(Topic ID: 108377)

The Official Pinside Kevin Kulek Skit-B Predator Discussion


By Xerico

4 years ago



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#1701 4 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

Looks like the lesson of Dutch Pinball has already been forgotten.

Which one?

#1702 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

I don't know what their problems are, but I can tell you with utmost certainty what caused them:
This game was priced too cheap.

I don't know how the pricing schedule was developed, if it was based on quantities of parts to be purchased based on an original BOM listing or what. But I can say that Gene already had a number of boardsets for BBB and access to a fair number of parts for the machines before he started his build. He priced it at $4500 and eventually estimated each cost him $7000 to build. Buyers were fortunate that he had the personal finances to cover the costs of going over budget, so that the machine was not only produced but the additional cost wasn't passed on to the buyers. For anyone that doesn't know some of the backstory, a good write-up of it can be found here:

http://www.habosarcade.com/BigBangBar.htm

Brad

#1703 4 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

I have been staying out of MMr stuff even though I have more knowledge than many about some of the current issues/delays.

I'm sure Pinball News will be calling for an interview soon.

#1704 4 years ago
Quoted from jellikit:

I don't know how the pricing schedule was developed, if it was based on quantities of parts to be purchased based on an original BOM listing or what. But I can say that Gene already had a number of boardsets for BBB and access to a fair number of parts for the machines before he started his build. He priced it at $4500 and eventually estimated each cost him $7000 to build. Buyers were fortunate that he had the personal finances to cover the costs of going over budget, so that the machine was not only produced but the additional cost wasn't passed on to the buyers. For anyone that doesn't know some of the backstory, a good write-up of it can be found here:
http://www.habosarcade.com/BigBangBar.htm
Brad

Look where that got him... bankrupt with Planetary snatching up assets. Just think, if 7 years ago a small run wasnt profitable at $7k a pop, then Kevin is a saint for trying to pull this off for less than $5k.

#1705 4 years ago

Got yaa all beat on the snow tip...........Joey

image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg

#1706 4 years ago
Quoted from Breaking_Dad:

Got yaa all beat on the snow tip...........Joey

Haha! Of course. That's a NORMAL winter's day in Buffalo!

#1707 4 years ago
Quoted from T-800:

Look where that got him... bankrupt with Planetary snatching up assets. Just think, if 7 years ago a small run wasnt profitable at $7k a pop, then Kevin is a saint for trying to pull this off for less than $5k.

Ignore Kevin for a moment. Do you honestly think any startup, especially a small one, can setup manufacturing, build X machines for about the same price as a stern pro pin and make money? I've been asked many times by many people to help startup a pinball company and the finances just don't work below a 7k end user price level IMO. You shouldn't go into business to go bankrupt.

I think the biggest problem is many of the people who started these boutique shops have never successfully run a business. They have great ideas for pins and find out they didn't have a clue what it takes, cost and effort wise, to make a finished pin. Kudos again to Spooky as they pulled it off. I would hope everyone can but a majority of the people here underestimate the massive undertaking that this is. I'm sure if you asked all of them a good majority would not have tried it if they truly knew the effort ahead of time.

#1709 4 years ago
Quoted from Razorbak86:

Haha! Of course. That's a NORMAL winter's day in Buffalo!

^^^..haha.....wouldn't have it any other way..... ................Joey

#1710 4 years ago
Quoted from T-800:

Just think, if 7 years ago a small run wasnt profitable at $7k a pop

BBB was $4500 from Gene.
Also many of us believe Gene exaggerated his loss and may have really broken even or made a little.

#1711 4 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

BBB was $4500 from Gene.
Also many of us believe Gene exaggerated his loss and may have really broken even or made a little.

The $7k was his estimated costs per machine. My post was more for reference, as I dont know the facts, just what I read in the articles and what I can find online. Regardless, there is one fact, his company went bankrupt after remaking a developed pin at a sales price of $4500 - only he really knows what his real costs and profits were (if any), but clearly it provides some indication that they were not enough to safely keep him in business.

18
#1712 4 years ago
Quoted from woodworker:

What do you want people to do? There are 250 people who were promised a game and Kevin doesn't write or call most of them back. And once again, there are more people piling up who aren't being given refunds let alone a reply to an email. Then some guy on here, who isn't even in on the game calls Kevin and gets to talk to him for 10 minutes, and has the entire situation explained to him?!

I feel like at least 50% of the folks here (this thread) are pathetic, but this is a pretty good point man.

