A dark night for Stern

(Topic ID: 200173)

A dark night for Stern


By jfh

1 year ago



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26
#251 1 year ago

My feelings on "the dark knight for Stern" from BM66 thread:

"Thanks for the info Manimal, I agree that they all seem like really good guys doing their best. I'm just not gonna believe though that Lyman has been dedicated to BM66 since last expo, that would be a terrible business move on Stern's part. I guess we will see when coding credits come out on future games.

This is ALL Stern's OWN DOING! I can feel sorry for the individuals BUT as nice as George is he's running daily operations at Stern now. He, Gary and the rest of the beancounters bear the responsibility.

You guys remember last year at Expo when we all wanted to see the BM66 reveal and play it and Lyman wouldn't let it happen because the state of the code was in terrible shape, he's a proud coder, yet it got shoved out there anyhow.

STERN made this ALL about a freaking $$$$$ grab. As much as i love my BM66, it is what it is.

Let's NOT FORGET, Stern went as follows on PRICING:

GBLE $8,000
BM66LE $10,000
BM66SLE $15,000
ASLE $8,300
SWLE $8,500

It's THEIR business, with all due respect, I don't really want to hear F ing EXCUSES (again, not the employees fault)! As a business owner myself i find it hard to believe what the F i'm hearing!!! Management doesn't respect their CUSTOMERS and worse, take us for granted, it's pretty F ing clear.

If I sell my services for X and then tell my clients, sorry guys, these legal, tax and financial issues are really complicated with the new laws and products, bear with me, I'll eventually deliver what i promise, MAYBE.

What a GOOD business does is WHATEVER IT TAKES to implement the system they put in place, SPIKE, get their shit together and get it done!

What I'm hearing is that the owners and management DON'T and WON'T put the CUSTOMER FIRST. See above pricing and then following results.

That's the bottom line, period end of story.

The presentation they gave was PATHETIC. They should have come out and addressed every single issue up front. We the CUSTOMER, shouldn't have to ask the questions! One guy asked a BM66 question, very respectfully i might add, yet so many more needed to be asked and answered.

On the other hand, you had JJ and the multi millionaire investor himself, Abess, standing up on the stage putting WE the CUSTOMER FIRST, in their own words (yes i understand all the differences and you know i've been very critical of JJP) and so far they are delivering.
I've been probably the most vocal Stern defender and JJP critic over the last year.

After this Expo and digesting what has happened over the past year and the contrast between the two presentations, I'm simply tired of all of the EXCUSES from management (again no offense to the great individuals that work there)

You heard JJP talk about delivering the quality and code that WE want. You see that in how Keith and crew are getting it done.
You heard Gomez talk about "making a pass" on this game or that game. Sorry, the VIBE is totally different folks.

Bottom line, i love my Stern pins HOWEVER, the pricing above, continuos excuses and delays, attitudes toward the customer, etc. mean no more NIB for me.

Yeah i know, they don't really care. It's what they do, take us for GRANTED. Sadly, we as a community, and the BM66 group is the greatest example, great people, great mods and ideas, have much more PASSION about their products than management seems to have.

Back to BM66, looking forward to greatness!"

17
#252 1 year ago
Quoted from japespin:

Not gonna lie, all this Stern bashing has me 2nd guessing whether to put my order in for a Star Wars Pro. On one hand, there is no other competition in the $5k range, but on the other hand, now I'm wondering if I'm getting ripped off, and not getting my money's worth, the way some people are making it out to be.

You are my friend. Take that $5k & go buy a real Stern. Buy a nice/huo: LOTR, TSPP, SM, IM, ST, MET, etc. with your $5k & set it next to a Star Wars. You won't have to wonder at all if you're getting ripped off. It will be crystal clear!

#253 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

It's exactly what you said and it makes no sense.
I don't see Ford or Chevy slashing their prices or offering twofers to compete with Mercedes.
Your idea makes zero sense at all but thanks for trying.

That’s exactly what Ford and Chevy have been doing by introducing new value priced models. Think of the Cruze and new Fiesta. Also with regards to twofers, there are significant savings to be realized from Ford and Chevy when placing fleet orders for multiple vehicles.

