I sure hope they're not coordinating some crazy drive every time they need to build 10 games ...
Quoted from Kcpinballfan:
The last thing Skit-B need to be doing is going to expos, if that's what they end up doing I'm requesting a refund. That company is so far behind schedule that the only thing they should be concentrating on is building predators.
I just hope they're not counting on sales of Experts of Dangerous to help fund the Predator builds.
They're so behind on the schedule that they're losing money from each Predator just due to inflation.
Quoted from Whysnow:
That is a broad assumption.
I don't mean that they're selling each one at a loss, I don't know their numbers. I mean that they're losing money from each one. That's just a fact unfortunately. They took the money so long ago that the value of that cash vs what they're buying the parts for has an increased delta.
Spooky was building 2 games a week, not sure if they're still at that pace. I wouldn't expect Skit-B to blow that out of the water magically. As we just discussed, there isn't gonna be much profit in these games, no money to suddenly build a factory or hire a huge workforce. Call it 10 a month. 250 games = 2 years.
Those are obviously just guesses, but it's based on a functioning real world boutique operation.
So you might want to stay settled in for a bit, the ride for at least some of you is far from over even if it's all smooth sailing from here on out.
Does anyone know who's helping out? Kevin can't run a company, work on the next game, and spend X years building games by himself.
I think the real lesson here, and it's one that people are apparently going to have to keep learning over and over and over again is that when you don't communicate you poison the well.
If people had been kept in the loop on what was happening with all the money they had sent in this whole time they'd probably be more interested in seeing what other projects were going on.
Problem is, as much as I think Aaron is a great guy to put in charge of something, everyone is wondering how much time was put into even getting the EoD game to this point to hand it off, when there were giant communication blackouts and it's been a year since the Predator was supposedly done.
That's a populated game, with a printed playfield including full art (whatever I think of it). Remember how long it took Predator to get to that point? It's work.
Now maybe it was all done while Predator things were in holding patterns, and it was an efficient use of time. We don't know that, because everything was blacked out.
And this affects a lot more than just Predator customers (of which I am not one) because how are you going to build up the confidence to have people order your next game when you show how you do(n't) business with the first?
Quoted from Astropin:
I just can't even imagine EOD being a success. I'll come back and say "IM A BIG BOOB" if it is.
1 & done......if it gets done. Just my prediction....not trying to be nasty or anything.
I wish I didn't agree with you, but that's the way I feel too. First, they absolutely murdered any chance that many people are going to send them pre-order money again with Predator. Maybe a couple true believers and die hards, but not enough to fund anything.
But that's assuming people even want the game.
I really think Kevin overestimated the interest in the theme, and made a huge mistake re-using the Predator artist. People forgave the Predator art for the most part, because it was a picture of something bad ass that they loved, they could get over the deficiencies. And it kind of looks like an old Data East game, which is the era of the Predator movie, so it's kind of like a time capsule of a game that could have been. That works.
Going back to that well for something modern? It's not just me, the art has been savaged by everyone. That's a serious buzz killer for a game.
And, as they've apparently admitted, they teased it way too early.
Spooky has been teasing their game 2. But you know what? They're shipping machines. Get 30 Predators out the door. Prove that you can deliver. Prove that your team is working. Then you can talk a new game.
Quoted from fastpinball:
Oh man! So sorry! I usually reply to messages from email and not the pinside interface.
Yeah, one downside to that is it doesn't mark the message as viewed when you do that, so you end up with a big unread count on Pinside to messages you're replied to. I tend to not use it for that reason, I get so many PMs I'd totally lose track otherwise.
Quoted from underlord:
Told point blank no premiums, ever.
Who said that? I don't recall Stern saying that. My memory was "we'll see if there's demand". But if you can point to where they said that I'll admit I'm remembering wrong.
The irony is that while I get some people buying LEs and then being upset they could have gotten a cheaper Premium instead, there might not have been a Premium if all those LEs hadn't sold.
Quoted from rosh:
Well, Wooly failed from the standpoint of not getting sufficient pre-orders to make the project a go. You can argue whether that was due to demand for the game and/or theme or a death to pre-ordering, but certainly a game that was pretty well received and complete and ready to go, that has failed. I know of at least one other project that was halted due to concerns over pre-ordering.
It is clear from this board, few if any are interested in pre-ordering EOD, and no doubt we have seen more and more folks take a wait and see with machines like TH, TBL, etc.
Maybe pre-order is not dead, but at least for boutique firms, it is certainly on it is deathbed. Maybe we will see that turn around down the road, but I would not bet on it.
WOOLY was too expensive.
EoD has terrible art and is a theme no one cares about. And is from a company that's still struggling to ship even a single game more than a year after declaring they were done.
Maybe pre-order is dead. But I wouldn't use those two games as definitive proof. Theme, art, price, those things all matter.
I love Forbidden Planet. I'm sitting in front of the Mondo limited edition movie print even as a type this.
Robbie would make a sweet pin toy, you could have him from just the waist up, so you could make him big, and on a servo that rotates like the AMH ghost, but gear him up so his arms move as he turns. Comet Ice Blue LED in the head to light him up as he talks to you.
Quoted from Plungemaster:
What is sensitive about a woman who has her hands over her boobs?
This is just my point, there is nothing sensitive in that picture. If you are not offended by shampoo commercials you will make it trough the day looking at this.
I am just flabbergasted that every ladie who does not wear a burka is tilted here. On a Dutch site. That is just wrong. I understand it if it are naked pics. But this?
We growed up with Turks fruit. Nothing wrong with that.
Is it really that hard to understand? If someone is at work maybe they'd prefer to not have pin up photos appearing on their computer screen.
If you don't mind, then set your tilt settings to ignore it. It won't hurt you one bit.
Quoted from rai:
But I wonder if tilt is the correct thing to warn against Kate Upton pics, I mean does this count again my carma points and will I get penalized for posting a beautiful woman?
Tilt affects nothing, it's not a hit against you, it's not a thumbs down, it's just a way of saying "hey, this might be too sexy for the people around you too handle, so only click to reveal if you're cool with that".
Edit: Damnit too slow!
Why don't people just use tilt, like Robin has said you should, and stop worrying about it?
Quoted from Jared:
At least people have seen and played (and enjoyed) Skit-B's game.
Honestly I didn't really enjoy it, I don't really care for the layout, but I can say I've played it. So Kevin's got Jpop beat there I suppose. But I played TBL and WOOLY too, and I don't see those piling up in collections yet. Ship a game or you just have a novelty.
I've seen the email, but I don't want to be a dick to the people who've sent it to me, so I'll summarize:
Things aren't great, there are nefarious forces out to stop the project, but Kevin is committed to everyone, and you should watch out for more info. But in the meantime, feel anxious.
I wish I was joking, but that about sums it up. What a weird email to send. It would have been better to just stay not communicating then send that message.
Quoted from Whysnow:
at least have the integrity to also post that he said he promises nobody will get left out to dry on this...
bunch of fucking drama queens with pitchforks I tell you.
That was the "Kevin is committed to everyone part." Post the whole email yourself if you don't care for my summary, people can judge if I was inaccurate.
