If you're subscribed to Piepacker – which now goes by the name Jam.gg – then you'll already know what a wonderful service it is. The service – which launched back in March 2020 – offers cloud-based access to modern and retro titles and even boasts online play for classic games.
A while back, Piepacker crowdfunded the production of a device which would augment the power of the service even more in the eyes of retro gaming fans: the PieReader.
It was intended as a modular device which would allow you to "bring your own cartridges to the Piepacker environment" and add online multiplayer, video chat, cloud saves, achievements and leaderboards. The idea would be that you'd purchase a different cartridge adapter for each system, use the PieReader to dump and upload the ROM, and enjoy.
While Nintendo's Switch Online service offers some of these features – including cloud saves – you're limited to the games that Nintendo chooses to add. The PieReader would have allowed you to play a much wider selection of games this way (as long as you had the original cartridge, of course), so it's easy to see why so many people pledged to support it.
Sadly, Piepacker / Jam.gg has announced today that the PieReader is officially dead, and it has refunded all related payments to its backers.
In a statement sent out to backers, the team behind the venture said:
We’ve come to the painful conclusion that we can’t possibly deliver the Piereader, in the way it and you deserve.
After a long year full of unexpected drawbacks we all remember by now (COVID, the global shortages of micro chips), insane pricing inflation and factory delays reached unmanageable levels: the initial budget was suddenly multiplied by three and the production time more than doubled. After months of exploration to find a workaround, like so many other companies out there, we simply could not get a satisfying delivery time and price for a product we felt confident about.We have decided to do the right thing, take a financial hit and proceed with the full refund.
We’re sorry for bearing such news, and your faith in this project has been legendary. We’ll never forget it.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in.