#254 1 year ago
Quoted from GhostThruster:

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

It's John Galvin's game. He's our operator in Minneapolis and the game is going on route at his business at Tilt bar. He was kind enough to set it up a few days for public to play before heading back with it.

#255 1 year ago

I played Stern's Star Wars, both a Pro and an LE, for the first time on the same day as the Pirates reveal and now I am trying to figure out how to get rid of some games to make room for both a JJPOTC LE and a Stern SW Pro. The SW Pro was a lot of fun with a great lay out and fun shots and cool video, sound and call outs. I think the disappointment comes from thinking the ultimate theme (for many) should be the ultimate pinball machine. This isn't the case but the game is pretty damn good for a $5300 NIB game. I would never pay an additional $3000-4000 for an LE or $2000 for a premium. I think the LE where I was had $9500 as the price.

The code issues, particularly with BM66, are definitely a concern but Stern is not going anywhere any time soon. I am a fan of any good pinball game and want to see them all succeed. JJP is without a doubt the best pinball manufacturer OAT IMO but Stern has made some great games and will make more great games.

#256 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.

This analysis only makes sense if you assume the buying pool is going to just keep buying at any price point.

Who here is done with NIB games if Pros are $6500? *raises hand*

There's a ceiling here, it's just pinball. I'll move on, I'll buy used games, I'll do whatever, but what I won't do is just keep spending and spending more than I'm comfortable with.

13
#257 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

Without Stern after the WMS exit the hobby would have been little more than keeping existing games running. No one was building games

I think you're giving new game sales too much credit for its influence on "the hobby". This hobby has always been about old games, restoring them and keeping them running. When I started paying attention to it (around 2005), all of the established collectors I met were ALL about the old games. They barely cared about Stern. Some of them bought a LOTR because it was by Gomez (B/W legend) & the deep code - but even my friends with a LOTR complained about it (feels cheep, it's clunky, cabinet and plastics resolution sucks, sound isn't as good as DCS or WPC'95). In the hobby scene, Sterns were something you picked up cheap at an auction or from operators almost out of a curiosity...just to have something new. But they weren't any kind of focus. Collectors started respecting Sterns more when SAM improved the games significantly over Whitestar & their B/W legends like Dennis Nordman, Steve Ritchie & Pat Lawlor were making SAM games with themes they liked. They still complained about the plastics/can resolution & Photoshop art...but they were coming around and buying NIB more. Still - that was 2 or 3 Sterns in 20+ game collections with all classics. The hobby would have been existed without Stern.

#258 1 year ago

I thought Stern had the rights to Disney themes or at least pretty firm ties.

So I'm wondering if JJP will have an advantage on future themes/movies. I say that, because if I were Disney and saw Star Wars, then JJP POTC I would want my licenses to be represented by JJP. The new POTC flat out has so much more going and is hands down a very full game, although the price is more.

#259 1 year ago
Quoted from vdojaq:

Dialed in CE 150 units , sold out
Dialed in Standard less than 100 units sold
So how many LE's? 100 maybe?

If I bought a Dialed In, it would be a standard. No doubt about it. They are just too expensive for he amount of enjoyment I get it out of it.

#260 1 year ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I think you're giving new game sales too much credit for its influence on "the hobby". This hobby has always been about old games, restoring them and keeping them running. When I started paying attention to it (around 2005), all of the established collectors I met were ALL about the old games. They barely cared about Stern. Some of them bought a LOTR because it was by Gomez (B/W legend) & the deep code - but even my friends with a LOTR complained about it (feels cheep, it's clunky, cabinet and plastics resolution sucks, sound isn't as good as DCS or WPC'95). In the hobby scene, Sterns were something you picked up cheap at an auction or from operators almost out of a curiosity...just to have something new. But they weren't any kind of focus. Collectors started respecting Sterns more when SAM improved the games significantly over Whitestar & their B/W legends like Dennis Nordman, Steve Ritchie & Pat Lawlor were making SAM games with themes they liked. They still complained about the plastics/can resolution & Photoshop art...but they were coming around and buying NIB more. Still - that was 2 or 3 Sterns in 20+ game collections with all classics. The hobby would have been existed without Stern.

