(Topic ID: 108377)

The Official Pinside Kevin Kulek Skit-B Predator Discussion


By Xerico

4 years ago



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#1851 4 years ago

I have had enough conversations with Kevin, in which enough details we discussed that it gives me a confidence he was licensed. Whether that license was allowing him to do things he did is a different question. It is certainly possible, given Kevin's experience level, that Kevin may not have fully understand what he could and could not do.

On a side note, it is certainly 100% clear he has he a license for EoD

A year ago I spoke with an old friend of mine who is a C-level guy at Fox, while our conversation was more about family and life stuff, I did ask him about licensing since I was curious about with all that was going on, and I know he has been involved in that for many years. I did not ask him about any specifics about Predator, since I had no reason to (although pretty sure I mentioned it during the conversation).

It was clear from that conversation that any licensing deals he signs off on have a limited timeframe. That is done for many reasons, including ensuring a license is not tied up too long for a particular product that may never make it to market. They also do it since they want to get better terms if a product has done well for a manufacturer who wants to keep using the license, where clearly the license has value to that manufacturer. In addition, they recognize in that case, that the R&D expense has now been recovered, and there is more room for them to get a bigger license fee from future sales (often the licenses have an increasing license fee at different production levels for the same reason).

Based on that conversation, it would seem to me that Kevin is now beyond that window of time, and likely needs to re-license to continue. This is purely conjecture on my part, based on what I know, I have not seen the contract, and as I said, I did not ask for specifics on Predator. I would tend to think that given where Kevin is with production, that they would be open to extending the license, since it seems clear he is ready to bring the product to market. I do have to wonder what impact this has on his negotiating position and the cost of the license.

As far as cost of production a prototype, having built a couple of custom games, I can tell you from a shear 'parts cost', you are looking at $5K if you were only using 'common' parts. However, his ramps are not common, so he likely had a significant cost (molds for the ramps are likely $5K or more). The cost to develop the artwork, engineer the playfield, software, etc if a far more significant cost. I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours writing software, creating art, coding dots, sound, etc. for each of my games, so I would estimate that even for a prototype, you are looking at $100K minimum to develop a playable prototype -- if you were actually paying people to do the work.

#1852 4 years ago
Quoted from rosh:

A year ago I spoke with an old friend of mine who is a C-level guy at Fox

Give this guy a call!

#1853 4 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

Give this guy a call!

I don't plan to do that. If I had money down on Predator, that would be a different story, since I would have a legit reason to do so. However, since I don't have a legit need, I would not want to put a friend in a position where he would feel a need to share confidential information, which I would likely not be able to share regardless. I was trying to be careful even in that post, to not share things that have come up in conversations regarding other licenses, that could be considered confidential information and would be protected under a typical NDA (not saying I have an NDA, just saying that is how I view information shared in this way).

-5
#1854 4 years ago

Well here we go again. Another person who claims to have all these "Facts" and yet again will not "Share" them with us, the pinball community. I closed to stupid podcast window at 3 minutes...right at the point he said he is not going to share everything he knows.

WTF! Same crud from even more people. Nobody wants to just states facts. Kevin is more guilty than anyone. It is all the people claiming "to know things" that keep creating and fueling all this drama. It is total BS! Grow the hell up already!

#1855 4 years ago
Quoted from rosh:

