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(Topic ID: 57324)

Has the Pinball industry spiraled out of control ?


By stretch2

7 years ago



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  • 72 posts
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  • Latest reply 7 years ago by Anth
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    There are 72 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    -1
    #1 7 years ago

    Clearly the Pinball industry is spiraling out of control.New Pinball machines are priced out of reach for most people with families and expenses or maxed out credit cards.Hot titles are being flipped for outrageous prices. And used pinball machines are also going for all time high prices.What will the ceiling be when trading pins may be the only answer ?

    #2 7 years ago

    New pinball machines were almost always out of reach for the working man with a family. Mainly it was wealthy professionals that bought used ones when I started doing home repairs in the mid '1970's. Got to see some beautiful homes when I grew up in a Bungalow in Detroit.

    #3 7 years ago

    I agree 100%. When so many people are ordering the newest release sight unseen, it's not good for anyone. If I was the manufacturer, and I saw this happening, why not raise the price with every new theme released? It's the old "get while the gettings good"

    #4 7 years ago
    Quoted from MrBally:

    New pinball machines were almost always out of reach for the working man with a family. Mainly it was wealthy professionals that bought used ones when I started doing home repairs in the mid '1970's. Got to see some beautiful homes when I grew up in a Bungalow in Detroit.

    A lot of us were fortunate for the lull in the business that allowed NIB purchases when the money was flowing (thanks to banks lending money to everyone for homes they could not afford) in the 2000's

    #5 7 years ago

    New in box pinball machines are a luxury item. It's not the end of the world if everyone who wants one, can't afford one. The games will come back down to earth when people stop paying high prices.

    20
    #6 7 years ago

    Hello, well if anyone has "rocket" ideas to get cost down, then please call me. going to China is easy but i have a problem sending all that money and jobs out of the country.

    in the old days we made 80k-100k games or more per year and amortized all manufacturing over this high production. still profits were low. at Bally (when I started) we were making 500 games a day. this is not happening now in any form. today the biggest maker is probably making 6k-7k games a year (30-40day) I would guess. pinball machines have a lot of parts and custom devices and cost a lot to develop. a tough challenge. it just takes buckets of money.

    when i was at zizzle we built the largest pinball factory in history (and secret) with capacity from 5k-8k games a week. yes a week. that model is high volume and low margin. we invested in hard tools and new design/manufacturing/testing methods. ultimately labor was cheaper so having 250 people on the backbox line was easy. but in that case we had to make a 0 defect game that worked. so again all this amortized over high production to get low cost.

    So we will all have to work on better pricing, yes, and at least someone is still making "new" games while we come up with solutions. a full hang LE game selling at $3995. is never going to happen unless the margin is like 5%. so we need a happy billionaire to foot all this for the goodness of mankind. Only other option is financing. Buy a new game and pay over 5 years like a car. then it is $179 month for your new LE. this was done in the heyday, but today the credit market is changed. Jpop

    #7 7 years ago

    I think it's good that at least somebody still makes pinball machines.

    #8 7 years ago

    Preordering = high prices

    If no one preordered we'd see a price drop

    Just be thankful you can eat, drink & own a pin or three or more if possible.

    If ya can't buy one just play on location & enjoy life.

    Vacations, reserves & fine booze/cigars are more important to me than owning every game ever made or the latest LE.

    #9 7 years ago
    Quoted from jpop:

    Hello, well if anyone has "rocket" ideas to get cost down, then please call me. going to China is easy but i have a problem sending all that money and jobs out of the country.
    in the old days we made 80k-100k games or more per year and amortized all manufacturing over this high production. still profits were low. at Bally (when I started) we were making 500 games a day. this is not happening now in any form. today the biggest maker is probably making 6k-7k games a year (30-40day) I would guess. pinball machines have a lot of parts and custom devices and cost a lot to develop. a tough challenge. it just takes buckets of money.
    So we will all have to work on better pricing, yes, and at least someone is still making "new" games while we come up with solutions. a full hang LE game selling at $3995. is never going to happen unless the margin is like 5%. so we need a happy billionaire to foot all this for the goodness of mankind. Only other option is financing. Buy a new game and pay over 5 years like a car. then it is $179 month for your new LE. this was done in the heyday, but today the credit market is changed. Jpop

    Are you actually John Popadiuk? If so, I think it's awesome that you're here! Thanks for the perspective on the industry.