But you could make an argument that would there ever had been the resurgence without stern? Or would have pinball just slowly slide under the waves...

The flood of new money in the hobby chased sterns... not the older games. The flood of new money chasing mods that built up all the secondary companies didn't really come from the old school base. We were still fighting Tom's TZ mods and if LEDs were good or not. It wasn't till later that all the new money started buying up older games too. They came in buying NIB stern... and all of them.

Without Stern... jack wouldn't have this beer base that yearned for more high end... and we wouldn't have JJP.

The angle that is harder to Lin down is the retro/hipster angle. I really can't pin down where/how that turn happened and the 20 somethings got into it.

Without stern making games... through 2003-7... that rush that started back around 2010-11... that probably never would have happened. Without new ideas and games being made... that crossing point never happens. And pinball today would be like the jukebox hobby...

#261 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

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.

I understand what you're saying, but my post wasn't about what a consumer will decide to buy. It was about what a brand would put their price point at as a response to what the market is willing to spend. Your first point is an entirely different subject.

It's not that someone will decide between a Stern and a JJP solely on the price. It's that Stern will be able to up their price on pins regardless of what JJP has to offer and regardless of innovation on their end, simply because of what JJP is pricing their pins at. You noted that point with your second sentence of your second point.

#262 1 year ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I think you're giving new game sales too much credit for its influence on "the hobby". This hobby has always been about old games, restoring them and keeping them running. When I started paying attention to it (around 2005), all of the established collectors I met were ALL about the old games. They barely cared about Stern. Some of them bought a LOTR because it was by Gomez (B/W legend) & the deep code - but even my friends with a LOTR complained about it (feels cheep, it's clunky, cabinet and plastics resolution sucks, sound isn't as good as DCS or WPC'95). In the hobby scene, Sterns were something you picked up cheap at an auction or from operators almost out of a curiosity...just to have something new. But they weren't any kind of focus. Collectors started respecting Sterns more when SAM improved the games significantly over Whitestar & their B/W legends like Dennis Nordman, Steve Ritchie & Pat Lawlor were making SAM games with themes they liked. They still complained about the plastics/can resolution & Photoshop art...but they were coming around and buying NIB more. Still - that was 2 or 3 Sterns in 20+ game collections with all classics. The hobby would have been existed without Stern.

With due respect, if you started in 2005 you started after the dark days were over. Yes, the hobby has always been more than new games and the hobby would have existed had Stern quit, but it would have been nothing like what it is now and there is no way we would have seen the interest explosion we have in the last 5-10 years. The hobby would have been transformed into what its like for those that like jukeboxes, soda machines or EMs - recovery and restoration, not advancement and new ideas.

I started in 1996. Ask anyone who was around from that era or before what they think. Ask Jersey Jack. Ask most of the large operators. Ask the folks from Williams. I'll bet the vast majority will agree that Gary essentially saved pinball, no matter of what they think of Stern Pinball today.

#263 1 year ago
Quoted from Aurich:

This analysis only makes sense if you assume the buying pool is going to just keep buying at any price point.
Who here is done with NIB games if Pros are $6500? *raises hand*
There's a ceiling here, it's just pinball. I'll move on, I'll buy used games, I'll do whatever, but what I won't do is just keep spending and spending more than I'm comfortable with.

That is my assumption based on the past 2-3 years of sales for the hobby in general. But I also believe in order to hit that price point, the quality of a pro would have to rise, or people will raise hell. There will be some people that tap out, it's too much for them regardless of quality. I just think looking at market trends and how all of pinball is pricing, that ceiling is going to be tested upwards.

#264 1 year ago
Quoted from jwilson:

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?

Yup, pretty obvious thatDI is selling very well. the line is cranking and they can't meet demand.

