2017. The beginning of the end for Stern...April 1st is over.

(Topic ID: 185260)

2017. The beginning of the end for Stern...April 1st is over.


By Luckydogg420

1 year ago



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    There are 303 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 7.
    -80
    #1 1 year ago

    With the recent release of AFMr from CGC, I think that the pinball producing world has changed. I think that this could be the start of competitive pricing and might lead way to the demise of Stern Pinball.

    For years Stern has been buying finished cabinets and Playfields from CGC and has been charging a mark up for them. Stern assembles the games in house and keeps raising the price to see how much the market will bare.

    With the development of MMr, CGC built the cabinets and playfields and paid Stern to assemble their games. Driving the cost up because you have 3 companies making profit off of one game. PPS, CGC and Stern.

    Now with the production of AFMr, CGC has decided to assemble the games in house. This game has a cheaper build because you now have one less company getting paid from the product. Stern has been left out of the profit this time around.

    But Stern still needs to purchase their playfields and cabinets from CGC, and they presumably charge a mark up on these parts to help with the bottom line. Making a profit off of CGC parts inside Sterns games. I also presume that CGC is making a profit off of the Playfield and cabinet to stay in business. Therefore a game built in house by CGC will always have the potential to cost less to manufacture. CGC will always charge Stern more for cabinets and playfields then it will cost them to make them.

    CGC controls the ability of Stern to make new games. If the Playfield line at CGC is running full speed creating new playfields for AFMr, will they also be producing playfields as quickly for Stern? Could this lead to delays in Stern's factory because they are waiting for shipments of playfields and cabinets from CGC?

    Unless Stern can begin producing their own cabinets and playfields then they will always be dependent on CGC to make new games, and they will always be charged a premium for these parts, an extra cost that they will need to pass on to the customer. CGC will have a manufacturing advantage over Stern because their not dependent on Stern to stay afloat, and their production cost will always be less then what they sell parts to Stern for.

    This could be the beginning of competitive pricing for new games and CGC has a clear advantage over Stern.

    #2 1 year ago

    I don't believe stern has bought playfields from cgc in several months so I think your info is not accurate. Not sure on the cabinets but they are likely getting those elsewhere or looking into it also.

    #3 1 year ago

    Suppliers come and go in every industry and the companies that purchase/use their products don't simply collapse. Stern will (likely already have) just find new suppliers for the items used in their games and move forward.

    12
    #4 1 year ago

    Nope. Stern still has the best entry level price which is the #1 factor to operators.

    CGC isn't going to make original games so their model only applies to the top 10 games that can be cost-effectively remade. And remaking a game has taken 2 years. Is AFMr going to take a few sales away from Stern? Definitely. But I don't think Stern is in any danger.

    25
    #5 1 year ago

    Stern Army, call to arms!!!! Assemble defensive positions!!!!

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rum-Z:

    Stern Army, call to arms!!!! Assemble defensive positions!!!!

    Don't get me wrong. I love my GoT pre. stern has made a ton of great games.

    I just don't think it's good for stern to have a supplier of their main components coming into direct competition with them.

    If CGC isn't making playfields for stern anymore then whom is making them? Stern isn't making them in house.

    #7 1 year ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    I just don't think it's good for stern to have a supplier of their main components coming into direct competition with them.

    I understand, I'm just joking with you. Your concern is valid.

    #8 1 year ago

    CGC has been around a lot longer then Stern and has an equal opportunity to build games at a reasonable price. These remakes could just be used as a means to set up tooling in the factory. After a couple remakes CGC could switch to new themes and compete directly against stern.

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from jgentry:

    I don't believe stern has bought playfields from cgc in several months so I think your info is not accurate. Not sure on the cabinets but they are likely getting those elsewhere or looking into it also.

    I haven't heard of Stern switching Playfield providers. Even through all the Playfield problems. As far as I know CGC has been making playfields for Stern for decades.

    #10 1 year ago

    #11 1 year ago

    Building pinball cabinets is not rocket science - if the relationship with CGC becomes difficult, Stern will simply find another supplier or make them in house. I believe they have already done this with playfields anyways.

