(Topic ID: 90903)

ANN: MMR assembly to be done by Stern Pinball for PPS/Chicago Gaming!


By PPS

5 years ago



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51
#1 5 years ago

Planetary Pinball, Chicago Gaming and Stern Pinball announce Specialty Manufacturing Arrangement

CHICAGO, IL – MAY 14, 2014 – Planetary Pinball Supply (“PPS”), Chicago Gaming Company (“CGC”) and Stern Pinball, Inc. (“SPI”), today announced a specialty manufacturing arrangement pursuant to which SPI will make its manufacturing facility available to PPS and CGC to assemble their remake of the Medieval Madness (“MMR”) pinball game.

CGC, which has a long-standing business relationship with SPI, will assemble the game for PPS in SPI’s factory using SPI’s factory labor and production line assets. The game will be assembled with parts supplied by CGC which consist of original WMS specification parts combined with the new electronics and lighting systems designed by CGC. Final prep, packaging and shipment will be from CGC facility in Cicero, IL.

“We think this arrangement provides the best solution to insure the timely delivery of a high quality game for our customers who wish to own this legendary title” said Rick Bartlett, President of PPS.

“We have a long-standing relationship with SPI and its high capacity manufacturing operation will allow us to complete the MMR games in a timely fashion,” added Doug Duba, President of CGC.

“We’re looking forward to helping PPS and CGC exceed the expectations of Medieval Madness pinball enthusiasts,” said Gary Stern, President of SPI.

###

All trademarks and product names are the property of their respective companies.

ANNOUNCEMENT FAQ:

Q: What is the announcement?

A: The announcement is that Chicago Gaming Co (CGC) and Planetary Pinball Supply, Inc.(PPS) will be using the Stern Pinball, Inc (SPI) factory to assemble the Playfield and Cabinet assemblies for Medieval Madness Remake, using both original spec WEG (Williams Electronic Games, Inc.) Medieval Madness parts and newly-designed CGC parts (electronics and lighting systems). SPI will make its manufacturing facility and factory labor available to

PPS and CGC.

Q: Why would you do this as I thought CGC was making the game?

A: CGC is ‘making the game’ for PPS and, as such, they have designed, prototyped and tested the game. CGC retains responsibility for the BOM (bill of materials), overall QA responsibility for the game, as well as packaging and shipping. What is happening is that rather than build a pinball production line, we will be using SPI’s. SPI has a high capacity line and manufacturing operation.

Q: If you were picking a pinball manufacturer – why not pick JJP since you already have a relationship with them?

A: A number of reasons go into this – first we have a relationship with SPI as well and SPI has been doing contract manufacturing for many years, and is geared up for it whereas JJP is very focused on producing its own games (WOZ, etc). Additionally, the logistics between CGC and SPI already exist – trucks move back and forth between the companies daily, as well as the finishing up at CGC would not be able to happen if the game were assembled in New Jersey. There is a lot of sub-assembly that is being done both at CGC as well as with suppliers in the Chicago area, so this is another consideration.

Q; Why would Stern Pinball do this – helping out a ‘competitor’?

A: MMR is going to be built one way or another and SPI believes MMR fits into their contract manufacturing line of business, which helps keep its factory busy during breaks between Stern-branded games. Additionally, there is a reduction in market uncertainty by insuring the game comes out sooner than later, which helps everyone.

Q: What does this do to the schedule?

A: The great news is it firms up the schedule as SPI can build upwards of 200 games/week on its line and this will allow MMR’s to be scheduled to be assembled in one or more builds, which will help ensure that we will finish the LE’s before the end of the year – so it basically allows us to get a lot more games out in a much shorter period of time with a different ramp up. The initial games will slip a few weeks to get everything setup to run. Everything assumes of course the timely delivery of all quality parts needed to assemble the game from CGC.

Q: Does this change the plan for Pre-Production games?

A: The pre-production games will now be assembled at the SPI factory, to give the production line a warmup for starting the overall assembly of the first run. The pre-production gets pushed out a few weeks.

Q: What about the quality – are you sacrificing quality by going with Stern Pinball?

A: The quality of a game is a function of many factors including parts selection, design, as well as build quality. For the MMR, the assembly is using OUR set of parts and OUR design. As for build quality, the objective is to have the same build quality as the original Medieval Madness. Additionally, we will incorporate CGC Quality Control people into the SPI line to address and escalate any build issues. Finally, SPI itself has major initiatives focused on improving build quality, which will benefit us.

Conversely, there is a learning curve and a ramp up of building a new manufacturing line – there are people to hire, train, etc, and lots of design and working to get ‘things right’. Additionally, from all of our cumulative manufacturing experience, we all know that a new assembly facility would have ‘bumps in the road'. We chose this path to help avoid those bumps which would translate to delays that we could not predict and thus more uncertainty and delay in customers getting their games at the level of quality that they expect. Also, if you do not keep an assembly line running then you have issues with people not having work in-between, retraining … and potentially quality issues popping up from time to time. SPI’s assembly line does not have these issues and they can handle the capacity of the MMR games.

Q: When did this decision get made – have you been keeping us in the dark?

A: The decision was brought up in earnest in March, and we had initial discussions, including a list of concerns that we wanted addressed (many of the concerns that are being answered in this FAQ). We had some additional discussion between CGC/PPS/SPI management and PPS/CGC came to a decision in early May that this would be the best path for the customer.