-1
#265 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

With due respect, if you started in 2005 you started after the dark days were over. Yes, the hobby has always been more than new games and the hobby would have existed had Stern quit, but it would have been nothing like what it is now and there is no way we would have seen the interest explosion we have in the last 5-10 years. The hobby would have been transformed into what its like for those that like jukeboxes, soda machines or EMs - recovery and restoration, not advancement and new ideas.
I started in 1996. Ask anyone who was around from that era or before what they think. Ask Jersey Jack. Ask most of the large operators. Ask the folks from Williams. I'll bet the vast majority will agree that Gary essentially saved pinball, no matter of what they think of Stern Pinball today.

I think you're still confusing the pinball
business for the pinball hobby. Stern kept the pinball BUSINESS alive. Sure there's some crossover, as hobbyists will buy new games - but pinball & the people who love it don't cease to exist without new games.

Even the hipster barcade scene would be fine. They go for the retro experience. All the video arcade games are 80s and 90s at barcades and the crowd loves them. Most of the normal people who go to barcades don't know or care if the pins are new. At one of our local places, Button Mash - they have a mix of old
and new. Aerosmith didn't earn at all despite being new and looking more modern.

#266 1 year ago
Quoted from 3pinballs:

I thought Stern had the rights to Disney themes or at least pretty firm ties.

So I'm wondering if JJP will have an advantage on future themes/movies.

Of course they will. Disney is one of those companies that might charge alot, but whatever they put their name on, they want it to be as good as possible.

#267 1 year ago
Quoted from Potatoloco:

It's not that someone will decide between a Stern and a JJP solely on the price. It's that Stern will be able to up their price on pins regardless of what JJP has to offer and regardless of innovation on their end, simply because of what JJP is pricing their pins at.

Ok, agreed. But I think we're beginning to see with SW that Stern may have reached the tipping point. Yes Pros will get to $6500 eventually, but if the $5k level disappears quickly and the entry level price gap between Stern and JJP closes substantially without significant quality improvements from Stern they will lose their bread and butter customers far more quickly than would otherwise be expected. Increasing prices just because you can only works for so long. For the most part, the higher prices go, the fewer units you sell.

The closer the price gap, the more scrutiny games are going to get. Right now, Stern wins on price. But take that away where they have to compete on build quality, code completeness (and theme), they are going to have a much harder time dominating the market.

#268 1 year ago

Normally I dislike JJP games. Dialed in was good. I enjoy it. But the POTC was fantastic. Normally i'd buy this title, but JJP's prices is so ridiculous I will not. You know he can lower his price $1000 easily and still make hefty profits. It would open him up to a much larger group of collectors, and his sales would double. Instead of $8500 he was at $7500 for the standard. If he sold double the amount of games, I think would be a better benefit, than trying to milk out $1000 out of half as many buyers. Plus it would force stern to either step up their quality game, or drop their prices in return.

#269 1 year ago

I'm late to the party haven't read more than a few posts. Have good reason I was at Expo about 4-5 hours thursday and maybe 7-8 on friday with breaks, at health club this am.

My comments yes JJP ruled the roost. The execution of the reveal with Buffalo Pinball was excellent I would be hard pressed to think they could have done a better job. My only complaint no pizza this year. Then moving pins to vendor area in which jjp had pole position all the pins were where you walked in. Toss in the key execs presence Jack, Keith, Eric the designer and more. They were there almost the whole time, Eric explaining nuaances of game play. Toss in JJP distributors it was a hoping place as you can imagine. Pirates is truly awesome wait to you see it in person. I got to play about 20 games.

Ok, Stern most games were in the very back, I played SW and really like the pin, for the money I would go with the pro but I'm a basic kind of guy that's frugal. I own AS so I didn't play it at expo & BM 66 is just not for me. Stern had a party friday night and it was fun, also served Pinball beer had many games to play. Mostly sw's. I should have taken a picture friday night about 9 pm Gary Stern with a drink was looking over Pirates, it was kind of priceless.

AFM & MM had great set up the top of the line afm had flipper problems though. Lots of fun play afm.

Lastly what seems to be lost is Houdini. The pin was really fun, cool looking and always had a longer line to play. I was only able to play twice. Cheers.

#270 1 year ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I think you're still confusing the pinball
business for the pinball hobby. Stern kept the pinball BUSINESS alive.