I have had enough conversations with Kevin, in which enough details we discussed that it gives me a confidence he was licensed. Whether that license was allowing him to do things he did is a different question. It is certainly possible, given Kevin's experience level, that Kevin may not have fully understand what he could and could not do.
On a side note, it is certainly 100% clear he has he a license for EoD
A year ago I spoke with an old friend of mine who is a C-level guy at Fox, while our conversation was more about family and life stuff, I did ask him about licensing since I was curious about with all that was going on, and I know he has been involved in that for many years. I did not ask him about any specifics about Predator, since I had no reason to (although pretty sure I mentioned it during the conversation).
It was clear from that conversation that any licensing deals he signs off on have a limited timeframe. That is done for many reasons, including ensuring a license is not tied up too long for a particular product that may never make it to market. They also do it since they want to get better terms if a product has done well for a manufacturer who wants to keep using the license, where clearly the license has value to that manufacturer. In addition, they recognize in that case, that the R&D expense has now been recovered, and there is more room for them to get a bigger license fee from future sales (often the licenses have an increasing license fee at different production levels for the same reason).
Based on that conversation, it would seem to me that Kevin is now beyond that window of time, and likely needs to re-license to continue. This is purely conjecture on my part, based on what I know, I have not seen the contract, and as I said, I did not ask for specifics on Predator. I would tend to think that given where Kevin is with production, that they would be open to extending the license, since it seems clear he is ready to bring the product to market. I do have to wonder what impact this has on his negotiating position and the cost of the license.
As far as cost of production a prototype, having built a couple of custom games, I can tell you from a shear 'parts cost', you are looking at $5K if you were only using 'common' parts. However, his ramps are not common, so he likely had a significant cost (molds for the ramps are likely $5K or more). The cost to develop the artwork, engineer the playfield, software, etc if a far more significant cost. I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours writing software, creating art, coding dots, sound, etc. for each of my games, so I would estimate that even for a prototype, you are looking at $100K minimum to develop a playable prototype -- if you were actually paying people to do the work.

But Predator disappeared so long ago off the website that surely it doesn't take this long to re-license? I backed out long ago but hoping my friend gets his refund!

#1856 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.

It's BS. Yet another person to tease everyone and create drama. I am so tired of people saying they know more about this skit issue...they have facts...then they say they cannot share them or won't. When will this crap stop already? It is what creates all the drama and intensifies it further. If you friggin no something and do not intend to share it, then just SHUP UP! Do not say a word at all about it.

Jeesh this crap is getting old already!

#1857 4 years ago
Quoted from Pubaw:

It's BS. Yet another person to tease everyone and cerate drama. I am so tired of people saying they know more about this skit issue...they have facts...then they say they cannot share them or won't. When will this crap stop already? It is what creates all the drama and intensifies it further. If you friggin no something and do not intend to share it, then just SHUP UP! Do not say a word at all about it.
Jeesh this crap is getting old already!

The ONLY person that can control this is Kevin. Otherwise, in the absence of official information from Kevin, the grapevine will thrive.

Quoted from Razorbak86:

The Law of Information Flow -- "Information, like electricity, WILL flow, and it will ALWAYS take the path of least resistance." If you don't communicate with stakeholders, the grapevine will thrive. If you communicate with stakeholders, you can keep the grapevine in check.

#1858 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

For 3% of a million bucks sure they would!
I know Chuck uses them it's the best rate a small business can get on CC purchases.

sure, anyone can get that agreement... there's nothing magical about it...

what kevin implies is that he has a "special" agreement that somehow paypal is guaranteeing the funds against loss...

which is complete and utter bs...

-1
#1859 4 years ago
Quoted from playernumber4:

When he introduced his roughed in prototype at the Michigan Expo nearly 3 years ago I asked him specifically if he had and problems with the licensing and if it was expensive. He said "it was no problem at all" and added that he already had the rights and it cost him $150. That was when I made up my mind to never get involved with this project at any price. I walked away muttering to myself "no way does he have the rights".

I bailed when he pulled that secret room crap. It was in one of his videos. Remember those? He walked around the shop and showed his computer...showed Arron...then showed the Proc processor on the table....then he kept saying "over there is the secret room. Only Arron, my mom and me get to see in there". I was thinking" wtf, who in the hell does crap like that? You are trying to get orders by faking it...I truly believe that secret room had nothing but a broom and dust pan in it...oh yeah...maybe some spiders too.

#1860 4 years ago
Quoted from Razorbak86:

The ONLY person that can control this is Kevin. Otherwise, in the absence of official information from Kevin, the grapevine will thrive.

That podcast dude says right at the 3 minute mark, "I have additional facts and information but I decided not to share it in this podcast".

WTF???????????

#1861 4 years ago
Quoted from Pubaw:

That podcast dude says right at the 3 minute mark, "I have additional facts and information but I decided not to share it in this podcast".

To be fair, he also explained why he wouldn't share it -- some was "second hand rumor" that he wasn't comfortable sharing, some "first hand" but told to him in confidence. Seems like a reasonable decision for a journalist to make.

That said, under those circumstances maybe you're right that it's better not to mention the "secret knowledge" at all, instead of referring to it but refusing to discuss it directly.

