(Topic ID: 284442)

Direction of Stern 2021...

By iceman44

10 months ago


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    There are 194 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
    39
    #1 10 months ago

    Finally got through all of the Gary Stern interview with Franchi and Dr Pin

    I wanted to start this thread because I know they read Pinside

    It was a great interview. I like hearing from all manufacturers and talking about where they have been and where they are going

    It’s clear based on Gary’s comments that they are struggling with fitting every game into the same BOM, regardless of title, and/or increasing the toys and features and needing to raise price

    As a guy that has purchased TWDLE, ASLE, GBLE, IMDNLE, JPLE, MunstersLE, STHLE, ElviraLE, Beatles GOLD, AC/DC premium, LOTRLE, SM, TSPP, WPT, BM66LE and AIQLE recently here is my suggestion.

    Take at least ONE theme per year and throw out the BOM and then just price it accordingly. The more in there the better

    As a new GNRCE buyer I’m looking for “more” and am willing to pay for it

    It’s why I passed on LZ. Ok, you gotta satisfy all the different parts of the market. Easy to make, great theme, excellent profit

    When you talk about putting Avengers pros on the line instead of Elvira or JP “because it’s easier to make and the profit margin is higher” that’s not what we want to hear. I get it though, I am a CPA and attorney and understand the business has to work.

    I agree that “FUN” is #1 with Stern pinball and you do a great job with it.

    As you guys struggle with how to allocate resources each day, Consider Making at least ONE “FUN” and SPECIAL pin per year, without regard to the BOM and just price it however it comes out. WE WILL BUY IT

    I’ve accumulated enough “FUN” and will be looking forward to GNRCE type stuff in the future

    You know you got there when people say WOW, this game is packed like a JJP game and plays like a FUN Stern game!

    Make it happen Gary and George! Life is short

    21
    #2 10 months ago

    Aren't games like Elvira, or even BM66 examples of them trying this? Games that can't and don't exist at a Pro level.

    #3 10 months ago

    I guess the counterpoint is how much would they charge? 15k or something stupid if they go all out and have a game with four flippers and 3 spinners and a few drop targets?

    #5 10 months ago

    Problem is always people expert more for less money. If you make one great pin and then not as great pins people tend to be disappointed. I also think you cut out a big market if only premium plus pricing.

    #6 10 months ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    Aren't games like Elvira, or even BM66 examples of them trying this? Games that can't and don't exist at a Pro level.

    Exactly my thoughts.

    And then take it up another notch or two on those games

    The Batman experience with Adam West involved is next level. The turntable mech is great and innovative. Now finish it off with cool sculpts and maybe another feature on that game

    Elvira is great! She should have signed ALL the LEs. The CEs should have been more creative.

    Should have kept Nordman’s original left ramp.

    Think how CGC does the back of the PF 3D displays on MB for example

    Finish it off

    When they hit the comment, “wow, that looks like a JJP game”. That’s what I’m talking about

    I want the kitchen sink in ONE game and price it AFTER it’s finished

    10
    #7 10 months ago

    The design monotony is as big a problem (although they are related). If some games had unique bottoms, or different cabinet dimensions, or single exposed pops, that would really help keep things fresh without necessarily blowing up the BOM.

    #8 10 months ago
    Quoted from jawjaw:

    Problem is always people expert more for less money. If you make one great pin and then not as great pins people tend to be disappointed. I also think you cut out a big market if only premium plus pricing.

    I don’t think so. People always bitch and complain pricing and then...

    GNRCEs sell out instantly

    Might be a vocal minority that would never buy in the first place

    Just look at GNR. Case closed

    Look at what the Euros have to drop on these games

    I’d pay $13-15k for a Stern fun game that looks like a JJP effort, especially GNR

    #9 10 months ago

    These “retaliatory tariffs” were mentioned on the podcast by the EU and the pinball tax and Gary said “they” are just waiting for Biden to arrive

    He might also arrive by increasing the corporate tax rate back to 28% from 21%

    Talk about a pass through BOM cutter. That’s just the reality of any pinball manufacturer and how taxes play into it

    Whatever the case may be, build it without regard to costs and then price it! Just ONE GAME. Go above and beyond GNR. Are you capable?

