A dark night for Stern

(Topic ID: 200173)

A dark night for Stern


By jfh

1 year ago



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There are 1860 posts in this topic. You are on page 5 of 38.
#201 1 year ago
Quoted from DennisDodel:

Again, Stern is planning to exit the pinball biz as soon as the current pinball fad is over and focus on casino gaming. That is part of the reason they moved to the larger plant.
And, once again, I cannot reveal my source, but there is at least one other person on Pinside that is in the know.

I'm not sure the Pinball "fad" will ever die....I think the video game fad is over and the good stuff is here to stay.

#202 1 year ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

That doesn't answer my question, do you see 3500 of value from SW pro to the POTC standard model? I mean don't get me wrong I don't personally care, buy what ever makes you happy. I'm not buying the LE from Stern anymore, and the Pre would have to have some major upgrades to get my money over the pro.

I see it in everything thing this machine has compared to a Stern right now. The lighting is awesome, the toys are a lot more intricate but most of all the code in the game seems deep already and they are only 20% done. Since I don't have a lot of room, I've been waiting for a game that speaks to me on all levels. I was hoping that game was SW but it didn't pan out. This definitely caught my attention. Yes it's very expensive but I can definitely trade 2 sterns for this. I'm not out of pocket and I feel like I've actually got a better game / product "however you want to call it".

I'm happy with my decision. Whatever floats our boats I guess

-11
#203 1 year ago

If I am wrong, so be it. Lets forget the numbers then. The truth is JJP has more riding on Pirates than ever and I am very skeptical that a JJP#5 would be announced at Expo 2018, maybe TPF 2019?

Dialed in has under performed. FACT. I really love the game too, but just not at $8500 and many share that same sentiment.

#204 1 year ago
Quoted from Rob_G:

I could not disagree more on the 'horribly buggy' part. It's not 1.0 yet, but what is there is very solid so far.
Rob

That's your choice. I was told before I played the last code revision that there's still an endless single-ball-multiball glitch. That's "horribly buggy" as something like that is a tournament use killer, IMO, and 95% of the time I'm playing Star Wars, it's in league. Even if the latest code doesn't have the issue as it was described to me, there's no denying that the prior code revisions DID, and multiple forms of this, along with some really dumb things like not lowering the forks for the ball search, which in a company as old as Stern....that's just sloppy.

#205 1 year ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

I was hoping that game was SW but it didn't pan out.

That's fair, I don't think you gave SW a fair chance, the pro model is quite impressive, while the playfield certainly isn't littered with toys its not that kind of pin so its works, but hey I'm not into the gameplay of POTC from what I've seen, not a fan of mini PF's and prefer open concept so I'm just happy we have options, if and when JJP does a theme I dig then I'm in, they are making great stuff, well DI and POTC anyway, not a fan of WOZ and TH.

#206 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

If the the Stern management team's plan is to simply fatten up theirs golden goose for sale and slaughter, that's their right. But that would just confirm Stern doesn't want the likes of me to be buyers of their future products and that they want to lead customers on with empty promises before those realize they've been played for suckers.

I believe they have gotten themselves into a tough situation. Stern impregnated themselves with this massive new building and all the overhead that comes with it. I'm guessing the only way to make sense of it is to produce an amount of titles which is more than they're capable of. The changes in clear coat, wood quality and lack of code all align with a company that is overwhelmed, in a rush and past capacity.

They had such a neat deal with building the remakes to fill empty spots on the line and cover costs during downtime. Between those and the vaults, and a game or two a year they had such a proven model. Should have stayed in the old building or smaller one and not gotten into this monster. No company can keep making these mistakes and not feel the consequences eventually

Bottom line thinking and out of control overhead. I hope they get this in line for everyone. I really want them to put out some nice games.

- Just one guys opinion.

#207 1 year ago
Quoted from sparechange1974:

I believe they have gotten themselves into a tough situation. Stern impregnated themselves with this massive new building and all the overhead that comes with it. I'm guessing the only way to make sense of it is to produce an amount of titles which is more than there capable of. The changes in clear coat, wood quality and lack of code all align with a company that is overwhelmed, in a rush and past capacity.
They had such a neat deal with building the remakes to fill empty spots on the line and cover costs during down time. Between those and the vaults, and a game or two a year they had such a proven model. Should have stayed in the old building or smaller one and not gotten into this monster. No company can keep making these mistakes and not feel the consequences eventually
Bottom line thinking and out of control overhead. I hope they get this in line for everyone. I really want them to put out some nice games.

