As Retro magazine was considered a done deal and a viable business by Mike, his console idea took precedence and he saw it as his meal ticket.
He was wrong, very wrong.
Mike needed somebody who could design hardware for his console and he began working with Sean Robinson initially, though he would later play down this involvement and claim that somebody else involved Sean. Another example of his distancing tactics.
Mike knew Sean from the SC3 video game party events that they would both attend in California, and it is likely that they initially talked about the console idea there.
Sean’s website made a bold claim:
[…] with my technical expertise services I strive to prevent and solve any technology crisis.
Sean suggested that they bring in Clay Cowgill, a proven and successful engineer of similar projects, and Clay got to work designing initial concepts from the limited and changing information that they provided.
Satisfied that he had done all he could without further design specifications and payment, Clay gave Mike an estimated cost to bring his prototype system to fruition. It wouldn’t be ready for the market but it would be running games. That cost was around $70,000 and 14 weeks of engineering work.
Mike baulked at the cost and Clay noticed a very sudden change of direction as Mike wanted to use crowd funding to bring in the money that would pay for it.
Almost immediately the emphasis of the project shifted to ‘how soon can we get this on Kickstarter’ with a ‘smoke & mirrors’ demo system for a video.