Update #3: Dispatch has now committed to giving weekly updates on the status of its projects via email and on its social media channels. We've added the first update (via Twitter) at the bottom of the page.
Update #2: On Saturday 23rd May 2020 Dispatch put out a second update following one in March after a further two months of radio silence. This was mailed out to press and also reproduced on Twitter. It begins with 'These are unprecedented times' in large bold font before providing some information on the progress of certain games and the company's plans going forward. We've reproduced the text in full at the end of the article, beneath the first March update.
Update #1: Since publishing this article at 18:00 on Saturday 7th March 2020, Dispatch Games has sent out an update via email and Twitter concerning the current status of its products. We've reproduced the text in full at the end of the article.
As the video game industry moves inexorably towards digital-only distribution, there's a vanguard of publishers across platforms making sure that lovers of the physical article still have options. It's not just the fear that one day our digital licences will be revoked and we will lose access to our libraries, but also the satisfaction of having a shelf filled with lovely media. Being able to thumb through your collection and pick something to suit your mood is a distinct treat in an age of ephemeral pleasures. There's a ritualistic aspect for some collectors of physical media that's tough to replicate digitally, so no wonder there's a healthy demand for physical releases, and a roaring trade for smaller, boutique publishers.
I haven't heard anything of significance from them at all
One such publisher is Dispatch Games, a California-based outfit set up in 2016 bringing specialist Japanese games to the West. The publisher has a few Switch and PS4 releases under its belt to date, with the arguable standouts being classic arcade shmup Psyvariar Delta and fun little puzzler Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase, a Japanese Switch launch title which came to the West later in 2017.
Dispatch is set to release further titles in the form of shooters Radirgy Swag and Jaleco's classic The Game Paradise: Cruisin' Mix Special and has been taking pre-orders since the middle of last year. Both were originally scheduled for a Fall 2019 release and although they may not be marquee releases for the mainstream Switch audience, they rightfully attracted the attention of devoted fans. "I ordered both Radirgy Swag and Game Paradise for Switch from Dispatch - pretty much as soon as they were announced," one customer who prefers to remain anonymous told us.
Unfortunately, the release dates for both Radirgy and The Game Paradise (also known as Game Tengoku) came and went and customers have been met with radio silence via social media and direct contact channels. "I haven't heard anything of significance from them at all regarding those items, but the original date for Game Paradise has been and gone without any update."
"My issue is a lack of consistent updates on status," another customer, who goes by the Twitter handle @_Flowerboy777, told us. The lack of communication is by far the main problem for the people we spoke to about the situation. "I ordered in August and while I am understanding of delays due to development and production, the only update was on December 5th and 6th for both titles, which just amounted to 'we're working on it.'"
It seems that the company's radio silence is not limited to information regarding the status of orders, with change of address requests via email, the contact form on the company's website and social media have received no response either. Looking to the company's website, we find the following mission statement:
Dispatch Games™ is a publisher focused on unique opportunities for developing and shipping products worldwide. By using extensive development, production, and sales experience, Dispatch Games™ can efficiently expedite the process of bringing exciting products to the global market.
Unfortunately, it seems that Dispatch is slacking when it comes to the 'efficient expedition' of its products, and it's not the first time it has happened. "A couple of years ago they handled the Psyvariar Delta physical," continues our anonymous customer. "I ordered it somewhere else, but I saw a lot of angry people complaining about delays and lack of response then. After they finally delivered Psyvariar, they put out a PR message saying they understood frustrations and promised to do better etc etc. Now, however, they're just repeating the same behaviour."
While it is easy to suggest that people looking to buy these particular games get them from another source, it's not always that simple. "Part of the problem is there is no other way to get the games they're selling [...] even though they've been a total nightmare, people who want that title would have no choice but to use Dispatch."
Indeed, the website proudly states this fact, although for customers still awaiting the games they have already purchased it's a sore point. The Dispatch Game Online Store provides no information regarding the expected dates of the two aforementioned games, although the 'Terms & Privacy' section of the site is substantial when it comes to disclaimers regarding the accuracy of the little information on the site.
The most recent social media communication from Dispatch was a cryptic image teasing 21st April as a date to mark in your diaries. The responses were predictable, but once again went unaddressed by Dispatch:
This attempt to drum up hype is evidently not encouraging to people waiting on orders purchased months ago. "Their social media is promoting even more products now," says Flowerboy, "which is not at all comforting to customers waiting on games purchased far in the past."