I hate when I impregnate myself.

#208 1 year ago
Quoted from Frax:

That's your choice. I was told before I played the last code revision that there's still an endless single-ball-multiball glitch. That's "horribly buggy" as something like that is a tournament use killer, IMO, and 95% of the time I'm playing Star Wars, it's in league. Even if the latest code doesn't have the issue as it was described to me, there's no denying that the prior code revisions DID, and multiple forms of this, along with some really dumb things like not lowering the forks for the ball search, which in a company as old as Stern....that's just sloppy.

Never experienced endless multi glitch or really anything else, don't know about the fork thing as I have the pro but "horribly buggy" is not the reality at all.

#209 1 year ago
Quoted from Frax:

That's your choice. I was told before I played the last code revision that there's still an endless single-ball-multiball glitch. That's "horribly buggy" as something like that is a tournament use killer, IMO, and 95% of the time I'm playing Star Wars, it's in league. Even if the latest code doesn't have the issue as it was described to me, there's no denying that the prior code revisions DID, and multiple forms of this, along with some really dumb things like not lowering the forks for the ball search, which in a company as old as Stern....that's just sloppy.

The forks have always lowered for ball search. I own the game and can vouch for this.

I also don't dwell on old code when newer is available. If locations don't update, that's not the fault of Stern. Maybe that multiball bug affects the pro, but not the premium/le I think. Bugs happen and will continue to happen regardless of manufacturer.

Rob

#210 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

I hate when I impregnate myself.

How did you manage that? I've been trying for years. .

#211 1 year ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

What amazes me is when pinsiders especially the JJP fan boys bring up "BOM" and "Build Quality" all that crap, now the standard JJP is 8500 thats almost 3500 more than a Stern pro, can anyone honestly tell me they see 3500 more in value between the two? I certainly don't, and definitely don't see 6 to 7K value in Spooky pins, TNA at 6K and no one says shit but SW pro is overpriced? seems odd.

Well, JJP standard games at $8k-$8.5k are far more loaded then any Stern LE.

Let's see, Star Wars Pro vs POTC standard

SW: 5 drop targets, mini LCD, lock down bar button

POTC standard: Motorized moving mini playfield with cannon, 5 flippers, 2 magnets, subway, lock down bar button, mini LCD, molded enemy ship, ramp with integrated swirly thing (lol), treasure chest with integrated ball lock, wide body game (more features and materials vs standard body)

Also, there's another factor to game value that is not being mentioned. CODE! Without it these games are all useless. JJP is offering the best code support in the industry and their games are coded with very unique and engaging rulesets that work the entire playfield. POTC will have 105 modes coded by one of the best pinball programmers.

So there's a few reasons that justify the extra $3000 (not 3.5k, SW pro is around $5.5k) for a JJP game.
I didn't even go into the better playfield and cabinet build quality either.

I would be more concerned with Stern charging $2k more for a toy that moves the ball in a circle and an egg type toy representing the Death Star.

#212 1 year ago
Quoted from Rob_G:

The forks have always lowered for ball search. I own the game and can vouch for this.

Except for when you're stuck in Hyperspace Multiball hell that won't end, as happened to me on the last code revision. It was thinking there were two balls on the playfield, stuck in Hyperspace, never once ball searched, and it took me a good solid 3 minutes of looking around the machine to find the damn ball. I thought they had all drained! Turned out, it was sitting up there on the forks and never came down. I had to start a new game and knock it out.

I do like the new code, just to be clear.. I'm just hoping the rumor that these type of glitches persist in different activation manners turn out to be false. The Hyperspace one was very rare from my experience, and not at all easy to replicate. What was described to me could be easily replicated. If I ever confirm it, you can be sure I'll post about it. I was able to play like 5 games before I had to leave, and got to Lightsaber Duel 4 times, and finished it one of those. I can't say I'm a big fan of the new video mode....but Lightsaber Duel is fun.

