Giant fighting robots on the ropes as MegaBots announces "we ran out of money"
From an observer's standpoint, the last two years of giant robot fighting action (or at least anticipation of) from the MegaBots team has been great fun to watch. From the initial USA vs Japan challenge, to watching the giant Eagle Prime beating up a Prius, to the world's first international giant robot fight itself, the whole thing's had a terrific sense of fun and showmanship about it.
And for all the limitations of working with giant robots - the huge expense, for one, as well as the safety issues and the simple fact that massive robots really can't move fast enough to duke it out Real Steel style - the WWE-style presentation of the whole thing, the technology itself and the MegaBots team's boundless enthusiasm made for enthralling viewing.
But as much as it made headlines around the world, it seems the idea hasn't been able to pull in enough cash to keep it going. Co-founder Matt Oehrlein has just released a video on the MegaBots channel stating simply, "we ran out of money."
The MegaBots team has been let go. The (presumably fairly beat up) robots are back in a dusty ol' warehouse, all the production gear is gone and it looks like it's more or less Oehrlein, a video camera and a laptop left.
There is, however, still about US$200,000 in the bank, giving Oehrlein the chance to make a shoestring MegaBots: Season Two with.
"Subscribe now," says Oehrlein in the video, "and over the next nine months you'll get to see either one of the most legendary comeback stories in startup history play out, or you'll see me slowly and painfully acknowledging that there just isn't a sustainable business model for giant fighting robots."
A further Facebook post gave a hint as to what he might be planning:
Rebound story or train wreck, it's certainly tough to look away. And if this is the crushing end for the MegaBots team, we'll say this: working within the realities of the technology they had, we reckon they did a sterling job.