The last we saw of Intellivision’s Amico console, it was trying to sell some NFTs and was being described as a “car crash” of a device. If you thought that meant things couldn’t get any worse for the beleaguered device, you have not been paying attention to its development.
Zack has written about this at length already, but to recap:
Public frontman and former CEO Tommy Tallarico has openly insulted critics, calling them “gaming racists” and “mentally unstable”, while having been found—between regular shitposting and baseless legal threats—to be following several notable white supremacists on Twitter.
As GI.biz has reported, the company is in enormous financial trouble, with an SEC filing from earlier in the year revealing that they were in “significant debt,” including an “aggregate of $3.1 million in outstanding loans.”
The console’s hardware is basically the same as a $100 Android phone from 2016, running games that look like absolute dogshit, including a port of a mobile game that was released in 2015.
The console has been delayed multiple times now. Originally due out in October 2020, it was then pushed back to April 2021, then October 2021, and now in June 2022 is obviously still nowhere near release.
This official “unboxing” video (which was made to look like a final retail console, but was actually a one-off production since manufacturing has yet to begin), was released back in March. It lays bare so many of the console’s issues. From the ghastly menu to its cheap controllers, this looks like something you would buy for $20 on Wish. That would be fine if this were $20, but Intellivision are asking for at least $180 for one of these, which is insane:
Anyway, that’s just a recap. The news today is that the company has had to send an email out to its pre-order customers, letting them know that things are not going great. Intellivision have had to cancel a $5 million crowdfunding campaign after it only raised $60,000, have launched attempts to try to license Intellivision IP for release on other platforms to try to raise some cash, have had so many refund requests that they can’t process them fast enough, and most alarming of all, have made layoffs, resulting in “a significant reduction in staff.” The complete email, signed by new CEO Phil Adam and first posted by The Nerf Report’s Bryant Chappel, is below:
It has been a while since our last official update, and I thank you for your patience. I hope that this update on the state of Intellivision will answer some of your questions and explain where we are and where we are heading. When I took over as CEO of Intellivision, my goal in leadership required some tough decisions to ensure that we launch a quality product.
1. We pulled down our investment campaign on StartEngine a few weeks after it launched in February of this year. Without better visibility of our path to profitability we felt this was the right decision in the short term. Any funds committed by StartEngine investors as part of the campaign were returned in full. Of course, this required us to take other financial measures to make up for the foregone new investment.
2. We have dramatically reined in operating costs, which unfortunately required a significant reduction in staff. Our resources are focused on engineering and testing to ensure we have a quality system, as we cannot succeed by producing anything less.
3. We are working with game development partners to license classic Intellivision intellectual property (IPs) for publication on other platforms. These licensing deals will help fund continued development of Amico. A broader distribution of Intellivision classic IP will also help raise awareness of Intellivision while not directly competing with Amico because of Amico’s unique controllers and family-focused gaming adaptations. Many people in the retro gaming community have embraced us because of our family focus and the fact that all our games (including retro titles) are adapted for group play. While Amico’s broad catalog will continue to include retro titles, our mission has been and remains cross-generational, in-home, family entertainment.
4. We have begun a test production run of Amico that includes every aspect of the product including packaging. This is first and foremost an assessment of our manufacturing approach and overall quality of the delivered product. It is critically important to show to our current/future investors, partners, and customers that we have built a sound platform that delivers on the in-home family experience, which requires our immediate focus on value engineering and hardening of the platform. These units should be completed in the next few weeks.
5. We are slowly processing refund requests. The public’s uncertainty of our status in the last few months have understandably led to an influx of pre-order refund requests. Because of reduced staff and financing requirements for continued operation, our responses to and processing of these requests has been delayed. Rest assured that our intention is to honor all refund requests. We will allocate a portion of all new funding and staff time to winding down the refund queue, while our primary focus is funding and completing a quality product ready for manufacturing. To make sure we see your request, please submit to email@example.com
6. We will focus our initial mass production on fulfilling pre-orders and supplying our two major distribution partners. The focus will remain on direct orders until our cost structure can support the margins required for retail channels. Obviously, the markets continue to be somewhat volatile with rising inflation, rising energy costs and lingering supply chain issues that affect all manufacturing businesses. This has impacted both our costs and pricing, and it has required us to narrow our initial distribution strategy. Our hope is that we start shipping production units this year.
Many challenges lie ahead for the business, and we appreciate our investors, partners and customers for your patience and support. We will be formally announcing some new IP licensing partnership deals soon, as well as showing off the Amico units currently in production. These units will be shared with partners, investors and a select few in the media. As more production units become available we will broaden the distribution to media outlets that cover our target demographic.
Thank you for your support, and thank you to our internal team and external developers that work tirelessly to create a family gaming experience on Amico that brings people of different ages and skills together in group play
Not a good look!