Disclaimer: I know little to nothing about licensing
It's slightly OT, but I find those Farsight Kickstarters a bit.... over the top shall we say? Don't get me wrong, I like the product, but I find the dollar values overly high for old IP (that Arnold was notoriously supportive of back in the day I might add) and the crowd funding a bit unnecessary especially past the first one. The fact that it CAN be crowd funded to the tune of $10+ dollars per person suggests to me the kickstarter isn't necessary and they should just price the licensed table higher in game and they would make their money back. Of course they would then have to take a "risk" as a business that their 60k of licensing wouldn't be completely covered pre-release... you know, kinda like a real business
Quoted from benheck:
We've looked into licenses - 50-75K plus a piece of each game is pretty normal.
The Farsight stuff seems about right - remember they don't Kickstart original theme B/W games, just the ones that were licensed at the time and have since expired. By pre-selling enough to cover the license cost (ie, the costs above and beyond a normal pinball port) they ensure success.
Addam's Family was always going to be expensive - Raul Julia is dead and the movie itself had a nebulous production / rights issues (started as Orion, ended as Paramount, based off earlier license, etc)
Fair enough. If that's the price, so be it. I still disagree with crowdfunding in principle for many but not all applications (pinball and non-pinball alike). I don't agree with companies shifting risk and/or responsibility to the customer unless we are talking about non-profit style work or very niche projects but I will concede that Addams Family would be one Pinball wild card where crowdfunding seems appropriate due to the nebulous nature of securing it.
Quoted from CarShark:
What I like most about Farsight's model is that when they do succeed in funding a title, they carry the excess funds over to the next Kickstarter. That's why they have such weird target goals. ($97,640)
I'm 100% sure it's not true, but I feel like they can pick and choose whatever numbers they want and claim 'carry over'. Like car salesmen playing with a trade in appraisal vs purchase price of a new vehicle - you just shift the 'end value' and/or 'perceived value' of the item(s) so you can discount or offset losses/gains in a more palatable way for the consumer
Like I said, I'm sure this is NOT what Farsight do and those are legit licensing costs, but this is my cynical viewpoint on the 'carry over' price.
I've stayed out of this for the most part, but what I don't get at all at this point is what are they actually doing? Like physically, what is Kevin and SkitB doing day to day? Building machines? Painting stuff? Wiring? Waiting for parts? Drinking Coffee? Working a dayjob?
So I'm guessing you don't have an answer?
I'm seriously curious, not trying to stir the pot. I could list to you the 3-4 things I worked on (or wasted time on hehe) today to chew up ~8 hours and work towards a project goal. I'm just wondering what those things are regarding Predator machines being sold/constructed/tested/shipped - the game has been "mission complete" for months so what is there to do but build games and ship them?
All the pics I've seen are what vendors have/are delivering months (years?) ago and less about "What did SkitB accomplish in the past weeks" with the exception of the recent semi-assembled PF pic. People keep saying there's a team of people working for SkitB, laborers, engineers, techs, whatever - I'm not saying they are doing nothing, I'm asking what are all these people doing today, Feb 11 2015, to get Predator one step closer to out the door? PF assembly? Quality testing? mech re-design? Licensing? Packaging?
Quoted from Jared:
From across threads and products and manufactures in the pinball community it becomes clear that the ones best regarded are the ones with excellent communication skills. Guys who *always* respond to emails, who respond to PM's, who not only participate in threads but create them... those are the people who gain the trust... get the customers... grow their business.
Quoted from spfxted:
How many of those do we have?
For starters, in no particular order, and literally off the top of my head:
I've dealt with all of these companies/individuals and all have responded to emails/PM's/forum posts and continue to receive my (and others') business. I'm sure there are more and I apologise for forgetting them, but these are great examples of the companies Jared alluded to.
Quoted from spfxted:
Whatever...all I'm trying to say is that there are plenty pinball machine makers that "don't answer every email"....
There are only three companies presently delivering pinball machines, and they all answer emails and/or phone calls to my knowledge and experience...