    Get out of your raising your LE $100 comfort zone

    15
    #10 10 months ago

    They are in a tough spot since they are dealing with lots of buyers who are clueless at business.

    A big chunk of their market thinks they are "being cheap" and make 100% profit margins.

    People want more stuff, better art, on and on but no one wants to pay up for it.

    You are probably right that they should put out a super duper no holds barred game every year... problem with that would be the endless screaming about how they are "screwing" their customer base by putting out a pin they cant afford.

    No matter what they do they will get shit....

    #11 10 months ago

    I like what Stern is doing and how they responded to my nib playfield issue. My savings grows. Thank you Stern and Merry Christmas.

    #12 10 months ago

    100% with you in this iceman44 . I think the market has matured enough to make it work. At the moment it’s essentially JJP filling that role of “one premium loaded game per year”. Why give up that segment to another supplier?

    Biggest problem is Stern probably think they’re already catering to that market with LE’s and SLE’s, so likely won’t happen.

    22
    #13 10 months ago

    Maybe they should focus on making playfields that last more than 150'ish games or 1-3 months before permanent damage starts appearing.

    Then we can get onto the big stuff like making "packed" games.

    Dunno, something about "being able to walk before you can run" or something of the sort.

    #14 10 months ago

    I like the idea of one pin a year they go all out. Like if they get harry potter. Throw bom out the door and go all out. I dont agree with everyone saying only JP would do it justice. I love JP as well but to me sterns play and feel better. If they would make say harry potter a 12k pin loaded with assets/toys but keep the great shooting stern feel im in.

    #15 10 months ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    100% with you in this iceman44 . I think the market has matured enough to make it work. At the moment it’s essentially JJP filling that role of “one premium loaded game per year”. Why give up that segment to another supplier?
    Biggest problem is Stern probably think they’re already catering to that market with LE’s and SLE’s, so likely won’t happen.

    You, me and 500 other instant GNRCE buyers know otherwise right?

    You and I are their “LE and SLE” market and yeah NO, they aren’t catering with that product to us now. That’s the point

    I’m just giving my point of view and why I didn’t buy LZLE and won’t buy in the future if my response is, “Oh yeah, seen that one many times before, pass”

    I actually think it will happen, at least Gary thinks about it daily.

    Kaminkow or whomever came from Topps or Upper Deck over there should understand how they bastardized the card market with the same old year after year “LEs”

    And Gary did say he wants to leave behind a company that grows well into the future.

    You aren’t gonna get there by continuing to keep putting out the same stuff each time

    And if you think the internet connectivity is the next holy grail? Think again

    It’s just part of it. Need the magical “world under glass”

    26
    #16 10 months ago

    Stern will never be able to satisfy everyone. Let's acknowledge the things they have done.
    1. We complained about shitty photoshop collage art. They answered by giving us much better art packages with hand drawn art and some games with multiple art packages. E.g. star wars comic
    2. We complained they abandoned code. They hired more programmers and are pumping out tons of code updates and even providing support for games long out of production.
    3. We complained about lack of original themes and everything was licensed. They gave us black knight noone bought and they made JP into a custom game within the realm and people complained about it not being the fucking movie.

    I agree it'd be sweet to have a fully features game from Stern at a premium but I don't think it makes sense for them since they are ultimately a manufacturer. I think their business model is to produce and sell as many machines as possible to keep the line moving which it seems they're doing great at. It doesn't seem to make sense to retool to run some boutique games. Plus we already have other manufacturers filling that void.

    You can see the limits on the BOM in their games though. The hotter and more expensive a license the more barren the playfield.
    At the end of the day I'm just glad we have so many options for new pinball in the market. I think Stern can continue to do what they're doing and they will continue to be on top.

    #17 10 months ago

    To me their licensing costs are the issue.

    If they continue to go after some of the most expensive licenses out there the options after paying up are to

    1. charge more (Elvira or Batman 66)

    2. strip the game back (LZ and Star Wars)

    Doing some original themes would be the compromise... would people buy those though??