#1862 4 years ago
Quoted from Pubaw:

I truly believe that secret room had nothing but a broom and dust pan in it...oh yeah...maybe some spiders too.

...and a fully working Predator machine...

#1863 4 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

But Predator disappeared so long ago off the website that surely it doesn't take this long to re-license?

this may well get back to Kevin not understanding what he could and could not do. Possible he believed he could not longer use the assets and market, but that he was still clear to sell the number of machines he was licensed for. Again, not saying that is the case, but the first thing that comes to mind.

#1864 4 years ago
Quoted from rosh:

this may well get back to Kevin not understanding what he could and could not do. Possible he believed he could not longer use the assets and market, but that he was still clear to sell the number of machines he was licensed for. Again, not saying that is the case, but the first thing that comes to mind.

That would make some sense. Licence ran out....so cannot advertise in any way. But what does not make any sense is that the license should allow them to "show off" what they have done. Just like Stern can tell you about and show pictures or even video of every game they have ever made....even though those licenses are long dead.

#1865 4 years ago
Quoted from Pubaw:

That podcast dude says right at the 3 minute mark, "I have additional facts and information but I decided not to share it in this podcast".
WTF???????????

Nate doesn't have a fiduciary duty to you. He's just commenting from the sidelines, just with a microphone, so his voice is "louder".

Kevin holds your deposit money, so you are an unsecured creditor of Skit-B. Kevin has a fiduciary duty to you as a creditor.

#1866 4 years ago
Quoted from Pubaw:

That podcast dude says right at the 3 minute mark, "I have additional facts and information but I decided not to share it in this podcast".

I thought he did a good job of explaining why he chose not to share some information which has not been independently confirmed. I felt he was trying to be fair and did a pretty good job of doing that.

#1867 4 years ago
Quoted from RCA1:

I thought he did a good job of explaining why he chose not to share some information which has not been independently confirmed. I felt he was trying to be fair and did a pretty good job of doing that.

Nobody wants to share rumors they heard about 2nd or 3rd hand...

#1868 4 years ago
Quoted from Astropin:

That would make some sense. Licence ran out....so cannot advertise in any way. But what does not make any sense is that the license should allow them to "show off" what they have done. Just like Stern can tell you about and show pictures or even video of every game they have ever made....even though those licenses are long dead.

Not to be insulting to Kevin, but Stern knows what they are doing and probably have things that they negotiate into their agreements based on past experience. They also have long established and ongoing relationships with many of the firms they are licensing from that I'm sure impacts the agreements. It is possible Kevin took things down due to not being sure what he could do, and/or was trying to keep a low profile.

#1869 4 years ago
Quoted from rosh:

It is possible Kevin took things down due to not being sure what he could do, and/or was trying to keep a low profile.

It's also possible that he got a cease & desist letter.

#1870 4 years ago

Well, before any crucifies "2nd-hand-stories" (namely the podcast guy) please note that the ONE SHRED of positive info that has people holding out (inexplicably) for 2 weeks - is 2nd-hand as well.

If not for various theorizing, the only things anyone would have to go on are the "facts"
Fact: Kevin "said" he had a license
Fact: Kevin collected nearly three quarters of a million dollars... (more/less?)
Fact: Kevin later removed ALL traces of the game from ALL locations - including email!
Fact: Kevin sent an email saying people are threatening the very existence of the project
Fact: Kevin "said" no one would be screwed.
Fact: No machine has shipped.

Pretty thin on "facts"..... and much of it is stuff that's been said/promised. I'd look more closely at the ACTIONS.... Those tell a pretty damning tale- for now.

#1871 4 years ago
Quoted from Razorbak86:

It's also possible that he got a cease & desist letter.

Which leads us back to the nefarious party trying to sabotage the project...that will add to the story if/when it ever sees light of day.

#1872 4 years ago
Quoted from Perspex:

Which leads us back to the nefarious party trying to sabotage the project...that will add to the story if/when it ever sees light of day.

How could someone sabotage a project deal that was already signed and set in stone?

#1873 4 years ago
Quoted from XNIF:

taking pre-orders

I think you just nailed the title. If this were to be made into a comedy-mystery, I'd like to see Jack Black in the role of Kevin.

#1874 4 years ago
Quoted from Jared:

How could someone sabotage a project deal that was already signed and set in stone?