I'm not the one confusing the business for the hobby.

No matter how you want to spin it, Gary deserves credit for saving pinball. You may not want to give him that credit, and that's fine, but I suspect you are in the minority whether your focus/interest is business or hobby.

#271 1 year ago

So - let's redirect this thread a little.

Besides lowering prices (unlikely to happen), what specific steps do you think Stern should take to regain the cofidence they have have lost in the marketplace from the perspective of the "enthusiast" or the opetator?

#272 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

So - let's redirect this thread a little.
Besides lowering prices (unlikely to happen), what specific steps do you think Stern should take to regain the cofidence they have have lost in the marketplace from the perspective of the "enthusiast" or the opetator?

#1 Complete code on all titles (including cities in Kiss) and ship their next several games 1.0

#2 Reveal their games BEFORE requiring or even accepting deposits

#273 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

I'm not the one confusing the business for the hobby.
No matter how you want to spin it, Gary deserves credit for saving pinball. You may not want to give him that credit, and that's fine, but I suspect you are in the minority whether your focus/interest is business or hobby.

Don't put words in my mouth. I've always given Gary credit. I own 7 Sterns. I'm happy they're around. That doesn't change the fact that THEIR business isn't THE HOBBY.

#274 1 year ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

Normally I dislike JJP games. Dialed in was good. I enjoy it. But the POTC was fantastic. Normally i'd buy this title, but JJP's prices is so ridiculous I will not. You know he can lower his price $1000 easily and still make hefty profits. It would open him up to a much larger group of collectors, and his sales would double. Instead of $8500 he was at $7500 for the standard. If he sold double the amount of games, I think would be a better benefit, than trying to milk out $1000 out of half as many buyers. Plus it would force stern to either step up their quality game, or drop their prices in return.

If he was at $7500, I'd be in. That's about $1000 outside my comfort zone, but I would do it for this pin. Looks like I will be waiting...

#275 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

So - let's redirect this thread a little.
Besides lowering prices (unlikely to happen), what specific steps do you think Stern should take to regain the cofidence they have have lost in the marketplace from the perspective of the "enthusiast" or the opetator?

Keep making pro's around the 5400 mark as they are the best deal in NiB pinball for operators?

#276 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

So - let's redirect this thread a little.
Besides lowering prices (unlikely to happen), what specific steps do you think Stern should take to regain the cofidence they have have lost in the marketplace from the perspective of the "enthusiast" or the opetator?

I'm probably the 1%'er here, but they should just keep doing what they are doing really. Keeping making ~5k Pro models for operators and keep making 7k+ Premium/LE models for people with home game rooms.

#277 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

So - let's redirect this thread a little.
Besides lowering prices (unlikely to happen), what specific steps do you think Stern should take to regain the cofidence they have have lost in the marketplace from the perspective of the "enthusiast" or the opetator?

I read an interesting American Spectator article this morning that reminded me of Stern. I won’t go into the politics of it, but basically the crutch of the story was, “Woe to any business that is out of touch with its base!” You can change base to customers, fans, audience, etc., but its the same.

Stern is out of touch with its base, or customers. Stern looked old and tired at Expo, rambling about Barcades with no new game or code updates. Meanwhile, JJP was stealing sales hand over fist. Worse yet, many of Stern’s big spenders who bought $10k and $15k BM66 game were given a swift kick to the groin. I suspect most of those big spenders are now JJP’s base.

#278 1 year ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

You know he can lower his price $1000 easily and still make hefty profits. It would open him up to a much larger group of collectors, and his sales would double. Instead of $8500 he was at $7500 for the standard. If he sold double the amount of games, I think would be a better benefit, than trying to milk out $1000 out of half as many buyers.

They are building games as quickly as they can. If you order POTC today, you won’t see it for at least 6-9 months. Maybe longer. JJP doesn’t need twice the customers right now.

Once they can build them twice as fast, that becomes an option. But for now, it is what it is.

13
#279 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

So - let's redirect this thread a little.
Besides lowering prices (unlikely to happen), what specific steps do you think Stern should take to regain the cofidence they have have lost in the marketplace from the perspective of the "enthusiast" or the opetator?