Quoted from Whysnow:
Also, if PBN is involved in anyway I think they lose a ton of what credibility they have (I mean they already just report on pinball )
Wow. You're so desperate to throw anyone but Kevin under the bus on this that you'd write that? Really?
You don't like my summary of the email, fine. I wasn't being malicious about it, that's what I read, and other people agreed with me. But you can be mad at me all you want, I'll live.
But it's pretty lame to take a pillar of the community and just toss him under the wheels. Based on nothing by the way, because I know what you've been told. Has Kevin told you that he's talked to Martin himself?
You should watch what you say, stick to cheerleading the game, and not trying to smear other people.
Quoted from underlord:
Aurich, I just don't see a need to feel anxious if SkitB is either gonna build the pins for preorders or refund the rest.
That doesn't make you feel anxious? I mean, great, say you can get your money back. Cool. Is that what anyone really wants? Well, maybe now they just want their money back. But I presume that people who paid would rather see the pin.
Quoted from johngravenews:
Err what has Pinball News really got to do with this? As someone who has had the pleasure of knowing Martin for the last few years, I really can't think of anyone less likely to post anything defamatory about any individuals or companies. He's someone who genuinely loves playing pinball and writing about it. It's a great site that supports all sorts of developments within the scene.
Whilst there may well be a very interesting story that comes out of all of this I really can't see him routing through people's dustbins to uncover their guilty little secrets.
You'll probably see a story on this on Pinball News sooner rather than later. But you don't blame the journalists for covering the story, they just report the news, they don't create it.
It's like trying to blame Watergate on the reporters, instead of Nixon.
Beyond that though, the premise is just ridiculous. Does anyone here thing they could stop Stern from shipping WWE by making a few phone calls?
"Hey, um, is this the WWE office? Uh, does Stern have the license to make a WWE game? Oh, they do? Uh, could you like, take it away from them? I don't like wrestling."
Quoted from rai:
However, IIRC Kevin said he got all the rights to the movie, score and even the songs to be used in a commercially sold product. I may be wrong but maybe not, but I believe he said something like $5000 for all the rights.
Now, I don't believe that sounds right. Especially a song like 'Long Tall Sally' (which was licensed by Fox for the film), I don't think that gives Fox the ability to sell that song as a package with the rights to the movie. IOW, at least that song, is a whole separate issue. I also don't know the actors may be a whole other issue. I mean, Disney licenses the PotC movie but not the actors voices. There has to be a reason.
Yeah, the actor part strikes me as weird too. I know what hoops Dutch Pinball had to jump through to get the actors for TBL on the playfield. And in the end remember they weren't allowed to do artistic renderings of their faces, they had to use photographs.
John Goodman had all kinds of rules about how his likeness could be used, like you couldn't show him with or next to a gun.
Julianne Moore is a L'Oreal Paris spokesmodel. Her contract is such that Dutch Pinball had to get her likeness approved by not only the movie studio, but L'Oreal too. They went back and forth like 7 times with them before they approved the photo, had to keep lightening it.
It was a lot of work, and had a lot of rules.
Just seems odd that Skit-B would be able to just get their buddy to draw up a comic book version of Arnie, and Ventura, serious public figures, and that's that. They showed it here on Pinside, obviously unfinished because people made suggestions (the shoulder mostly as I recall) and they changed them. Maybe there was an approval process we missed, but it seems like that went strangely smooth.
Anyone remember the story of the Demolition Man translite? Doug Watson had to draw like 10 versions of it because it turns out Wesley Snipes kept rejecting it, he didn't like the way he looked.
This shit is complicated, and takes a lot of approvals. I'm not straight up calling Kevin a liar here, just saying that it does seem odd. Doesn't pass the smell test. And we probably should have all thought about that a long time ago. I know I didn't really go through all that thinking at the time.
Quoted from underlord:
Anxiety is saved for friends and family concerns. Sometimes work too, but other things in life are much more important.
Hey, not a bad philosophy. Sometimes people drop out of my projects for personal reasons involving family etc. I always tell them it's just pinball, focus on what's important.
I won't lie, I'm curious about this all. I've followed this project from the start, it's hard to not want to know the ending. I'm not rooting for a crappy end either, be much cooler to see people posting gameply videos of their new game. It's just that it's feeling hard to see that being the outcome. Sometimes you gotta just call it like you see it.
I can't remember if they actually provided anything from the license, but they did provide a copy of the Universal press release.
I dunno what you would say to Martin Hilton, you've admitted you don't have any of the inside info.
I can tell you Martin has talked to Kevin, and other people involved. So no, that part at least isn't made up. The rest I couldn't say.
Quoted from jonnyo:
Let me suggest some easier and/or more plausible targets:
3) The ghost of Harry Williams
4) Python the reanimated zombie
I'm personally very suspicious about this new Ghost Taking a Dump character I'm hearing about. He sounds extra shifty. Who knows what kind of emails he's been sending while sitting on the crapper, or in some dark back alley corner.
Quoted from Whysnow:
So what all do you know that you are keeping under wraps Aurich? Sounds like you have the inside scoop???
If you are confirming that PBN is talking with SkitB, I would hope PBN is also a responsible reporter and he will be sure to name all parties in his article (including the ones that are apparently working with him and have been anonymously emailing me).
You just can't stop trying to slander Martin can you? I get it, you're protective of the Predator idea and Kevin, fine. But you keep making allusions to his credibility, and now that he might not be a responsible reporter. Martin is an asset to the entire hobby, he works his ass off doing fabulous long form pinball reporting, for nothing I might add, and I don't think he deserves this treatment.
I don't pretend to have all the facts, it's pretty obvious that there is more than one side to all this, and frankly what they're all saying doesn't line up, so someone isn't being entirely truthful. I don't know who that is, so I won't pretend otherwise. If I had a straight answer I'd just say it and do everyone a service.
But yes, since Martin's name is getting dragged through the mud here for no reason I'll go ahead and confirm that he's talked to Kevin. That's something I feel pretty comfortable saying is a fact. I have no clue what the substance of their conversation was.
Quoted from Expletive:
I don't even understand how someone would have got Whysnow's email address in order to send him "anonymous emails"?
It's not that hard, it's a small hobby. They sent me the same email last week. My email address isn't hard to come by. Especially if you're someone who's bought a mod from me. Actually, the email address they used is one I mostly use for Paypal stuff, so that's probably it.
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:
Well ... can we get a post here or at least another summary? For the love of all you hold dear spill it. I am addicted to this thread and need to know what there is to be known. I am just checking in to see what condition my condition is in.
Since I did a summary last time, I'll summarize again:
"I'm sorry yesterday's email was confusing. I wasn't trying to tell you the project is dead. I'm simply trying to leave you confused still, by making my followup email just as strangely vague as the first one you got that I'm apologizing for."
Seriously, I don't understand what the hell Kevin is doing. Either just shut up or say something, but being vague is the worst possible option, because it just keeps people stirred up and worrying without actually reassuring them.
Quoted from Hazoff:
Well one thing is for sure, Stern, JJP and I think Heighway will be the only companies I order pinball machines from in the future. This is starting to make sick, Dutch, JPOP, skitB what a shitshow.
Hey, give it up for Spooky Pinball! Made a game with no drama, are shipping it to people, and the owners love it.
When was the last time you saw a "BEN HECK WHERE IS THE CODE?" thread?
