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 7 of 38.
#301 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

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.

fine if JJP goes $3 over my price point, i'll still pull the trigger. $7503

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#302 1 year ago
Quoted from taz:

I sure hope Stern catches this thread and a few of the others following Expo. They should be at general quarters as soon as possible if they don't want to take a nose dive.

I think Stern doesn't care about me, I sent several messages about code bugs and didn't even get a reply as if the message went straight in the trash can.

I had bought 4 NIB Stern pins in around 24 month period Tron, XMLE, STLE and IM VE and since then nothing. I believe 3.5 years off Stern. I have bought second hand Stern (Met pro, AcDc pre, TWD pro, LotR, SM and Tspp) but have avoided any way to support the actual company of Stern since they have been giving paying customers the cold shoulder. Also the code was completed and the second hand games and were good values mostly priced less than $5K except AcDc premium.

I say Stern doesn't care about me, Stern doesn't exist to me and I don't exist to Stern. But the thing is if any more people would follow my example and just stop buying Stern pins. Say Stern makes GOTG and it has as much on the PF as SW and it's code is as complete as BM66. Just don't buy it. Stern will sell 300 units or some number but they may get the point and take some action and listen to their customers.

I said Stern should have a website with a suggestion box where we could put suggestions and they would actually read the suggestions not just throw them in the trash.

I was never going to buy BM66 (joke at that price) but from what I've read of the code as well as Kiss code, cabinet splitting insert ghosting, general sloppiness it's an embarrassment. I don't hope Stern goes out of business, but I do hope they change their practices.

First thing should be price cuts, code completions, put back in basic features like PF supports, make sure the cabinets don't separate, the decals don't fall off the inserts don't ghost the clear doesn't flake off etc..

$5K $6K and $7K that's a good place to start.

I would wager that a $15K BM66 SLE would be hard pressed to sell for $8K today.

#303 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.

Lot's of good points. To be fair though, my BM66 is all molex. I'm not an operator though, so maybe I'm missing something.

#304 1 year ago

Very few, if any, of us here really know what’s going on financially with Stern or JJP. Many opinions here are based on our impressions of the games and gossip.

JJP has mad some beautiful games. The debate has been ferocious about weather or not they are fun etc. Beyond that, their business model may not be sustainable. Most of us have no idea.

Personally, I love the competition in the market. Stern, JJP and now Spooky have developed some great products.

I disagree that one show makes or breaks a market turn for a company. I’ve said for years that JJP needed to show up in force at the big Pinball shows. I’m glad that they are doing it now.

#305 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

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.

You're ruining the price of burritos for everyone.

Quoted from BoJo:

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)

Yeah I'm going to guess that 99% of people that say "wish I was closer" never actually had any intent of buying. Heck most people that commit to buying never actually had any intent of buying.

Quoted from Nevus:

Very few, if any, of us here really know what’s going on financially with Stern or JJP. Many opinions here are based on our impressions of the games and gossip.

To this I would also add that many have also never run a business and don't quite understand when you should drop prices and when you should raise them.

#306 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

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.

Once again O-din its a principal thing. There's also a huge difference between a 5 dollar burito and a 8500 dollar pinball machine. You have to set your cut off point somewhere and that's where mine is at on this particular machine. Yeah if a guy has 7500 to spend on a pinball machine then he's probably got another 1,000. He's probably got another 2 or 3 thousand even. That doesn't mean that he should let someone bend him over and take it though does it?

#307 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

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.

Sure, sure, but would you add another $2 to get a side of chips and guac? A man had to know his limitations.

#308 1 year ago
Quoted from xRose_of_Aragonx:

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.

This must be the alter ego of the black knight. No way another, different person expresses their thoughts in this clear, concise manner!

#309 1 year ago
Quoted from fosaisu:

Sure, sure, but would you add another $2 to get a side of chips and guac? A man had to know his limitations.

I don't always splurge, but when I do, I'll spend $6 for a large Dos Equis Amber on tap too. Stay thirsty, my friends.

th (resized).jpg

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#310 1 year ago

After 7 pages, maybe the OPs point has been muddled or forgotten. He said Stern was out of touch and JJP killed it. I wasn't there, but I believe this from what I've heard and read. It matters little that Stern still rules the market or owns the "budget" (haha) entry pinball category. What matters is that after a two year run of dumbing down their product, terrible QC and horrible code support while raising prices, they failed to acknoweldge any of this to their customers, fan base or new potentail buyers. They ignored it and that's their prerogative. The OP sees this as a gouge in their armor, a sign that maybe Stern's focus isn't where it should be. Frankly I agree.

