!

This is not that unlikely ... if the two parties decide to proceed with what DP have told us that ARA have offered, it is hard to imagine procession without the terms for and responsibilities of both parties being absolutely set in stone.

#4967 2 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

The code is complete. All games could use more code but TBL is complete as people who actually have the game have already stated.
Could you explain where you got this 40% number?

I think everyone could definitely agree that it could use more ... also DP had said that further features and other bits were being worked on. So that would suggest that at least until the latest debacle and Koen's possible cessation of work, future updates were intended.

I'd say BoP 2.0 could really do with some further tinkering, despite now having a bunch of updates.

If it's confirmed that it's not to enjoy any more updates, I think that's likely to prove quite off-putting to some. Particularly for sales beyond 300 if DP and ARA do bury the hatchet and tie up.

#5007 2 years ago
Quoted from Nikonokin:

Here is our weekly update about the latest developments of the production of The Big Lebowski™ Pinball.
In our newsletter of two weeks ago we informed you that Nivoge (the holding that owns our contract manufacturer ARA) had demanded 51% of the shares in Dutch Pinball BV. Since then we received a lot of advice and talked to a lot of people about Nivoge’s offer. We will share some of them with you.
Basically there are two groups:
1. Early achievers who want their TBL asap.
2. Early achievers who want their TBL asap and would like DP to build more pins in the future.
Group 1 advised us to accept EVERYTHING just to get their TBL (please note that this decision may be based on lack of knowledge on the conditions we would have to deal with).
Group 2 pointed out a lot of risks when we would give away the majority of our shares. Here are a few remarks that we received:
- Nivoge would then be able to change all the existing contracts in the favor of Nivoge and ARA
- DP has a contract with ARA and not with Nivoge. In fact, DP has no relation with Nivoge. Why drag in a third company to make things more complicated?
- When we own only 49% of the shares in Dutch Pinball we would not be able to start a legal procedure against ARA (if DP would start a legal procedure against ARA for breach of contract, the odds that a judge will rule in favor of DP is very likely!)
- There’s a big uncertainty about future pinball projects when being owned by Nivoge as pinball is not the core business of Nivoge and ARA
- When giving Nivoge 51% of the shares we would ‘reward’ ARA’s poor performance and breach of contract. Beside that this doesn’t feel right, there also no guarantees that ARA will restart building TBL and release the games that have been held hostage for the past months
- Can we trust ARA and Nivoge? ARA proved over and over again that they don’t care much about contracts and promises…
There are more remarks but these are the major ones that will get you an idea about the downsides of the suggested deal.
Group 1 is very small (2 or 3 achievers). Most of you want DP to be in business for the long term and we also want this. Therefore we decided to turn down the offer of Nivoge as we feel there are way too many risks connected to it.
We received no reaction het from Nivoge or ARA yet and we therefore will also look for an alternative manufacturer to build TBLs. We already talked to VDL about it and will look for others as well. As soon as we have more news we will let you know.
We hope that you appreciate this update and want to thank you again for your massive support. It really is great to see that the majority of you guys keep supporting us. We will get you your TBL!
We will send out another update next week.
Kind regards,
Barry & Jaap

Regardless of whether they're turning down the tabled offer, and whether or not this marks an end to talks re: resuming production with ARA / Nivoge, I don't think they're helping matters by expounding their point 2) in breathless and somewhat sensationalist fashion.

I get the feeling their lawyer or 'business consultant' didn't look at this one before it was sent out ...

DP, you really should know better ... regardless of whether everyone else is losing their shit, you need to be cool, calm, collected and as objective as you can. The tone of much of this post resembled much of the worst posts on Pinside or the internet generally.

#5064 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I've sorta half-joked about selling my spot before...but I'm serious now. It's not that I've lost faith (I talked to Barry this morning and he was still positive about everything) ...but I've lost interest.

If Barry is "positive" about everything, then presumably Jaap wrote that update? Maybe he shouldn't do that again ... difficult to construe any of either the tone or content as remotely positive.

#5070 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Here's what was misleading IMO - the letter sounds like shit is over with ARA again since they talk about exploring other options. But it's not - they're just waiting for a response.
I guess their play is by letting ARA know they're not the only option, they're hoping they'll continue to negotiate without asking for 51% of the company.
So - it's still an active situation. I think most of us read the letter as though ts back to the pre-Rene situation again.

I don't think a letter of that tone is likely to serve them very well with anyone. But I guess we'll see.

11
#5120 2 years ago
Quoted from Rensh:

How about a report from a fellow achiever of his VIP visit nov 2017? This again clearly shows the above report is not correct and corresponds exactly with my intel. And yes, it was also the start of the PCB story

I'm not an 'achiever' - TBL customer - if you read the post. There was nothing VIP about it either, though most were either customers with games delivered or waiting to be. Anyone could pay the €150 and go - covering hotel, food, drink etc. But:

With hindsight, I was clearly wrong to be as positive as I was in that early November report, but then I don't think anyone either at that event or on here expected the following mess. Finally things seemed to be picking up, and at the beginning the PCB excuse was perfectly plausible.

I know many of you don't seem to like me taking a contrarian view, or not going along with the mob.

But there is a reason why I made such a long post and included as many hard numbers as I could, and committed to record what was being said by DP. Including the clarification from Jaap to my question about games beyond 300, and it being a contract matter with ARA rather than license problem (first hint that relations may not have been stellar - I felt they might want to move for game 2).

If something unexpected blew up, I wanted there to be some documentation.

I can't 100% tell you that there were finished TBLs in all those boxes, because we obviously didn't unpack them. But I did surreptitiously push on a few of them to make sure there was something heavy inside them - and there were in the ones I checked. Further, they were palleted and strapped - not just boxes sitting there. Also, all of them appeared to have the correct documentation and numbers - there weren't any discrepancies in this sense. Production was underway still, back then.