There are a plethora of companies NOT delivering pinball machines and they almost universally suck at communication.
Quoted from Pdxmonkey:
Stern doesn't answer every email.
Maybe, but I've personally never had an email or phone call to Stern go unanswered, and certainly not any dealing with actual problems regarding their machines.
While publically they are essentially mute, I've had great experiences with them in private. Maybe I'm lucky?
This is not a pre-order model.
Say you want TWD. Get it, as it's the LE or Pro. Told point blank no premiums, ever. Then bam! Month later preemies being built. THAT preorder model.
Nor is this.
In both cases, you order and then you receive. The unhappy/unsatisfied components are examples of the "buy before you try" mentality, but that is not the same as "buy 1-5 years before delivery" in a pre-order model.
Not that I care all that much. Just don't see how Stern factors into killing pre-orders. As far as I'm concerned, the concept was pioneered by JJP (and executed slowly but ultimately successfully I suppose?), and is being killed by SkitB, DP, and JPop for most folks.
Quoted from The_Dude_Abides:
May of continued after but they have contributed as much as any other party to my current stance (and I imagine others) of not preordering. I get what your saying though.
Actually to be fair, we have no confirmation pre-ordering is yet dead... we just have a lot of people claiming they won't do it anymore... but there are still companies surviving on pre-orders right this moment. After (if) they deliver, who knows who will bite the hook again.
Just like buying unfinished code machines... no one does that anymore right?
Neither are great examples of pre-ordering failure to me. Both machines stumbled/are stumbling on their own issues. The pre-order concept is just the frosting on the cake.
I wouldn't buy either machine at their current price/art/theme if the machines were sitting on my doorstep just waiting for me to hand over the cash.
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.
So obvious once you see it...
Quoted from Half_Life:
If the epic announcement is not what we, the pre-owners expect I'll be the first to join you for the tar and feathering. Thanks.
Out of my own morbid curiosity, a serious question: What do the pre-owners (or just yourself) expect with this announcement (realistically) that would truly be 'epic'?
Quoted from Half_Life:
For me, the "epic" piece was my lame attempt at humor, forgive me.
Haha, no I get that and I share in it. Your observation holds true though - I think this is being built up to 'epic' and I don't see how it would deliver.
Realistically, what I would consider an "epic" (meaning positive) announcement is that:
1) There are definitively, absolutely, positively no issues with any license of any kind associated with this particular pinball machine/project.
2) Actual visual proof that machines are being built
3) Actual visual proof of some games finished and being shipped
See what I find interesting is that while any of these announcements are good/positive, don't they just return the project back to where it kinda supposedly is already according to the 'Predator is fine' mentality? There are posts and emails here stating that everything's fine, license is fine, machines being built... so to me an announcement of these things now suggests the past claims and email were perhaps.... less than true?
On the other hand I guess "epic" could also carry negative connotations like
1) All pre-owners are royally screwed and lose all their money.
2) Some money is gone forever and some will be returned
3) Never had a license
I'm a glass half-full kinda guy.
Haha hadn't thought about that side... that would indeed be epic. Well played, but hopefully this is not the case.
Quoted from Aurich:
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.
/argue semantics on
It bugs me (and I'm sure yourself as well Aurich) that the term 'Photoshop' is the genericised term for "crappy photograph/screengrab art".
Anyone who thinks "hand-drawn" art isn't put into the modern digital realm and "Photoshopped" is delusional. The TBL playfield, despite being "hand-drawn", was somehow magically rearranged. Hope they didn't "Photoshop" it and instead redrew the whole playfield by hand on a piece of paper...
Photoshop isn't responsible for crappy art. It's like blaming the company who makes paints because everything I paint looks like a sneeze (at best). At least it's hand-drawn though...
/arguing semantics off
Quoted from RobT:
It really is sad that there is such a misconception about photoshop.
Many people think that if you put an image through photoshop, you have <gasp> manipulated the image! Of course the irony is that the "original image" has already been altered from reality when the digital sensor captured the image, and different sensors will interpret the image differently.