#213 1 year ago

Maybe I'm in the wrong thread, but I didn't know this was a JJP verses Stern thread. How about Stern fu@$%ng up my BM66 alpha code update that I've waited a year for and then letting strangers at Expo play it prior to the owners?

#214 1 year ago
Quoted from PanzerFreak:

Well, JJP standard games at $8k-$8.5k are far more loaded then any Stern LE.

I don't see it but OK, and SW code is great.

18
#215 1 year ago
Quoted from pezpunk:

The excuses are irrelevant. The bottom line is the enthusiast community no longer has any faith that Stern titles will ever get finished, and as a result are becoming increasingly more hesitant to buy them.
And instead of reassuring the community, Stern's response is that pinball enthusiasts are unimportant to them.

Couldn't agree more. It does bother me when Stern people are posed with questions that are generated by the Pinside community and Stern just responds with something along the lines of "oh, they are like less than 5% of our total market"...it makes me want to say (1) I think that's not true and we are a higher percentage, and (2) so what, that's still 5% of your customer base, do they not matter?

#216 1 year ago

So we're cool with Photoshop art on play fields again?

13
#217 1 year ago
Quoted from soapblox:

So we're cool with Photoshop art on play fields again?

Photoshop is not a bad thing when done well. Everyone loves lines and lines of hand drawn art work, but good photoshop work isn't a terrible thing to look at.

#218 1 year ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

Photoshop is not a bad thing when done well. Everyone loves lines and lines of hand drawn art work, but good photoshop work isn't a terrible thing to look at.

Yes it is.

#219 1 year ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

Couldn't agree more. It does bother me when Stern people are posed with questions that are generated by the Pinside community and Stern just responds with something along the lines of "oh, they are like less than 5% of our total market"...it makes me want to say (1) I think that's not true and we are a higher percentage, and (2) so what, that's still 5% of your customer base, do they not matter?

Shows you how out of touch these guys are right now.

The 5% number is total BS.

Even if it was the other 95% is experiencing the same BS we are.

The compound effect of continuous screw ups is something i'd be worried about if that was my business.

#220 1 year ago

I was reluctant to even read this thread but well done OP. Well done. I agree with everything. Gold standard right now on whats going on.

#221 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

I hate when I impregnate myself.

Is this the result when everyone tells you to go fv<k yourself?

11
#222 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

Everyone here should want both companies to improve and do well. That's not going to happen unless we can acknowledge the obstacles toward that goal. Nobody is absolutely right or wrong here and neither company is perfect.

This is a very important post and I agree 100%. Others seem to confuse the fact that we are critical sometimes with wanting a company to fail or having some kind of sport-team loyalty to one company or the other.

We are critical of Stern because we want them to succeed not because we want them to fail. When DI was first shown, I and others complained about the man holding cell phone art on side of the backbox and to their credit, JJP changed it. To attribute every comment down to us being fanboys is kind of missing the point about how much we care about the industry in general. We want as many companies as possible to succeed.

#223 1 year ago
Quoted from spinal:

We are critical of Stern because we want them to succeed not because we want them to fail. When DI was first shown, I and others complained about the man holding cell phone art on side of the backbox and to their credit, JJP changed it.

If Stern was concerned and needed pinside to stay alive they would be a presence on this site but they aren't so I don't think they need our approval, JJP while coming up is still small potatoes and due to the lack of a low priced model need the obsessed pinballer to stay afloat, while I don't know this for sure I think Stern has a huge market in terms of their Pro model that doesn't have any link to this site and are not in fear what so ever with what JJP is producing not too mention the fact that even though there are lots of complainers people on this site still buy the LE/PRE models anyway, I hope Stern feels a pinch and steps up the code for future releases, SW is definitely a step in the right direction but pinsiders need to get over themselves.

#224 1 year ago
Quoted from vdojaq:

My sources, and like Ripley says, you can believe it or not.

I believe you don't know what you're talking about.