    #18 10 months ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    Aren't games like Elvira, or even BM66 examples of them trying this? Games that can't and don't exist at a Pro level.

    That’s what I was about to say. Totally worth it too. At least in the case of Elvira - I don’t have B66

    #19 10 months ago

    Same exact direction that has been yielding fantastic profits for the last several years?

    #20 10 months ago

    Based on what OP stated as an example It would have been great if they started this concept with SW. It would have been great to get this one awesome theme integrated with every bell and whistle. Just something more than the usual. I know there was probably plenty of license restrictions but yea price it accordingly if more was put into it and make it a true SW world under glass. GOT too with so much was expected from people.

    They’re just comfortable with what they’re doing. Avengers is mainstream right now and makes sense to get more out there. People around here seem pretty settled on Pro models in general despite lacking features and gameplay compared to higher models. Good price point for most it seems.

    #21 10 months ago

    Why do they need new direction? Their LEs typically sell out, they’ve been able to raise prices and have them stick and it sounds like they can’t produce games fast enough to meet demand.

    -1
    #22 10 months ago
    Quoted from Lermods:

    Why do they need new direction? Their LEs typically sell out, they’ve been able to raise prices and have them stick and it sounds like they can’t produce games fast enough to meet demand.

    But the cost of the LE isn't in the BOM, it's in the bling and limited #. Put the direct cost into the game.

    Stern has the most experience on and off the floor of any manufacturer. They just need to pivot a little bit.

    #23 10 months ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    As you guys struggle with how to allocate resources each day, Consider Making at least ONE “FUN” and SPECIAL pin per year, without regard to the BOM and just price it however it comes out. WE WILL BUY IT

    Stern would need to be pretty selective with the theme they selected for this once a year release. It would need to be a big theme like a Ghostbusters or Game of Thrones.

    #24 10 months ago

    They could do it though

    IF! They balanced the BOM out

    So if they Did ONE original theme every TWO years

    They could make a Fun pin while generating higher profits .

    Then that would help offset the cost Difference for the ONE all out per Yr, and as iceman44 said

    People would buy that ...GNR is a great comparison

    More than one way to skin a cat so to speak

    Will they do it? Probably not,

    #25 10 months ago
    Quoted from fattdirk:

    3. We complained about lack of original themes and everything was licensed. They gave us black knight noone bought and they made JP into a custom game within the realm and people complained about it not being the fucking movie.

    I’ve heard this once or twice but seriously that complaint holds NO WATER! Everyone and their mother thinks JP is basically the greatest game of this decade. JP absolutely has to be Stern’s baby along with maybe EHOH. MET was another one since that line ran for 4 years or something crazy.
    JP “not being the movie” had no affect on sales since the game is universally praised.

    #26 10 months ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    Exactly my thoughts.
    And then take it up another notch or two on those games
    The Batman experience with Adam West involved is next level. The turntable mech is great and innovative. Now finish it off with cool sculpts and maybe another feature on that game
    Elvira is great! She should have signed ALL the LEs. The CEs should have been more creative.
    Should have kept Nordman’s original left ramp.
    Think how CGC does the back of the PF 3D displays on MB for example
    Finish it off
    When they hit the comment, “wow, that looks like a JJP game”. That’s what I’m talking about
    I want the kitchen sink in ONE game and price it AFTER it’s finished

    JJP has only had one modern license that they did not have the license holder all in and most license holders do not care about pinball. TH being the modern license that they did on their own how good it is for JJP it is not even thought in the top three. As for how much money goes into a modern license I do not have a clue. My bad they also put out POTC and stopped the run after only 1000 cost too much to build?

    #27 10 months ago
    Quoted from Lermods:

    Why do they need new direction? Their LEs typically sell out, they’ve been able to raise prices and have them stick and it sounds like they can’t produce games fast enough to meet demand.

    Agreed. Why invest more money if the games sell out instantly at the current BOM. If we've learned anything JJP is likely underpricing themselves in the current market. Should be charging $12k for the LE and $15K for the CE. Neither company is able to produce games fast enough.