They could start by actually innovating for the operator... since they keep hanging their hat on that. Or at the least... support them better than 'buy 5 boards for every title in advance if you want to keep your games earning'.

Why is it products like silicon bands which improve longevity on location aren't promoted by the manufacturer who supposedly is building for the route operator?

Why don't operators have tools beyond 1989 technology to gather earning analytics? Or service alerts?
Why is it HEP can put molexes on assemblies to make them easier to swap in/out, but Stern can't?

They should standardize their node boards, add backwards compatibility to new revs, start an advance replace program for registered operators, improve reporting capabilities, and incentivize games on route. That's what a manufacturer that supposedly things Location pinball is the keystone to the industry should be doing.

#280 1 year ago
Quoted from spazzman90:

If he was at $7500, I'd be in. That's about $1000 outside my comfort zone, but I would do it for this pin. Looks like I will be waiting...

Life to short to let $1000 be the difference.

30
#281 1 year ago
Quoted from Potatoloco:

That is my assumption based on the past 2-3 years of sales for the hobby in general. But I also believe in order to hit that price point, the quality of a pro would have to rise, or people will raise hell.

Quality isn't relevant to my response. I don't care how much quality JJP puts in their games, I'm still not buying. $8500 is $8500. You reach a point where it doesn't matter what you're getting for it, it's not about 'value', it's about not spending eight thousand five hundred dollars (really nine thousand to your door).

I don't spend nine thousand dollars on toys. Stern can raise prices, and raise quality with them, but it won't matter if it's too much money now nice the game is.

Now there are plenty of rich people who will, and I begrudge them nothing. Spend dat cash. Let me come over and play too!

But there are plenty of people in hobby who aren't about that. If that's the end goal for pinball, get people to spend that kind of money, then I'm out, and I doubt I'm alone.

11
#282 1 year ago
Quoted from ZenTron:

Life to short to let $1000 be the difference.

Nah. That's not how it works. If you're rich, whatever I guess. But people who aren't made of money don't just magic up more than they can spend. It's just pinball, this obsession with having the newest game doesn't define the hobby.

#283 1 year ago

I've never played 9,000 games on any of my games... hell, its hard to even play 1,000 games. Why spend that much money to own it, if you can 'rent' it for far less? As long as there are good examples nearby... its hard to justify 'buying' at these kinds of price points.

#284 1 year ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

Normally I dislike JJP games. Dialed in was good. I enjoy it. But the POTC was fantastic. Normally i'd buy this title, but JJP's prices is so ridiculous I will not. You know he can lower his price $1000 easily and still make hefty profits. It would open him up to a much larger group of collectors, and his sales would double. Instead of $8500 he was at $7500 for the standard. If he sold double the amount of games, I think would be a better benefit, than trying to milk out $1000 out of half as many buyers. Plus it would force stern to either step up their quality game, or drop their prices in return.

i agree, i been saying this for a while now.
lower the price, get more customers, a bigger part of the market and make profit on quantities.
stern will have no choice but to follow.
let's not forget, JJP came up with that new price point and everybody followed.

#285 1 year ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

I've never played 9,000 games on any of my games... hell, its hard to even play 1,000 games. Why spend that much money to own it, if you can 'rent' it for far less? As long as there are good examples nearby... its hard to justify 'buying' at these kinds of price points.

A lot of guys in the hobby rent for free, somehow they buy the game and play it for a year. Then they sell and have the nerve to ask for 100% of their money or close to it. Guess the whole system relies on someone stupid enough to pay full retail for used.

#286 1 year ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Nah. That's not how it works. If you're rich, whatever I guess. But people who aren't made of money don't just magic up more than they can spend. It's just pinball, this obsession with having the newest game doesn't define the hobby.

This.

#287 1 year ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

I've never played 9,000 games on any of my games... hell, its hard to even play 1,000 games. Why spend that much money to own it, if you can 'rent' it for far less? As long as there are good examples nearby... its hard to justify 'buying' at these kinds of price points.