10
#225 1 year ago
Quoted from DennisDodel:

Again, Stern is planning to exit the pinball biz as soon as the current pinball fad is over and focus on casino gaming. That is part of the reason they moved to the larger plant.
And, once again, I cannot reveal my source, but there is at least one other person on Pinside that is in the know.

well buying a new stern pin is a big gamble

-2
#226 1 year ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

JJP - Pirates SE MSRP $8500
27 stand up targets
22 characters to play from
6 diverters
5 flippers
4 speakers
4 pop bumpers
3 slignshots
3 spinners
2 magnets
2 ramps
2 subways (1 of which as 5 entrances)
1 variable speed rocking Mini-playfield with lighted lantern effects
1 canon
1 British ship to sink
1 interactive chest lock mech
1 sub
1Spinning map mech
1 lcd screen on apron
127" LCD screen
1 Tilt Warning lights (cool feature)
1 Malestrom Hole to subway
1 Bayou hidden hole under flipper
1 Save drain on right near plunger
x rollover inserts
SW LE (just because comparing the pro would not even be fair) MSRP $8999
9 stand up targets
5 bank drop target
4 characters to play from
3 pop bumpers
3 translites
2 speakers
2 flippers
2 slingshots
2 ramps
1 diverter
1 save drain ball near plunger
1 sub
1 fork lift ramp
1 hyperloop
1 Interactive Death star
1 Tie Fighter
1 LCD screen on playfield
1 20" LCD screen (i might be wrong)
SW Pro (just for fun) MSRP$6199
9 stand up targets
5 bank drop target
4 characters to play from
3 pop bumpers
2 flippers
2 slingshots
2 ramps
2 speakers
1 Death Star
1 Interactive Tie Fighter
1 LCD screen on playfield
1 20" LCD screen (i might be wrong)
1 sub
I'm not a JJP fanboy but it doesn't take long to realize the quality of the JJP mech compared to Stern SW (ie. one vairable speed rocking mini-playfield isn't exactly the same in value as 1 tie fighter on a stick).
I combined the features on TWD and Mustang and got somewhere close to JJP SE.

The amount of features JJP Pirates SE vs SW Pro/Premium/LE is no comparison...not taking into count cost. But down the road, every feature is a potential problem...which is a big concern for me...that many more features, that many more potential headaches, that much more potential costs to fix. (And this doesn't take into account game play at all)...to a true pinball player...is everything. Again, I'm not siding with either on game play, just the features listed.

#227 1 year ago
Quoted from robotron:

buying a new stern pin is a big gamble

It is really a gamble that nobody in their right mind or one that has already learned their lesson really needs to take.

For years people were content to buy games that were already finished and then could enjoy everything it had to offer without checking a website day after day just to learn the promised updates never happened.

If you are not a gambling man or don't want to be let down then don't buy anything new from a company that has a track record of not finishing what they started in a reasonable amount of time.

#228 1 year ago
Quoted from dnapac:

The amount of features JJP Pirates SE vs SW Pro/Premium/LE is no comparison...not taking into count cost. But down the road, every feature is a potential problem...which is a big concern for me...that many more features, that many more potential headaches, that much more potential costs to fix. (And this doesn't take into account game play at all)...to a true pinball player...is everything. Again, I'm not siding with either on game play, just the features listed.

Have I got a game for you then.

731989C6-DD00-4DA2-B6F2-25E1D784593F-11216-00000900D870FB1A (resized).jpeg

#229 1 year ago
Quoted from soapblox:

So we're cool with Photoshop art on play fields again?

Which game are you taking about?

#230 1 year ago
Quoted from mesmashu:

Have I got a game for you then.

Ha! No features...but I said nothing of game play

#231 1 year ago

Not to mention Sterns horrible customer service.
Three calls to them for service. Left two VMs.
No return call. Third call finally got someone.
Took 25 mins to find a part number for an action button on Star Wrs.
Never found it. There was no part number. It was missed when the manual was drafted.

17
#232 1 year ago

To preface this, I only own all Sterns, but not out of brand loyalty, they just happen to have the themes that I wanted. POTC is a theme my wife loves, thus we will be picking up a JJP Pirates pin next year.