Nobody we spoke to said they had experienced a sustained communications blackout like this with any other company. Despite the almost total lack of communication, the solutions seem obvious to all.
I imagine consistent updates every week or so would really help bring some good will
"Seeing as this is apparently a recurring issue from statements of past customers, the damage may already be done," Flowerboy777 tells us. "Obviously Dispatch is just a publisher that we unfortunately have to deal with to get these products. But I imagine consistent updates every week or so would really help bring some good will, along with not taking money immediately for pre-orders if they are unable to release remotely on time."
Our anonymous source also thinks there is still some hope for the company to turn things around. "First they need to actually deliver the products. Second, they need to give expected times, etc. Third, if they're having troubles, they need to inform people."
As that last point highlights, the people we spoke to seemed more than willing to accept delays as long as they are communicated clearly. In the age of crowdfunding successes and failures, the general gaming public is more aware than ever at the pitfalls and perils of game development and publishing - we can't be the only people still waiting for a 3DS download code for Mighty No. 9 that will never arrive or be referenced again by Comcept. While there are groups of consumers ready with pitchforks and hyperbole at the slightest delay, there is also an equally understanding, knowledgeable and accepting audience prepared to wait when problems crop up. They know the road to market can be bumpy and with the smaller and relatively niche audience for these products, there's an opportunity for more direct communication and explanation. Not knowing the situation is understandably the biggest source of frustration for Dispatch's customers; people just want to be kept in the loop.
Dispatch has another product up for pre-order at the time of writing: Japanese Rail Sim: Journey to Kyoto, "expected to ship April 2020" according to the pre-order page. Another Dispatch Games Western exclusive, it's an extremely niche product that enthusiasts will certainly be excited to get their hands on. It remains to be seen if Dispatch can deliver this time, and in a timely fashion. Given the subject of this particular game we'd expect nothing less, though on current evidence it seems unlikely.
Update #1 : On Monday 9th March a tweet went live from Dispatch Games confirming that the company is still "alive". This was followed on Tuesday 10th March with a statement sent out via Twitter and email which we will produce below. Dispatch suggests that the Coronavirus situation has impacted its plans and productions. Here is the statement in full:
We want to provide an update on where we are and again apologize for the delayed communication. We know its vital that we keep you informed and we are working on improving that communication moving forward.
There are a lot of moving pieces in getting product done and sometimes, things go sideways. Sometimes – very much so.
Retail has been a challenge for everyone – including us. This has been one of the most significant areas that impacted our timing and schedule over the last year. We will be modifying our plans regarding retail releases moving forward.
We do business with suppliers in China – most companies do. The evolving health issues have impacted some of the Limited Edition items we had sourced from China. It has affected our supply chain along with every other company doing business there due to government restrictions.
Turn times are significantly extended or in some cases - unknown as factories attempt to come back online. Transporting those items would have been via cargo ship, which normally takes a few weeks. Given the current shipping situation, we expect sea transport to be disrupted for some time. We obviously began sourcing from alternate suppliers once we understood the scope of the issue.
- There are currently no issues with getting the game carts from Japan.We air freight those in and production currently remains normal.
- We have a new, US-based print supplier who is currently working on the printed items now.
- The album and CD sets are from US-based suppliers and currently production remains normal.
- We are currently targeting April 21st as the release date for Radirgy Swag.
- We are currently targeting May 5th as the release date for Game Paradise.
- We are currently targeting May 17th as the release date for Japanese Rail Sim: Journey to Kyoto.
Global shipping times may be extended due to circumstances beyond our control in your local area.
We appreciate your continued support and patience. We are committed to earning your business and your trust again.
Update #2: On 23rd May 2020 Dispatch sent out the following statement to press and via Twitter following over two months of radio silence (except for a single tweet promoting the JALECO License Catalog website). We've reproduced the update below in full:
These are unprecedented times.
We find ourselves rapidly adapting to the challenges associated with the global pandemic. Everything normal with the supply chain, staffing, development and even shipping has been disrupted on a worldwide scale. We have been adjusting as our partners and vendors have been adjusting to the ever changing new normal.
We have dealt with product delays before – they are part of the business. It happens. What hasn’t happened before is an almost perfect storm, compounded wildly by changes in the world outside of our control. The health and safety of our families, partners and customers has taken center stage.
