Decipher Faces Lawsuits, Fan ComplaintsBy Michelle
August 18, 2005 - 7:18 PM
Decipher Inc., the company which publishes the official fan club magazine Star Trek Communicator and produces Star Trek collectible game cards, has had three rounds of layoffs this year and faces lawsuits and complaints that it is not meeting its obligations.
"Is the game up at Decipher?" asked Inside Business, which said that the future was "murky" for Decipher. The Norfolk-based company also holds licenses for Lord of the Rings and Star Wars games, but reportedly has had its company health insurance cancelled and has sold its building to lease a smaller space.
Randy Muir, who owns the Oregon CCG store Wild Things, said that the company is not as prompt as it once was but that he had no real problems with them. He felt confident that he would be reimbursed for late products with future products. "Itís not unexpected, given the layoffs," he added.
Fans said that the company was evasive and had failed to answer mail. Decipher message boards contain complaints about orders not received by customers and delays for planned games. Several fans have also noted that they have not received a copy of the Star Trek Communicator magazine since the April/May issue.
A fan who calls himself mrbonkers posted in this forum thread that he had written to the editor of the Communicator, Larry Nemecek, who told him that Decipher was no longer publishing the magazine but assured fans at the Las Vegas Creation convention that "Paramount will not let the Fan Club and magazine die." He wrote that the magazine would return and a formal announcement would be made in 1-2 months. Nemecek also wrote that he and other employees had gone without a paycheck for some time.
Company owner Warren Holland posted an article at Decipher thanking fans for their patience and saying that the company was reorganising to "a more manageable size."
"When dramatic changes like this occur, rumors and stories tend to fly out of control and perspective gets distorted. The truth is, Decipher has more employees today than when we launched the Star Wars and Star Trek CCG's ten years ago," he wrote. "I know that many of the people you know personally are no longer here but...production of our Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings games are on track."
Prize support, Holland said, was being delayed 6-8 weeks while pending shipments were sent out. He encouraged fans to be more involved in playing the games and less in trying to figure out the corporate politics and business decisions.
The Inside Business article is here.