The OP went on to suggest Stern cut prices or offer incentives to spur sales and engender good will. I also agree. I currently see no reason whatsoever to invest in a Stern product. I have no faith I'll receive a quality product that will receive proper code support. I didnt always feel this way, but I do today.

On the contrary, I have no intention of buying a NIB JJP product either, but that's just because I refuse to pay $8,500 for a pinball machine. However, if I were inclined to spend this amount of money, I wouldn't hesitate, because I believe that JJP is trying to make the best possible pinball machine they can, and support it to the hilt.

As JJP becomes more comfortable with their place in the high end market, and with the industry in general, I wouldn't be surprised if they try to enter the lower end market. And if they do, Stern really better up their game. As it stands, Stern doesn't have to. There are plenty of people willing to pony up increaising amounts of money for a problematic product. I wish more people were like me, and would refuse to buy until Stern proves that they are committed to making a sound, reliable, finished game.

Anyway, I personally don't like what I'm seeing from Stern these days. I'm not impressed. JJP? Quite impressed. Argue about it all day if you want, but I think more people are like me on this than not, at least on Pinside.

#311 1 year ago
Quoted from TheFamilyArcade:

This must be the alter ego of the black knight. No way another, different person expresses their thoughts in this clear, concise manner!

Great minds think alike.

#312 1 year ago

Seven pages of a possibly controversial "stern" subject and not one thread eject. I'm impressed.

#313 1 year ago
Quoted from TheFamilyArcade:

This must be the alter ego of the black knight. No way another, different person expresses their thoughts in this clear, concise manner!

Just like him because he's based his response on a fallacy.

What recession? There are no real indicators that this is happening other than your anecdotal story. Why are housing starts and sales up over 7% ask other indicators are up too.

Pin prices are down? Maybe slightly but due to saturation not the economy.

#314 1 year ago
Quoted from Travish:

Seven pages of a possibly controversial "stern" subject and not one thread eject. I'm impressed.

What im really in awe with are the thumbs up in the very first post. Its practically unanimous.

#315 1 year ago
Quoted from Travish:

Seven pages of a possibly controversial "stern" subject and not one thread eject. I'm impressed.

Could the mods please eject this guy for criticizing the mods?

#316 1 year ago
Quoted from Nevus:

JJP has mad some beautiful games. The debate has been ferocious about weather or not they are fun etc.

WOZ was a blast. I’m glad I owned one. I never liked the Hobbit movies (loved LOTR), so I was out on that. And when I played Dialed In, it didn’t do it for me. So like all pinball (and life), JJP is hit or miss. I’m thinking this one might be good.

#317 1 year ago
Quoted from TheFamilyArcade:

After 7 pages, maybe the OPs point has been muddled or forgotten. He said Stern was out of touch and JJP killed it. I wasn't there, but I believe this from what I've heard and read. It matters little that Stern still rules the market or owns the "budget" (haha) entry pinball category. What matters is that after a two year run of dumbing down their product, terrible QC and horrible code support while raising prices, they failed to acknoweldge any of this to their customers, fan base or new potentail buyers. They ignored it and that's their prerogative. The OP sees this as a gouge in their armor, a sign that maybe Stern's focus isn't where it should be. Frankly I agree.
The OP went on to suggest Stern cut prices or offer incentives to spur sales and engender good will. I also agree. I currently see no reason whatsoever to invest in a Stern product. I have no faith I'll receive a quality product that will receive proper code support. I didnt always feel this way, but I do today.
On the contrary, I have no intention of buying a NIB JJP product either, but that's just because I refuse to pay $8,500 for a pinball machine. However, if I were inclined to spend this amount of money, I wouldn't hesitate, because I believe that JJP is trying to make the best possible pinball machine they can, and support it to the hilt.
As JJP becomes more comfortable with their place in the high end market, and with the industry in general, I wouldn't be surprised if they try to enter the lower end market. And if they do, Stern really better up their game. As it stands, Stern doesn't have to. There are plenty of people willing to pony up increaising amounts of money for a problematic product. I wish more people were like me, and would refuse to buy until Stern proves that they are committed to making a sound, reliable, finished game.
Anyway, I personally don't like what I'm seeing from Stern these days. I'm not impressed. JJP? Quite impressed. Argue about it all day if you want, but I think more people are like me on this than not, at least on Pinside.

Thanks for reminding some of the original focus.