Quoted from spfxted:

What difference does it make if I am "in on the game" or not. I'm trying to help. I found a card with Kevin's phone number on it and decided to call and ask a few questions. I can only report what I was told. I hope things get worked out.

But, this reply though, I'm assuming you're joking as I know you and Kevin go back at least 2 years with the personal communication. Being in on this for more than three years, I kind of feel like a piece of shit with the fact that you're privy to this info and we're not. I don't feel like Kevin started off with idea of using Pinside as a platform, but this is where I first saw the one-off, and the interest here prompted him and his former partner to launch the 250. A lot of you say he's pandering to Pinside, but it was fucking pinside that started this run to begin with.

Regardless, to one day say you're only going to give updates to people on a list and then not take anyone off of that list that canceled is just...sloppy man. I remember a certain individual years ago saying that he never thought this was going to work and shouting from a mountain how we were fools, then putting a preorder down and then shouting the greatness from the same mountain about the greatness that was to come, and then a year later canceling and shouting from that same fucking mountain almost louder than anybody about how we were all fools again, is just pinside in its most purest form. Now, this is the guy giving info to everyone else!

But, to be honest, I can't really argue anymore. I understand how money works, especially in this game, and especially with a startup company. --Hi bank, I need a loan to become a pinball manufacturer.-- You need the capital up front to make the product. Then, once you have the capital to make the product, you need to deliver. You have to expect that if things don't go according to plan, people are going to pull their money out, especially in this fickle community. This isn't Kickstarter. We were all wondering how this would work without a bigger down payment of $250, but we believed. OK, half down now, so they must be making the game, right? Apparently not. But in two weeks they're going to have an announcement that's gonna knock my socks off? I'm tired a this shit man.

This was not only my first NIB, but my first pin ever. Turned down a lot of good deals because I have room for 1 so I've been sitting still all the while. So, not only did the two biggest backers besides myself drop out in spfxted and Navajas, who fell off the face of the Predator map (which I guess is noble considering the dropouts who stay around to talk shit), but what am I to think?

I don't have disposable income like the lot of you, which I'm sure you'll argue. The only reason I haven't asked for a refund in the past three months is because I don't want to fuck it up for everybody else like the Great fucking Depression, but at this point, if this isn't groundbreaking in two weeks, I'm done.

/rant

#1715 4 years ago

Licensing is obviously a big deal, and while these types of things have simply been accepted in the past, indie pinball (yes, I'm going to keep calling it that) is potentially a completely different beast altogether. Gathering copyright and likeness permissions is a huge, daunting process, but is very rewarding in the end. That being said, this is something you need to have reasonably taken care of before making any major announcements or commitments, and we've done a lot of work and spent countless hours making sure everyone involved is happy with how things turned out. I have many stories I could tell here, but I think I will wait until a time when there's a little less actual news to catch up on At any rate, I can see how one might wonder if a small indie startup would be able to handle this sort of task, but it is certainly not an issue over here. Don't expect any wild omissions or absences when you open up your first Skit-B new-in-box!

From Kevin, Skit-B just 11 Weeks ago.

I cannot believe that there is no license as the podcast comes to that potential conclusion. This would mean that Skit-B was not honest and I simply don't believe that Kevin has written such a clear Statement without having a license. I hope that there will be clarity soon.

#1716 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

I don't know what their problems are, but I can tell you with utmost certainty what caused them:
This game was priced too cheap.

The normal development price for a pinball is around 1 million dollar. They probably developed it for less but give or take when you calculate man hour it's around that price. I think they just did simple math 1000 000 / 250 = 4000 for production costs. It will be pretty hard to find an investor when those machines are not completely sold and the profit is next to nothing. It was a mistake if you ask me to go this low on price, they will never be able to make enough money for their next game. They will suffer from the same problem. They have to license a lot, the theme, buy boards at high prices, pay a lot for Williams parts... that machine should have been at least 1K higher maybe even more.

#1717 4 years ago
Quoted from lamihh:

I simply don't believe that Kevin has written such a clear Statement without having a license.

I would submit that Kevin has rarely (if ever) written a CLEAR statement.

Seriously, have you ever seen anyone this side of a politician dance around words so much? The clearest message fro Kevin in months hasn't even come from Kevin, it comes 2nd hand from Ted.

#1718 4 years ago
Quoted from beatmaster:

probably true, IF there is another game, i can bet anything price difference will be at least 1k more... but for that it will need a lot more things/toys going on.