That being said, my career is in business and product development. Simply put, JJP put out a great looking product that has a hefty price tag with it. But to believe this will cause an enormous change from Stern for them to keep up is nowhere near reality. Understand, JJP just made Stern a ton of money last night. I'm not an expert in pinball business structure, but I do understand product pricing, especially when it comes to similar products by different brands. Unless Stern feels they need to increase velocity of sale, I see this actually causing their prices to rise, not drop in the long term. JJP has a price point of 8500-12500. This in itself will most likely trigger Stern to do one of two things. Either keep things the same or bump up pricing along with a slight bump in quality to justify the pricing. I'm thinking the latter and I can see 6500 becoming the new standard pro price eventually.

When you already own a majority of the market share and your primary competitor is still approximately 35% higher in pricing for available product (cheapest models for both companies), it's hard to hit the panic button. If anything it signals that you have room to move up in your pricing because the market is saying "we will pay higher prices." As a market leader, this is a gift. Obviously, there are homeowners saying they're out on future NIB purchases, which could possibly hurt sales short term, but then again, it may not with the continuous growth of public awareness about pinball. It will be interesting to see this dynamic play out.

The reality is, a JJP will blow a Stern pin away with the wow factor simply because it has to at the price point it's at. When you're priced higher than a competitor, your product has to really be differentiated in order to show that value. JJP has been successful in this regard up front. A Stern pin can keep looking stripped down at the prices it's at and most likely pushes that price up gradually by 2019.

Anyhow, I hope both companies will put out the best possible product they can and do the best they can to enhance the customer experience. At the end of the day, I just want to play fun pins and support a great hobby.

#233 1 year ago

Well if you know my collection you can’t say well he hates Stern....I watched the time wasting stream. This well we aren’t going to throw just any code out there. We have had challenges and you peons just don’t need real answers. We plan on owning one and we aren’t going to buy one at a huge discounted rate nor is it worth having because the code isn’t done. But when it is we’re both going to have one. Stern you suck at code bottom line. If you did code as good as you BS, you have a remarkable Pinball company.

#234 1 year ago

Pinball is the coolest hobby going, don't care if it's stern, jersey, or any of the others
Plunge and enjoy!

#235 1 year ago

JJP should really make a "pro" model and see how many Stern fans would change their mind next time they are looking for a NIB game. I really enjoy my Stern games, they are the only ones I own, but ever since the increased pricing and questionable quality, I have not bought a game from them since GOT. If JJP offered a "pro" model I would seriously consider their games. I cannot afford premium/LE models. Home collectors such as myself can not all afford premium games. Give me more options and I'll be more than happy to try your product. I'm sure a lot of other home collectors would also. JJP, your missing out on a growing market of OTHER home collectors.

#236 1 year ago
Quoted from Potatoloco:

Understand, JJP just made Stern a ton of money last night. I'm not an expert in pinball business structure, but I do understand product pricing, especially when it comes to similar products by different brands. Unless Stern feels they need to increase velocity of sale, I see this actually causing their prices to rise, not drop in the long term. JJP has a price point of 8500-12500. This in itself will most likely trigger Stern to do one of two things. Either keep things the same or bump up pricing along with a slight bump in quality to justify the pricing. I'm thinking the latter and I can see 6500 becoming the new standard pro price eventually.

You miss two key points:

1) Pinball purchase money doesn't exclusively flow to NIB purchases of Stern or JJP games. Just because someone may choose not to buy Pirates doesn't mean they will buy a new Stern game. People are rarely going to buy a lower priced product for the sole reason that it's the lower priced option. Whatever the price point, pinball games are expensive non- essential toys. It's not like a parent on a tight budget deciding between Cheerios and a store brand cereal.

2) A bump up in pricing with a slight bump in quality is what you would usually expect. But Stern has spent the last few years doing the opposite - raising prices while reducing quality and features. You can certainly get away with that as a market leader, but only for so long.

#237 1 year ago
Quoted from WackyBrakke:

I'm not sure the Pinball "fad" will ever die....I think the video game fad is over and the good stuff is here to stay.

Yeah. Not the best description. Current 'wave' is better.