I'd be very surprised if you got an accurate overview of the situation from speaking to either ARA or DP, at this stage ... and even if DP (the ones we're hearing from publicly) are being truthful, judging by their last post, they're far too overwrought and angry to express good judgement and offer realistic assessments of their predicamemts.

If ARA really are behaving in the manner presented by DP and some other Dutch Pinside members, my advice to DP is, if VDL are really willing to play ball, even given potential cash shortfalls initially, grab the opportunity. Offer them as much capital in the company as you can. A significant majority even,with the right provisos. They can and will get things built, and I suspect would be rather better at removing the deadlock with ARA. That seems like the last, best chance.

Don't pray for a rescue like HW (if it goes through). Andrew ran the company into the ground and then started tunneling for the Earth's core ... he just had the blind luck to have screwed the right investors, who appear prepared to save everyone involved, instead of writing off the loss and pursuing him through the courts as others have begun to do, and will do if the investors do not take over.

#5152 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

The saddest thing about this whole debacle is that they weren't liars. Not like Jpop & skit-B were from day 1. Not like Andrew. They successfully created, licensed, produced and shipped BOP 2.0. They brought those beautiful awesome TBL protos around the world. They made the deal with ARA, they started shipping games. There was no weirdness until quasi recently, but talk about a balloon popping. It's just sad.

Indeed, and at least the TBL we played in November, the contrast with the JPop light boxes or cobbled together, faulty and badly engineered Heighway games couldn't have been more vivid.

I was blown away by how smooth it was, as were others who'd not played it before. It looked and felt like a masterpiece; I hadn't been expecting much from it, gameplay wise.

That's perhaps the one card they have left to play. It's a great pinball machine.

#5154 2 years ago
Quoted from Sonny_Jim:

I thought there was a big stink last year when one of their American employees (Phil?) got cold feet/thought that something was amiss and started refunding everybody he could?

I think that was 2014?

#5158 2 years ago
Quoted from PismoArcade:

Didn't they lie about having board issues when the ARA mess started or am I mixing them up with Heighway?

It was them. There were separate board fiascos with HW. But I think he meant that it started out well - or well by boutique pinball standards:

Quoted from Rarehero:

There was no weirdness until quasi recently, but talk about a balloon popping. It's just sad.

#5241 2 years ago
Quoted from Dkjimbo:

so what the hell happens with the completed games packed in boxes at ARA? What happens to all the parts sitting at ARA? All those go to the landfill? This new vendor starts from scratch and has to tool up for every unique part? Reproduction for all parts has to start over at zero? Given the circumstances, it seems impossible that ARA will turn over the large inventory of parts on hand much less the games in box...
so 4 weeks for the new guy to work up his quote, another 4 weeks of negotiation - assuming that goes well, then what...8 months plus for ramping up, procuring off-the-shelf parts, tooling up to fabricate custom parts, then another several months of production to actually build games, test games, etc? Best case scenario its another 18 months before a game ships...and that's assuming there is money somewhere to actually make any of this happen.
Going the route of a new CM seems like a terrible idea - not to mention a very costly one...call me crazy but this sounds like a DP bluff to push ARA in negotiations....none of this makes any sense...starting over is going to cost a fortune no matter how good of a quote they get from the new manufacturer.

They cannot possibly just hang around. They've been doing that for months already. If ARA really are a dead end, they can't continue waiting and hoping, or waiting for legal action to conclude, which may not be in their favour anyway. When were the last machines shipped? September? They have to do something.

One would have to assume that a new CM deal would involve equity. If DP were swimming in cash and able to proceed whilst machines, parts and possibly cash were in limbo at ARA, it makes logical sense that they'd have moved on long ago.

Also, as appeared clear last week, they're way too emotionally invested to deal with ARA and Nivoge. Far better that the new CM tries to negotiate with them about parts and machines, if they're not just going to file legal action.

This appears to be the right course.

Whether they sign a deal with this other CM, and whether the partnership has a realistic chance of success, at this stage, is another matter entirely.

#5266 2 years ago
Quoted from TRAMD:

Even as someone with a deposit, I think this should be only for the people with $8500+ invested, no game and no easy option for refund. Please nobody re-post the details. I trust you EAs to represent everyone that would like to see these games finished.

They'll just get accused of trying to cover up their problems if it isn't public.

#5287 2 years ago
Quoted from EternalLife:

They said/ they said ended when ARA lied to kapper - 10 finished games in the ARA warehouse?? More like 45. And we all know the boxes are huge, how do you miscount a pinball machine? Proof of who is lying. And it's not DP talking, it's independent sources.

I think the 40 figure came from ARA originally, not DP. Have DP ever publicly commented about how many there are? Do they even know, if they're not permitted access to the facility? Per my report, there appeared to be 20 packed up and ready to ship in early November, with assembly on others up to #92 in process. Now they say 10, supposedly?

Only way of telling is gaining access to the facility and counting yourself.

Quoted from Rensh:

So all this talk about money blowing away, they are Dutch as me and Dutch people are not known for their big spendings

Not that this has anything to do with DP, but I've found the absolute opposite to be true in my short time living here.

Maybe not the conspicuous consumption that rules in other countries - fast cars, jewellery, watches, massive houses, blowing thousands on bottle service at clubs on nights out etc.

But since people of higher income will be paying wealth taxes on money that remains as cash, if they don't spend or invest it, it seems like a lot of people just spend it all. Probably why pinball machine collecting is so popular here relative to other European countries; the money disappears, from a tax perspective.

#5289 2 years ago

You do have to factor in that the 40 number came from the now fired MD, though ... and he also claimed production had ceased in October - which is another discrepancy.