6 weeks. We need at least 6 weeks before we can get product launched. Band-Aid ripped.
This is an estimate - We cannot guarantee a specific date yet given the situation in the supply chain. It changes nearly every day. We do not want to put out another date only to miss it again for reasons out of our control. What we can do is keep everyone updated on a weekly basis.
So, what are we doing about it?
This update was held up as we completed our effort to ship out ALL remaining open orders - including combined order items that were being held awaiting other titles. Anyone that had a combined shipment with any of the delayed products will get the remaining items shipped when they are ready at no additional charge. Tracking on shipments went out to everyone today.
We also have been addressing the customer support backlog and customer requests. These should be completed tomorrow. We are also planning to introduce a new ticket support system next week – stay tuned for those details. This new system should address support issues rather rapidly and provide you with more visibility on your support needs.
Jaleco Pocket Players
– These are now in stock and all placed orders have shipped.
– Now Making.
– Now Making. Yes, the e-Shop version will be coming directly through City Connection. This has been the plan for some time - nothing really changed in terms of our strategy with the team except for the release timing.
Rail Sim – Now Making.
– This has been delayed due to development related issues. We expect to have this addressed soon. Coins are still coming to those that ordered. We will give an update on those shortly.
Soldam PS4 – This has been delayed due to development related issues.
We are focused on getting all these handled before we talk about anything new.
Everyone stay safe and healthy out there.
Update #3: Dispatch has now committed to providing weekly updates, the first of which can be found below:
We attempted to contact Dispatch for a response before original publication (Sat 7th March, 2020) although with no better luck than the customers we spoke to. This article has been updated on 10th March, 25th May and 9th June 2020 to add the company statements above.
Let us know below if you've had any experience - good or bad - with Dispatch Games, and if the statements above satisfy you.
i went through the same thing with Limited Run Games, I will NEVER order from them again, what a NIGHTMARE.
Well I lost out when I asked to cancel two item they kicked me off my orders even though I still had one I was waiting for. And now I will never buy from them again. Just making 2 simple cancellation and that was all to cause them to cancel all my other purchases. Look like they are becoming a Warned Collectors problem online retailer.
Never heard of this company nor does it seem like they are worth anyone's time.
@Bearzilla823 Limited was alot easier to deal with yes they do say if you cancel they will delete and remove your account but how Dispatch cancelled my online orders besides the two was just poor customer service.
This is sad to hear, i’ve liked all of dispatch’s releases so far. The Game Paradise is a game i really want in my switch library so i’m really hoping it sees the light of day.
Yeah this is a major issue with these small production companies like this. I mean not only do they really overprice the games, sometimes making the physical editions twice as expensive as getting them digitally or more, but they seem to be really bad about getting things out on time. By now this whole market sort of feels like a cash grab meant to ripoff collectors who are willing to pay too much for these things and buy games that don't even exist yet. In my experience it is way too easy to just sit around forever wondering when they will finally ship your game out.
I pre-ordered radirgy and game paradise soon after they went up for pre order. Have been bummed waiting on any update. At least Vasara will be in my hands soon.
They really, really need to work on their communication. One Tweet a week should not be too hard.
@HIGHscores85 how the heck did you get your hands on Vasara? I’ve nbeen looking for a way to purchase that, but it’s going for $100 plus on eBay consistently, and that’s way too much.
I have these pre-ordered through Dispatch Games. It has been so long since I had heard anything I had forgot about it until I saw this article.
@SwitchForce ouch, that totally sux
Delayed for Coronavirus, clearly.
Yet here I am having more of an issue with Amazon than I ever had with the rest collectively.
@Paraka Yet here I am having more of an issue with Amazon than I ever had with the rest collectively.
As in how? or is it other issues that your relating to Amazon that isn't Amazon Switch games related? If so then that is a mute here.
@Bearzilla823 so now I avoid any orders from them now. LRG, SRG, SRRG, Strictly gaming I can negotiate with. That's how they loose my business.
Does anyone have their address or able to check if they are an actual registered business ?
@SwitchForce - Switch and games related in general. I wouldn't have have mentioned it when we're talking games if it wasn't involving games, but good strawman though.
