The ill-fated and much-beleaguered Intellivision Amico

Leaked Intellivision Amico Documents Paint A Grim Picture

August 8, 2022

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

A new set of leaked Intellivision Amico documents paint a grim picture for the ill-fated console. They tell a story of ludicrous overambition, brazen copyright ignorance (either deliberate or accidental), and a lack of forward planning that might help to explain some of the console's bigger problems.

What do these leaked Intellivision Amico documents show?

Over on Reddit, user TattlingTommy (who, I presume, is no relation to ex-CEO Tommy Tallarico) says they were able to "procure a set of investment documents" via a former Intellivision employee. Naturally, we can't verify the integrity of these documents, but they look pretty legit. There are some financial documents, a pitch deck, and a fact book. Redditor gaterooze has also helpfully cherry-picked some of the highlights from the documents, which can be dry reading, especially in the case of the financial stuff. If the documents are real, they paint a picture of a company hopelessly out of its depth and bereft of knowledge when it comes to the assets it actually has to leverage in the modern gaming market.

 

A family apparently enjoying the Intellivision Amico
I don't think this family was involved behind the scenes at Intellivision, or their smiles might not be quite so broad.

As gaterooze points out, Intellivision was attempting to raise $30 million in investment, but eventually managed to raise just $1.6 million in "convertible notes" (a financial term for a certain type of investment provided to startups that aren't ready for valuation). You don't need to know what convertible notes are to know that that amount is way short of what Intellivision wanted, though. This might explain why Intellivision's subsequent investment campaigns were unsuccessful and why the company needed to lay off "significant" numbers of staff. Still, despite Intellivision's financial shortcomings (which may not have been obvious when these documents were created, in fairness, as they appear to be from early on in the company's history), it wanted to leverage the help of celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Jessica Alba to sell the console, which...well, good luck, fellas.

The Intellivision Amico looks a bit like a comedy of errors

It's not just Intellivision's financials that are wanting, though. As the pitch deck says, Intellivision was targeting a retail price of $229 for its console initially, and with a wholesale price of $190, most retailers likely wouldn't have accepted those terms because the profit margin would be too small. Intellivision later raised its RRP to $250, but this initial price shows the company's lack of understanding in terms of the gaming retail market. That same pitch deck document shows logos for companies Intellivision was apparently "in discussion with", according to its fact book (although it's probably fair to say that if I send an email to Disney, I could reasonably claim to be "in discussion" with them, too).

 
 
A player using the Intellivision Amico controller
The Intellivision Amico might have some neat ideas, but its business strategy doesn't look great.

Amusingly, Intellivision also says that based on its "limited operating history", there's no way the company would be able to "obtain licenses on commercially reasonable terms to third-party intellectual property", something over which ex-CEO Tommy Tallarico would later land himself in hot water. This could simply be a legal necessity for covering the company, but it's especially amusing when looking at the "exit strategy" slide in the pitch deck document, which simply shows the logos of companies like Apple, Tencent, and Nintendo. Keep dreaming, Intellivision. It's well worth taking a look at the documents if you're interested in the Amico, because there's a lot there that could explain some of the company's more questionable decisions or moments within the last few years.

Tantalizingly, there could be more in the offing. TattlingTommy says that they were "also sent some other pretty interesting stuff", but that they're going to let people "enjoy this stuff for the time being". It looks like there could be even more juicy info about the Intellivision Amico in TattlingTommy's possession, although of course, we're going to have to wait for that to arrive. Given that the Intellivision Amico is in pretty hot water right now, it's likely we'll get TattlingTommy's followup info before the console itself launches in many territories. We'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it.