    #28 10 months ago
    Quoted from Elvishasleft:

    They are in a tough spot since they are dealing with lots of buyers who are clueless at business.
    A big chunk of their market thinks they are "being cheap" and make 100% profit margins.
    People want more stuff, better art, on and on but no one wants to pay up for it.
    You are probably right that they should put out a super duper no holds barred game every year... problem with that would be the endless screaming about how they are "screwing" their customer base by putting out a pin they cant afford.
    No matter what they do they will get shit....

    The only reason I can buy NIB is 15 years back I started collecting on craigslist back when you could find good titles for cheep money. Over the years buy a game sell a game. If I had to start with today's prices I would not consider buying a NIB and the sources for used game are sky high as well

    #29 10 months ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    100% with you in this iceman44 . I think the market has matured enough to make it work. At the moment it’s essentially JJP filling that role of “one premium loaded game per year”. Why give up that segment to another supplier?
    Biggest problem is Stern probably think they’re already catering to that market with LE’s and SLE’s, so likely won’t happen.

    Actually Jack is trying to get Stern money by cutting prices that may say the most of what a pinball company needs to do

    #30 10 months ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    You, me and 500 other instant GNRCE buyers know otherwise right?

    With this logic Jack should open end the CE and dump the LE

    #31 10 months ago
    Quoted from JY64:

    If I had to start with today's prices I would not consider buying a NIB and the sources for used game are sky high as well

    This is very spot on

    Shoot I looked , crossed fingers, networked, looked under every rock to find Wpc projects, after several yrs I finally got lucky in 2020,

    Can't imagine moving any of them once finished , so I'll have to save up for that jjp GNR even if it takes yrs

    #32 10 months ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    I’ve heard this once or twice but seriously that complaint holds NO WATER! Everyone and their mother thinks JP is basically the greatest game of this decade. JP absolutely has to be Stern’s baby along with maybe EHOH. MET was another one since that line ran for 4 years or something crazy.
    JP “not being the movie” had no affect on sales since the game is universally praised.

    I also think it's an amazing table. My point was you can't satisfy everyone. Same thing as I think star wars is an amazing table with great theme integration and gameplay yet a big portion of pinside is angry it doesn't have more plastic ships and dolls glued to it and thus is "barren" even thought the game has tons of assets and is amazeballs.

    #33 10 months ago
    Quoted from Elvishasleft:

    To me their licensing costs are the issue.
    ?

    I see what you’re saying except..... what about BKSOR? That game was stripped AF, especially the pro model

    #34 10 months ago
    Quoted from Guidotorpedo:

    I see what you’re saying except..... what about BKSOR? That game was stripped AF, especially the pro model

    BKSOR was technically licensed, though I’m sure the license fee wasn’t very much.

    #35 10 months ago
    Quoted from Guidotorpedo:

    I see what you’re saying except..... what about BKSOR? That game was stripped AF, especially the pro model

    Maybe an experiment to see if they could make more money and if it would sell?

    Plus its the only original theme they did.... and its not really original since its the 3rd Black Knight game.

    All I know is the more they spend on a license the less they have to spend on the actual game and related hardware.

    They seem pretty committed to the licensed theme concept overall.

    #36 10 months ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    JP “not being the movie” had no affect on sales since the game is universally praised.

    I think it helped. I much preferred what they did over those 90's films. Great game. I think what Ice and some of u really want is a Stern CEdition. I used to buy LE's but now its a Pre if its a great theme which almost never happens and a usually the Pro cause I gave up on long term ownership. Much happier by the way. U see that changes everything which is why strictly players and those who collect will never agree. Don't care about a few chips or some pooling its not gonna be here long. I know what u want Ice, Stern gameplay with JJP quality.

    #37 10 months ago

    I’d ask that they think outside the box and take one risk in 2021 either from a design standpoint, theme standpoint, price standpoint, etc.

