This is a very interesting topic. Aside from crazylevi there is a lot of interesting points being made. I was not at expo but watched the stream, the JJP reveal great! It seemed to me stern was very much in the shadow the entire time.
I'm still fairly new to pinball only getting my first machine 7 months ago, which In fact was a NIB Met Pro. I loved the game but didn't know true quality until I got a williams Indy.
Now after ground up restoring a stern POTC and a Williams T2, the quality difference is amazing. Not only is the difference amazing between a stern and a Williams, that is kinda obvious... Rather it was the staggering difference in qualtly between a stern POTC form 97 compared to a new stern Metallica. The older Stern's are made better IMO. Stern clearly will sacrifice quality to get quantity out the door.
Personally I'll never buy a new stern, unless some serious things change. Im all for JJP even though I don't own one, nor to I plan to. Their message is very clear. They care about their products and they care about their customer. They have a passion to make great machines, and make great relationships. I think stern is about making great numbers. It's too bad because stern could do better and they know it, but they won't.