    I'm pretty sure everyone knows this, but Stern has been making a killing on their games ever since JJP came into being. So I'm sure they have plenty of room to absorb a little additional cost on the cabinets if necessary.

    I haven't bought a Stern in a long time as I think they are a little overpriced compared to the competition, but they are rock solid, well designed and have great themes.

    It will be fun to watch and see how fast CGC can produce AFMr and get to the next title.

    But in this case, I'm pulling for both Stern and CGC to keep cranking out the games.

    #12 1 year ago

    CGC are great folks, and yes they make cabinets, foosball tables, etc......but that is a LOOONNNGGG way from mass-producing a complete pin. How about we wait to see if they can actually get anything of quality/quantity off of their brand new production line before declaring them then new king of the trash pile.

    #13 1 year ago

    Until somebody else can build 3 titles a year, I don't think Stern has anything to worry about. The problem with remakes is that a lot of collectors all ready have them. You have a limited customers you feel they got to have them. With a new hit title everybody wants it. Stern has they majority of the market and you have one source for it. A remake title there are two sources, original or remake.

    #14 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rum-Z:

    Stern Army, call to arms!!!! Assemble defensive positions!!!!

    Stern Army, 'nuff said.

    Brad

    Stern_Army.jpg

    #15 1 year ago

    With the recent quality issue and lack of code updates one can't help think that Stern is digging themselves into a hole. Even though they can produce multiple titles a year they have been fraught with issues ie. Not working NIB, play-field issues to name a few. I have had multiple friends who got NIB pinball with multiple problems when NIB. They are never buying a NIB stern nor would I. We all want Stern to succeed but there pricing, especially for BM 66 was off the charts and the quality seems to become more compromised with the quick release of titles.

    #16 1 year ago

    This is enough to make me never buy a Stern again.

    Quoted from jellikit:

    Stern Army, 'nuff said.
    Brad

    #17 1 year ago
    Quoted from Trekie:

    Until somebody else can build 3 titles a year, I don't think Stern has anything to worry about. The problem with remakes is that a lot of collectors all ready have them. You have a limited customers you feel they got to have them. With a new hit title everybody wants it. Stern has they majority of the market and you have one source for it. A remake title there are two sources, original or remake.

    At least they are getting their pins.....there are a lot of folks that would trade a crappy game for the handful of nothing they have after investing in some of the other tables out there.

    #18 1 year ago

    I understand your point. Ive been in similar situations in other industries......that alone did not produce the affect in your conclusion.

    Price Wars? Possibly, but its a small market, and your conclusions are only a possibility......

    #19 1 year ago

    IMHO, I don't think any companies are going to want to lower prices. If anything prices may stabilize a bit... but I can't see things ever getting cheaper.

    #20 1 year ago

    Stern still makes the most inexpensive commercial pinball available by any company (Pro line which outsells everything probably at least 5 to 1). So I'm not sure what kind of price war anyone is expecting.

    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    With the recent release of AFMr from CGC, I think that the pinball producing world has changed. I think that this could be the start of competitive pricing and might lead way to the demise of Stern Pinball.
    For years Stern has been buying finished cabinets and Playfields from CGC and has been charging a mark up for them. Stern assembles the games in house and keeps raising the price to see how much the market will bare.
    With the development of MMr, CGC built the cabinets and playfields and paid Stern to assemble their games. Driving the cost up because you have 3 companies making profit off of one game. PPS, CGC and Stern.
    Now with the production of AFMr, CGC has decided to assemble the games in house. This game has a cheaper build because you now have one less company getting paid from the product. Stern has been left out of the profit this time around.
    But Stern still needs to purchase their playfields and cabinets from CGC, and they presumably charge a mark up on these parts to help with the bottom line. Making a profit off of CGC parts inside Sterns games. I also presume that CGC is making a profit off of the Playfield and cabinet to stay in business. Therefore a game built in house by CGC will always have the potential to cost less to manufacture. CGC will always charge Stern more for cabinets and playfields then it will cost them to make them.
    CGC controls the ability of Stern to make new games. If the Playfield line at CGC is running full speed creating new playfields for AFMr, will they also be producing playfields as quickly for Stern? Could this lead to delays in Stern's factory because they are waiting for shipments of playfields and cabinets from CGC?
    Unless Stern can begin producing their own cabinets and playfields then they will always be dependent on CGC to make new games, and they will always be charged a premium for these parts, an extra cost that they will need to pass on to the customer. CGC will have a manufacturing advantage over Stern because their not dependent on Stern to stay afloat, and their production cost will always be less then what they sell parts to Stern for.
    This could be the beginning of competitive pricing for new games and CGC has a clear advantage over Stern.