    #39 10 months ago
    Quoted from Guidotorpedo:

    I see what you’re saying except..... what about BKSOR? That game was stripped AF, especially the pro model

    I never understood people bringing that game up if you rehash a shitty game you will get a shitty game. As for the drops on the upper playfield getting rid of the pops to make room for the drop targets would not have helped make people happy

    #40 10 months ago
    Quoted from Guidotorpedo:

    what about BKSOR?

    The pro is simply fantastic. perfect example of a game not needing to be a loaded mess of mechs and lights to be a blast to play. The music, the layout the knight all great, well until Ritchie ruined it with his stinking low voice bad humor crap.

    #41 10 months ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    I don’t think so. People always bitch and complain pricing and then...
    GNRCEs sell out instantly
    Might be a vocal minority that would never buy in the first place
    Just look at GNR. Case closed
    Look at what the Euros have to drop on these games
    I’d pay $13-15k for a Stern fun game that looks like a JJP effort, especially GNR

    But didn’t LZ LE’s sell out immediately too?

    #42 10 months ago

    Quality is down, prices are high. I switched hobbies for a while and have had a great time, with much better value for money. Now getting back into pinball, and agree about paying for CEs if good, but I'm much fussier now, and Stern isn't exciting me right now, frankly. LZ vs GNR says it all. Not good enough, particularly at current prices.

    It says it all when people hope their dream theme isn't made by Stern...

    -3
    #43 10 months ago
    Quoted from Pinballs:

    LZ vs GNR says it all.

    Man this is such a weak argument. I mean I played GnR and that eye candy didn't equal fun factor. The gameplay stank, sorry but for me it just wasn't very good. I could tell from the stream of LZ its a better playing game. Here's the thing u guys saying "not good enough" or this

    Quoted from Pinballs:

    It says it all when people hope their dream theme isn't made by Stern...

    That's a small percentage of buyers in my opinion, doesn't apply to me that's for sure. American Pinball, JJP and Spooky? thus far they haven't made anything that plays as well as a Stern. It really comes down to whether the eye candy is what makes the gameplay feel good to you or is it the layout and actual gameplay. I don't care anymore.

    #44 10 months ago

    So everything is fine, then? The existence of this and other threads, and many many comments on this issue, suggests otherwise. I want Stern to succeed, and to improve, and make my constructive comments with this objective. I haven't bought a Stern for some time, but if you have, more power to you, brother.

    I agree that everything needs to be good, gameplay as well as the art and code packages.

    #45 10 months ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    Man this is such a weak argument. I mean I played GnR and that eye candy didn't equal fun factor. The gameplay stank, sorry but for me it just wasn't very good. I could tell from the stream of LZ its a better playing game. Here's the thing u guys saying "not good enough" or this

    That's a small percentage of buyers in my opinion, doesn't apply to me that's for sure. American Pinball, JJP and Spooky? thus far they haven't made anything that plays as well as a Stern. It really comes down to whether the eye candy is what makes the gameplay feel good to you or is it the layout and actual gameplay. I don't care anymore.

    Oh please, you obviously haven’t played hot wheels yet, that’s games a player.

    Enjoy your Sterns, you are missing out though.

    #46 10 months ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    I played GnR and that eye candy didn't equal fun factor.

    BBB was a beautiful pin and the holy grail for many but once played you were left with is that what the fuss was about.

    #47 10 months ago

    Stern has a months long backlog, they sell every LE , and come out with more new titles a year than the competition combined. Why would they change?

    #48 10 months ago
    Quoted from JodyG:

    Stern has a months long backlog, they sell every LE , and come out with more new titles a year than the competition combined. Why would they change?

    This is the big problem assuming it continues as such.

    The other problem is the 3 tier model limits scope for the upper end models.

    #49 10 months ago

    There is no problem, just stop buying Sterns. I’m done, too much quality coming out of other shop’s.

    If you feel the same way, simply stop buying them.

    #50 10 months ago

    I'm glad Stern is successful, as we all want pinball to thrive and survive. But I won't be buying 'em. I guess the question is- HOW successful do they want to be? Everyone could be more successful...

    There are 194 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.

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