    #10 7 years ago
    Quoted from stretch2:

    Clearly the Pinball industry is spiraling out of control.New Pinball machines are priced out of reach for most people with families and expenses or maxed out credit cards.Hot titles are being flipped for outrageous prices. And used pinball machines are also going for all time high prices.What will the ceiling be when trading pins may be the only answer ?

    People with families and high expenses should maybe not have nib pinball machines. It's people's priorities that are out of control.

    My two cents

    #11 7 years ago

    John is right, new pins being made are GOING to be high cost, no getting around it. You're talking about a machine hand built and engineered with over 3k parts on average, many of them custom for that machine. It's going to be expensive, get used to it and support it if you are able.

    I do agree though that all pins before, say, 2002 are getting ridiculously out if control. And it's been within a short amount of time.

    The richer get richer in this hobby nowadays, both figurative and literally. Those who ate less fortunate or are just getting into the hobby within the last 3 years are getting taken advantage of all the time and in most cases are just choked out of the hobby, as far as having them in the home, at least.

    I was INCREDIBLY fortunate to have bought a MB in 2009 for 4k. When I got around to wanting to shuffle my lineup around (I only had 2 pins) MB had almost doubled in value in less than 4 years....ridiculous. If it wasn't for the value of MB giving me the ability to get more pins, I would have left the hobby.

    Nowadays I feel like trading is the only way to feel "clean" in this hobby anymore. I can't imagine getting into this hobby now, unless you have tons of disposable income. A payment plan like John said would make things more manageable, it would be just like getting a car....kinda. But yeah, the credit situation nowadays makes things a little more....complex

    #12 7 years ago
    Quoted from Collin:

    Are you actually John Popadiuk?

    yes, that is "the" John Popadiuk. Dennis Nordman (sp?) is on here very infrequently also. Other's??

    #13 7 years ago

    My solution is to not buy new pins (honestly I can't afford it, but even if I could I wouldn't, for the same reason I'll never buy a new car). I get games just as fun at a fraction of the cost of a new Stern. Why pay so much more & not really get much more? Some pretty good games can be had in the $2k range & even after many years can hold up better than the more poorly built newer Sterns. To me this is all just common sense & I'm not exactly going out on a limb here & saying something new.

    Jpop makes good points though, & he would know. Surely it is harder to make profits on games when not nearly as many are being made as in the 20th century. Yet a new Stern was quite a bit cheaper just a few years ago & were higher quality I think, prices have certainly inflated faster than inflation itself.

    Although you can't really blame Stern too much for anything because they are just going by what we, the buyers, are willing to pay. If we keep buying all their games at X price, then guess what they will keep selling them at X price or higher. As has been said a million times, it is simple economics, supply & demand.

    #14 7 years ago

    Pinball now is like the stimulus checks of a few years ago. Its gonna crash and crash hard. More than likely to take everyone out with it. New comers money cant last forever. BOOM! everyone's out of business. It is the last push and sorry to say its not gonna be pushing towards a long term win. Especially when all the old timers start to die off.

    #15 7 years ago

    the answer to the question is no. the pinball industry is giving us pinheads what we have been asking for. tron, ac/dc, metallica, we pinheads asked stern to make these games and they did..
    we asked for leds in games, we got them, we asked for hand drawn art, yep, we asked for metal ramps, and more toys, done. we asked for higher quality, look at what both stern and jjp are doing.
    we asked for a new original theme game. see spooky pinball, ben heck, jpop, heighway pinball. all working on games now. high quality, hand built games made in America costs money. want a cheap, Chinese made game you can buy at walmart? no thank you. im very happy to see pinball rising up again and more manufactures coming out with games. long live the silver ball.