Quoted from epthegeek:
To be fair though, he IS working on it after original release, just like Stern. Stern just shovels games out the door faster so there are more in the wild to update after the fact.
Yeah, but it shipped "finished", he's just polishing it, fixing bugs, adding nice touches, etc.
If Stern did that I'd be stoked! I think it's fair to ship a game that all works, and then as people play it more, and it "settles in" to add some more features and easter eggs and little balance fixes. No one hates getting cool updates, they just hate when the game feels half assed before they come out.
Quoted from spfxted:
Kevin sounded sincere when we spoke
Kevin sounded sincere when he first started this project too. If I were in on this I'd be in "trust, but verify" mode, even if I was "on his side".
But really, you've waited this long, what's a couple weeks going to matter? One way or another the truth is going to come to light soon enough.
Quoted from Jvspin:
I disagree. Put out a great game and people will be lining up for the next one if it's a title they want at a good price.
Nope. No matter what happens with Predator now, there's no outcome that will lead to people pre-ordering with Kevin again. Just isn't gonna happen. Sure, maybe a few dedicated souls, but not enough to make that model work.
If he got funding and just produced a game? Sure, if the game is there and you can just buy it, and it's compelling. I don't think Experts of Dangerousness is that game though. And there's a lot that would have to happen to see funding and no pre-orders and just a complete game. It strikes me as unlikely, but if it happens we can all decide if we want to buy.
Everyone, including Kevin I hope, knows that Skit-B is a seriously damaged brand right now. That's just reality, not trolling, not forum whining. This is all assuming Predator ever ships. And the the fact that we're this close, and not even feeling certain anyone is going to get one (I hope they do) is why things are so damaged, and why you'd be pretty nuts to think it was a good idea to ride this same train again.
Quoted from Whysnow:
pretty sure the preorder model is dead across the board?
I know I will not ever preorder again.
Possibly! I'm okay with that personally. But I could see someone still getting pre-orders if they can convince people they're responsible enough. And I think there are probably some interesting ways you could handle orders that might attract people still.
But you'd have to have a compelling pitch and a brand that was really solid. Spooky for instance has enough credibility IMHO to have pre-orders, they're shipping a game.
If WOOLY had been able to be done at $6500 I bet you'd be back in, and they'd have enough to have people on board. No license issues (obviously), good code, and Spooky as the company providing assurance.
Kevin just has too much baggage. I mean, here we are, a year from when games should have been originally shipping, according to him, and we're still arguing about the license. I'm not saying he doesn't have it. But I also don't believe he does. Frankly his vague word isn't enough for me. And that's just someone who I wouldn't do future business with, at least on a "trust me, it will be done in X years" kind of basis.
Quoted from hassellcastle:
How many are left? Sound off. Ive got to think after the delays, lack of communication and rumors abroad, that number has to have dwindled significantly.
There aren't 250, I can tell you that. This notion that there was a long line of waiting list people is a myth.
I agree that Kevin isn't a "con artist" in that I truly think he's always meant to make games for people. It wasn't a scam to take the money and run.
He just might not have been entirely truthful about his ability to do such a thing. Or maybe it's just complicated. Or maybe he's been outright lying.
But whatever happened I do believe it was about making games, not cashing out.
Quoted from Skins:
I took it the other way. He specifically stated he had credible info from several unrelated sources going all the way back to expo. Human nature dictates his conjecture portion of the podcast would have been slanted towards a license issue. He even dwelled on a possible scenario where the license was never acquired. He went over and over the license issue. That to mean speaks volumes of what he was really wanting to say. Just my interpretation though. ::shrug::
Given things that I've heard that's my informed assumption also. Frankly what I've heard goes back long before Expo, even before all the videos were pulled etc. I didn't pay it too much attention at the time since I wasn't in on the game, and things were still public and "smooth" so to speak. But looking back it makes me wonder.
Quoted from lowepg:
Ok, but does anyone else find irony that the one guy who's vouching for Kevin having a proper license primary business is building virtual pinball cabinets whose purpose is to load them with downloaded pinball ROMS thus violating copywrite license.
I do find that funny personally. But to be fair he's always been good about respecting the manufacturer's wishes, like not allowing SAM games on his forum.
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.
Quoted from Pubaw:
It is pretty simple. Why would I listen to the rest?
Because by not listening to the rest and getting the context, everyone else who listened to the whole thing are rolling their eyes at you. Seriously, either just listen to it so you can be informed about what you're talking about, or give it a rest.
Quoted from jlm33:
It seems the 20 pinsiders that thumbed up her post got that above vibe as well.
Disclaimer: I am of the 20.
Eh. I thumbed her post up too, as a gesture of support for someone who is frustrated and having a hard time. Doesn't mean that I necessarily agree with all her points. But I feel for her and understand where she's coming from.
The truth is Pinside can be a bit of a hype factory. People build each other up, and inflate expectations. That's natural. But it's good to have a bit of a counter action to that, to try and keep a more even keel. Not always going to feel balanced, and for obvious reasons the negative vibes are ruling the roost right now.
A little good news can change that. Look at the Jpop thread. It's not all sunshine, but people have more information, things are happening, and they're at least engaged in the process. That takes out a lot of the sting, even if the fundamental facts aren't changed yet.
Here are the facts for Predator as I see them:
1. Kevin might be in over his head, might have lied, but whatever the truth he's not a scammer trying to steal money and run.
2. Given the not-a-scammer part, and the lack of 250 built games, a good chunk of the money should still be sitting in an account somewhere.
3. It doesn't take a detective to know there are license problems right now, whatever the history.
4. There is a realistic chance the game will never be built. Not 100%, but let's agree it's real. That's just where we are right now.
5. If that's the case, and things aren't just utterly f**ked (possible, but hopefully not true) then in theory everyone could get their money back, minus some % that everyone will have to eat based on the real costs of things that have been bought.
Maybe you'll get a game. Maybe you'll get thousands back, minus some hundreds. I think either scenario is more likely than "you get nothing". So I wouldn't write it all off quite yet. Getting back most or some of your money would be a pretty crappy ending to all of this, but it would beat nothing.
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:
I'd say it would have been almost impossible to have known better. People were seeing a nearly completed game that was being progressed and enhanced regularly. People were told to send in money and so parts could be ordered and production started thereafter. This all sounded legit, Kevin had confirmed the license was not an issue and Kevin has been an upstanding member of pinball community who had a dream. So how could anyone have known differently?
Yeah, I totally agree. Hindsight is 20/20, but remember, at the time there was no reason to think the license wasn't legit. Yes, there are funny thing you recognize now, but remember, the pin was traveling to all the shows, there were YouTube videos, nothing felt at all shady or hidden. In the public eye like that it seemed like it must be cool.
No one should feel bad for being taken, we were all excited to see someone stepping up to make a pin. Think about when this was, who was (not) making games. It was a big deal at the time. This was the real start of boutique pinball.
Quoted from loren3233:
Just for the record, I emailed Kevin two weeks ago asking if I could get an email response, have him call me or if I could call him to clarify my concerns about his back to back emails sent out.
To this point NOTHING and I hadn't asked for a refund so we can't use that excuse.
There's simply no excuse for that.