    Catchy thread title, then I read the above and realised... there's 2 minutes of my life I won't be getting back.

    #22 1 year ago

    Unfortunately, until someone else can offer an full featured game at 5000, then we are not going to see real competition. They also need to make them at a reaosnable pace.

    EVERYONE else is still going after collector market.

    I think we are at the start of some big things and it is more a multiple blows sort of situation that may cause Stern to ramp up quality and bring down prices.

    I know if I were Stern, I would be killing the competition right now by selling full featured PRO models with better quality (they dont want to put out shit, but it is obvious that bean counting hurt them with some recent titles) and lower the price to 4500. It is obvious they can sell for that and after the slow price inflation the past few years it is the perfect way to control perception.

    Current other players:
    Spooky >> the boutique market but does not appear they ever want to grow to a beyond 1000 game per title run. They are a hit to Stern but a different market focus. Still hurt them and cause reaction, but not much due to scale.

    Heighway >> obviously delivering on scale is their current hurdle. If they get to 100 games a month then they are a big deal and major player. They seem to be addressing things and planning big. If we see them with blockbusters like Aliens and a reasonable pace of production, then they will cause motion.

    American Pinball >> too soo to be known entity, but thus far have proven the ability to make stuff happen quickly. It will be a while till we see what really comes of Houdini and their ability to make quality and scalability to many machines. That said, given the background they are a major player but impact is a few years out.

    Homepin >> obviously also taking the Heighway approach of building for the long term and future. When they really get moving they will be a force and could also provide a pricepoint in the PRO market or better to force market.

    JJP >> still marketing to the collector and pushing forward the full featured games which is great. I hope they have a blockbuster title around the bend to really get them to the next level. Again another major player, but not making impacts due to price/ market they are looking for. WOuld love to see a full featured game at JJP level for 6500 or under. I think then they start taking market. People can do the mental gymnastics to gor from a 5100 Stern PRO to a full featured JJP at 6500 pretty easily (similar to what people are doing already for Alien/ heighway)

    Interesting times and let's be honest... without GB being a great selling theme things would have likely needed change quicker. Stern should be thanking their choices on that one as it likely saved them at the perfect time.

    Most choices I have ever seen and possibly the most options to buy new games ever?

    #23 1 year ago

    Stern has dumped enough turds over the years to prove a poorly selling game is not the end of the world and ARM affecting mutable titles I don't think so.JJP may be hurt if AFM sells well with only one game every year or two a turd could kill them

    #24 1 year ago

    Thumbs up just for bringing up an interesting topic, even though I disagree with your conclusion.

    Stern is the clear leader. They have multiple potential competitors, but nobody has really become a real threat except JJP.

    CGC might be 6th or 7th down the list of potential competitors.

    20
    #25 1 year ago

    Stern has a lineup coming and the ability to deliver the at price that others can't. 2017 is likely to be Stern's best year ever.

    #26 1 year ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    I haven't heard of Stern switching Playfield providers. Even through all the Playfield problems. As far as I know CGC has been making playfields for Stern for decades.

    Well they did. Why do you think all of the playfield issues suddenly happened. If what I was told is correct cgc is not making any of sterns playfields and all of them are coming from FUN now. Long term stern plans to do them in house if possible.