But the suggestion to cut prices wasn't mine. I think it was a good one, but don't think we're likely to see it. Stern would improve quality long before they would lower prices. Simply lowering prices would be an admission they can't compete at current price levels.

#318 1 year ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

What im really in awe with are the thumbs up in the very first post. Its practically unanimous.

At the moment, it's 190-0. That's not practically unanimous, its unanimous so far.

Stern may not think those on Pinside are important, and maybe we aren't in the grand scheme of pinball sales, but if they can ignore almost 200 people that are potential buyers of their $5k-$10k products they must be doing a whole lot better then they are letting on...

I hope Stern realizes that most (all) of those thumbing up want them to succeed and want to buy more games. We just want to be treated as customers that are important to them and worth maintaining, not just easily replaceable widget buyers.

#319 1 year ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

What im really in awe with are the thumbs up in the very first post. Its practically unanimous.

Hopefully Stern can understand Pinside is part of their market. I’m not sure they get the message yet, didn’t they have a PR guy about commitment to code and was abandoned without any change in practice. Only lip service.

I’m supporting Spooky and JJP.

#320 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

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.

Damn Odin, you need to get down here to Texas

Real Mex food and I can get u 5 fully loaded burritos for $5

Plus you can get with real people.

Or maybe u prefer vegans like Rarehero

#321 1 year ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Damn Odin, you need to get down here to Texas

Real Mex food and I can get u 5 fully loaded burritos for $5

Plus you can get with real people.

Or maybe u prefer vegans like Rarehero

Well, I'm not really interested in going to Taco Bell for 5 meximelts, but it still sounds better than that to-fu-fu crap.

#322 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

Well, I'm not really interested in going to Taco Bell for 5 meximelts, but it still sounds better than that to-fu-fu crap.

Trust me Odiner, it ain't Taco Bell

Although, back in my younger days that combo burrito was a great late night go to

And the Jack in the box super tacos. Omg

#323 1 year ago

If pins were like cars, stern would be a family car maker and JJ a luxury maker. Same product different markets. Stern has little competition in the $5.6k price point so doesn't have to focus on customer service. Companies use customer service to differentiate themselves. Stern differentiates on price not service.
It is also not worth their time to lower their price. Let's say for example the Pro models make $1k profit per pin, if stern dropped the price by $500, they would need to sell twice the number to make the same profits. It doesn't seem likely any price drop would lift sales enough to compensate and you can be sure that stern have the price/volume mix just about right.
The Pro targets the operator market, who will turn over games quickly and make most of their money in the first few months the game is on site. For operators it's about how profitable a game is, not how well it plays, although sometimes the two are related.
I'd guess the LE is Sterns most profitable pin so won't be going away anytime soon. The LE appeals to a particular type of buyer. The type who will give a pin a 9.9 rating even while acknowledging some feature doesn't work or the code is incomplete. They buy it high because it's limited and they can own it, not because it's value for money. That's why a LE will always make more profit per pin than a pro. Stern knows who you are, and if you keep buying them, they will keep selling them.

18
#324 1 year ago

Expo has a way and history of defining what's what.

To me, JJP is defined now by customer first, pinball passion and a competitive will to win

Stern defined themselves to me as just good enough is ok in their minds

Man I've done a total 180

#325 1 year ago
Quoted from 7oxford:

If pins were like cars, stern would be a family car maker and JJ a luxury maker. Same product different markets. Stern has little competition in the $5.6k price point so doesn't have to focus on customer service. Companies use customer service to differentiate themselves. Stern differentiates on price not service.

Any company that doesn't think customer service is important to the bottom line is risking future business and maybe even the longevity of the company.

There is absolutely no reason for Stern not to care about customer service.

#326 1 year ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Trust me Odiner, it ain't Taco Bell

I know they have a saying everything is bigger in Texas, but where I'm at The Hollenbeck from El Tepiac what's known as a fully loaded burrito, and there aint nowhere in this country, you'll get something like this for $1.

o (resized).jpg

#327 1 year ago

Interesting as the Hollenbeck comes in two models priced at $9.50 and $12.50 accordingly. If you can't or don't want to afford that, there's always taco bell....

#328 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

There is absolutely no reason for Stern not to care about customer service.

Who says they don't? I've seen thousands of quality threads but not about their service. Lots of replacement pf cabs and node boards when they dont really have to do it.

#329 1 year ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

Just like him because he's based his response on a fallacy.
What recession? There are no real indicators that this is happening other than your anecdotal story. Why are housing starts and sales up over 7% ask other indicators are up too.
Pin prices are down? Maybe slightly but due to saturation not the economy.