Compare this to AMH, Predator has no moving parts except the claw which is a ramp diverter and two up kickers, so basically no moving toys. AMH has ghost, drop target, swinging door, spinning disc, elevator, not sure if there is a subway.

Preadator has nothing to shoot at except for 2 stand up targets in the middle of the PF, it has no side targets, no targets on either side of the ramps. Basically I have never seen a more stripped game, even The Pin has far more targets and moving toys. IMO.

#1719 4 years ago

Ted....just go over there and help him make the damn pins....!!!.... .......ohh wait...you used a tech to change bulbs...never mind.... ...................Joey

#1720 4 years ago
Quoted from XNIF:

The normal development price for a pinball is around 1 million dollar. They probably developed it for less but give or take when you calculate man hour it's around that price.

This is not true, Gary Stern may have said it cost Stern $1 million to develope a typical game, but that's all he said. He did not break it down in any way. Plus Stern has a team of engineeres, designers, software teams. In short you can not compaire Stern with overhead and health care insurance and 401k plans and Social security taxes to be paid for its workers, you can not compare that to one guy working out of his basement with no overhead.

I'd be shocked if Predator cost a fraction of $1 Million to develope.

Some guy built a Ghostbusters pin in his basement, are you telling me he spent $1M to develope that LOL that's such a laugh.

Kevin built his prototype with pocket money, probably if I were to guess it was less than $10,000 for his prototype. I'll grant you it takes some more money to bring it to production ready but not $990,000 more.

#1721 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

I'd be shocked if Predator cost a fraction of $1 Million to develope.
Some guy built a Ghostbusters pin in his basement, are you telling me he spent $1M to develope that LOL that's such a laugh.

Stern counts man hours spent at a going market rate. Wonder what Kevin would be up to cost wise if he total up his hours and multiplied by a reasonable wage.

#1722 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

Some guy built a Ghostbusters pin in his basement, are you telling me he spent $1M to develope that LOL that's such a laugh.

The Ghostbusters pin was a re-theme of an existing pin. It is a hell of a pin, but was not a new design built from the ground up.

#1723 4 years ago
Quoted from epthegeek:

Wonder what Kevin would be up to cost wise if he total up his hours and multiplied by a reasonable wage.

Hey buddy. What are your wages with CCC? Food stamps?

#1724 4 years ago
Quoted from Razorbak86:

The Ghostbusters pin was a re-theme of an existing pin. It is a hell of a pin, but was not a new design built from the ground up.

For all you know Kevin took a Taxi changed the ramps, added a post blocker, movesd some things around, it's not a complicated pin after all.

I'm just saying making a not very complex pin should not cost $1M when you have no overhead or taxes or employees.

Let's hear if if cost Ben $1M to design AMH and that's far more complex than Predator.

#1725 4 years ago
Quoted from playboywillis:

But, this reply though, I'm assuming you're joking as I know you and Kevin go back at least 2 years with the personal communication.

What? I saw and spoke to Kevin at 2 pinshows. He called me once about my order and i called him once last week. That's 4 times in 3 years.....

#1726 4 years ago

Well whysnow at least you get a pass on the podcast..l get one too, this guy gets us, we love pinball man...

-2
#1727 4 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

BBB was $4500 from Gene.
Also many of us believe Gene exaggerated his loss and may have really broken even or made a little.

So you can feel free to post your assumptions here and then bash someone else when they post their thoughts on another thread? I'm fine with it, but stop being a dick when other people post their assumptions and feelings.

#1728 4 years ago

Predator also has additional flipper buttons to manually operate an up post and I forget the other stuff. And the lack of toys is because it's a players game designed by a passionate tournament competitor.

It's got plenty of flow that's fun to shoot and the sounds are gonna rock. Plus I believe/hope that the software is gonna be killer.

At $4750 I'd say Kevin has passed the savings onto his customers.

Can you guys hold your breath for another few days?

#1729 4 years ago
Quoted from Matt_Rasmussen:

So you can feel free to post your assumptions here and then bash someone else when they post their thoughts on another thread? I'm fine with it, but stop being a dick when other people post their assumptions and feelings.

Please block me on Pinside.

#1730 4 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

I really enjoyed listening to your podcast after the TBL stuff went down, so if you have something to add here I think a lot of us would like to hear it.

As pointed out above, Nate at Coast to Coast Pinball has weighed in:

http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/episode-142-predator-problems-or-seeking-the-story-in-a-dark-scary-jungle-_40942

I very highly recommend that everyone listen to this.

Very well done.

30
#1731 4 years ago

Of course building a prototype doesn't cost 1 million. Maybe 5k, and another 20-30k getting it ready for manufacturer.