    #27 1 year ago

    Wow. So many down votes. I thought this would ruffle some feathers, but also thought that it was something worth discussing. If this is the beginning of the end, then the end is a long way off and not happening any time soon. Although I do think that we've hit a tipping point and CGC is in a unique position Building games with PPS. Sure, the first two games have been desireable remakes, but why couldn't they be working on an original title in the background while building these remakes. It seems unlikely to set up a producing line for just a couple of games. It would have been easier to continue with Stern making their games. CGC has just as much potential to build new games as well as old games.

    Like whysnow mentioned, there's a lot of new competition in the pinball building game and some of them look to be getting ready for the long game, but I don't think that the market will sustain everyone for more than a couple years. My bet is that some of these companies will be gone within a decade. Pricing and quality will be the deciding factors I guess.

    #28 1 year ago

    They're in a bigger plant now and still can't seem to keep up with demand. The topic seems ridiculous...but I could be proved wrong.

    The entire hobby is on the rise right now, btw, and Stern is the #1 supplier of games. No reason to think that will change any time soon.

    #29 1 year ago

    This hypothesis is totally flawed. Producing an already existing design with a few enhancements is miles away from creating a brand new game. On top of that, they are still charging at the Premium level for a Pro. Don't get me wrong - they did a great job on AFMr. But at this time the ONLY thing CGC looks to be able to do are nice remakes of 90's pins.

    #30 1 year ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    CGC has just as much potential to build new games as well as old games.

    They could "build" new games - but it takes a lot more to "create" new games.

    19
    #31 1 year ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    With the recent release of AFMr from CGC, I think that the pinball producing world has changed. I think that this could be the start of competitive pricing and might lead way to the demise of Stern Pinball

    If AFMr was $4500, Stern would be concerned.

    rd

    #32 1 year ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Wow. So many down votes. I thought this would ruffle some feathers, but also thought that it was something worth discussing.

    My feathers aren't ruffled at all. I just disagree with your premis.

    #33 1 year ago
    Quoted from jgentry:

    Well they did. Why do you think all of the playfield issues suddenly happened. If what I was told is correct cgc is not making any of sterns playfields and all of them are coming from FUN now. Long term stern plans to do them in house if possible.

    Thanks for this info. I did not know that CGC no longer made playfields for Stern.

    But this makes me wonder. Did Stern see the writing on the wall way back when MMr was announced and decided then to change their processes and bring Playfield manufacturing in house? Did Stern know that CGC's second game would be built in house and no longer with them?

    I agree that Stern has the Pro market on lockdown, but as soon as one or two of these other builders reach that price point they will have competition for the first time. Do you think all of these other companies coming to market are planning to be just second best.

    #34 1 year ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    If AFMr was $4500, Stern would be concerned.
    rd

    even 5500 (like it could have been) and they would be very concerned

    #35 1 year ago

    I seriously doubt CGC is going to take over the pinball world with a few remakes. Stern produces several new titles each year and still offer a pro cheaper than everyone else. They have the extensive dealer network and Stern games are the modern pins you most see on location.

    #36 1 year ago

    If you really want to know who should be quaking in their boots, it's JJP. There, now let the down votes commence...

    CGC is more a direct competitor to JJP than Stern. JJP and CGC are putting out games at the same frequency, they're targeting the Premium end of the market who are looking for Bally / William 'style' games. And CGC coming in cheaper than JJP. And CGC does not need to pay game designers like JJP does.

    12
    #37 1 year ago

    "PPS is selling a 20-year old game at $1500-2500 more than a Stern pro! It's the end for Stern!"

    I used to think maybe I was getting even grumpier in my dotage, but I'm relived because It's clear that the real issue is the people around me are just getting dumber.

    16
    #38 1 year ago

    The remakes are dead after a couple more titles. That's a non-issue. Weird how pinball enthusiasts want to see Stern fail.

    #39 1 year ago

    stern will never go under, unless Gary shut down the show. With how many pins they are selling, at the prices, it just won't happen. Too many operators will continue to purchase them irregardless of pf ghosting, or chipping, or bad QC.

    #40 1 year ago

    Every game sold by a competitor is a game not sold by Stern. So even if Spooky, Heighway, JJP, AP, Homepin and the remakes never take over Stern's lead in the market, that's still 10%-20% less games sold for Stern.