Q: Does this mean Stern Pinball will be building all of the PPS/CGC games?

A: This decision is for MMR, that is the focus. There have been no discussions with SPI about building any more games. We will deliver MMR first, and then consider what the market tells us and proceed based on that.

Q: Why wouldn’t Stern Pinball just sabotage the game or the dates, etc?

A: SPI has a strong reputation and the industry is very small. Additionally, this supports SPI’s business in terms of contract manufacturing (assembly), and our customers are in many cases SPI’s customers and visa-versa – the pinball community is a very tight space, and any negatives like this would not serve SPI. CGC has an ongoing business relationship with SPI, providing Cabinets and Playfields for SPI games, so there is a strong business and industry relationship there. PPS has always been on respectful terms with SPI (and we are the exclusive provider of Gary Stern’s personal Jelly Belly stash!). In the end, the market players are embracing the ‘coompetition model’ – where players can both ‘compete’ but also ‘cooperate’ at the same time – a refreshing option in this case which we believe will benefit all of our customers.

#18 5 years ago

I'm not sure where this fits on the 'Epic Scale' but yes, this was the one for PAGG which we pulled up a couple of days. It sounds like at least an Epic surprise to many ...

11
#31 5 years ago
Quoted from indypinhead:

I just hope my MMr doesn't have that "Stern feel".

All WMS OEM / CGC parts so it will have that "WMS feel"... we will try to incorporate "WMS" scent into it, I don't think screwdrivers leave a scent

11
#83 5 years ago
Quoted from dgoett:

so tired of hearing people call into question Stern build quality.
I'm a pinball tech and have been for 16 years and current model sterns are great. Just as solid as B/W with fewer board problems. Just like any tech, there's things that go bad, but most of the time a NIB Stern is put the balls in and play - ready to go.
If I were a MMR owner, I would feel refreshed that someone that builds pinballs all day everyday and has for years will be assembling my game rather than some new guys just hired a few months ago
my .02

well said.

11
#148 5 years ago
Quoted from mechslave:

LOL I wanted my playfield cured and aged in oak barrels in the mountains of Tennessee!
But yes, actually. Stern is all about getting the product out as quick as possible, ready or not, problems or not, software or not, QC or not, get them out and sell them! That's just their reputation. I do understand not all of those will apply because the parts, design and software are done. But instead of "EPIC!!!" my reaction is more like a shoulder shrug "Guess that's really the only option." And obviously it is, right now.

No manufacturer wants a product with problems as that equals alot more $ to fix times alot more customers equals alot more angry customers = alot less people buying. Please ... perhaps think about what you say other than just to get a reaction will probably help ...

#152 5 years ago
Quoted from Zitt:

Which IMHO is the right thing to do. Its a surprise to me that PPS is attempting to "bring back" older games and continue to support new mods for these games. I'd have thought that PPS was in it completely for the money... while I'm sure they are; it does at least APPEAR that PPS and the community can work together to improve the availability of the non-licensed themes.

If we were in it soley for the money we wouldn't be in it ... probably better ROI and alot less time to buy Apple or Samsung stock

14
#232 5 years ago

Its a PPS/CGC product with OEM WMS and CGC parts ... it's not got anything from Stern in it. Just the labor to put it together. If this did not come thru in the pretty clear message then It sounds like you are not able to see it differently, which I can understand why its a difficult things - but contract manufacturers/assemblers are at work all over the globe ... most PC boards are made with them, alot of electronics are as well ...

Quoted from rommy:

ecause it will definitely be a Stern product not a PPS or any other company, then the value of the original will bounce back for collectors.

The collectability has already been discussed ad nauseum ... we not making the game for collectors, we are making the game for people who want to play the game. If people need to obsess about it, I guess that's their deal ...

14
#324 5 years ago
Quoted from rommy:

It would be great though if Rick would release his intended list. He already said whatever will make money he will remake and at 8k we can "sort of" see what would sell at that price. roadshow ? probably not. AFM ?

I never would say that ... what I would say is as we get thru MMR, then we will look at additional titles, and if the market demand is there (market demand = people wanting to buy x product at roughly y price) and it makes business sense then we make those decisions when the time comes.

The time has not come, we are focused on getting MMR as right as we can.

rick

#367 5 years ago
Quoted from juanton:

What I haven't seen asked here is this, when there is a problem with the game and it is under warranty, who do you call, Stern or PPS? Is Stern the manufacturer or just the "assembler"?

Stern is the assembler ... I'm not sure how much more clear we can make this ... you will call MMR support which will route to the right person as well as escalate. Lloyd is one of those people, as is Chicago gaming ... but the support procedures will address all of that ...

rick

#406 5 years ago
Quoted from NM:

Guessing the trouble-shooting/warranty on these be through 1-800-KICKERS?

No, it won't.

When your iphone breaks do you call Foxcon or do you call Apple?

13
#447 5 years ago
Quoted from viper001:

Again, too early to say which is better. Just one major flaw (or worse, a succession of them) and NOBODY will remember that their game had better lighting, or that they got to choose the finish on the cabinet trim. They will just be complaining that it won't make a ramp shot, or that something that is newly designed for the game is not holding up, etc, etc.
The one thing that is almost a surety, if this thing goes south there will now be 3 companies involved (not even counting parts suppliers) to point fingers at each other.

the good news here with you is you will always be able to find something wrong with anything and everything (especially having no stake in the game which which makes it a bit obsessive), so you will never run out of material for pinside ... lol

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