Quoted from jlm33:
It's a dying breed in France for sure. Far more places getting rid of pins than wanting to get one. I actually should update some locations on the pin map nearby and delete them as pins are gone. The ones that remain are often barely functional.
A local Coin op mentioned that a bubble gum distributor (which costs 50x less than a pin) makes more money than his pins. No / Zero / Nada chance an operator would buy a NIB pin for more than 6000 euros - the max price they were ready to pay was more like 4000 euros (excluding sales tax)... even stern pros are now above that threshold.
The pinball renaissance you are seeing is not a general phenomenon.
Hopefully the pinball agony I am seeing is not general either.
It's pretty much dead in the UK and has been forever. I think it was about 12 years ago that I last went into a bar or pub or cafe not knowing a machine was there and finding one. Hence why I literally hadn't played once in more than 15 years, until last year.
Having said that, there are more venues cropping up in the UK, but that is absolutely not due to commercial viability. It's down to distributors putting games out on location in cafes or bars, and hoping to get sales as a result, and to collectors putting their games in cafes to get some money back. Other thing is that the most upwardly mobile chain of bars to appear in the last few years (Brewdog), their owners are pinball enthusiasts.
Pinball is only getting less and viable as a general commercial proposition in the UK and Europe generally. But particularly in the UK as we pay insane prices for NIB games, and have very high population density (venues are small) and typically very high rents.
I'm thinking about offering a machine or two in future to local cafes to fund my acquisition of them ... but the trouble is finding anywhere that can justify the space, as there's no way that losing a table for the machine (even at 50:50 revenue split) isn't going to result in lost revenue. Of course, there's the argument that the machine might attract more people in, or get them to come back, but most 'nice' places (where you wouldn't not want the machine) are very busy anyway.
Also, do you (or the premises) really want to take the risk with extortionate NIB prices that some yobs or kids beat the crap out of the machine or someone spills drinks or pukes all over it?
There's just no way. If it's to ever break out as a mainstream entertainment in public places again outside the US, then manufacturers are going to have to start passing on some of their cost savings to buyers, as they expand production. This seems unlikely though unless we get a big player (maybe video game publisher or someone from the Japanese games / amusements sector) entering the market and forcing change.