@Paraka the only strawman is the one that makes issues but provides nothing to backup those issues to provide otherwise. I had no issue with Amazon orders only when you didn't cancel before they shipped then that is the buyers fault for not cancelling ahead of time. This is what I suspect happened if so blaming Amazon is the wrong direction and wrong orders aren't Amazon problem either. And if anger is directed because of the business practice of Amazon then file a lawsuit against them. I ordered from Amazon games and other stuff and had no issues returning or canceling before the ship date. If the user can't see or understand this part then that isn't any fault but the user themselves.
@Paraka Remember you agreed to Amazon TOS without even knowing what it says. So you have no legit claims here unless proven otherwise.
@VN1X I have three of their games, and they are definitely niche titles, but I like them. I think Penguin Wars was in particular a hidden gem. And yes, I preordered one of the MIA games described in this article. I'm not surprised you didn't hear of them, because they're small and most stores don't carry many (any?) of their games. But it is sad that they are failing because they do bring interesting retro stuff to the market.
@JayJ It would be interesting to know why these games are delayed. Of course Dispatch could fix that by actually talking to us. But I figure it's a toss up what's actually causing the delay: getting the games themselves ready, or all the swag they've promised like the vinyl records.
@SwitchForce - First; What on earth are you drawing from my statements that I have had more troubles with Amazon than most of these indie shoppers combined? Sounds like you're making this a personal attack on you.
Also, you're putting words in my mouth trying to victim blame events that have happened to me with Amazon I haven't elaborated on and proceed to make a claim I am making it bigger than it is. I didn't.
As for the TOS. Nowhere does it state that they can deliver my games elsewhere when something else has been delivered to my door prior.
You apparently have needed a story; so here it is (though judging from your brash reaction to me, you'll dismiss it).
Amazon has had repeatedly delivered games (and other like-sized items) to just... Whereever in the vicinity of my house. Each one is photo taken, as per usual. However, when I call them out about delivering to some other place and experienced outright denial of improper delivery. This has happened a handful of times, and two of them had a more expensive item (like a giant ass crockpot) deliver appropriately to my doorstep THE SAME DAY. What proof? Well, my house doesn't have a green carpeted doorstep, or dead potted plants (both of which are in two of my most recent experiences). I have to climb the PR ladder about three rings to get someone competent enough to either refund me or attempt redelivery.
This has been a weird on and off with them, especially with games ordered by them. It's gotten bad enough that I often try to find the best case to get them packaged together so they're not going to dead plant dude.
And shocker, that's my issues with Amazon, which have been more than I have had with any of these other companies this far. Dispatch is been super quiet with me but so far that's been it. LRG, SRG, SLG... no problems. Hence my original comment you took personally.
So excuse me for being taken back a wee bit for that little stab and follow up that somehow I am lying or making stuff up when the comments didn't call for a whole life story.
@Paraka this is what happens when the real truth comes out attack the person asking for proof of the dispute. The longer the rant the more reason this is not believed. If you have proof of the problem then it should be shared for others to know the issue but I guess when asked for it it's attack the messenger. And whom said I was being attacked but you yourself made that claim-remember that. So the truth is known now of the problem.
@SwitchForce - Here is a question; How did my comment of having more problems with Amazon an attack on you?
And you proved my point; You dismissed the story as a mere rant, as I expected you would since you turned all this personally about you, bud. Nothing I would have said would be believed cause it's either a "rant" or unsubstantiated in your eyes.
Grow up, bud.
The Coronavirus excuse buys them a bit more time. Obviously it’s not the real issue as the games were delayed prior to this and in all fairness, ignoring your customers just sucks
@Paraka you gave no context and posted one of those all too typical "weeeell myyyyy contrarian point of view has a vaguely referenced issue to back it up." People are sick of those kinds of posts in general. Literally saying nothing. Next time take 2 seconds to write, "and yet I'm having more issues with Amazon! Recently they lost my [...] and are being no great help." Literally all you have to say.
@Dang69 - So you're assessing some form of gatekeeping rule because I state I am having more issues with Amazon?
Would I have to divulge my issues the same way if they were in agreement with the lot?
@Paraka Just saying, in that initial post of yours for an example, provide context. Otherwise it comes across as you just being contrarian. I have had an issue or two with them myself, one example with late late late shipping for Bayonetta 1 and 2 in 2018, before I had Prime. "do to this a hotly requested item, there is a delay in our ability to send it to you" even though I had preordered it months prior.