    We've already seen them step up their game on artwork, hopefully more competition will push them further.

    #41 1 year ago

    Yeah the topic is pretty ridiculous. Suppliers come and go and if Stern can't get cabinets from CGC than another supplier will come in and fill the void. Stern is on the most stable ground of any pinball manufacturer and still make the vast majority of games produced today even with all the new competition. It is a fun time to be in pinball and it is great having so many options and I really hope every company succeeds but I just don't see this being likely.

    At this point I really don't think Stern sees any of these other companies as a major threat, especially since profit margins and sales numbers have been increasing over the past 5 years or so. If another company does start affecting their bottom line and taking away significant market share all Stern needs to do is start a price war and starve them out of the market. It was only about 5 years ago that Stern sold Tron LE for $5500. All they would need to do is release a game like Star Wars at a lower price point. They could sell a Star Wars LE for $6500, a Premium for $5500 and Pro for $4500 and still be profitable. There is nobody else that compete with that. I still think we've got another year or two before we'll start seeing moves like this but someday it will likely happen. I don't think we'll have too many years of $8-$10K pinball machines. Prices will come down as competition goes up.

    #42 1 year ago

    And Stern releases Star Wars in the fall - and suddenly it's take my money!

    Shiny_Toy (resized).jpg

    #43 1 year ago

    In the K man's podcast interview with George Gomez, George mentions that Stern has like 95% of the market. I don't think Stern is too concerned.

    #44 1 year ago
    Quoted from Richthofen:

    If you really want to know who should be quaking in their boots, it's JJP. There, now let the down votes commence...
    CGC is more a direct competitor to JJP than Stern. JJP and CGC are putting out games at the same frequency, they're targeting the Premium end of the market who are looking for Bally / William 'style' games. And CGC coming in cheaper than JJP. And CGC does not need to pay game designers like JJP does.

    lol. CGC is targeting people willing to over pay for inferior quality/design for nostalgia titles because they are largely incapable of working on or restoring an original. How many remakes are even feasible in your mind. They dont own capcom rights so you are limited to Bally/Williams titles. AFM was the easiest to design and build and cheapest by far based on work previously done, assembly, etc... After possibly MB and CCC they are done. CGC is the closest product to Stern by far.

    JJP is a completely different market. They are building new titles, pushing innovation in pinball, taking risks with cool unliceinsed titles, and bring in back great talent along with developing new talent.

    #45 1 year ago
    Quoted from MikeS:

    They could sell a Star Wars LE for $6500, a Premium for $5500 and Pro for $4500 and still be profitable. There is nobody else that compete with that. I still think we've got another year or two before we'll start seeing moves like this but someday it will likely happen. I don't think we'll have too many years of $8-$10K pinball machines. Prices will come down as competition goes up.

    if they are smart, they will do this NOW!!! If they sleep much longer on getting agressive with pricing, then others will have a solid foot hold (some already appear to and are planning for the future)

    #46 1 year ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    there's a lot of new competition in the pinball building game

    You must be kidding lets take a look

    2011 New Canasta game from MarsaPlay.

    2012 one off Retro Pinball's King of Diamonds

    announcement 2012 Predator

    Capt Nemo shipped 30 games 2017

    WOZ start shipping 2014

    TH ship 2016

    JPOP games ?

    TBL ??

    FT ships 2015

    Spooky builds AMH RZ PH TJ

    #48 1 year ago

    Stern is 90%+ of the pinball market,
    Nuff Said!

    P.S... 30 years of business, yeah...

    #49 1 year ago

    Stern not going to lower their prices. Anyone that thinks so is foolish. Will Ford or Audi lower the price of next years model, nope! And NIB pins will all run $8-10K in the next 5 or so years. We've already seen too many $10k plus pins for me to count. Everything costs more in the future.

    13
    #50 1 year ago

    The downvotes aren't because of ruffled feathers it's just the ridiculous nature of the argument.

    Somehow CGC controls the fate of Stern?

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