Quoted from guyincognito:
Weren't those skinny pictures were from when she lost a bunch of weight for a movie role as a homeless woman?
That and it's a horrible photo, she's in mid stride running and all her leg muscle and flesh is being pulled back. Human beings can look really weird when caught in mid-intense-motion.
Maybe while we're waiting for news we could organize a group to meet up in a kitchen to fix some of these women some sandwiches.
Ready for the "check out my ribs" look to fade away. You don't have to starve yourself to be sexy.
Quoted from The_Dude_Abides:
Well there was no real updated information provided on those 'updates' so they will not be added. If there is any real update you can either sift through this mess or go to linked thread. Simple as that.
Hmm, I mean, I guess I can't really argue with you that the emails were pretty empty (I've read them both) but they were official updates from Kevin, is there a reason they're being treated differently from the past ones? You've always posted his mass emails before, and there wasn't anything in them that was marked secret or owner's eyes only or anything.
Not being argumentative, just wondering if there's some kind of change in the thinking.
Quoted from The_Dude_Abides:
Just a decision I made sorry you don't care for it. I've done the best I can to keep people up to date on this project. When an update actually provides content regarding the projects progress happens I will update it as soon as I get a chance. Kind of tough to keep motivated to do this type of thing in the future when the main feedback are complaints about stuff like this.
Hey, thanks for the explanation and the work you've done.
I've read the 'new' emails, you're not personally putting me out or anything. I was just curious if there was a reason the old ones were shared and the new ones weren't. All good, you've said enough, no reason to get into a back and forth.
I'm not normally big on posting babe pics, but I feel like I'm being a downer on people's parade, so here:
Quoted from guyincognito:
Would a new playfield design be required to remove the drawings of the main (human) characters?
How does licensing differ if it's a drawing of a character versus a photographic image?
My personal guess is that if Skit-B is talking to Fox about a new license, a real license, some kind of license, that the playfield art isn't gonna fly.
Whatever really happened in the past with or without some special license, I don't think those actor images at the very least are approved. And it can make a big difference if it's photo vs drawing, simply in what's allowed. Meaning, they might have likeness rights at Fox to certain PR shots of Arnie, and they're only allowed to use those specific ones. No frame grabs from the film, no drawings, just that image. Anything more could mean specific actor approvals, more money, etc.
Not uncommon at all. Dutch Pinball dealt with that for TBL.
So it could be that they can make a Predator game, with the playfield and toys as it, but have to redo the art, entirely or somewhat. I'd say start over personally, if you gotta change it to use say, real photos, then make the whole thing match that style.
Lots of assumptions here of course.
Quoted from johngravenews:
I know I'm out of step with most people here but ironically I'd actually would have preferred to have seen a decent photoshopped game rather than the hand drawn art. The backglass and playfield never really looked right together.
Heh, I actually agree in this case. The Data East comic book look is kinda cool in a time-capsule sort of way, I'm not sure it's really the right direction for the theme. We trumpet "hand drawn art" a lot, and that's great, but it has to be done with a style that matches the game. In this case a well done photoshop would have probably worked pretty well. Depends on the assets Fox could provide really.
So let's read between the lines here, and put together the pieces.
In the beginning there was a story, about a license, obtained from calling the number on the back of a DVD case. Stranger things have happened.
There were all kinds of playfield photos, cabinet photos, gameplay videos, walk throughs, etc. In hindsight, lots of red flags, but at the time all seemed well and exciting.
This is important, because obviously whatever license Kevin thought/claimed he had allowed all of that.
Here's where it gets shady for me. Suddenly all of that gets pulled. Web site redesign excuses, all that nonsense, which was obviously bullshit. Clearly Kevin was trying to hide something, cover his tracks, was getting paranoid, or something else along those lines. There's simply no other explanation that makes sense, shit was *scrubbed*.
Now, here we are, all this time later, and it's suddenly "oh, the license we had wasn't what we thought it was". Well, first of all, no shit. But secondly, how are you claiming you just discovered this, when you pulled everything so long ago? That doesn't pass the smell test.
I can't see a scenario where Kevin hasn't been lying on some level to everyone for ages. Maybe he really thought he had a license and was naive enough to think it was good. But then why pull everything?
People have claimed Roger Sharpe is a friend of the family. So seems obvious who's he's being called in to help. I have no doubt Roger can secure a Predator license, who's better for that? But at this point does that even make any sense at all?
Kevin obviously can't run a business. He's obviously been lying to people for a long time, in one fashion or another. It's pretty tough to see the existing game, as is with the art etc, being approved.
A "real" license costs money. Who knows if Roger is working for free. Going with doubt it, this is his business, and it's work, he'll need to get paid.
Where is this money coming from? The payments you've made were supposed to be for building games, parts, etc.
And now, there's a 3rd party to pay? It's not Spooky. No way it's Stern, they're not touching something like this. So gotta be Jack. Already a relationship announced, so makes sense. And Hobbit is late, getting things on his line is probably attractive to Jack. But he's gonna want to get paid for it. This isn't Kevin's friends helping him build 250 games (lol) it's someone with a real factory, who wants real money for using it.
Is it impossible for this to all happen? No. I can see scenarios where it works. But they're pretty far fetched at this point. If I had money in I'd be trying to get it out right this moment. Sucks to say that, but I think you've got to call it like you see it on this one. Someone who's been deceitful at best, incompetent at best, and simply isn't in a position to offer any assurances that you should believe going forward. Both from a practical reality standpoint, and from a character assessment.
If anyone thinks I missed something or interpreted something wrong feel free to add on.
Quoted from RobT:
Sell the company? Is this serious?
Who would buy a "company" that is in the situation that Skit-B is in? To commit business suicide?
There's nothing to "buy".
If you want a Predator pin maybe it's time to ask Heighway to make one after Alien. They obviously have the relationship with Fox already.
I would also like to just point out that Heighway announced Alien last year. They keep promising they're gonna show art soon. Nothing yet. That's not a dig at them, it's an illustration of what the license stuff can be like. Long ass delays and approvals etc.
Rob, part of the reason I'd ask for a refund is that Kevin was obviously lying even to his close friends and business partners. Aaron was reporting in good faith what he was told, and he got thrown under the bus by passing along lies without knowing it.
How are you going to trust that guy going forward?
Pinheads are pretty forgiving if you're just straight up with them. But if you lie and hide the truth it's hard to ever go back.
Quoted from vid1900:
I've talked to Kevin more than a few times.
He told me how much the licensing costs were.
I asked a few pointed questions and he always answered without any hesitation.
But remember that licenses are only good for a short while, and then you have to renegotiate if you want to keep them active.
Kevin himself admits though that the license he "had" wasn't what he thought it was.
There's no way I believe that the existing artwork was approved. And your Demo Man example is a great one, because it's Arnie and Ventura that make me so doubt it was.
Quoted from vid1900:
Remember that even if a license grants you the use of "sounds" from a movie, music is licensed separately. You are not going to get Little Richard for free.
Agreed. Pretty sure that was just overlooked.
Quoted from vid1900:
Remember that a movie license does not necessarily allow you to put logos and artwork all over your website or T-shirts.
And yet the logo and artwork was all over said things. For a long time. Then suddenly, poof, vanished. Did his memory of not being allowed to do that suddenly come back to him?