Trick question. How could someone sabotage a deal that was weak or not in place may be the one to ask.
Now it should have been solid but say it was not. Still shitty for folks to poke the bear.

On the flip side to that the poking probably started with kevins change of communication here.

#1875 4 years ago
Quoted from Hwawonyu:

Trick question. How could someone sabotage a deal that was weak

or expired. But I think you are on to it.

Here's my guess:
Kevin had a limited license to build the game. Limited in scope AND duration.
It would extend the time frame he PROJECTED it would take to start building.
That changed.
It became clear he could NOT ship machines prior to the license expiring.
Since he was out of compliance he tried to go under-the-radar = website purge.
He decided there was no sense renewing the license until he had a handle on how long it would really take to ship the machines.
Now that he's got a handle on shipping dates, he's going to try to renew the license.
In 2 weeks he will have 10 ready to ship and a new license.

Now in the meantime, while trying to fly under the radar (with expired license) a bunch of yahoos decided to play license-police and bring this to FOX's attention... Who had about a billion more important things on their mind than a guy making pinballs in his basement.

Batshit crazy? Maybe, but plausible?

#1876 4 years ago

I'm not even sure if "sabotage" is the right word. Someone called, yeah, but they could have easily been told by Fox on the other line "yeah, we have a deal with Kevin to make predator pinball", and it would have ended there. The person(s) that called would have been satisfied, Kevin's obfuscation would be acceptable at that point and it's over.

Hell, this house of cards could have come down AT ANY TIME with or without someone calling - IF there is truth to any of these stories.

It's not like someone called and managed to kill the deal. That is sabotage. There apparently is no deal. All that happened is it got exposed.

#1877 4 years ago
Quoted from Hwawonyu:

Trick question. How could someone sabotage a deal that was weak or not in place may be the one to ask.
Now it should have been solid but say it was not. Still shitty for folks to poke the bear.
On the flip side to that the poking probably started with kevins change of communication here.

Yeah, no way anyone would have made a single phone call if Kevin hadn't suddenly pulled everything and then gone radio silent. So while he may be pissed at them, it's really on his head. If he wasn't sure what he could legally do, then freaking find out. You don't just go "hmm, not sure what's allowed, so I'll pull it all and leave all the people who've paid me in the dark!"

You ask a lawyer. You call Fox. Whatever it takes. There's no excuse, and anything that happened because of it is his fault.

#1878 4 years ago
Quoted from lowepg:

Batshit crazy? Maybe, but plausible?

I really don't think it's crazy at all. I actually think it sounds pretty likely.

#1879 4 years ago

how many days to go now? everyone was saying 'two weeks' but that was ages ago. is it now 9 days? 8?

#1880 4 years ago
Quoted from lowepg:

Now that he's got a handle on shipping dates, he's going to try to renew the license.
In 2 weeks he will have 10 ready to ship and a new license.

Quite possible, but we've learned from Lebowski how difficult this can be. I don't know if someone at Fox is just going to rubber stamp the game as it stands.

#1881 4 years ago
Quoted from cooldan:

how many days to go now? everyone was saying 'two weeks' but that was ages ago. is it now 9 days? 8?

So this is my 3rd picture of Kate or Scarlett, (un-official count, I said I'd post a pic a day until the 2 weeks are up)

PS this is the best one yet.

#1882 4 years ago

so it's 11 days then? is 17th March the D day?

#1883 4 years ago
Quoted from cooldan:

so it's 11 days then? is 17th March the D day?

Don't hold your breath. The "2 week" updates were pretty dicey before all this.

#1884 4 years ago
Quoted from Pubaw:

I bailed when he pulled that secret room crap. It was in one of his videos. Remember those? He walked around the shop and showed his computer...showed Arron...then showed the Proc processor on the table....then he kept saying "over there is the secret room. Only Arron, my mom and me get to see in there". I was thinking" wtf, who in the hell does crap like that? You are trying to get orders by faking it...I truly believe that secret room had nothing but a broom and dust pan in it...oh yeah...maybe some spiders too.

You must of been a wreck over the mystery flyer at Expo 2013.