It’s not him. Black Knight said he left pinside because it was a toxic waste dump, so there’s no way he would come back. Plus having another identity is against the rules and subject to permanent banning.

Plus, it’s a woman.

#330 1 year ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

Lots of replacement pf cabs and node boards when they dont really have to do it.

They wouldn't have to either if those parts were good to begin with .

#331 1 year ago
Quoted from Mudflaps:

It’s not him. Black Knight said he left pinside because it was a toxic waste dump, so there’s no way he would come back. Plus having another identity is against the rules and subject to permanent banning.
Plus, it’s a woman.

And I'm the queen of England....

#332 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

They wouldn't have to either if those parts were good to begin with .

Agreed, but that's a quality issue not a customer service issue.

#333 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.

Duh, because you can play 2,000 games and still sell it for $8,500.

#334 1 year ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

And I'm the queen of England....

Your majesty!!!

#335 1 year ago
Quoted from Black_Knight:

Who says they don't? I've seen thousands of quality threads but not about their service. Lots of replacement pf cabs and node boards when they dont really have to do it.

Sorry, I should have been more specific. Stern is generally responsive to small issues and parts and service requests.

On larger, more systemic issues they repeatedly show that they either don't know how or don't care to provide responses to the end user customer base. And sometimes even their own customers (distributors). And rarely is anything proactive.

#336 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

you'll get something like this for $1.

I think she'll cost you more than a dollar.

#337 1 year ago
Quoted from beelzeboob:

I think she'll cost you more than a dollar.

I thought she was a little easier on the eye than the some of the pics of dudes eating that burrito. It's about a half hour from here so I settled for local Mexican drive thru tonight.

#338 1 year ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

JJP ...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

Why would they want to do that?

They can't make enough of the $8500 ones now.

If they made twice the amount of machines at $7500, by the time they employed twice as many staff to make them, and increased the size of the building, and bought all the plant, they'd actually make less money than maintaining the status quo.

More turnover doesn't necessarily mean more profit.

(AKA: I made more money from one furniture store than I did from 4).

rd

#339 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

I thought she was a little easier on the eye than the some of the pics of dudes eating that burrito. It's about a half hour from here so I settled for local Mexican drive thru tonight.

No way that beast is a buck!

And damn sure don't pics of a dude eating that thing.

I'm thinking she is really eating that little taquito over to the left!

#340 1 year ago
Quoted from iceman44:

No way that beast is a buck!

Like I mentioned it comes in two sizes and pricing tiers. LE and Collectors edition. No standard on this model.

#341 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

Like I mentioned it comes in two sizes and pricing tiers. LE and Collectors edition. No standard on this model.

How are the inserts?

#342 1 year ago

Yummy.

#343 1 year ago
Quoted from rotordave:

Why would they want to do that?
They can't make enough of the $8500 ones now.
If they made twice the amount of machines at $7500, by the time they employed twice as many staff to make them, and increased the size of the building, and bought all the plant, they'd actually make less money than maintaining the status quo.
More turnover doesn't necessarily mean more profit.
(AKA: I made more money from one furniture store than I did from 4).
rd

This is true... i mow 50 properties by myself at the moment.... when i think of expanding with bigger / more equipment and having a few employees it just dont add up. I wld actually make much less money and have many more headaches and no free time. Just not worth it sometimes.

#344 1 year ago
Quoted from xRose_of_Aragonx:

Great minds think alike.

Earlier, you pretended to be upset that people called you out as xThe Black Knightx, "Karla."

Your pompous tone is unmistakable.

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#345 1 year ago

zzzzzzzzz

A1A50EE5-63C1-4BB2-AEE6-629BDC9D84C5 (resized).png

#346 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

Stern is generally responsive to small issues and parts and service requests.

No. I tried it several times and the rspeonse was zero.
But it´s OK i found a solution.
Not good for Stern but good for me.