But unless there were empty boxes among the ones I saw, there either have to be at least 20, or 10+ plus have disappeared. Also, the guy who claimed to have spoken to ARA this week offered neither any substantive proof that he'd done so, or said who he spoke to (not saying he didn't).

Again, it's all unknowns.

#5321 2 years ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

For a change? You don't know me and can't make statements like that. Also, put your story out there before you go making personal attacks.

Highdef and dergoetz. I didn't suggest we should send them money cart Blanche or invest financially any more. But I do know that there is much we are capable of. But we can't help if we don't know what the problems are. If DP is gearing up for a webinar, I want to know the full truth. If I get it I'll do everything I can to help.
I know that being invested fullly since oct 2014 sucks, and I'm truly sorry that you guys are experiencing that. But I am damn near certain that the headhunting, threats, pot stirring, and negativity against them is going to fix absolutely nothing.
DP, put your cards in the table. Let's either gear up or move on.

People shouldn't be sending or investing more money PERIOD.

ARA may well be a total dead end and acting in incredibly poor faith.

But, if equity, the product and what ever cash is left isn't enough for another Contract Manufacturer to bite, then the obvious conclusion to draw is that it's either beyond hope or DP are imposssible to deal with. It would be utterly mad for customers to try to bail them out,and should in no way be necessary if they work out a new deal.

I would also sincerely hope that DP would never ask for that ... running the business from a position of what would be total failure and either asking for a bail out or potentially taking new customers' money would put them in the same bracket as the JPop and Heighway scandals. They haven't sought any new direct deposits in years, and with the NA TBLs and likely ill fated BoP 3.0 one would hope that CoinTaker were more cautious with any deposit money than they were when Andrew conned them re: Alien. Like I say, they've not done it yet, but if they've been honest enough not to pursue this avenue thus far, after all that's gone wrong, then breaking and doing it would be a reliable indicator of absolute desperation.

#5328 2 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

That's huge and good news. I had no idea.

That figure doesn't include Nitro or CT's cut and costs, and were at $10k rather than $9.5k for the machines #200-300, I think. Were the machines directly ordered #150-200 at $9500? Thought it was lower. Also I think some of those people put varying amounts down. So I imagine the actual figure is much nearer $1m than $1.4m.

A combination of equity & future sales cuts ought to mean that a deal with a new CM is possible. But they made it seem like VDL were in for sure 3 months ago at TPF, and 3 months later a CM (may or may not be VDL) are only now apparently starting to estimate a BoM and assembly cost ... so there appear to be stumbling blocks - not least presumably the mess with ARA.

#5335 2 years ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

We are lawyers, technologists, craftsmen, cpa's, etc.

But how many Dutch lawyers and accountants of excellent repute who are willing to work for free or a major discount? None? Technologists and craftsmen are not needed - the machine long ago reached production status.

Quoted from RTR:

True, the distributors get a cut, but the fact remains that the money is in the unbuilt machines. Were it not for them, I would have stuck a fork in this hot mess months ago.
I don't see a scenario where a new CM is utilized, but I'm open to it. Someone will need to explain where the money comes from though. And it does not happen without a sign off from ARA. No CM will front DP sh$t with a big suit from ARA pending.
My 150 number is somewhat made up, someone correct me if I am wrong.

It's far more credible than going back to ARA. Given the tone of that last-but-one update, regardless of who is telling the truth and how much of it, relations are clearly back to square one after the brief honeymoon period there seemed to be post Rene being fired (former MD at ARA).

If DP feel they have a winning case against ARA and have had sound legal advice stating as much, they're far better pursuing a new CM, as they clearly lack the time and money to pursue ARA alone with no contingency.

Re: money ... I'm not sure if any money would change hands initially. I can't see a deal being done now where equity isn't heavily involved. Presumably it would amount to that and a guaranteed cut of monies yet to be collected. Presumably the main determining factors for how much of their share Jaap & Barry give up will be; bill of materials and assembly cost; whether this is to be a longer term arrangement involving investment; whether the new CM will involve themselves in any legal wrangling with ARA.

1 week later
15
#5553 2 years ago
Quoted from EternalLife:

I'm 77...In it like you, that's all. I'm just looking at what's there, like you. ARA had a contract to deliver, and they didn't that's a fact. DP is working to get us our games with a new CM.
A great CM delivers 10% under budget and timeline. A good CM delivers 10% over. ARA was so far off the timeline and budget, it's ridiculous - not even close. ARA quoted the game, not DP. Why aren't you going after ARA? We all signed with ARA when DP signed with ARA...
It's unfortunate but it happens, and it will be resolved.
From what I understand CM#1 can be held accountable in court for anything over the original contract DP will have to pay CM#2, and possibly more.

To be fair, it's still a colossal failure on Jaap and Barry's part to have let the situation get to where it is now, or where it was ~6 months ago. They had a bunch of different CMs that they spoke to, and a number submitted quotes. They chose ARA; no-one held a gun against their head and forced them to. There would have been warning signs that things were going wrong, or indications of poor faith. I suspect Rene, given that he was fired, and ARA given their apparently very poor recent financial performance, gave off a lot of bad vibes.

You can't legislate for everything, but you have to have some contingencies in place, and it appears they had none. It shouldn't have taken them ~7+ months since a breakdown in relations with their CM to get another to start a quote process. We don't know whether that quote will be acceptable or not, either, and what a likely timescale is if it's accepted.

Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

I don't know, this sounds eerily familiar to Heighway's attracting investors. New people injecting new capital - and if the plan is based on borrowing enough to refund existing buyers their money, buy parts, setup factory for manufacturing and early production costs, they will have a lot more people and potential customers pulling for them.