Every single photograph I take goes through photoshop before I post it on my Flickr account. So I guess all my photos are technically "photoshopped"!
Yellowstone3.jpg (Click image to enlarge)
I proclaim this:
Quoted from stainedundies:
alright guys, i just had a long sit down with kevin and he had some big news. i mean BIG news. the type of news everyone wants to hear. i am so excited to tell you all just what is going on and to finally blow this thing out of the water. its so big, i was actually planning on making an announcement about it sometime in the near future. i cant tell you much now, but i will let you know that everyone is right and things are continuing and stopping. ill let everyone know in 2.
Quoted from blondetall:
The current winner in the speculation/rumor/"bored and therefore dreaming up shit in the meantime to have something to do" race is that there is no license, followed closely by there being a problem with the license, that the time limit ran out for the license, supply issues, competitor bullying, competitor sabotage, anonymous group sabotage, Kevin leaving the country and buying an island, Kevin building a robot dinosaur (which I'm kind of hoping for so that I can steal it,) robot zombie Nazis in space, and that brunettes are somehow better than blondes.
Quoted from Aurich:
Woah, the speculation and fantasizing in this thread is really starting to leave the bounds of reality isn't it?
Quoted from MikeS:
That's funny that my favorite local beer is now a "Meme"
I hate to burst your bubble but believe it or not the beer took the pic from the internet
Meme first, beer second:
The guys were in the process of designing a label for Fantasy Factory — about 90 percent finished, they said — when they stumbled across a piece of artwork online that lit their Fantasy Factory fantasicism aflame.
“Once we saw that image, we all had that electric feeling,” Ryan said. “It just brought it to life.”
The image is a painting called “Welcome to the Internet,” done by San Francisco artist Jason Heuser in late 2012. (Heuser is also the guy behind those incredibly surreal presidential portraits seen floating around the internet a while ago.)
None of the Karben4 guys knew Heuser personally, but they had to have “Welcome to the Internet” for Fantasy Factory. So, internet stalking ensued and, later, a cross-country trip to San Francisco to set up the details of working together on the label and others.
The same could be said for most random deviant art browsing - there is some great content on there.
Make no mistake, great artists are available on this here internet machine, despite the lack of good artwork on many modern pinball machines suggesting otherwise...
Good evening once again, fellow pinballers. The atmosphere around our Predator project has gotten pretty thick, so please allow me to clear the air on all of this stuff.
Thank you all again for your continued support,
Literally every update I've read in the past 6-12 months reads the same to me...
I really hope those who want out get at least some if not all their money back.
Quoted from DCFAN:
It is amazing how much grief some us were given in this very thread back in November for raising the license issues that seemed so obvious to many a long time ago.
What's more amazing is how much grief is still being given, despite the reveal that Skit-B is and was guilty of the "speculative" things levelled against them months ago. The extent is still unknown but the issues are (and were) present despite claims otherwise.
Quoted from hassellcastle:
I can tell you where I think some of that money went, although its just speculation. You can't tell me over the past several years he was spendin on his own dime to travel and transport the prototype Predator Pinball to Pinball Shows. I'm sure that was looked at as a business travel expense and it came out of the Skit B till to fund these trips.
100% agreed. Flying and freighting people and assorted crap all over the country adds up. But wait, it's expense-able so....
Quoted from Whysnow:
For those that are all for mr x contacting Fox concerning the license for pred, why are you against the same actions for all other games from other manufacturers?
I don't think anyone is against it - They just know it would be a fruitless venture. Until Stern or JJP scrub their websites of a license, there's no evidence to suggest an issue.
But, feel free to take up the Mr. X sword against the other manufacturers. I would be willing to bet you'll come up empty handed, but who knows?
Quoted from Whysnow:
If any of you support this then you should also support similar actions for each and every pinball maker.
I do. Like any investigation, if someone feels it will yield results, I'm all for it.
In this case it will likely yield no results, but please, grab a magnifying glass and call Fox to see if Heighway has Aliens rights, or call Vince McMahon to see if Stern has WWE rights.
