Tuesday, February 28

Gadget: Pong-Clock

In januari van dit jaar heb ik bij Buro Vormkrijgers hun Pong-Clock besteld voor 199,- euro. Na een geautomatiseerd bevestigingsmailtje kreeg ik vandaag - net toen ik zelf navraag wilde gaan doen naar de status van mijn bestelling - dit interessante mailtje:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We would like to use this e-mail to give you an detailed update on your order for the Pong Clock.

First of all we wish to apologize for the lack of updates on your order.
Normally we try to keep our clients very well informed, as we value our customers.
You can read below which prevented us from doing so this time:

What has happened since you ordered?
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1.We send you a confirmation e-mail.
2.We started our first production run of 200 items.
3.We made preparations for more production runs, since orders got unexpectedly huge within the first week already.

4.We we’re contacted by the lawyers of ATARI inc…
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Atari
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Basically ATARI demanded we shut down our website immediately, and halt all production.
The reason for that; they stated they own the “Pong” name and game characteristics, on which we were infringing in their eyes. Needless to say we were unaware of such possible infringements when we started this endeavour.

On advise of our lawyer, we seconded those claims, and kept our website live.
However, in the meantime we halted all production and other investments, and cancelled our display-order from china, to prevent getting stuck with huge financial damage [these things are very expensive] and stocks that need to be destroyed, if these claims got confirmed. For us the Pong Clock started out as a fun project within our office, that got so much attention, that we then decided to produce and sell it to share the fun with you, not to get bankrupted by.

Conclusion
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a.
After a lot of “legal statements” back and forth the last month [of which we could not get you an update due to... you guessed it; legal issues] Buro Vormkrijgers and Atari both soon realized we do not want to take this into a legal battle that takes forever [ and costs too much money and energy for such a fun thing as a Pong Clock ]. Furthermore Atari also liked the Pong Clock, and they understand it’s more a homage then anything else, therefore:

Atari and Buro Vormkrijgers have come to an licence agreement to produce a limited run of 400 items.

Thus we are allowed to continue to use the Pong name as long as we state that it’s registered by ATARI. And we are allowed to continue selling the Pong Clock.

What about you [and your order].
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Your order has been halted to this date for reasons mentioned above. We have now changed our website with the necessary copyright info.

The problem now has become your lead-time.
One minor reason is we need to start the new production with altered cases and circuit-boards [with Atari credits] which costs time [ 2-3 weeks ].

But most importantly, the special inverted LCD screens we use, are produced on demand. The trick lies in the fact that when this all started, we ordered our screens and got a leadtime of 2-4 weeks from our supplier.

Now it turns out they combined our order with a larger customer and these items were made in China. Since that order had to be cancelled, it has now become virtually impossible for us to get our hands on the high quality screens we want. It turns out no reseller in Europe stocks these screens and the factories [all in Taiwan or China] do not start their machines before you order several thousands of screens, and we’re only licensed for 400 pieces as you know.

There lies our problem; we now have to wait until a bigger client orders a few thousand of these special screens to combine their order with ours. Until that happens, our order is halted at our supplier, and they will not give us an exact leadtime for this reason, but it will probably result in 10-12 weeks waiting for these screens.

We sincerely apologize for this; we understand your disappointments and hope you can somehow beside your feelings, understand the reasons for this situation and our disappointments. We could never have expected this bizarre chain of events. We have done everything in our power, to get our hands on these screens somewhere, but we can’t get our hands on them anymore. We are still trying very hard to arrange a deal for these screens, but since the other party is in china or Taiwan, this probably is taking a lot of time.

We still are going to produce these Pong Clocks, and we can wait these weeks, but we feel you, our pre-order customer, might want to cancel for this huge delay. Please be advised that when you intend to wait you will receive your pong clock, but we can’t state a date right now. Also be advised that there will only be 400 items produced in all, so this will be an ultimate collectors item. We are currently almost sold out based on the pre-orders we have received to date. After deducting possible cancelled orders as a result from this mail, we will continue to accept the last few pre-orders until we sell out, and then the online store will be removed. This means if you do no mind the long wait you will become one of the 400 people in the world with the original Pong Clock, signed by the designers and licensed by Atari.

Het ziet er naar uit dat ik in het bezit kom van een écht collectors' item... Misschien eentje extra bestellen voor op eBay? ;-)

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