    #16 7 years ago
    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    Its gonna crash and crash hard. More than likely to take everyone out with it.

    Seriously!

    I'm sorry but most if not all my pin friends are using discretionary money on this hobby.Nothing to crash.Pin manufactures are to few to see a "CRASH"

    #17 7 years ago
    Quoted from stretch2:

    New Pinball machines are priced out of reach for most people with families and expenses or maxed out credit cards.

    Yes, we need to find a way to make pinball more affordable. If only there was some other way we could make the games available to more people. There has to be a way.

    http://pinballmap.com/

    2000+ locations
    4500+ games

    #18 7 years ago
    Quoted from jpop:

    Hello, well if anyone has "rocket" ideas to get cost down, then please call me. going to China is easy but i have a problem sending all that money and jobs out of the country.

    I'll take a USA made pin from Jpop any day and pay the extra cost, its worth it in my mind....

    #19 7 years ago

    Gas is 4 bucks a gallon, it cost almost 400 a month to heat my house in the winter. The average wage has gone down in the last 10 years instead of up, and complain about the price of pinball!!
    Get your priorities in order.
    Pinball machines are luxury items like restored hot rods, and corvettes.
    If the pins are too expensive for you, you are buying the wrong ones (there are plenty for less than a grand) maybe you should spend the money on your kids college fund.
    Just my opinion in this open fourm

    #20 7 years ago

    This thread is gonna spiral out of control.

    #21 7 years ago
    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    Pinball now is like the stimulus checks of a few years ago. Its gonna crash and crash hard. More than likely to take everyone out with it. New comers money cant last forever. BOOM! everyone's out of business. It is the last push and sorry to say its not gonna be pushing towards a long term win. Especially when all the old timers start to die off.

    This is pretty much my theory as well, unfortunately. All of the kids of the 80's and 90's who wanted a pinball machine so bad but couldn't afford one are now able to afford them. Pinball all but died after the 90's though, so as the 90's children go so does the demand for pinball machines. It's a ways off, but the writing is on the wall. The good news is that there will probably always be some kind of niche market for pinball machines regardless.

    #22 7 years ago
    Quoted from Rcade:

    Those who ate less fortunate or are just getting into the hobby within the last 3 years are getting taken advantage of all the time and in most cases are just choked out of the hobby, as far as having them in the home, at least.

    Owning a game is not a requirement of the hobby.

    #23 7 years ago

    Who's insane idea is it that everyone deserves multiple machines in their home?
    It's actually very good value to buy ONE machine, play the stink out of it, and then sell it or trade it for another one once you're no longer feeling as excited to play it.
    Once you've purchased however many you think you need to have, the maintenance isn't that expensive.
    My wife and I often play pinball for a couple hours and then settle in for some tv at home.
    Compare that to going out for dinner or drinks, or a movie.

    The best part is, there are fun machines available for any budget.

    Now quit your whining. If pinball ownership isn't your thing, why are you on here?

    Note: I own TWO pinball machines. I'm not made of money, but I like to think I'm smart about how I spend it. I work regular 9-5 hours during the week.

    -1
    #24 7 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Owning a game is not a requirement of the hobby.

    Indeed. But to many if you dont own any your just not cool.

    #25 7 years ago
    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    Indeed. But to fools if you dont own any your just not cool.

    FTFY

    #26 7 years ago

    Man, I wish a thread like this had been posted before...never seen these thoughts on high pricing...

    #27 7 years ago
    Quoted from kruzman:

    Pinball machines are luxury items like restored hot rods, and corvettes.

    Agree but when people are passionate about something,like sports, or cars, or pinballs, then sometimes logic replaces practicality.The distraction is therapy from everyday stress.

    #28 7 years ago
    Quoted from pmWolf:

    Man, I wish a thread like this had been posted before...never seen these thoughts on high pricing...

