Historically speaking, pinball had it's greatest years of production and has been the healthiest during the worst of economic times.
During the 30s throughout The Great Depression, there were hundreds of manufacturers making perhaps thousands of different titles, some of which selling as many as 50,000 units a piece. Then again during the sluggish economy of the 1970s, pinball had it's second greatest decade of all time.
Between those decades, times of economic growth saw lackluster pinball production at best and during the economic boom of the 80s, pinball almost vanished into obscurity. After Black Monday in 1987 and the sluggish economy that followed thru the early 90s, pinball started to thrive again. By 2000, the economy was growing again, and once again pinball was struggling to survive. Throughout the 2000s as the economy grew at an alarming rate, it seems pinball was hanging by a thread.
With the crash of 2008, the above pattern ended and did a complete 180. Pinball did not see a renaissance during the recession that followed, but seemed to struggle right along until the economy started to recover. It wasn't until about five years ago that both the economy and pinball were hitting their stride again with both looking very healthy today.
So, the question is when the next crash hits, which could happen any day now, as history shows ten years of solid economic growth is usually the limit before something like this happens, will the pinball industry survive or be thriving like we haven't seen since the 1970s, or will it vanish into the night like so many over inflated 401k accounts? My guess is it will be somewhat close to the latter.