#347 1 year ago
Quoted from o-din:

I know they have a saying everything is bigger in Texas, but where I'm at The Hollenbeck from El Tepiac what's known as a fully loaded burrito, and there aint nowhere in this country, you'll get something like this for $1.

everything in that picture looks good

#348 1 year ago
Quoted from jfh:

Last night we saw a remarkable difference between the two major pinball companies during their Expo sessions.
Stern gave a presentation on how barcades and beer are their future and talked about their market without talking about the key topics that are important to the pinball buyers that make the difference - enthuisiasts and operators who actually buy the games from Stern distributors.
We heard nothing about how Stern plans to make anything better for their customers, no commitment to excellence, no acknowledgement of growing pains, quality control issues, no understanding that deep and feature complete code matter to a significant majority of their market or why it's important to have open, frequent and transparent communication with those buyers. Gary Stern, arguably the savior of pinball, demonstrated that his company is willing to cede the title of best pinball company to JJP because Stern is more interested in being a manufacturer than delivering world class pinball machines.
It was well understood Stern was not going to reveal a new game. No big deal. The expectation was that they were going to relaunch their flagship 30th Anniversary game, Batman 66, that was released early to meet the 2016 anniversary deadline. At Expo last year we saw a georgous, unplayable game with pretty lights with a promise that designer George Gomez and programmer Lyman Sheets were going to deliver a game that would do the theme justice, exploit the new LCD screen and the amazing audio and video assets they have for Batman.
Early LE and SLE buyers of Stern's most expensive game ever were willing to take the risk because they were big Batman fans, big Stern supporters and believed George when he said Stern was committed to deliver a game both he and Lyman wanted to own themselves. Others were not so sure and distributors struggled to sell Premiums, not because the theme wasn't popular but because the game was barely playable.
From January to May we saw the code improve and hints of greatness to come (parachute pickup mode) and then complete radio silence until Expo when attendees were the first to experience the first update in 5 months. Those that actually paid for their games - some almost a year ago - don't have access to the code (they did get a vague promise that something might be released in a week or so, but that it still wasn't going to be anything close to release level code or the game George and Lyman supposedly want it to be). We got lip service as to why and no commitment to keeping owners in the loop. Owners of Star Wars and other games in serious need of code fixes didn't fare much better.
A couple hours later we saw a company that understood and acknowledged past missteps. Jersey Jack started with comments and presentations that showed they were committed to excellence, were willing to take risks, understood what their customers wanted and then followed that by revealing their POTC game in an 180 degree change from the disastrous reveal for Dialed In last year (a game that has exceeded expectations despite the initial negativity).
I do not care for the POTC theme and will not be a buyer, but the reveal was a home run. The game looks fast (a fast widebody!), fun and incredibly deep. JJP says it will deliver in 1Q18 with feature complete code, similar to what they did with Dialed In. What we saw last night was a game that was supposedly 20% complete that had more code than Stern's three most recent games combined.
The JJP team indicated they are here to stay for generations to come. I always wanted them to succeed and am now convinced they will. Someone said in another thread that JJP has now become the WMS of the 90s (the gold standard) and Stern was again Data East. With the stark differences in build quality now readily apparent to anyone that wants to look, that may be true. Stern may have the greater sales volume, but they are no longer the market leader in pinball.
Unless management at Stern wakes up from their "we own the market" stupor quickly and acknowledges and addresses the needs of the "enthusiast" community their beer and barcades future may be populated with competitor's games. They may see the impressive 40% growth disappear as fast as it came.
I love the idea of a fabulous Batman 66 machine. I like Stern. I want them to be more successful. However after last night I have no faith they want me as a buyer. I'm excited at the possibility of a new, great Elvira game. But I'm no longer going to buy a game for what it might become in the future or what a company tells me they are going to do. Actions speak louder than words. I'm going to be buying on what I get today, not promises of what I'll get tomorrow.

Wow.

Haven't read any other posts in this thread yet, but over 200 upvotes for the OP's post. Not one downvote. Don't think I've ever seen that many upvotes for a single post, especially one critical of Stern. I don't care what anyone sais about "Pinside is only a small % of the market", a sample size of 200 in a tiny market, is a pretty accurate indication of how much goodwill Stern has lost over he past year.

#349 1 year ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

And I'm the queen of England....

How does one take ones tea ?

#350 1 year ago

I think Stern needs to go away from Expo and have a long hard look at themselves. I am a Stern slut but there is no way I would buy from them at the moment. They have had a terrible 18 months from a quality, code and customer service standpoint.
I think the 'barcade' focus speech was ridiculous. It isn't that long ago that Gary Stern was emphasising the importance of the home collector market. Now which is it to be Gary ?
I think Stern also relies much more heavily on the export market than the other manufacturers and sales have been poor over here in Europe with Pro models costing about $8000.
Maybe it is time to ditch the Premium/LE models and concentrate on making good quality, serviceable (NOT buying node boards to repair), well coded games that just work, reliably out of the box ?

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