#1885 4 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

OK...HERE WE GO!
I JUST got finished speaking with Kevin. I asked ALL the hard questions. Here is a quick summery:
YES, he is busy.
YES, the license is fine. He is working on getting into a better situation so EVERYTHING can be shown and talked about.
YES, machines are being built as we speak.
YES, jackwads are calling FOX.
YES, there will be a MAJOR announcement within the next 2 weeks with everything you want to know.
Everything is moving forward.

within the next two weeks was straight from the horse's mouth 4 days ago, so i'm gonna say that makes it within 14 days from 2nd March.

16th March then. if this guy doesn't come up with something by then, then ....... what?
nothing, i expect

gif marty feldman.gif
#1886 4 years ago
Quoted from cooldan:

16th March then. if this guy doesn't come up with something by then, then ....... what?

Pitchforks, tar & feathers.

#1887 4 years ago

My hunch, The two week deadline is a last minute hail mary trying to get it licensed before he is served papers for copyright infringement. Wanna make a bet?

#1888 4 years ago

I understand this is a thread about Predator, but how can no one be talking about Experts of Dangerous? This has me confused...

eod1.jpg
eod2.jpg

Brad

#1889 4 years ago

Touch base with this guy- https://pinside.com/pinball/community/pinsiders/whysnow/contact

No one agreed to his terms on his last bet, prime opportunity here for something fun. You two couldn't be farther apart on where you think this project stands, would be cool to see someone bet and win an existing machine over one that doesn't currently exist.

#1890 4 years ago
Quoted from lowepg:

or expired. But I think you are on to it.
Here's my guess:
Kevin had a limited license to build the game. Limited in scope AND duration.
It would extend the time frame he PROJECTED it would take to start building.
That changed.
It became clear he could NOT ship machines prior to the license expiring.
Since he was out of compliance he tried to go under-the-radar = website purge.
He decided there was no sense renewing the license until he had a handle on how long it would really take to ship the machines.
Now that he's got a handle on shipping dates, he's going to try to renew the license.
In 2 weeks he will have 10 ready to ship and a new license.
Now in the meantime, while trying to fly under the radar (with expired license) a bunch of yahoos decided to play license-police and bring this to FOX's attention... Who had about a billion more important things on their mind than a guy making pinballs in his basement.
Batshit crazy? Maybe, but plausible?

I think this is the case.

#1891 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

So this is my 3rd picture of Kate or Scarlett

They have ALL been Kate... Now show us some Scarlett Rai!!!!!!

#1892 4 years ago

Im not sure how anyone can get behind EoD after this whole mess. Im really pulling for SkitB on this, but who would sign up for this roller coaster ride a second time?

#1893 4 years ago
Quoted from DrStarkweather:

Im not sure how anyone can get behind EoD after this whole mess. Im really pulling for SkitB on this, but who would sign up for this roller coaster ride a second time?

I don't think anyone is behind EoD.

#1894 4 years ago
Quoted from jellikit:

I understand this is a thread about Predator, but how can no one be talking about Experts of Dangerous? This has me confused...
eod1.jpg (Click image to enlarge)
eod2.jpg
Brad

For the life of me I couldn't figure out what font they were using on that logo, but today I figured it out - its TWO fonts!!!

The "EXPERTS OF" is wingdings, and "DANGEROUS" is clearly webdings. Font.PNG
So obvious once you see it...

#1895 4 years ago
Quoted from Half_Life:

Pitchforks, tar & feathers.

...or at least posted cartoon pictures of those

#1896 4 years ago

Just thinking it would be a little funny if Kevin were nose to the grindstone building machines while blissfully ignorant of all the rampant speculation, wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth whirling all around him in cyberspace.

It would only take staying off the computer.

If he could just find a way to harness the thousands of man hours people are spending on Pinside trying to figure out what's up with SkitB.

#1897 4 years ago

I wonder if the Predator team are also not answering emails & phone calls from:
a.) parts vendors ?
b.) license owners ?
c.) subcontract manufacturers ?

"Customers" would just be one channel of entities to maintain communication with.

#1898 4 years ago

It would not surprise me, but part of me wants to pretend everything is progressing along smoothly behind the scenes...

#1899 4 years ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

Just thinking it would be a little funny if Kevin were nose to the grindstone building machines while blissfully ignorant of all the rampant speculation, wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth whirling all around him in cyberspace.

I told him about it.....sorry...

#1900 4 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

I told him about it.....sorry...

Sure, but hearing about it and reading the blow by blow are two very different things.

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