#238 1 year ago
Quoted from PanzerFreak:

Well, JJP standard games at $8k-$8.5k are far more loaded then any Stern LE.
Let's see, Star Wars Pro vs POTC standard

You can't really compare them that way, you have to take account licensing costs and such. Back in my video game days I worked on a baseball game for Xbox, Playstation, etc and the the cost of the MLB license was astronomical. Given that our MLB based game would sell at $60 just like any other game meant the money had to come from somewhere. In our case it was by having a much smaller team and much shorter development cycle than a typical game. In Sterns case with Star Wars maybe it meant less toys to drop parts and support/warranty costs, less code time, etc... A game like TNA has it easy because licensing costs are the bare minimum. Pirates will have some for sure but Star Wars possibly represents the worst case scenario when it comes to that.

#239 1 year ago
Quoted from seshpilot:

Spooky and JJP def crushing this Expo

Is Spooky at Expo?

#240 1 year ago
Quoted from pinballbrat:

Is Spooky at Expo?

Nope, they are at the pinball life party.

#241 1 year ago
Quoted from mrgone:

Nope, they are at the pinball life party.

Surprisingly, someone posted pics on Facebook of a TNA being setup at Expo.

#242 1 year ago

There is a TNA here, not sure who brought it.

#243 1 year ago
Quoted from GhostThruster:

There is a TNA here, not sure who brought it.

I believe it was purchased by double danger and brought back to expo to set up next to there booth.

#244 1 year ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

90% of the market? It appears CGC and JJP combined will be around ~8k machines this year. Excluding all other machine sales, that would imply sales of 72k machines for Stern.
Do you actually believe that?
There's no way they've kept 50% of the market this year. I think Stern stated shortly after their move to the new premises, that were they to be flat out and the place fully utilised, they could do 10-12k machines a year. That point has not been reached.

How did you get to 8k machines b/w JJP and CGC this year? Is that 4,000 DI, 3,500 AFM and 500 MMR or something? It's hard to believe they're anywhere near those numbers, that'd be 2/3 of Stern's capaticty (as you estimate it), and I thought Stern had far and away the biggest production setup in the industry.

#245 1 year ago

Kudos, potatoloco. This is the most cogent and logical thought I have read all night.

Quoted from Potatoloco:

To preface this, I only own all Sterns, but not out of brand loyalty, they just happen to have the themes that I wanted. POTC is a theme my wife loves, thus we will be picking up a JJP Pirates pin next year.
That being said, my career is in business and product development. Simply put, JJP put out a great looking product that has a hefty price tag with it. But to believe this will cause an enormous change from Stern for them to keep up is nowhere near reality. Understand, JJP just made Stern a ton of money last night. I'm not an expert in pinball business structure, but I do understand product pricing, especially when it comes to similar products by different brands. Unless Stern feels they need to increase velocity of sale, I see this actually causing their prices to rise, not drop in the long term. JJP has a price point of 8500-12500. This in itself will most likely trigger Stern to do one of two things. Either keep things the same or bump up pricing along with a slight bump in quality to justify the pricing. I'm thinking the latter and I can see 6500 becoming the new standard pro price eventually.
When you already own a majority of the market share and your primary competitor is still approximately 35% higher in pricing for available product (cheapest models for both companies), it's hard to hit the panic button. If anything it signals that you have room to move up in your pricing because the market is saying "we will pay higher prices." As a market leader, this is a gift. Obviously, there are homeowners saying they're out on future NIB purchases, which could possibly hurt sales short term, but then again, it may not with the continuous growth of public awareness about pinball. It will be interesting to see this dynamic play out.
The reality is, a JJP will blow a Stern pin away with the wow factor simply because it has to at the price point it's at. When you're priced higher than a competitor, your product has to really be differentiated in order to show that value. JJP has been successful in this regard up front. A Stern pin can keep looking stripped down at the prices it's at and most likely pushes that price up gradually by 2019.
Anyhow, I hope both companies will put out the best possible product they can and do the best they can to enhance the customer experience. At the end of the day, I just want to play fun pins and support a great hobby.