There's just no way to explain away what happened. It doesn't have to be malicious, but there's really no good way to say it went down.
Quoted from Jared:
Actually, according to Phil, as of EXPO 2014... there was no final license... only the backglass had been tentatively approved at that point.
No, that's not at all what was said. They had the license. What they didn't have was sign off on some of the elements, specifically the actor's faces on the playfield, and some of the issues that came with getting those actor approvals, like removing the gun.
So the risk was showing things that weren't approved. Not that they didn't have the license.
You can't just get a license, pay them the money, and then do whatever you want.
Quoted from frolic:
Fox is not going to waste their time having contracts drawn up for $25 x 250 units ($6250). They've probably spent much more on their lawyers looking into this so far.
Generally it's not going to be that simple. There will be an up front lump sum, and then some kind of % or flat rate. So no, it wouldn't be less than $7k to do this. Maybe it would be $50k up front, and then $25/machine for instance. There's a barrier to entry.
Quoted from PaulCoff:
What does Martin or the Podcast guy have to say about these "talks" and did it ever happen?
Martin has definitely talked to Kevin and other people involved.
The notable podcast I assume is Nate from C2C. And we already know he's done a show on all this and is interested.
Quoted from bigduke13:
Does anyone really think Kevin's done all this to scam people? Of course not.
I agree, not a scam. The intent was always to build pinballs, not take the money and run.
But does anyone feel like Kevin was truthful? It seems like he's perpetuated a lot of lies to people. I simply don't believe that the license trouble was just discovered last week, and "oh, I guess we'd better solve that".
Yeah, nope. C&D. It would take more to turn it into a real criminal infringement case.
It might be time to start a thread to at least discuss a full on refund situation. If people make a run at the bank this could get ugly, but it you band together with a plan you might be able to exit in a way that doesn't screw people too bad. Protate refunds based on your money it on a cents on the dollar basis.
If he's spent 15% of the budget on development for instance, you'd get the money you paid in back, minus 15%. That's your loss as an "investor" in a pinball startup.
Beats some people getting paid and some not.
And I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but this is bad enough that it may be too late to stop things going that way. Better to get ahead of it if that's the case.
Maybe you wait for a better explanation, put that on the line. "Tell us the full truth, or just accept that it's over."
Quoted from rlslick:
Aurich, great suggestion and I would be ok personally with taking a 10-15% loss to get some preorder money back. I think there is a lot of great thinkers here and would like to hear some good ideas. Another thread on this topic should be started.
I'll start it if people want, but I'm not in on the pre-order, so I don't want to presume to speak for the people who are.
Just seems like it's bad enough at this stage that as much as it sucks it might be smart to talk about the best exit scenario you can find.
I mean, if Kevin comes back and says "okay, best case scenario, Fox will give me a real license. But the only way I can afford it and build everyone's games it they're no longer limited, the art has to be redone from scratch, JJP will build them [at some point, I mean really] and every buyer would have to pay $1500 more" what would you do?
Because I really think that's the best case at this point. And he's gonna have to keep at least 100 people in to make that work. And there's who knows how much longer to wait to see if that works.
Does that sound likely to anyone? If Kevin has something else better then he'd better speak up, all I'm hearing is "shit is f**ked".
Just to be clear, I have zero interest in leading some kind of discussion about how to get money back. I'm willing to start a thread if no one else feels comfortable being in the hot seat and being "blamed" for things, but it's not my business, and frankly it sounds painful and uncomfortable. No thanks.
Here's the reality though: this project is in really, really bad shape.
Whysnow, I'm not trying to pick on you, I feel bad for everyone in this situation. I don't think calling you a cheerleader or whatever is going to help anything.
But you know as well as I do what those anonymous emails said. And you really can't deny that everything in them is pretty much coming to light just as they said. I can confirm that Martin is involved, and has talked to Kevin. That part is true too.
And so it's hard to say "well, okay, 4 out of 5 things they claimed have been proven, but maybe the 5th isn't true!" Maybe it isn't. But at this point I think you've got to assume it is.
And the 5th part is that the legal shit with Fox is bad. Everyone should know that it's claimed that it's going to get ugly, and we're past friendly negotiation chit chat.
I cannot verify that. I'm not posting the direct claims because it's not my style to post emails I don't have permission to. But I can't in good conscience not say that. It's the reason why, beyond every other reason that's already enough, I say it's time to seriously talk getting out.
Get your money back if you can, while you can, and file this one under "giant disappointment".
Quoted from Whysnow:
I still choose to believe in the project because honestly it is still better than the alternative.
I guess that about sums it up. Not gonna argue with you, I've laid out what I know and think, people can make up their own minds.
If you ask me everyone should get their money back, like now. And then if Kevin wants to pitch a new proposal, with a vetted license, and probably new art, and probably a new price, you can decide if you want to get back in.
Who knows if Fox is really going to charge Kevin with criminal infringement. Not me. But I don't need to hear about that part to know the rest is serious trouble. There's simply no way around the fact that he lied to everyone. No pretty word for it either. He was lying. The license was obviously not okay, and he said it was. That's not someone you can trust with your money in a situation that's become this volatile and uncertain.
Quoted from Whysnow:
I know that IF this all implodes I would prefer he does not refund some in full now and less to others later. IF this is all imploding like some beleive then the best course of action would be to refund an equal percent to all (again assuming that some amount of money is already spent and he is not able to do 100%).
That's all I was suggesting when you shot me down. The only difference is you're still clinging to "IF", when it's already imploded.
I vote we take one of Ted's cigars (better grab a cheap one for this Ted) and split that bad boy open and roll a fat blunt. This thread needs to be passing something around to take the edge off.
Quoted from Whysnow:
It actually is extremely viable even when other designers have said otherwise.
You're basing this on what?
Because when it comes to people who've actually build commercial pinballs vs someone who hasn't I'm going to go with the experienced estimate. Because they know what the hell they're talking about. If you think different than I'd love to see the BOM list you've put together, it would be incredibly interesting and informative I'm sure.
Quoted from Whysnow:
assuming there are active negotiation around current license and manufacture these are things that should not (legally can't?) be talked about until they are hammered out. I would hope you can understand that.
It's what? 3 years after the project was started? The money has been collected, promises were made. Frankly I don't think anyone gives a shit what he thinks he can't talk about, it's a little late for all that. These negotiations are years late.
Either say what's going on or give the money back, and if he can get a license then he can pitch the project again and see if people want to put whatever money they get back in.
Quoted from Whysnow:
You can do the simple math Aurich.
Take the other game, minus profits, minus parts that are well above and beyond what Predator needs, and you can get to a pretty good understanding of what each game would cost in materials.
Predator is 100% feasible at $4750. It does not leave much for profit but their is still profit.
If you want to put it an even simpler way, Stern can do it on more complicated games with the advabtage of production scale. Other can do it with a more simple game and less benefit of scale.
Okay, so basically you're making these really declarative statements, even going to far as to call the other people with experience liars, and you really have nothing to base it on.
You're right, I can do the math. From inflation alone he's already down maybe $300, since costs have risen but the starting price he named has not.
Secondly, he had no license before, and now a real one is going to cost him. It's going to cost him a lot more per machine (call it $200), and it's going to require a lump sum up front. That's how it works. That's a real cost, not factored for.