I bet they do.
Still haven't seen confirmation on this:
Is Skit-B a business? LLC? Non-profit? ...?
Or is this all going to come down to Kevin being the responsible entity on a personal level?
Quoted from RobT:
I swear to God I need to stop reading this thread. I'm just going to blow a gasket. Too much ignorance being shown by too many Pinsiders. It hurts!!
I'd prefer to think I hang out in a forum with smart people.
Well, I've had enough of this ride so I'll be getting off. I'm still shocked we have two camps divided against Kevin after everything has shaken out over the weekend. This whole event has definitely cast a new light on the forum and many members in my eyes. Some for the better, a few for the worse.
I really hope the people with money in the project get every dime back, and the less mature side of me wouldn't mind seeing Kevin/SkitB seeing some severe repercussions beyond simple refunds.
Best of luck everyone.
I'm not all that knowledgeable of the US justice system, but out of curiosity could this not be taken on from a more class-action or collective lawsuit point of view?
It seems silly to be to see ~200 people wanting to file individual suit for $5k and essentially lose it all to legal fees when it could be one lawsuit with one legal team suing for the full amount, then dispersing the awarded sum evenly. Maybe the sum is too small or the details are too different, but with the defendants all being spread across the country (er... globe?) it would seem to me it should be something that would be plausible.
As I said, far from an expert here. More curious as to why we are seeing 200 unfortunate people worrying about 200 frustrating and potentially fruitless lawsuits when I personally see it as one large lawsuit.
Just becoming an internet lawyer with some Wikipedia reading (as I believe that is the only pre-requisite yes?)
It doesn't sound like this would be a likely federal class action suit as it's not big enough ($5 mil would get you there by default it sounds like) but state wise it sounds totally plausible:
Nationwide plaintiff classes are possible, but such suits must have a commonality of issues across state lines. This may be difficult if the civil law in the various states lack significant commonalities. Large class actions brought in federal court frequently are consolidated for pre-trial purposes through the device of multidistrict litigation (MDL). It is also possible to bring class actions under state law, and in some cases the court may extend its jurisdiction to all the members of the class, including out of state (or even internationally) as the key element is the jurisdiction that the court has over the defendant.
I would think contacting any sort of legal council versed in collective lawsuits and filing a collective action in Michigan would be far more promising than everyone battling SkitB on Judge Judy for the next 2 years.
Just my 2 cents. That will be $250 internet lawyer dollars. I'll show myself out.
*sigh* Let's say SkitB DID have a license and the AG have no/false proof of any wrongdoings... it makes exactly ZERO difference at all now. Kevin owes everyone their money back because the project is over/dead/done regardless of the AG intentions or concrete proof.
IMO The how and why of it all became irrelevant the minute SkitB stopped issuing refunds. That started way before the AG did anything for the record.
Quoted from Kcpinballfan:
... the AG only cared about themselves in order to insure they received their money back, to make them heroes is a joke.
I don't see anyone calling them heroes, I see them as normal people who finally got tired of seeing SkitB get off scot-free without consequence. Really,the difference between the AG and myself, is that they cared enough to dig into this mess and expose it. I would never bother to go so far, frankly out of pure laziness.
IMO this SkitB disaster was inevitable ever since I met them at Expo 2013. I personally thought Kevin and his 'entourage' was a strange group of highly ignorant and mouthy people who were borderline liars... I just kept my mouth shut for 1.5 years because no one wanted to hear about it, it wasn't my place to judge because I wasn't "in" on Predator, and I had no proof but my own gut feeling. ie - I didn't feel welcome to share my thoughts here on the matter.
Quoted from angus:
If you have to go in front of a judge (or a cop or the fbi) for a lawsuit proof is important.
From a civil lawsuit you have all the proof required imo. Kevin's agreement was:
You get a machine or you can have your money back at any time no questions asked.
