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Intellivision Lays Off Staff, Licenses IP to Fund Amico

The Intellivision Amico has had a long and tortured development process.
The Intellivision Amico has had a long and tortured development process. / Courtesy of Intellivision

Intellivision has laid off an unknown but "significant" number of employees and is licensing out its intellectual property to continue funding development of the troubled Amico retro games console.

CEO Phil Adams shared the news in an email to customers who pre-ordered the console, thanking them for their patience and explaining some of the struggles Intellivision has faced. (H/T The Nerf Report's Bryant Chappel.)

"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," he wrote.

Intellivision is also licensing its IP to development partners to make games for other platforms, though it hasn't revealed which properties have been licensed to which developers.

"These licensing deals will help fund continued development of Amico," continues Adams' email. "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."

Uncertainty surrounding the future of the Amico has led many who pre-ordered to file for refunds. Adams says Intellivision is slowly working through those requests, and assured customers they would honor them all.

The news comes after Intellivision cancelled the StartEngine crowdfunding campaign it opened earlier this year. When it closed after a few weeks of fundraising, the campaign had raised $58,000 of the $5 million target. Adams says all backers were returned the full sum of their contributions.

Meanwhile, Adams says the Amico has begun a test production run that would assess the manufacturing process and the quality of the final product. Units should be completed in the next few weeks, and the first run of finalized consoles will go to direct orders and two main distribution partners rather than retail units.

"It is crucially important to show to our current [and] future investors, partners, and customers that we have built a sound platform," Adams said.

The Amico was originally set to launch in October 2020. Intellivision delated it first to April of that year, then to the end of 2021. It's unclear when the console is now expected to launch, but an SEC filing from February indicated Intellivision might only be able to operate until July.