But that's just screws, metal and wood - the real cost of any project is labor. Chuck and I did that pro-bono for the first few years, and now we get paid on the back end. Chuck puts a lot of his profit back into the business, not Aruba trips or pizza parties.

PAY ATTENTION TO THIS PART: We only got paid by shipping a game - not for coming up with the idea for one - probably why we made damn sure it went out the door.

Yes Predator is simpler than AMH. But it has other expenses we don't, like PROC, blacklights, special inks, a license (one would hope) molded skulls, molded ramps (AMH has zero vacuum forming).

Kevin is right though - making pinball is HARD. Like, really f'ing don't try it you're nuts hard.

#1732 4 years ago

Thanks Ben.

My point is Kevin is probably not paying himself the way 'real' designers like Steve Richie is get paid. Stern is quite different than Skit-B.

Someone likes to sing, can even make a CD that's not the same thing as The Rolling Stones making a CD. It's a similar anology. My friend records CDs for his band he doesn't spend tens of thousands of dollars to do so.

#1733 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

Thanks Ben.
My point is Kevin is probably not paying himself the way 'real' designers like Steve Richie is get paid. Don't think you can compair Stern with Skit-B.

Quoted from benheck:

Of course building a prototype doesn't cost 1 million. Maybe 5k, and another 20-30k getting it ready for manufacturer.
But that's just screws, metal and wood - the real cost of any project is labor. Chuck and I did that pro-bono for the first few years, and now we get paid on the back end. Chuck puts a lot of his profit back into the business, not Aruba trips or pizza parties.
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS PART: We only got paid by shipping a game - not for coming up with the idea for one - probably why we made damn sure it went out the door.
Yes Predator is simpler than AMH. But it has other expenses we don't, like PROC, blacklights, special inks, a license (one would hope) molded skulls, molded ramps (AMH has zero vacuum forming).
Kevin is right though - making pinball is HARD. Like, really f'ing don't try it you're nuts hard.

Ben,

You guys have successfully built and shipped machines, kudos again as that fact is pretty amazing (and yes, I think you're crazy.) That being said would you, or could you even ship a full featured machine for less than 5k without losing money? I also consider paying yourself nothing and breaking even on the machine losing money. I'm a businessman, what can I say

#1734 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

This is not true, Gary Stern may have said it cost Stern $1 million to develope a typical game, but that's all he said. He did not break it down in any way. Plus Stern has a team of engineeres, designers, software teams.

Dude, you forgot electricity...

The cost of frozen burritos and electricity to run the microwaves *alone* in the Stern breakroom adds approximately $350 to the cost of each pinball Stern ships....

https://img-f.pinside.com/201409/1900953/287704.jpg

287704.jpg

#1735 4 years ago
Quoted from Breaking_Dad:

Got yaa all beat on the snow tip...........Joey
image.jpg (Click image to enlarge)image.jpg (Click image to enlarge)image.jpg (Click image to enlarge)image.jpg (Click image to enlarge)image.jpg (Click image to enlarge)

we got 1/4" of light sprinkles over the weekend...it was brutal

#1737 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

Preadator has nothing to shoot at except for 2 stand up targets in the middle of the PF, it has no side targets, no targets on either side of the ramps. Basically I have never seen a more stripped game, even The Pin has far more targets and moving toys. IMO.

Why were you on the pre-order list then?
All (most of ) these features were known since the beginning.
You dropped out of Predator and preferred Iron Man VE, fine ! Who could blame you? At least you have a game to flip!
But no need to start a crusade and try to convince others Predator is a stripped down version of The Pin.

#1738 4 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

Hey buddy. What are your wages with CCC? Food stamps?

Can't speak to E's wages but he owes me at least $1K for voice work and studio time. Or I'd take another Friday night pinball get together as payment.

#1739 4 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

As pointed out above, Nate at Coast to Coast Pinball has weighed in:
http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/episode-142-predator-problems-or-seeking-the-story-in-a-dark-scary-jungle-_40942
I very highly recommend that everyone listen to this.
Very well done.

Thanks Rob had no idea this pod cast existed, very informative. I've been a supporter of SkitB for a long time but this is my final 2 weeks in the project, Kevin either has to show me this is happening with built games or I'm out.