#246 1 year ago
Quoted from Potatoloco:

To preface this, I only own all Sterns, but not out of brand loyalty, they just happen to have the themes that I wanted. POTC is a theme my wife loves, thus we will be picking up a JJP Pirates pin next year.
That being said, my career is in business and product development. Simply put, JJP put out a great looking product that has a hefty price tag with it. But to believe this will cause an enormous change from Stern for them to keep up is nowhere near reality. Understand, JJP just made Stern a ton of money last night. I'm not an expert in pinball business structure, but I do understand product pricing, especially when it comes to similar products by different brands. Unless Stern feels they need to increase velocity of sale, I see this actually causing their prices to rise, not drop in the long term. JJP has a price point of 8500-12500. This in itself will most likely trigger Stern to do one of two things. Either keep things the same or bump up pricing along with a slight bump in quality to justify the pricing. I'm thinking the latter and I can see 6500 becoming the new standard pro price eventually.
When you already own a majority of the market share and your primary competitor is still approximately 35% higher in pricing for available product (cheapest models for both companies), it's hard to hit the panic button. If anything it signals that you have room to move up in your pricing because the market is saying "we will pay higher prices." As a market leader, this is a gift. Obviously, there are homeowners saying they're out on future NIB purchases, which could possibly hurt sales short term, but then again, it may not with the continuous growth of public awareness about pinball. It will be interesting to see this dynamic play out.
The reality is, a JJP will blow a Stern pin away with the wow factor simply because it has to at the price point it's at. When you're priced higher than a competitor, your product has to really be differentiated in order to show that value. JJP has been successful in this regard up front. A Stern pin can keep looking stripped down at the prices it's at and most likely pushes that price up gradually by 2019.
Anyhow, I hope both companies will put out the best possible product they can and do the best they can to enhance the customer experience. At the end of the day, I just want to play fun pins and support a great hobby.

Very well put. Just wants to add a few elements:

1) The pinball NIB market is not expanding in France. It's contracting. Location play is basically dead - at least compared to what it used to be. Aiming at coin ops seems dumb seen from here. Barcades do not exist (would love to see if this can generate profit) and less and less traditional bars have pins.

2) No other manufacturer can currently compete with Stern in the $5000 price range.
ROI for a coin op for a stern pro is already bad here - no way a $7k or $8k pin is going to be viable. >95% of NIB pins put on location here are Stern pros. But it's probably already more viable to put an old game in player's condition. It won't lose any resale value after 1-2 years. As compared to a $1-2k loss when trying to resell your game after a year or two. To swallow a 1000 euros loss, at 2/3 - 1/3 split with the bar, with 3 games for 2 euros, knowing close to 50% of your income goes back to the state in taxes or insurance, counting maintenance and free plays you need ≈5000 plays to break even. It's "only" 20 games per day in a year for a place opened 250 days/yr... except you don't reach these figures except for the first weeks after release.

3) Stern's consumers' loyalty is at an all times low. They basically need to address two critical points to recover: a) do a decent effort at finishing code on several games. b) solve PF quality issues. Dimpling on SW has been horrible on some games. At the same time a just-out-of the box Alien was played all week end during a pinball convention: nothing as bad as the SW played the same week end.

4) Stern can't ignore the LE / Premium segment as this is where they make a huge profit.

I doubt Stern will suddenly collapse - for that you would need a major competitor capable of producing large amounts of several decent games with good licences for $5 - $5.5k.

In the meantime Stern cannot ignore that the market has shifted. They know SW LE do not sell as well as they should have.
We will see how they react. Interesting times.

#247 1 year ago
Quoted from Push600:

Not to mention Sterns horrible customer service.

With all the Stern bashing service has always been the bright spot.
I've had nothing but great service from Them and I haven't heard many complaints about it. They always come through with info and extra warranty coverage.

Did you call when Chas was at lunch or something?

#248 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

arguably the savior of pinball

I would say "put pinball on life support" is more like it.

13
#249 1 year ago
Quoted from jackofdiamonds:

I would say "put pinball on life support" is more like it.

Can't agree with that. Without Stern after the WMS exit the hobby would have been little more than keeping existing games running. No one was building games (Gene and BBB doesn't count) and if both had been gone that wasn't going to change. We would not have seen the pinball resurgence a few years later or have the overall market we see today.

There are a lot of areas Stern can improve on these days. But give credit where credit is due. What we have today doesn't exist without the stubbornness and determination of Gary Stern.

20
#250 1 year ago

All I know is, I've been waiting for my DI:LE for two months because they're so backlogged with orders and can't keep up. If they weren't selling and just sitting in stock, wouldn't I be able to cash and carry a game?

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