Thirdly, he's claiming someone is going to build these for him. That's not him and his buddies in a basement, that's paying someone for their work. That's a cost.
But let's make it simple: you said there is still a profit. Since you've run the math, how much profit, exactly, in dollars, per game?
Aaron, I know you want to help man, but you should just stay out of it. No one is going to calm anything down but Kevin. The "wait a few more days" thing has been played too many times, people don't have any patience left.
With all respect to you, or Ted, or anyone else, people don't want to hear about how you've been having talks with him, not when he refuses to communicate with his customers.
Internet sleuthing, talking about people's wives, all that? It's a horrible idea. No one should engage in that, it's not going to help anything. What's done is done, the truth just needs to come to light.
I've been told the Pinball News story may appear early next week, maybe that will help. But regardless of what it says, if you want your money back, and who can blame you, then you should focus on positive steps. It's sure as hell not calling the cops.
Start a list, see if you can figure out who all has money in on this. It sure isn't 250 people. You're going to have to decide if you can be happy with taking a fair % off everyone's deposits. Because if one person gets a full refund, and someone is left at the end getting nothing (even Whysnow, I kid I kid) that's not fair.
Quoted from iceman44:
I've spent a whole lot of time talking to Aaron about Jpop mostly and he is a GREAT dude and if he is willing to help Kevin and Kevin is smart enough to listen, Aaron will be nothing but a HUGE asset to everybody trying to get something resolved with Predator.
That's a fact, a straight shooter, passionate guy and I don't think he would even know how to BS someone.
Truth. He really is trying to help. I just advised against it because nothing short of Kevin appearing is going to soothe anyone right now, no matter how well meaning he is. But he's trying to help everyone, so don't think he's Kevin's stalling tactic goon or anything.
This thread needs more gifs. Ted, now we really need you to come back!
Quoted from vid1900:
Whoever tipped off Fox's legal team about the game, drove a stake into any chance of a refund for the investors.
Nah. He would have just gotten a C&D. It's only if he ignored it and pressed on anyways (which is the story going around) that it would come to that.
Quoted from playboywillis:
To be fair, I think Kevin's disappearance was due to the art. Predator threads were the zen-peaceful experience until the art was unveiled. Kevin wanted to go "comic book cartoony" (did he really or did he just want to get away with only paying a guy to draw things once (( which was just a blatant ripoff of some Instagram art)), and the majority of pinsiders were looking for something darker, as was I. Over the next few months, every single guy in the thread had an opinion on the art direction, most contrasting his "dream." That's pretty much when he stopped coming around.
Ooh, what Instagram art?
I'll tell you what, I'm half tempted to just post the stupid anonymous emails at this point. It seems beyond the point where holding them back is the responsible move.
Quoted from playboywillis:
Quoted from playboywillis:
This was going to be my first pin.
Ugh, shit, that sucks.
Here's what I decided after talking to someone who's also been in on the stupid anonymous email note passing. Martin is supposed to publish his article early next week. If it doesn't come out I'm just posting all of it, because really, F it all.
But I'll wait and let him do his story first.
Quoted from Russo121:
If anyone here thinks that Martin will do some sort of 'expose' on this whole thing, you will be waiting a very long time. He may know something, sure. That doesn't mean he will print potentially libellous material for vultures to target him for.
Well if he doesn't post something early next week you can mark something in the "full of shit" column for the anonymous email people, because that's what they're claiming.
Here, this is the last message they sent me when I said just post everything public yourself (if you don't want me to share your emails without permission then have the balls to send then to me not anonymously, and I'll respect that, but I don't know who you are, and I didn't ask for them):
"No. Only about 9 people total have the information. You being one of them.
We cannot just throw it public, as we have worked on this with Martin at Pinball News for 3 months now. He's got everything researched, vetted, and even Kevin's defense/statement on the truth. He's got the recordings of the phone calls with the Fox lead attorney, if he's ever challenged. He's got it all. We ended up falling into the story, but it's Martin's scoop. It's also his decision when to publish. Since Kevin is involved in providing counterpoint to the editorial, Kevin keeps buying time by presenting "hope" and by doing so, keeps getting reprieve for another 2-4 weeks. Martin backs off publishing... and this has been going on and on for months now.
We're currently trying to nudge Martin to publish and just get it over with, so the whole hobby can know what Kevin did and the trouble he has been in the last 3 months. We'll see where that goes. As the group that presented Martin the story in the first place, we do hold the ability to publish ourselves using another service. It's Martin's call. We've asked him to make a final decision and set a publishing date.
PS: Cannot believe what we sent, you don't think it's legit. Every single word, and Kevin's unthinkable gamble and getting caught by Fox, are absolutely true. We only selected you as one of the initial recipients to be seeded with the truth, because you are adult and rational. It's a freaking shame the owners don't know yet. Yes, they certainly deserve to know. We're working on that.
Sorry to have bothered you."
Quoted from playboywillis:
This is all I know about Martin's article:
"He has committed to start writing the final draft of the PBN editorial this weekend, to be finished hopefully by tuesday or wednesday at the latest... with likely publishing on wednesday or thursday."
I'm willing to wait until then. The emails I can't verify everything in. Martin's article I imagine is going to be carefully written, researched, and bullet proof.
Let's give him a chance to present the whole story, before I leak things that might not be 100% legit. If doesn't publish then I will, I promise.
Quoted from Hazoff:
It seems even I wanted a refund that day may never come
I obviously can't promise shit. I don't even know how much I know, if you know what I mean.
But ... I don't think there's hope lost at all for refunds of at least a good bulk of the money.
If could tell you more I would, I don't know. But I'd let the process that's coming ride out as best you can.
Quoted from Whysnow:
Wait a sec... Mr x was contacting IP holders well before any internet purging. they were contacting fox well before any real reason to question anything. If any of you support this then you should also support similar actions for each and every pinball maker.
You sure know a lot about when Mr. X was doing things.
Does ... does, he talk to you sometimes?
Does he look like this?
I wish I could say this was all surprising, but it just confirms the emails I was sent. I was hesitant to share them without knowing if they were true or not (I did PM them to anyone who asked for them), but I sure believe Martin is legit. Such a sad situation.
Not that it matters anymore, but here's the main relevant emails I got, if anyone is curious what they looked like as I was reading them:
I haven't read the "Mr. X version" yet, but I'll take a look when I get a chance. Been building a wall in my girls' closet today instead of reading all the drama.
I'm the one who told Aaron he needed to post that he was severing ties with Skit-B. I know he meant well trying to help Kevin, but there's no helping that dude. He's a freaking liar, he lied to his customers, he lied to his close friends and partners, he needs to just accept the bed he made and do what he's good at, lie some more in it. F trying to help him, let him sort his own shit out.
So it's kinda my fault that Aaron posted when he did. Which admittedly made him look like a jerk who was bailing after the story went live. If I'd known Martin was going to jump the gun my advice would have been short and sweet: shut the F up and just leave it all alone!
Because really, this is about Kevin, FAST was just trying to work on his next game, and they got lied to like everyone else. Aaron is really only guilty of believing Kevin and using that to state that things were fine. Which might have been dumb, but it wasn't like he was in on some criminal conspiracy.