Yep, and even worse in my case. One of our local venues is 20 cents a game, and has WOZ, Hobbit, and Dialed in (not kidding...4 bucks to get in the door...20 cents a game) so I'd need to play like 45000 games....on games that already take a long time to play anyways. That's like 156 days nonstop of playing one game, assuming 5 minute game time, which is *horrifically* low estimation. The only thing that I've come that close or past playing that much was Asheron's Call, which I played more or less all day every day for about 6 years, and then on and off for 4 years..pretty sure when they shut it down I had 3 or 4 months of ingame logged time on my main.

#288 1 year ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

That doesn't change the fact that THEIR business isn't THE HOBBY.

I never said it was.

Feel free to PM me if you still don't understand my original point or position. This tangent doesn't really have a lot to do with the main point of the thread.

#289 1 year ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

They could start by actually innovating for the operator... since they keep hanging their hat on that. Or at the least... support them better than 'buy 5 boards for every title in advance if you want to keep your games earning'.
Why is it products like silicon bands which improve longevity on location aren't promoted by the manufacturer who supposedly is building for the route operator?
Why don't operators have tools beyond 1989 technology to gather earning analytics? Or service alerts?
Why is it HEP can put molexes on assemblies to make them easier to swap in/out, but Stern can't?
They should standardize their node boards, add backwards compatibility to new revs, start an advance replace program for registered operators, improve reporting capabilities, and incentivize games on route. That's what a manufacturer that supposedly things Location pinball is the keystone to the industry should be doing.

All of these things sound worthwhile, but I presume they haven't been done because Stern doesn't see any positive ROI in doing so. I'm sure the answer on silicon bands and molex connectors is just $.

How those changes would likely result in you buying more games to operate is what Stern is going to need to understand before they would consider them (except for an advance replacement program - that should be readily apparent to anyone with a brain).

I'm curious - how would you like to see Stern incentivize games on route?

#290 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

All of these things sound worthwhile, but I presume they haven't been done because Stern doesn't see any positive ROI in doing so. I'm sure the answer on silicon bands and molex connectors is just $.

That's kind of my point. The 'we build for operators' is just lip service. They are trying to maintain a price point... not actually cater the product to the market. The pitch from Gary is just their way to justify their ideals - not the actual philosophy for success.

When was the last time you heard Stern even mention earnings in any game launch? Any data?

Quoted from jfh:

I'm curious - how would you like to see Stern incentivize games on route?

There are lots of ways to skin this cat... it all depends on what kind of resources are more readily available to you (time, labor, $$, proximity, etc).

Stern could offer kickbacks for games being kept at marquee spots for certain time periods
Stern could offer "front of the line" delivery for their loyal operators
Stern could offer tiered manufacturer rebates for consistent buying/operating patterns
Stern could offer partner marketing for operator locations
Stern Army is an example of where the manufacturer could offer promotional materials or other giveaways Operators could leverage
Stern could offer programs to incentive operators to share earnings reports upstream to improve the product or market intelligence
Operators should have priority access to technical resources.
Stern should start giving a flying ^#%#$% about the piss poor documentation they ship

The launch party idea is a seed of an idea, but could have been taken further... but it struggled to find the commercial guys interested in carrying their end.

Truth is... Stern needs to be rebuilding the relationships that the vendors used to have with the Operators back when it was a real industry. This could be started by simply having evangelists who interact directly with the Operators. Get that level of trust and two-way feedback working, then work putting out the programs that actually have material meaning to the Operators of today. Is that up front costs? Is that marketing? Is that time-to-resolution fault fixing? Is that product reliability?

Does anyone think Stern even knows? That's step #1.

#291 1 year ago

In respect to the pinball market, the economy has begun a recession with higher costs of living continuing to rise against static salaries. I work as a bank loan officer, so I am seeing the direct impact daily. Another reason why people continue to see more volumes of used games at lower prices and many times not even selling at all, not due to seasonal change. Toys are the first to go when bills need to be paid. Prices for new games remaining an economic peak in comparison to income for purchase. $8-10K is the cost of a very good used lower mileage vehicle, and in some particular cases can pay a mortgage for almost an entire year. The Stern home use games on the market is taking price hits for some of the same reasons, but in higher amounts, not to mention oversaturation of similar titles as new owners get out of the hobby. It is happening much more than just this website.