The new operators and owners of HW were in no way 'attracted'. They were screwed (as existing investors), just like almost everyone else who came into contact with Andrew. Instead of letting another Kulek / Jpop happen to the hobby & industry, that likely would have dwarfed both combined, they decided to step in to a state of total failure and commit more money and save everyone. Not just people with money down for machines, or those with machines who had no support, but all the others who were sitting in a hole - distributors, suppliers, contractors & staff. Hopefully they stick to their intent & don't find it too much, and eventually at least make their money back. Until that happens it's more an act of charity. But we'll see.

Re: DP, no-one's going to invest or take equity in them until they have a new contract manufacturer, and if they are to be a long term partner, then ideally it would come from them. If the new CM requires DP to fund the build and parts, rather than them front the cost, I find talk of GoFundMe or something similar rather worrying. It isn't investment, it's passing the cap around for donations. Not only would it seem wrong, but raising a difference-making amount would be extremely unlikely.

If they are in a position to build TBL, and hopefully many more than 300 units, then their business should be attractive enough for private equity or equity crowdfunding (CrowdCube) to be viable. I think large bank loans are very unlikely, at this stage, since they likely have virtually no tangible assets to offer as collateral, and a bunch of liabilities.

Hopefully a deal with the new CM comes off, but they'll have a lot of work to do if they want to ensure that the results are better than with ARA.

#5562 2 years ago
Quoted from Foxis:

What kind of company are they using then? Sounds like a simpler kind of company, not equivalent to a limited company?
And regardless, if a company is not turning a profit, and has no free assets, surely no country would require owners to take salary from said company - or enforce income tax?
If what you are saying is true, one or more of these must apply:
1. DP is lying (if what you describe is what they are stating)
2. They did not incorporate the equivalent of a limited company, but rather a company type which has less solid boundaries between the company itself and the owner(s) individual income/tax status.
3. They did not file the preorder funds as liabilities.
One could argue that only part of the preorder funds would be treated as liabilities and the rest would be regarded as profit. Which would indeed leave the company with either corporate tax, or allow for salaries (=income tax + any social fees). However, again, experienced individuals would be really careful to prematurely chalk down a big percentage as profit.
Anyway, I think DP - and possible the owners as well - have run out of money. And I have no horse in the race so take it for what it's worth.
I have a big interest in TBL though and the business of pinball design / manufacture.

No, AFAIK what was stated by cudabee is broadly correct.

Dutch Pinball are indeed a B.V. - essentially very similar to an Ltd (UK), LLC (US) or GmbH (DE).

I'm a recent arrival here (Netherlands), so I'm no expert, but MDs in a BV must take a salary of minimum €45k p.a. or equivalent in dividends. Presumably either one or both of Jaap or Barry are MDs. However it may be possible to defer this? I have no idea what requirements for other classifications of employee are, if any.

#5585 2 years ago
Quoted from Tuna_Delight:

I can't go this far. Congrats to Rarehero on getting his money back, but if he received a refund from DP rather than sold his interest to another buyer, then that's BS in my book.
I fear that if we all adopt an "every man for himself - no matter what it takes" attitude, or DP starts to make policy exceptions, then this game and an equitable solution for all investors will definitely be fucked.

I agree that while some hope remains, the above is worth bearing in mind before people do anything rash.

However, I would say that Rarehero did do DP one enormous favour.

In originally going to ARA, and their MD spilling the beans (or their / his side of it), this not only freed DP of the burden of their own lie about boards, whilst they tried to solve the deadlock, but it likely hugely tilted things in their favour if the dispute reaches court; his subsequent firing just underlines that. That may not mean much to DP's bottom line or customers at the moment, but it does remove a potential obstacle for would be partners, and that's big.

#5608 2 years ago

If one is to assume that something is rotten, then it would be a pretty weird con given that a third of the money is being held by CT, and DP haven't taken any new money in 2 years.

Assuming it's a failed business endeavour**, then at least they're not digging the pit appreciably deeper. ** this doesn't mean it need remain a failed one.

Andrew, JPop and Kulek were always scrambling for every bit of cash that was vaguely available. JPop being at least 5 machines in designwise, and 3 with money taken, whilst the first was just a box of lights. Andrew double and triple selling machines; ringing round his customers pleading for 'investment' when he got a whiff that someone had money; trying to lure distributors with the promise of hundreds of machines if they'd just pay for 30 in full up front, when he could realistically deliver less than 10 a month going forward, and was offering the same 'deal' to others. Kulek I'm less familiar with the details of.

The question is whether Barry & Jaap are, firstly, capable of rescuing this, secondly, if it's too late or not, and thirdly, if they have the will, given that it's going to be a long road. Good news or bad news re: the new CM in the next month is likely to answer that question.

#5610 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

I don't think Tigerlaw was suggesting this is a con. Just saying that sincerity is not an indicator either way. They were pretty sincere about how the board issue just needed to be fixed because they weren't the kind of company that would ship out machines with bad boards. People (some) were praising them for this move even though it would take extra time. Remember how that turned out?
Also - it doesn't even have to be a con to be bad for us. It could just be continuous bad business decisions that allow the slow draining away of the funds that could save this project. They can be sincere and heartfelt all the way down.

I'm aware, but we're not the only people reading, so I thought it was worth stating. But yeah, the only verifiable details to have emerged in a while are the accounts.

#5614 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

Can you tell me what you mean by CT is holding a third of the money? I don't think that is correct.

Not currently, but will if the final 100 games see production. My understanding is that CT/Nitro are to pay only on receipt. So for DP it doesn't matter if that money is taken yet or not - they don't get it until they deliver. Also it will be more than 1/3rd ... whilst transport and the cut for the distributors will take a decent chunk, $10k minus that is still a lot more than $8.5k, where 19-21% of it will disappear in sales tax on EU bound units.

But if there is to be a new CM and Jaap and Barry intend to keep going rather than calling it quits, one would imagine they will plan for more than 300. Albeit, they may not think so now, but I'd consider it not unlikely that they do walk away if they manage to fulfil their commitments.