Here's what I do know now that there's zero reason to hold back: There are less than 200 people who paid up. I heard 180.
I've also got some insight into Kevin's BS talk about PayPal. I think they've locked his account. It happened to me when I first started selling Shadow translites. They see a spike in your account taking money in and they lock shit down and ask you for proof that you're shipping things. The reason being that PayPal is ultimately on the hook if you defraud people. I had to give them tracking numbers and really show that I wasn't a thief before they unlocked and let me withdraw funds.
So my suspicion, based on some facts, some guesses, and some experience, is that any money he took from PayPal is still sitting there, untouched. I don't think he could have spent it if he wanted to.
Wish I could confirm that for sure, but I feel like that's what's going on there.
I feel for everyone in on this, but it's not over yet, there's really a chance that the bulk of the money is still out there. So don't give up hope yet.
Quoted from robbycsmith:
From reading the pinball news and blog post I have no doubt he had all intention of trying to build these things under the radar.
I really, honestly think he meant to build them for everyone. I mean, if this was a scam it was a piss poor way to run one.
But still, there's zero excuse. There's no "but he seemed like one of us and a nice guy!". Maybe he was naive, maybe he really did talk to Fox and thought he was set.
But when you get a cease and desist it's obvious shit isn't cool anymore. And from that moment on the lies and fraud and bullshit start. And there's no "innocent Kevin" after that. He lied, LIED, to everyone. Even the people working with him who could get burned by that shit. No excuse.
Quoted from RobT:
Why did Aaron go this far?
Because he was biased, that's why. I didn't realize it at the time. If I had, I would not have been so fast to believe what he said regarding there being "no issue with the license".
The bias doesn't come from being "friends with Kevin". It comes from having a financial stake in a pin that Kevin was going to make.
Fair enough. Though I think it's honestly less about a financial stake and more about Aaron really being eager to put his hardware to the test on a real game. No one, not Aaron and sure as hell not me, though that EoD was actually going to sell. It was a terrible title, a license no one gave a shit about with awful art.
Aaron is just the kind of guy who likes problem solving, and he's chomping at the bit to get his hands on a game.
But I hear you, and I don't think he should have stood up for Kevin. Too many warning signs, I wouldn't have done it myself. Was a mistake. I'm just saying, try to not crucify the poor guy for getting caught up in this shitstorm right as it was coming to a head. Kevin lied to him, his only true "crime" is believing what Kevin said too much.
Anyways, the only important thing right now is trying to get people's money back. I hope there's still a chance the bulk of it is retrievable.
I'll be honest, I never thought it was a great game. I didn't care for how it flipped (those center targets were just annoying) and I didn't like the art. I'm not really sad for the loss of the game, just the money and years of hopes and dreams. That's what sucks.
I'm pulling for Heighway to ship Alien, for it to be awesome and the company legit, and then to give everyone the companion Predator game with art and design worthy of the theme.
Quoted from playboywillis:
Haha I never even got to play it. Now I can admit its 6 shots compared to an Xmen, and the fact that it seemed like a ball only went up the left ramp 1 out of 10 times, but Unload looked pretty damn cool.
I played the most recent prototype at Expo 2014. I didn't hate it, or think it was ugly.
I also didn't like the game or the art much. The translite was bad. Deserved so much more.
I hope everyone gets their money back, and maybe gets to spend it on a Heighway Predator some day that will be more bad ass. Think how much cooler it could look.
Or what it could look like next to a matching cabinet Alien ...
Quoted from frolic:
Hold on, didn't Whysnow himself say he'd been receiving these emails, the same info that we saw tonight?! And even with that, he still sat here for weeks arguing with everyone? Desperately hoping those first 10 games would get made so he would get his? Disgusting.
Those emails I linked? (Here if you missed it: http://pastebin.com/sHJwNRut )
Yes, Whysnow got them. They sent them to me after he refused to believe them, hoping that as a neutral party I might be helpful I guess.
Honestly I believed them from the start, I was able to verify parts of it (the name of the Fox lawyer, that Martin was actually doing a story, and had talked to Kevin and his friends) and so it rang true to me.
What would be the point of making it all up, keeping it a secret, telling me, and then asking me to please not post anything about it? That's just too much work for a troll.
If you go back you can see my arguing with Whysnow about them, you might not have gotten the context at the time though. I find it puzzling that he dismissed them so easily myself.
This is unbelievable. Even now Whysnow is trying to point the blame away from Kevin.
Kevin lied to all of you from the start.
He took your money.
He was served a cease and desist from Fox. In December 2014.
That's how long he's known he got caught.
Instead of manning up, returning everyone's money as best he could, and scrapping the project?
He lies, ignores the legal situation, and drags all of you down with him.
And you're going to really try and put this on someone else? That's delusional. I can't respect anyone who would defend what Kevin did.
I don't even give a shit about the license. If he built them one at a time and sold them privately to people for cash, one at a time? I'd have zero moral issue with that. It's small potatoes, for a special fan base, in a very small circle of people. I can look the other way on that.
But to take people's money, knowing he could screw them all? That I cannot abide.
Do what you're gonna do, but do it with your own money, not other people's. And don't lie to them about it once you take their cash.
Quoted from chessiv:
Here's the problem in a situation like this; is the anonymous information you're receiving valid? If not and you post it as truth you are opening yourself up to a lawsuit with possible serious damages. Many times I hear things about manufacturers here from very reliable sources but I don't repeat them for just this reason.
I got the first email a couple weeks ago or something, no time to look up the date, about to take my kids to school. Forget a lawsuit, I wasn't worried about that. But I definitely wasn't comfortable just pasting some wholesale anonymous claim into the thread. I thought it was legit, but I didn't actually know, and I'd feel like a giant asshole if I panicked everyone into a run on the bank and it turns out to have been a prank or someone was just misinformed.
Quoted from jlm33:
Unsure about others, but to the very least the March 10 email to Aurich (which I accessed today) would have been an eye-opening to me. It is factual and precise.
I should have PM's Aurich (or others) to get a copy. My mistake. I understand why he decided not to post it here. I also understand why Martin Ayub did not publish it until having enough confirmation.
For what it's worth I sent a copy to anyone who PM'd me, would have been happy to share with you too.
Quoted from 27dnast:
To quote the anonymous... they said that they kept "key members of the hobby and selected Pinsiders (mainly trusted & respected Immortals)" in the loop.
What the hell is that supposed to mean?
The immortals part is just about the fun little Pinside titles you have by your name. Addict, guru, immortal, legend, whatever. They were just trying to say they contacted people with high karma counts, who've been around a while or who are pretty active in the community.
I think it's easy to point fingers now, but they were caught in the middle of a situation that was pretty volatile, with a lawyer requesting that they stay quiet about it while negotiations occurred. I honestly don't know what I would do in that situation.
The reality is that even if they'd come forward right away it was too late to do PayPal refunds, the window had passed. And by staying quiet there was a chance the project could be saved. Tough spot, I can't judge their thinking.
Quoted from robertmee:
Dunno about the claim that Skit-B closed their PayPal account...I just ran his e-mail:
I mentioned this earlier, but it's standard practice for PayPal to lock an account that spikes in deposits until you can prove you're shipping what you're being paid for.