Stern refocus of their production mindset back to the commercial market does not surprise most older collectors, as they moved on. Stern is simply maintaining a maximum profit margin while pinball interest remains high. They can treat private owners like operators again, and not try to cater to develop nonsense like a "Super Limited Edition", that was not super, and artificially limited. This was another social marketing sales experiment. There is no reason for Stern to reduce prices either, as the pro models will still make sales, even if other models do not, as they still maintain overwhelming market control.

IMHO, the one part that Stern disavows the most is the loss of trust from customers.
This will hurt the company when pinball interest dissipates again.

#292 1 year ago
Quoted from ZenTron:

Life to short to let $1000 be the difference.

No doubt.

"I've got $7500 burning a hole in my pocket for a toy for my living room, but $8500 really makes me nervous".

#293 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

No doubt.
"I'm got $7500 burning a hole in my pocket for a toy for my living room, but $8500 really makes me nervous".

I can understand that way of thinking because that is where I'm at. I'd be in on the new pirates game at 7500 but I wouldnt go any higher than that. It's a principal thing for me. I really don't even feel comfortable going 7500 but I feel like JJP's new game is such a home run that I'd probably splurge for it at 7500.

#294 1 year ago

My thinking would be better if I took time to check my spelling before I hit send.

Again, anybody that's got a spare $7500 that they don't need for real expenses, probably shouldn't be too worried about another grand.

#295 1 year ago
Quoted from ZenTron:

Life to short to let $1000 be the difference.

I seen so many people on here say "wish I was closer" and they will let $400 for shipping kill the deal, so yes I can see $1000 for many to be the difference. (Or they are just full of shit and using the shipping price as an excuse)

#296 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

So - let's redirect this thread a little.
Besides lowering prices (unlikely to happen), what specific steps do you think Stern should take to regain the cofidence they have have lost in the marketplace from the perspective of the "enthusiast" or the opetator?

Addressing this issues that keep getting brought up.

-Code completion on current and previous games-
-Go back to the same cabinet wood that has had no issues
-Stop trying to produce more games that your capable of(everyone stretched thin)
-remove new ghosting policy and correct issue properly
-Le to get more features for future games to compete with JJP

20
#297 1 year ago

Here we are defending the guy that's selling $12,500 machines over the guy who hosed the community with $15k machines. Doesn't it make the "10k by Christmas" joke quaint now....(sigh)

#298 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

No doubt.
"I've got $7500 burning a hole in my pocket for a toy for my living room, but $8500 really makes me nervous".

well everyone should have a cutoff price in their head. I do it when I buy machines and I do it when buying cars. I can't even remember the last time I paid over $3500 for a car.

#299 1 year ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

well everyone should have a cutoff price in their head.

My cutoff price for a bean and cheese burrito is about $2, but sometimes I splurge and get a fully loaded burrito for more than $5.

#300 1 year ago

Stern can correct the issues everyone is complaining about if they would just revisit what they did in 2003-2006 when they produced some of the best games of all time in terms of quality construction and finished code. Maybe they don’t care and it really is about quantity over quality. GS at expo clearly played up how many games they were making each year (three games, three models, vault and/or studio).

They have clearly deviated from that earlier period, but have had some home runs with twd and met, which aren’t up to the quality of tspp and lotr, but still are worthy examples of what’s right with games. Transformers and X-men are also well built games with good code (though xmen took a while to get there).

Moving to spike and the issues with play fields, stripping down games and features, all of which coincides with notably higher prices, does not sit well with a lot of people, including me. If they want to charge as much as they do, built the games like they used to.

JJP is a great alternative as are some other manufacturers like Spooky and American Pinball. JJP builds great games, but they are really pushing the envelope on pricing. I am thinking very hard about how to handle POTC, love to support them, but the jump in pricing from what I think is an already very high level, is making me think long and hard about how I want to approach my collection going forward.

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