@Dang69 - Don't take this as vindictive or anything, but when someone uses the phrase, "And here I am," usually that indicates a self-exception.
Here is an example phrase;
"My family is out enjoying a theme park everyone got tickets to, and here I am at home with a cold."
This doesn't imply that the family has a cold, or that they're not having fun. Just that sole person isn't.
I never implied everyone having issues are wrong. I am saying I had no such thing, in fact, I had more of these issues with someone who isn't quite known for it; Amazon.
Grant it, I should probably count my lucky stars it is with Amazon than a limited run boutique publisher, but that doesn't make my experience any more or less valid.
But even with the context I provided later, it was dismissed as a "rant," so context on the contrary would likely be unaccepted.
It's true that CV has impacted production in the video game industry across the board, but Dispatch Games using it as an explanation for its delays feels like a red herring.
@Paraka I understood exactly what you meant by here I am...but I think maybe I got your tone wrong. "And here I am"...at least in midwest US, can be like...there's a bit of sarcasm to it. To the tone. Not so much that you are being sarcastic in the facts you're giving, but sort of patronizing in a manner of "pffff everything has probs with delivery service these days, quit whining about this issue." Like, "OH AND HERE I AM having issues with this other thing, like ya'll don't have issues with said thing as well." Apologies...I THINK, lol. Yeah, you unpacked what you meant well. Sorry! But I think that other person took it that as well?
@Amboman101 They are a business for sure, got a couple of physical games from them before. Earlier games they published that is.
@Dang69 - I am in the midwest too, I think the tone deal is always perceived differently based on one's already preconceived opinion of the situation. I stand out cause I am stating something that is in opposition of what's happening. People see this as an affront to their own opinions, so I am inherently wrong so people feel an impulse to attack the opinion.
It's actually pretty common, and why I didn't feel the need to strike back at him, just pointing out it's not as bad as he thinks I am acting. It's seen more commonly with religious and political talk.
I paid for two games almost a year ago but they are "now making" so I feel much better.
The second update is sloppily written and even more vague than before. I wanted to give these guys a chance but will probably pursue a refund.
I've only heard bad things about this company, if it even exists at all.
Based on the article they had prior problems with both timely communication and fulfillment, and they're clearly a small operation, so the pandemic probably knocked them on their butts.
That's like a microcosm of our whole economy, at least in the U.S.: everyone is standing on a knife's edge in the best of times, and a small hiccup can mean complete disaster - most folks don't have the resources to plan for long-term income disruption; now everyone is being hit at once, and because there's no safety net it's just mass failure upon mass failure. It was bound to happen, because we're short-sighted and value immediate gain at the expense of everything else. Moreover, this will only get worse as the year goes on, because we're not even at the peak of the current wave, and society thinks it's OK to reopen. I expect a second, worse wave before the end of summer, and definitely by fall. Boutique businesses like these that fly-by-night are almost certainly doomed.
tl;dr - I would cancel and refund now while these guys still have the capital, because they will probably not survive to do it later.
@Dreamcast2Turbo They are a real company. I have three of their games, and while they're all small indie titles, I think they are pretty fun. One of their games, Psyvariar Delta was released with a special edition with a CD and vinyl soundtrack, so they have delivered in the past. The games that this article is about sounds like they may have tried to up their game with really deluxe packages that required them to source products from different suppliers, and it just really went off the rails.
I'll tell you what's going on.....NOTHING
Asinine treatment of their customers if those tweets are as dismissive as they seem: radio silence is underhanded speak for "we gave up and don't care." Fulfill your obligations to the customer first and then sulk in a corner. Seems like a clear case of over promising things and then hiding behind every available strawman in order to justify their lackluster service.
2018 They take , '19 ignore, take a bit more, go silent, send vague posts, boast a lil, '20 take a bit more, throw hands in air, run outa cash flow, pandemic(which shouldn't of been issue), woe is us, hollow apologie, further dates missed, mo ignorance!
I received a mail back from a very apologetic rs34 stating as localisation was done for West by fall 19. I'd jus be happy with the digital like Tengoku.
@dartmonkey Here we are, a quarter of the way through 2022, and still no word on the physical releases for The Game Paradise and Radirgy Sway. This...is tiresome.
@Magician Agreed and they took down their Facebook page.
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