#1740 4 years ago
Quoted from lamihh:

Licensing is obviously a big deal, and while these types of things have simply been accepted in the past, indie pinball (yes, I'm going to keep calling it that) is potentially a completely different beast altogether. Gathering copyright and likeness permissions is a huge, daunting process, but is very rewarding in the end. That being said, this is something you need to have reasonably taken care of before making any major announcements or commitments, and we've done a lot of work and spent countless hours making sure everyone involved is happy with how things turned out. I have many stories I could tell here, but I think I will wait until a time when there's a little less actual news to catch up on At any rate, I can see how one might wonder if a small indie startup would be able to handle this sort of task, but it is certainly not an issue over here. Don't expect any wild omissions or absences when you open up your first Skit-B new-in-box!
From Kevin, Skit-B just 11 Weeks ago.
I cannot believe that there is no license as the podcast comes to that potential conclusion. This would mean that Skit-B was not honest and I simply don't believe that Kevin has written such a clear Statement without having a license. I hope that there will be clarity soon.

There is literally nothing said in that statement that's a definitive "We have everything taken care of." There are a lot of weasel words used/marketing speak without committing to anything tangible.

#1741 4 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

Please block me on Pinside.

No, you're amusing.

#1742 4 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

What? I saw and spoke to Kevin at 2 pinshows. He called me once about my order and i called him once last week. That's 4 times in 3 years.....

If that's the case, I apologize. I thought I remembered you talking to him on the phone on more than one occasion. The fact that you're not buddy buddy with him, like I thought, makes me feel less positive about this thing in two weeks though.

#1743 4 years ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

Thanks Rob had no idea this pod cast existed, very informative. I've been a supporter of SkitB for a long time but this is my final 2 weeks in the project, Kevin either has to show me this is happening with built games or I'm out.

The problem is, there may be no "out" any longer. There's at least one member here that said Kevin has ignored his emails for MONTHS on a refund.... and that goes back to when things were "ok"

Now, with all this pressure here and Kevin admitting there ARE issues (though vaguely) it's hard to believe he will suddenly become more responsive, especially if there's no "A-ha Wonderful" moment in "2 weeks."

So, in a way, its understandable why some folks will just REFUSE to accept anything but a positive outcome. They have no choice at this point.

#1744 4 years ago
Quoted from playboywillis:

If that's the case, I apologize.

No worries. I met Kevin just like all of you guys...for me, it was at Allentown. Predator sounded like a great project and a bunch of us wanted to get involved. I was behind this project 100% as many others were. Now, I don't know what's going on except for what he told me. I hope things turn out ok.
Everybody seems to have some kind of information and who knows what's true. Hopefully we'll all find out soon.

Ted_and_Predator.jpg
#1745 4 years ago

The podcasts are great. I'm totally addicted now. I also appreciated his non removed assessment as well as thoughts on all of our passion.
Much to to learn from him. The cheerleaders can ease up on those trying to help and the negatives could be nicer in trying to share what they see from a removed perspective with less of an attack theme.

#1746 4 years ago
Quoted from Hwawonyu:

The podcasts are great. I'm totally addicted now. I also appreciated his non removed assessment as well as thoughts on all of our passion.
Much to to learn from him. The cheerleaders can ease up on those trying to help and the negatives could be nicer in trying to share what they see from a removed perspective with less of an attack theme.

Agreed.

I think no matter which side you are on... everyone is unanimous in that we... the world of pinball... want this to end well for all involved... Kevin included.

#1747 4 years ago
Quoted from Hwawonyu:

The cheerleaders can ease up on those trying to help and the negatives could be nicer in trying to share what they see from a removed perspective with less of an attack theme.

Well said Dave, and this seems to be what Nate absolutely excels at.

#1748 4 years ago

Just listened to the Podcast. All I can say is...wow!

#1749 4 years ago

Nate Shivers nailed it (again)...his podcast was a bullseye shot.

I don't have any coin on Predator...but, in the name of rational sanity, how can Kevin take money and then do a political dance?

Just come out and tell your pre-order folks what the deal is. Invite them to your shop to see what kind of supplies you have for making the game!

It's pretty simple. You can't take people's money under the guise of promised product and then refuse to be transparent when the sh*t has apparently hit the fan.

Just curious, when pre-order folks forked over cash...was there legalese / fine print detailing the rights of the buyer in a detailed pre-order agreement??

This is totally nuts.

#1750 4 years ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

Just curious, when pre-order folks forked over cash...was there legalese / fine print detailing the rights of the buyer in a detailed pre-order agreement??
This is totally nuts.

I think there was just money sent with Kevin keeping track of deposits on the back of a napkin, ie. No formal contract.

My word is my bond type of deal.

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