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.