#5615 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

And if sincerity is their strongest virtue now, they could sincerely share some details of their financial position. Is it true they are taking salaries still? Were the 50 machines that were released paid for by them to ARA? Was it 50 machines? I could make a list. Plenty they could share w/o feeling violated. Heck, this is essentially a kickstarter, they share financial information all the time.
It would make a difference if I knew they had enough money to enact their "new CM" plan.

The accounts were just posted, albeit not by them. They've always been available ....

If they aren't taking salaries then they'd either have to find a way to defer them or would be violating Dutch law, per yesterday's discussion.

#5617 2 years ago
Quoted from Rensh:

All shared info with achievers ends on the internet sooner or later and ARA is reading internet to. Would it be wise to let Ara know everything??
Some secrecy is needed.
In regard to money for the new CM. Jaap did mention this in his stream. There is not enough money to built 150 TBLs but going to a bank for financing can only be done when costs are known. Their is however enough money to START UP a new CM with development and building prototype/preproduction.
I think for a financial feasible plan more than 300 TBLs have to built. The profit on the extra amount is paying for all the extra costs I guess.

I could be wrong, but I just don't see banks providing large enough loans at this stage, at least not without another party underwriting some of the risk or matching some of the loan with investment in exchange for equity. Interest rates are so low, and the risk given the background would be large for the lender. So if they were to provide loans, I'd expect them to have much, much higher-than-market premiums. Perhaps DP have made preliminary approaches and received good news, though ... who knows.

#5621 2 years ago

Seeking loans should be a last resort. Taking on debt in their position, and probably with interest rates reflective of the risk to the lender, seems like a recipe for further trouble.

Even if ARA's offer was risible, I still see equity as the best option.

#5625 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

I don't think anyone loans DP money with the ARA contract in dispute and unsettled. But to your point, the business plan probably kills it.

If potential legal action involving ARA would be a factor in rejecting a hypothetical loan, I think it'd be the final nail in the coffin ... not the primary reason.

Quoted from RTR:

Bottom line - DP needs to work this out with ARA. It's the cheapest and fastest route. Time really does mean money for them. I'm sticking with the woof ticket theory for now.

That ship sailed long ago. Doesn't matter who is at fault or who is to blame, as time is indeed of the essence ... if they waste more time barking at the moon with ARA, all is definitely lost - IMO. They need a new contract manufacturer, even if ARA ultimately does agree to release the 'hostage' machines.

#5662 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

This doesn't happen without some level of ARA involvement. No one lends money - banks, angels, lottery winners, rich uncles - to someone that has an unresolved, unpaid 600k+ bill.

They do, all the time. But as discussed previously, I think litigation from either or both sides re: ARA and resulting costs, is the least of their concerns wrt to getting loans approved. Again, I just don't think taking on more debt is either feasible or wise.

Go equity or go home, IMO.

#5667 2 years ago
Quoted from jazzmaster:

Speaking of licensing issues, did DP discuss anything related to the terms of the licensing agreement it has with Universal for TBL? As one of the lucky few who received their game, I have just been lurking on the thread and keeping my mouth shut but with all of the focus on finding a new CM, I wonder if the license may be an issue on the horizon that no one is worried about. When things were touch and go in late 2015/ early 2016 related to manufacturing delays, someone with a bit more insight than I had, told me that DP had three years to build 300 games. I worry that, without an extension or renegotiation, this window may close in on DP very quickly. Especially given that they have only been able to deliver 50 or so games in over half of the license term and are arguably looking at 6+ months of ramp up to any additional builds. Keep in mind that it took Roger Sharpe to negotiate the original license. I'm not so sure he would be as eager to help out given the current state of affairs.

Roger Sharpe stated in a recent interview that he got the license extended for them.

#5674 2 years ago
Quoted from RTR:

Let me amend my 'no loaning money' comment Rubberducks. No one lends money to someone with an unresolved, unpaid, 600k debt when that entity also has no business plan or pathway to profitability.
I still say the TBLs do not get built without some sort of ARA resolution:
1. ARA will either have to build them - DP and ARA both put their big boy pants on and resolve their differences. Maybe with a 3rd party investor or not. Probably best scenario for everyone.
2. To get to a new CM solution, DP has to borrow a lot of money. The investor/bank will want some sort of settlement to relieve them and DP of the threat of a suit from ARA regarding the contract. So an out of court settlement will need to be reached. Possibly releasing hostage games and parts to the new CM.
3. The contractual dispute will need to be resolved in the court prior to moving forward with any other plan. Unless, Barry and Jaap are indecently wealthy and decide to fund it themselves. Or if they find an investor that doesn't care about ROI or default.

It's been at least 8 months they've been in dispute, possibly a lot longer with frayed relations ... they've got absolutely nowhere in that time.

It could be entirely DP and or the advice of their business consultant / lawyer that is to blame for a situation that could have been resolved. But if that's so, then what confidence do you have of them finding a solution now? If it's not all their fault, and I suspect the truth lies in the middle somewhere, same goes. They need to try to get a fresh start with another party, which appears to be what they're doing.

Odds are against them, but the odds will be a lot worse IMO if they spend the summer in more talks with ARA, and by September are still nowhere closer. The longer the down period, and the longer they spend in what have so far been futile talks with ARA, the less likely potential CMs are to give them the time of day, or banks or investors are to touch them. Can you imagine if they hammered out a deal with ARA, and then it broke down again just as production was supposed to resume, in - say - October? I think that would be the end.

They're more likely to have some kind of settlement with ARA if they find a new CM anyway. A deal with a new CM will reduce ARA's leverage and increase DP's. If ARA think DP can move forwards without them, then it's in their interests to come to an agreement about selling them or the new CM the parts and completed games. They can't sell any of them, or Universal will be breathing down their necks.