He now has said "project is over, all the refunds are coming" but he won't give the money back. End of story. That is the civil contract that has been broken between the buyers and Skit-B and the emails and posts describing this agreement are the proof you require. It really doesn't matter if it's because of license-gate, a flood, disease, zombies, economy, upset stomach, etc... Kevin promised 100% refunds or a machine and he has delivered neither. If Kevin wants to argue the WHY of all this as though he's been done wrong it will be up to him to justify why he should be allowed to keep your money and violate his own agreement - my guess is no judge in a civil case will care about why he's refunding the money, just whether or not he is obliged to.
The license-gate thing is between the Fox, law enforcement, the attorney general, SkitB, etc.... Fox and the prosecutors are the ones who need this license-gate "proof" some of you so desperately want. Outside of pure curiosity, it makes no difference why the project is dead to justify getting your $5000 back - it was promised and you are owed.
Quoted from Xerico:
Kevin talks with Pinball News.
I'll give my opinions in a separate post.
Gosh, it's lucky people have been getting full and timely refunds over the past few weeks/months or else Kevin's words would simply come across as outright lies at this point...
I think the frustration at Paypal is they are seemingly doing nothing at all while waiting for a liar to act honestly. It's semi-confirmed that a large chunk of the money is sitting in a frozen (by Paypal) Paypal account, and since Kevin seemingly isn't terribly concerned about unlocking it and refunding it, it's frustrating for buyers who are asking for a refund since some/all of the money is actually under Paypal's control, even while Kevin does nothing.
My question to Paypal is (and I have no cash in this) - wtf is the plan here? If Kevin continues to do nothing, this money is tied up for how long? And until when? I applaud their actions to freeze the account after suspect transactions, but to what end? When does this action reverse against Kevin?
Hence the credit card chargebacks, which Paypal hates and is obviously whining about, but since they aren't forthcoming (and I'm not sure they even can be) what other options exist?
Quoted from BackFlipper:
If Kevin had died (without making any games) instead of being a liar, would everyone still be blaming PayPal?
If PayPal had frozen the funds as they have (allegedly?) done now, then yes. If PayPal wasn't sitting on a frozen Skit-B account right now I would have no qualms calling out those angered at PayPal, but PayPal saw trouble, took action, and are now frustrating their customers by claiming their hands are tied. And you know what, they may be correct in that but it would still anger me as a customer.
Although we should keep in mind that only those paying thru paypal have funds potentially frozen there. The cheque/wire/bank draft folks have a much more clear path to Kevin (or his estate, had he perished instead of lied )
Quoted from rosh:
... he would have an ice cubes chance in hell, of Fox giving a start-up a license without a clear plan for the getting the machines manufactured, and typically would be via a proven, established means. This would be especially true for someone with no experience in starting and running a company...
And this is exactly why I disagree with 99% of all crowdfunding. Banks and capital investors require this amazing little item called a "business plan" and evaluate the risk on more than the emotional "TAKE MY MONEY" response of the modern consumer...
Quoted from PACMAN:
Maybe we should sue the shit out of PayPal for taking pre-order $ then freezing (keeping our money)
Well, on one hand the freezing should be applauded. On the other hand, there's no transparency to the next steps.
I don't know what the solution is, and I'm not convinced PayPal does yet either.
Quoted from tracelifter:
I would imagine if Payenemy has the money frozen they will wait until after litigation is finished and a judge makes an order as to what to do with the funds.
I would tend to agree, but what/which litigation? A class action suit? 200 small claims suits? A criminal case? Bankrupcy proceedings?
The list goes on with how many ways this could shake down; its such a mess at this point.
Quoted from RobT:
You guys are both right. But take a look at the posts that I was replying to. I was talking from PayPal's point of view. They don't have to wait for other litigation to take place, they can initiate it themselves.
I like it, and you're probably right.
I still am struggling to accept how easy it has been to essentially steal hundreds of thousands of dollars, and leave everyone with so few options and so little hope at getting any substantial refund, all because Kevin simply won't give it back. I would honestly expect to be arrested on the spot and pay restitution if I stole $50 from some dude on the street - how is this mess such a "can't do much about it" problem in this age of connectivity and global commerce?