    LOL

    #29 7 years ago
    Quoted from kruzman:

    Gas is 4 bucks a gallon, it cost almost 400 a month to heat my house in the winter. The average wage has gone down in the last 10 years instead of up, and complain about the price of pinball!!
    Get your priorities in order.
    Pinball machines are luxury items like restored hot rods, and corvettes.
    If the pins are too expensive for you, you are buying the wrong ones (there are plenty for less than a grand) maybe you should spend the money on your kids college fund.
    Just my opinion in this open fourm

    or growing lots of pot lol

    #30 7 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Owning a game is not a requirement of the hobby.

    Phishrace is right.

    Pinball can be enjoyed so many way. Collecting flyers, plastics souvenirs. Going to shows. Playing on location. Playing in tournaments. Owning a game. Just hanging with friends.

    Lots of ways to enjoy pinball !

    LTG : )

    #31 7 years ago

    This is the most exciting time in pinball from my 8+ years in collecting. JJP and Stern are making great games. Lots of cool boutique pinball makers, tons of pinball parts (including repro parts) are available. Sure prices are higher on new and A list machines but that's really all relative. Most machines prior to 1990 are still available to buy for cheap prices. Just use your head and buy smart and you should have nothing to worry about. I'm way more optimistic for the hobby than I was in 2008/2009 when Stern was laying everyone with talent off and releasing games like NBA.

    #32 7 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Owning a game is not a requirement of the hobby.

    I know. That's why I specified that they're choked out of the HOME pin side of the hobby. The places to play in the wild will be there afterwards. I was specifically talking about owning them in the home.

    #33 7 years ago

    Can't afford it....... play it on your Ps3/Xbox or Phone

    Or if space is an issue also

    #34 7 years ago

    I can afford a Stern Pro/Prem. if I save up a bit more, but I'd rather get 90's DMD titles like IJ, TZ, BSD and Goldeneye.

    #35 7 years ago

    Only other option is financing. Buy a new game and pay over 5 years like a car. Then it is $179 month for your new LE. This was done in the heyday, but today the credit market is changed. Jpop

    Pinball sales could be quite profitable if someone ever had the desire to do this. Compound interest is one of many roads to rags or riches, depending on which side you work. I would love do try this in my retirement years.

    #36 7 years ago
    Quoted from PW79:

    Preordering = high prices
    If no one preordered we'd see a price drop
    Just be thankful you can eat, drink & own a pin or three or more if possible.
    If ya can't buy one just play on location & enjoy life.
    Vacations, reserves & fine booze/cigars are more important to me than owning every game ever made or the latest LE.

    I have to admit that the best time for me is when I come across a game on the boardwalk in wildwood nj and play it. I have owned a lot of pins but that takes me back to my childhood when things were great. You don't need one at home to enjoy. But it is nice.

    #37 7 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Owning a game is not a requirement of the hobby.

    very true. My local league has many members that don't own a machine. and that makes absolutely no difference.

    10
    #38 7 years ago

    When classic car prices were spiraling out of the stratosphere a few years ago, people started asking where is the ceiling.

    When tulip prices were spiraling out of the stratosphere 400 years ago, people started asking where is the ceiling.

    When Beanie Babies prices were spiraling out of the stratosphere a decade ago, people started asking where is the ceiling.

    =

    Whatever you collect, just make sure you ENJOY collecting it. Then it is worth whatever you paid for it .

    If you've got the coins to buy every NIB title that comes out - bless you for keeping our economy and hobby going!

    Please don't stop.

    #39 7 years ago

    I love playing on location and meeting new folks. Of course I'd love to own a pin too, but living in San Francisco you don't get a lot of real estate unless you're rich, which I'm not But I never even considered that you could own until recently. And a lot of the older machines aren't too badly priced and I am gaining more and more appreciation for old EMs.

    #40 7 years ago

    Oh, good lord. Another one of these? Did everyone get their theories and prognostications in? Hurry everyone! We haven't heard them in a good month. Everyone into the pool!

    #41 7 years ago

    Its an odd market. These pins weren't meant for HUO, they were originally meant for arcades. Now that people are shifting to buying pins for HUO... yeah its gonna be expensive. Operators can afford these, the average conusmer can't

    #42 7 years ago
    Quoted from gambit3113:

    Oh, good lord. Another one of these? Did everyone get their theories and prognostications in? Hurry everyone! We haven't heard them in a good month. Everyone into the pool!