1 week later
#5760 2 years ago
Quoted from jrawlinson_2000:

I don't understand why DP do not just start to create other products like BOP 2.0 to get some funds flowing in while the debacle around TBL goes on.
I purchased a BOP 2.0 kit and its great, make and sell more of them.
Add a Funhouse 2.0, Earthshaker 2.0, Whirlwind 2.0 the list goes on, I'm sure they would sell and I bet make quite a good margin.

Because development time is too long and costly for only moderate return. I think 2.0s are more suited to hardware makers like FAST who have cost synergies, or hobbyists with unlimited time.

DP do make ~$550 per BoP 2.0 in license fee for every kit that CoinTaker assembles and sells, though.

#5779 2 years ago

Positive news.

But expect a long road before any production starts, if it does.

#5812 2 years ago
Quoted from wellarmed:

I think they could sell around 5000, best machine ever. I would buy another three to route them. #27 over here.

Currently at $10k, and likely much worse in EU (with taxes)? No chance in hell.

If they could get the price down and start knocking them out, they could certainly sell a hell of a lot more than 300, though.

#5839 2 years ago

Even if finance is quickly put in place and engineering samples all get built quickly, smoothly and work flawlessly, expectations should be modest as far as initial speed of production is concerned.

Some of the parts (for all 300 machines no less) are at ARA. Some of the suppliers don't produce many thousands of units, so replacing them may take a little while, unless ARA cave and come to an arrangement with DP to sell off the parts. If not, it may take a reasonable amount of lead time for them to get everything to both finish the run and then produce more. Case in point P-ROCs and the upper PF cars, the painting of which is all done individually by hand by one guy. Of course, the closer to production DP get, the more pressure there will be on ARA to agree to sell off all the parts and completed machines.

Good news, but a way to go.

#5846 2 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

Yes...I brought this up a while ago. If they start making new machines and ARA can't (by law or contract) sell existing games or parts, it would be stupid for them not to cut a deal with the new manufacturer....and wash their hands of the whole mess....

I mean they could sell off 250 P-ROCs ... but who's going to buy in that bulk, except DP, or DP-associated CoinTaker for the 2.0 kits. I don't know how much of the machine could be sold off piecemeal, legally, rather than whole - probably quite a bit. Generic parts would of course sell. But it'd be a huge pain in the arse for them, and probably take up far too much time. They'd most likely sell it as a complete lot at auction, or to a single buyer privately. They still wouldn't be able to sell anything TBL branded though, including playfields, and would have to disassemble the already built machines.

In short, it's highly unlikely they find a buyer that can really make it worth their while except DP.

So they either swallow their pride, write everything off, or go to court ... and even if DP don't have a great case against ARA for damages, given Rene's actions, ARA would probably have a torrid time suing DP.

#5853 2 years ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

If you think ARA can't move those machines on you are kidding yourself on especially here in Europe - They absolutely can - only without the software which would be easy enough to get. I'm thinking of emailing them with an offer for a machine?

Really? It will leak rather quickly.

Then they get a letter from the license holder, asking them for substantiated proof as to the whereabouts of all assembled machines and licensed parts. Court proceedings then follow.

The goods you bought would be subject to seizure, you realise, too?

They would also give DP an open goal re: legal action seeking damages. I think they'd have a hard time convincing most judges that they tried to honour their contract in good faith, if they were trying to sell off bootlegged goods.

#5883 2 years ago
Quoted from EternalLife:

The bowling mech was on display Sept 27, 2014. DP signed with ARA as CM to build TBL Feb, 2015. DP should at least be able to use the bowling mech, if not more? It was a prior contract with ARA and unrelated to the second contract to build the game. Looking forward to hearing more from Jaap next week..

I think the proprietary driver boards are the main concern, not mechs.

Seeing as they really have to produce many more than 300 now, I assume they'll have them produced in China given the increased volume ... won't take long for a decent ODM there to either reverse engineer existing ones or design new ones.

#5888 2 years ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

court proceedings? AHAHAHA from who? honestly dood - nonsense, lots of companies do this to liquidate stock.

Universal.

Provided DP are telling the truth, they have an ongoing understanding with them, and the project is not failed (yet) as far as they are concerned.

ARA would need to come to some kind of understanding with Universal for the machines and licensed parts not to be considered bootlegged. Universal are very unlikely to consent to anything of that nature unless DP do go under, and they may not do so even in that eventuality, without legal action, as they may prefer that the whole thing is buried. These are high value items, not low value mods or decals. The inclination and extent to which they'd be prepared to pursue companies or individuals is rather different.

If they were free to sell them off, they'd have already started advertising them.

#5926 2 years ago

It's good news that the company is one that at least Jaap already has a relationship with and should know the main actors involved.

There should be fewer unknowns and less chance of skullduggery. Also more leeway in the event of difficulties.

Quoted from Rensh:

I think this is indeed what Jaap means wth creative financing. If this means the machines get built I have no problem with other people getting them sooner as me as I understand why and it should not be done in a secret way. I think however also this plan is not into place yet but under study otherwise Jaap would have been more clear I think.

It sounds like he's suggesting that NeoPost will be prepared to overlook initial cashflow issues (shipping the fully paid games), knowing that more money will be coming in later (guaranteed) via the increased order book from CT & Nitro. I suspect they may ship a mix of new and paid orders initially.

#5937 2 years ago
Quoted from mgpasman:

Makes one wonder tho, why they did not engage with them in the first place...

They could have been one of the firms that originally submitted a quote. They said there were a number.

I would guess ARA were chosen because 1) in house electronics design, prototyping and manufacture (also environmental, electrical and mechanical endurance testing facilities 2) previously good reputation 3) price 4) they produce very disparate stuff - so a pinball machine shouldn't have been THAT much of a push.