Still hope this all works out somehow.
Quoted from Enaud:
There is much that can be done about it, but it takes time. The legal system is slow, but in the words of you know who, "you can expect some good news in a few short days..."
Just because you don't see anything right now, does not mean that things are not happening behind the scenes. Be patient... Get busy doing what you need to do. No one can do it for you.
I hope it's the minority of invested folks who are struggling to see progress and solutions then. If things are moving on Skit B behind the scenes then that is great.
I really hope everyone gets what they deserve.
Quoted from PinPatch:
Stupid question but are pinside posts admissible as evidence due to the fact that there is no way that kevin kulek can be proved to be the author ?
Don't see why they would be less admissible than emails. Can't really prove who wrote them either if its denied - can only really prove what computer/account they originated from.
Also I'm not a lawyer so... *shrug*
**EDIT: Damn you RobT and your 4 minute faster posting.... well I dug up the evidence at least. That counts for something **
Quoted from playernumber4:
Kevin's defense is that he will still be completing the games.
Yeah.... I don't think that will hold much water so your theories hold little weight. Kevin himself has gone on record (to this plaintiff of all people haha) cancelling the project:
Quoted from Enaud:
Kevin replied to my email this morning although I was unaware of it.
In response to the pending litigation he replied "I assure you that none of that will be necessary. We are cancelling the project and returning all of the money we received to those who sent it in, including yourself. That being said, I will reach out to you, as you've asked."
Quoted from spfxted:
It's going to come down to what can be PROVEN and how good your lawyer is.
Are we all still hung up on this proof of license thing? Again I ask, why does it matter if he did or did not have a Predator license? One could prove in minutes with a handful of emails that every Predator buyer is owed their money back. One cannot prove anything about a license, and you don't need to justify a refund.
All one needs to prove is that Kevin has always maintained full refunds are available, he has cancelled the project and has claimed to be issuing refunds, and no one has received refunds. All of that is 100% documented in emails and forum posts. If a judge cares about WHY this all went to hell they could ask out of morbid curiosity or to assess Kevin's honesty levels, but it's irrelevant information to determine whether Kevin owes buyers money back or not.
Whether it financially makes sense will alter what lawyers or processes are feasible, but this whole PROOF thing is ridiculous. He said the money is coming, and it isn't - it's literally a Judge Judy episode in terms of the civil complexity. Let Fox and the FBI worry about the complicated crap.
Quoted from spfxted:
No, no, no! Proof that he planned to con people right from the start! BIG difference.
Why does that any of that matter? Regardless of intentions it makes not the slightest difference from a civil standpoint. He said "money is going to be given back". It isn't. Intent and motive only really comes up in determining determine criminal punishment (afaik yes?)
Just because he started out with good intentions doesn't mean he doesn't owe the money back... and if he started out with bad intentions it doesn't mean he owes any more/less to the buyers either. It's irrelevant.
Quoted from playboywillis:
This isn't kickstarter.
Great read (and sad stories) here for the crowdfunding generation of business folks and customers. Sorry if it's been posted previous in this thread - its hard to keep up
Quoted from Enaud:
Therefore, if he chooses to declare bankruptcy, the creditors can make the bankruptcy court aware of this and as a result the purchases become a "non dischargeable" debt. This is extremely important if he chooses to file for bankruptcy.
If you want your money back you need to file a civil complaint. Leave it to the Midland County Sheriff to take care of the criminal complaint.
I'm not a lawyer, but I have lots of good lawyer jokes. Let's bring 'em on!
This may be true. Definitely outside my realm of knowledge.
So it's considered counterfeit, not stolen... For my own education, what are the ramifications of that (and the selling of counterfeit goods) to the buyer(s) of said counterfeit goods?
I can't imagine that owning counterfeit goods is 'ok' or 'tolerable' just because they aren't considered stolen goods? Surely Fox would have some sort of legal recourse to pursue the acquisition or destruction of infringing products, which is really what we're curious about no?
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