    Wow, somebody got out of the wrong side of the bed today.....

    #43 7 years ago
    Quoted from genex:

    Of course I'd love to own a pin too, but living in San Francisco you don't get a lot of real estate unless you're rich, which I'm not

    Side track for a second: I love SF and all, but my impression has been that those floating around the middle class line have been squeezed out of there a long time ago (there are exceptions, of course). My family was based out of there for around a century (give or take a few decades), my parents were amongst the first generation to say, "this is too damned expensive" and moved to the other side of the bridge. It's just impossible compared to other cities in the bay and I could personally never see myself affording even renting a closet out there for very long.

    I bet you could afford, both cash and space wise, a lot more games living in the East Bay...

    #44 7 years ago
    Quoted from gambit3113:

    Oh, good lord. Another one of these? Did everyone get their theories and prognostications in? Hurry everyone! We haven't heard them in a good month. Everyone into the pool!

    I predict we will have a remake of MM thread tomorrow.

    Another one of these threads in less than 3 months.

    And pinsiders will always think that you get up on the wrong side of the bed.

    #45 7 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    Side track for a second: I love SF and all, but my impression has been that those floating around the middle class line have been squeezed out of there a long time ago (there are exceptions, of course). My family was based out of there for around a century (give or take a few decades), my parents were amongst the first generation to say, "this is too damned expensive" and moved to the other side of the bridge. It's just impossible compared to other cities in the bay and I could personally never see myself affording even renting a closet out there for very long.
    I bet you could afford, both cash and space wise, a lot more games living in the East Bay...

    Yeah definitely more real estate in the East Bay! But I just can't leave SF even if it is super expensive

    #46 7 years ago
    Quoted from stretch2:

    Wow, somebody got out of the wrong side of the bed today.....

    The waters great. Grab your trunks and dive in.

    16
    #47 7 years ago
    Quoted from Shoot_Again:

    I predict we will have a remake of MM thread tomorrow.
    Another one of these threads in less than 3 months.
    And pinsiders will always think that you get up on the wrong side of the bed.

    Sunday - Pinball Value Bubble and Impending Bust
    Monday - What's This I Hear About a MM Remake (and where do I send my $$$???)
    Tuesday - Good Old Days Tuesday (or...How Do We Roll Back Values to the Days Before I Got Into the Hobby)
    Wednesday - Jersey Jack: Is He Jesus, or Just a Reasonable Facsimile?
    Thursday - Market Manipulation Thursdays: Stop Paying for LEs and Gary Stern Will Slash Prices by Friday
    Friday - Free For All Fridays - Guns, PRON, Obama and Taxes
    Saturday - What Should JJP Make After the Hobbit/Stern After Star Trek?

    Please stick to the schedule, for the organization and expectations of the board.

    I was born on the wrong side of the bed.

    #48 7 years ago
    Quoted from gambit3113:

    Sunday - Pinball Value Bubble and Impending BustMonday - What's This I Hear About a MM Remake (and where do I send my $$$???)Tuesday - Good Old Days Tuesday (or...How Do We Roll Back Values to the Days Before I Got Into the Hobby)Wednesday - Jersey Jack: Is He Jesus, or Just a Reasonable Facsimile?Thursday - Market Manipulation Thursdays: Stop Paying for LEs and Gary Stern Will Slash Prices by FridayFriday - Free For All Fridays - Guns, PRON, Obama and TaxesSaturday - What Should JJP Make After the Hobbit/Stern After Star Trek?
    Please stick to the schedule, for the organization and expectations of the board.
    I was born on the wrong side of the bed.

    Sounds like a perfect week to me.

    #49 7 years ago
    Quoted from Shoot_Again:

    And pinsiders will always think that you get up on the wrong side of the bed

    You didn't ?

    #50 7 years ago
    Quoted from gambit3113:

    I was born on the wrong side of the bed.

    I was conceived on the wrong side of the bed , Try to top that .

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