Not sure the new guys have 1) and they certainly don't have 4) as they produce specialist postal industry stuff as their name suggests.

We still don't know who did what, but I highly doubt they questioned the intent or honesty of their partners .... hence the total lack of backup plans and why it's taken so long to get here.

Finance and delivery order questions aside, it does look like they may have turned a corner though.

#5940 2 years ago
Quoted from colonel_caverne:

personnaly, I think here the mess is An error in the financial statement of the project or an agreement failure with subcontractors...
Does someone know what is problem here?

No, and without viewing contracts and documented communication at all stages from both sides, we won't. Which obviously won't happen unless it goes to court.

1 month later
#5982 2 years ago

Though the replacement of the big board with several smaller boards was expected, I'd be quite surprised if the engineering sample is finished and ready by the end of September or beginning of October. That since they don't mention specific progress with the new boards.

#6005 2 years ago

Re: the update. All sounds good. Hope they are not being too optimistic though, as missing the above milestones will just invite more (certainly valid) scepticism. Better to over-estimate the time things will take, and then reach objectives sooner, than under-estimate and take longer.

Quoted from JustLikeMe:

I really do hope that DP manage to start producing more machine, but I can't help but worry what the above means for owners of the ARA machines.

From what they've said, the only major change in hardware is the big board under the pf being broken up into several smaller boards. Might mean some new wiring, but nothing that could not be overcome.

As long as they remain in business, I assume they'll support the ARA-produced machines.

#6011 2 years ago
Quoted from pinballslave:

I imagine DPs focus at the moment is solely on getting the gen2 games into manufacture... I'm sure when this is ticking along they'll have a bit of breathing space and be able to spend some time supporting gen1 game issues... but it will be quite some time to be at this point... they'll also have to devote some time to negotiating with ARA about how to get the 40 games trapped there of course... my understanding us that ARA aren't easy to negotiate with though... Excellent to hear things are looking up for DP and TBL though!!!! Let's hope this union with the new manufacturer is a good one for TBL and future games!!!

I'm not sure there is any plan to negotiate with ARA about those at least 20 - possibly 40 - machines ... DP appear to have moved on.

1 week later
#6027 2 years ago

Hopefully the boards work as intended.

It will be a feather in their now rather depleted cap if they really can finish the engineering samples in October and deliver the first new machines in December, given how things looked earlier in the summer.

2 weeks later
#6047 2 years ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

Which is kind of why they don't need to be spending time and money on a hype tour. Instead they should get a few games built then plan to bring them when they attend the next available pinball show. No game should equal no show.

I highly doubt most of the paying customers would agree. I think they, and most interested parties would like to hear from the new contract manufacturer.

Also, there is no other major US show before the date they claim they'll be shipping (December).

Though if there are no new machines at the DPO Expo in Eindhoven in November, then I think we can safely assume they have fallen behind or something is wrong.

1 week later
#6056 2 years ago
Quoted from Fishbeadtwo:

I hope the DP guys have a TBL 2.O at EXPO to calm the earliest achievers nerves.....

I think it's unlikely. But who knows. It will be interesting to hear from the new manufacturer.

Quoted from JimB:

Will there be a NSNL this week? They missed the last 2.

They said there wouldn't be another update until Expo.

#6066 2 years ago
Quoted from burningman:

I am hoping it will be streamed...anyone know if the buffalo guys will be twitching it?

Hit them up on Twitter. Same for Dead_Flip.

Quoted from frolic:

I can only guess by your comment this new CM is "known" to us?

Been discussed in the thread and DP have announced who they are.

Medium sized firm. They make postal sorting equipment. Jaap used to work for them.

When I thanked Barry for some help bug fixing my BoP 2.0, a couple of days ago, he seemed pretty upbeat. Hopefully both they and the CM have all their ducks in a row this time out.

Edit: Correction. Jaap apparently didn't work for them.

#6078 2 years ago

PF is still Mirco stamped. I assume the company is large enough that they don't have issues bringing in the playfields, P-ROCs and stock parts from the EU / US that smaller China-based concerns do.

Hopefully the offshore assembly and sourcing of some parts will allow them to hit a lower price point and sell more of them, provided the quality is right.

I wonder what other things will have changed ... IMO they will be mad if they keep the massive plate glass backbox glass. Totally over-engineered, really costly, and very heavy.

Hope the seminar was recorded.

Also, very interesting to see Guus is still there. He hasn't been seen or spoken of for an age. Maybe that means there's also hope of Koen finishing the code, if someone else doesn't.

Quoted from Hoss_Coog:

That's not a surprise. Hopefully they can crank out the new orders at a good rate. If anything, that should help with Q/C so any bugs will be worked out before the preorders are built.

You would hope that refers to the machines #200-300 from the CT / Nitro batch, not their additional orders beyond that and any rest of world orders they may now open up.

#6081 2 years ago
Quoted from burningman:

I am reading it that new orders will go out before preorders....basically, if you're on the cointaker or nitro list, you get your game before the early achievers.
Hopefully skins can verify.

I think a new list has been opened for at least 200 more machines for CT & Nitro, of which they are quite some way in, and rest of world sales are also planned. Hence my comment about this hopefully referring to 'new' orders between #200-300.

#6093 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Wow. There's the proof that they're out of cash.
What if there are not enough new buyers? Who would pre-order AGAIN!? This is basically a pre-order crowdfunding deal now...$10k for a Chinese game!?!?
I'm sorry guys. Oooph. What a slap to those who's games are still hostage at ARA. Speaking of ARA - they're not gonna just disappear. That's still a thing.

AFAIK, the deal is that CT/ Nitro pay on *receipt* of the shipments of #200-300, whether it be all of the machines at once or a container at a time. DP have not seen a cent of that money.