My guess is all the PayPal money is sitting there, untouched. Kevin couldn't withdraw it if he wanted to. Maybe PayPal will let him refund it after the deadline has passed.
Doesn't mean the account is "closed". I think you can still take payments. Just can't access them. But not 100% sure about the last part, I got mine unlocked as fast as I could when it happened to me.
Quoted from NoahFentz:
Nonetheless, I have spoken with various individuals today, and Kevin still contends he has/had a license to produce these machines.
Simple then: Ask Kevin to produce it. Show the paper contract. These things don't happen without paperwork, so it shouldn't be hard to produce for you.
You said you'd vetted it already, but obviously you were just going on Kevin's word. Let's see the paperwork (spoiler: it doesn't exist).
Quoted from badbilly27:
I'll share a rumor I heard at a recent pinball bash. A Stern employee (not Gary) "allegedly" was involved at least in discussions with some people about false license issues before the shitstorm hit. Back at Chicago Expo. I don't know what to believe anymore but there you have another allegation heard.
I know who that employee is. And he's maintained that for ages, long before Kevin took down the website and everyone got suspicious. If he wanted to sabotage things he could have done it a long time ago.
So let's not try and turn this into corporate espionage or anything.
Quoted from jiffy:
I doubt that very much.
If you didn't read my emails link here's how the anonymous group first approached me:
Hilton isn't being entirely genuine in the portrayal of the information he NOW KNOWS FOR SURE, and we can already see he is going to remain a blind cheerleader for Kevin Kulek no matter how this all goes down. Very unfortunate.
Hilton was told the entire story (below) only last week, for the first time. While it's normal to be upset over this information, we are perplexed to see him still cheerleading Predator, while at the same time forming an obvious defensive position of some kind - in Skit-B's corner. Not the hobby's, or the other (soon to be) empty handed customers.
Hilton is already using terminology that the bad guys are a few of us PinSiders who looked into Skit-B's claims many months ago. WE are the bad guys. Sick fucks, allegedly. Because we could see Skit-B was pulling a gigantic million-dollar stunt, was lying his ass off, and purposely hiding the entire Predator project... and there had to be a reason. We were called conspiracists. We were called assholes. We were considered "sick fucks who want to end Skit-B"
Nothing could be farther from the truth. We wanted THE TRUTH. So we went and found it.
Since this story is soon going to be coming out for ALL to know, we started making small steps to plant the initial pre-release seeds of this coming story into the hands of (what we thought) were pillars in the Predator community. Hilton being the first and most obvious one. What we failed to realize is that Hilton was not capable of becoming an adult in this situation that we hoped for, and he has hunkered down in what seems to be a state of delusional denial.
So now we're going to inform YOU. We're going to give you the exact email we sent to Hilton a week ago (below). We will EQUALLY ask that you keep this under your hat for now. There will be plenty of time to debate this once the story is launched completely public.
Just remember, Kevin made his own bed. He decided to run the project the way he did. His absolutely INSANE gamble just didn't work out the way he had planned. Now he's going to face the biggest crash & burn (financially, criminally, and reputationally) that anybody could ever imagine. That's what happens to gamblers, sneaks and liars.
So it's pretty obvious that in their first attempt to talk to Whysnow things went acrimonious from the get go.
I heard (take with a grain of salt, because who knows what's true anymore) that Kevin spent $70k of the money he collected. And that 180 people were still in. I don't know who paid all the way in full from that number, but you can do some basic math and figure that people could possibly get back around 90% of their investment. That would be great if it's true.
Quoted from belairjoe:
do paypal transfer fees apply in all this?
Good question. Normally yes, you can't do a refund after I think 60 days. But I have no experience with defrauding people, so I can't say if there's flexibility there.
PayPal fees are going to be 3%, so I guess worst case you gotta take that 3% hit too.
I don't want anyone to lose a dime. But if you have to pay a 10% "pre-order lesson fee" and get the rest of your money back that seems like as good a happy ending as we'll see.
Quoted from Dalbok:
As I said, take it for what it's worth, but trying to add a spec of hope if there is any truth to him submitting full refunds to everyone. Perhaps they won't have to eat the PayPal fees.
I feel bad for everyone caught up in this fiasco.
I dunno what to believe as far as what Kevin says, but you're right, that is encouraging. Shows it's at least possible to still get a fee-less refund outside of the normal 60 day window.
Quoted from PinChili:
What?? Seriously Aurich? You believe people have a chance of getting a 100% refund? If anyONE does, it will be at the expense of another. I cannot see any possible way Kevin (and "Skit-B" in general) spent any less than $50,000. I also cannot see ANY way Kevin can afford to cover this out of his own pocket. SOMEONE is going to get screwed.
No, no, I've already said that I believe he's spent $70k. I can only see pro-rated refunds. But if PayPal can return money without taking the fees, that's 3% more that you can get back.
Quoted from ledge:
but are the said refunds coming back via paypal?
If you paid via PayPal? I'd imagine so. You think they're going to release the funds to him and trust that he'll just take care of it?
We're off in the weeds speculating now. I believe Kevin intends to refund people. I don't think he's an evil person, or was looking to rip people off. He just was colossally stupid and reckless. He put everyone's money at risk, and lied to them about that risk and the nature of what they were backing. That's the part that's terrible.
I still believe the intent was to deliver machines to people, and now that he can't I'm sure he's going to give back every cent he can. I truly do believe that.
But I'd never trust him with a project again, and I wouldn't fault anyone in the pinball community who said he wasn't welcome at their event. He really broke the community code, and it comes with consequences. Pinball is ultimately a small family
Quoted from NoahFentz:
I sure did, and for that, I sincerely apologize. I was given every reason to believe it was fully licensed, as was every pre-owner and other vendor.
Kevin even let me stick my neck out there, just to get it cut off knowingly. For that, he will never be forgiven.
I'm just as pissed as every here, as I have a lot to lose over this fiasco, too.
I don't blame you for not going "papers please" on Kevin. This is a small hobby, and it's built on a lot of trust and community, and I don't really have any problem with that.
I don't really want things to get to the point where vendors helping each other start requiring forms signed in triplicate.
Your mistake wasn't trusting Kevin, you're hardly alone, it was speaking up the way you did. If you had simply said "I haven't seen any license, I'm going on Kevin's word alone" it would have been a very different story. Instead your post implied that you had some higher level of proof.
As with everything else, this comes back onto Kevin's head. I'm sure you learned a lesson from it all the hard way, doubt you'll make that same mistake again.
I had the emails too, I didn't post them here. I PM'd them to anyone who asked me for them, they didn't post them either. Lots of people had them. All of us decided we simply couldn't tell if they were true or not, and it would be reckless to just post them willy nilly.
You can argue with hindsight whether or not that was the right call, but at the time I was convinced it was, and given what I knew at the time I still think it was correct.
It's easy to argue with hindsight, but if you were in the same situation you might feel differently about it. Especially if you knew that Kevin was talking to Fox, and trying to save the project. I thought it was a longshot, but at this point waiting a couple weeks to see how it played out seemed smartest.
The reality is you guys got screwed a long time ago, it sucks to say it, but a couple weeks earlier notice wasn't going to make a difference here.
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