I can't imagine they will see anything either until they ship.

After holding out for a long time, CT finally caved and paid Andrew Heighway for the 10 Alien machines they were owed, plus other stuff, after he begged them for the cash so he could finish the build of their games. The few that they did then build, they were double or triple selling to other parties.

CT went apopleptic, understandably, after learning what was going on, and Andrew avoiding them like all his other customers. He then sent them 'evidence' of the machines shipping. He promptly sold said machines (including FThs) to a Dutch guy, who drove there with a truck and cash, which he had intended to do all along.

They were supposedly owed into 6 figures, for those machines and other product, and never would have got anything if the new owners hadn't stepped in.

After that experience, I highly doubt they will be in a hurry to risk their or their customers' money again like that.

#6112 1 year ago
Quoted from mgpasman:

I wonder if the China TBL (CTBL) will also cost less than the Dutch one

I don't think it's even in doubt that the cost to assemble and ship will be cheaper.

However, the question is, what plans for the business do they have going forwards, and just how far down are they in cash, relative to where they expected to be before the ARA SNAFU?

In this market, I think the numbers they can sell at current price of $10k, and probably €10k (once taxes are accounted for), are unlikely to exceed 500.

DI starts at $8k, LE at $9k. PotC starts at $8.5k, LE at $9.5k. Houdini is $7k. Plus WOZ and Hobbit still.

That's a lot of competition in the high quality, fully featured market, and we still don't know if the code's going to get finished.

If they want to continue the business and produce JJP #2 or #3 (not silly BoP SLEs), I think they need to get as much product out there as possible, and at a price that will rebuild some goodwill.

Below $8.5k with finished code, I think they could sell serious numbers, provided that there are no hitches with the new CM and machines are produced and delivered promptly. The lower they get it, the more they'll sell.

Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

Now's the time to give those two less sh@ts, ensuring you couldn't care less. The fact EA's paid in full years ago and yet may need to wait another year for DP to get around to building their game. In the meantime, 200 new customers must come along and buy their $10k pinball. If DP is still in business a year from now, they will be delivering these paid in full games. There is a lot that must go right before DP rights the wrongs of their company. I care deeply that it is at their expense and on their backs this game is moving forward.

DP haven't got any of the #200-300 money. Those are 'new' orders, but not EA orders. I don't think they need a further 200 orders on top of that to build the rest of the EAs.

As for a year? I highly doubt they are planning for it to take that long. Given how swiftly it's gone from what looked like an almost hopeless situation earlier in the summer, to "shipping in December", I guess they're hoping to have them done quite quickly.

#6115 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinhead1982:

I find this reveal totally disgusting!
EA paid years ago, have been waiting patiently, well at least I have! Now to be told new customers get the game first!
No! Take 1K deposits for games and use that to build the EA games and so on! The new customers should wait a while, not like the 4 f@@kin years we have been waiting!

$1k won't change anything. They're not Stern Pros.

Even in China, given they're using P-ROCs, PCs, and Mirco playfields (those items alone will make up ~$850 or more), I'd expect the BoM and assembly cost combined to still easily exceed $4000.

How accurate it is I don't know, but I'd heard that once all the parts, labour, shipping etc were factored in, it was going to cost more than $7000 per machine, if they had acquiesced to the second ARA cost increase.

Hopefully the Chinese ones are way lower (without compromising quality). The lower they are, likely the quicker the original orders get built, the more chance of a lower final price for new and 'new' orders, and the more machines there are out there, the more chance there is of finished code.

Also, though it wasn't incumbent on them to do so, it shouldn't be forgotten that some of the CT / Nitro customers chose to pay CT / Nitro in full, years ago, too.

#6146 1 year ago
Quoted from colonel_caverne:

what sane person would pay here a TBL 10k€?
Alien standard is around 7500€, the same for Houdini.
Stern pro is around 6500€, premium 8800€
JJP starts at 8800€
if the TBL price is not similar to Alien and Houdini, nobody will preorder it.

I don't think Alien is even a consideration.

But the whole point of my post, which you appear to have missed, was that their current projected price for the CT orders (and presumably other / latter ones) will severely limit sales.

Lower costs in China may allow them to reduce the price. But it's very unlikely to be €7500 in EU, after all the losses with the ARA fiasco. That would translate to $7000 in the US ($3k lower than currently), with tax eliminated.

Maybe if they'd gone with the China option from the beginning, and avoided this whole saga, they could have come in under €7500.

#6149 1 year ago
Quoted from Rensh:

Don’t if already posted but pinball news report can be seen at:
https://www.pinballnews.com/site/2017/10/13/pinball-expo-2017-3/
Is also has a audio recording.
On Facebook there is also a recording with video footage. Hope this works, don’t know the privacy settings, link is:
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10212929013293247&id=1628087700

FB video is open to all.

#6245 1 year ago
Quoted from colonel_caverne:

new customers won't pay DP fiasco for DP
so you think DP will generate more profit with few games but pricey than large production and cheaper? do i missed the point again?

You did miss the point again, yes.

No, the opposite. But it's rather in doubt as to whether they make a profit, net of all the money they lost, anyway.

I'm saying it's now a very crowded market for high quality, fully featured machines, with 4 JJP machines and Houdini, all of which except the 2 JJP CLEs are cheaper than currently quoted price for TBL in the US (via CT).

They will sell far more machines at a significantly lower price ... but that may or may not be feasible, depending on how much the new bill of materials costs and xytech are charging them for service and assembly.

Also, obviously, if they get more product out there, by selling lower, then there's likely to be more foundation for future machines, as they will finally have proved they can deliver product.

I guess we'll hear detailed final plans in November at DPO ... if not, then I guess no machines will be produced this year.

#6248 1 year ago