(Topic ID: 171125)

Increasing Prices: Good for Pinball


By brundaged

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 294 posts
  • 95 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by LTG
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

Topic Gallery

There have been 7 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

Capture (resized).PNG
im-out (resized).jpg
th (resized).jpg
PTBarnumArtMoneyGetting (resized).png
pasted_image (resized).png
troll-poster (resized).jpg
IMG_1028 (resized).JPG

There are 294 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 6.
-60
#1 3 years ago

No one wants to pay more, obviously. Can we please move past the grousing about it?

-Stern's 15k Batman 66 SLE is obviously a pricing experiment: They intend to learn how much demand there is for a much-higher priced game. They're not doing it to make money. 30 SLE games times an extra $6,000 per game is only $180,000. For a manufacturer of their size that's not enough to make a difference. But gathering data on how many people are willing to enter a contest just to be able to buy it is very valuable.

-JJP's Limited Edition Dialed In! really is limited: The $9,000 price is only good until the end of the year, after which the price is $12,500. So pay a deposit now and the game is theoretically worth more after December 31. At 9k the price is comparable to their other offerings, yet offers more. The theme is irrelevant to this discussion. For JJP, the pricing experiment is to see how many will commit to a deposit before the year is over. After that, they find out how many still want it at 12.5k.

Remember that companies can always lower prices--that's easy. The hard part is finding the pricing ceiling, which is what both companies are doing right now. The fact that they feel able to explore this tells us the market is strong. That's great news!

11
#2 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

JJP's Limited Edition Dialed In! really is limited: The $9,000 price is only good until the end of the year, after which the price is $12,500.

Not correct. There's 2 versions. The $9000 LE and the $12,500 "collectors edition". I think you have until the end of the year to order a CE, if memory serves.

#3 3 years ago

SUSTAINABILITY. All the doom and gloom....I never played pinball in my life until a couple years ago...I now own 7. It's all gonna be fine, there's a ton of people out there. I hope they start innovating the playfield in more exciting ways. If they make them irresistible...

#4 3 years ago
Quoted from Leeb18509:

Not correct. There's 2 versions. The $9000 LE and the $12,500 "collectors edition". I think you have until the end of the year to order a CE, if memory serves.

My mistake then, but the logic remains essentially the same: Anchor the high end at 12.5k. They may not expect anyone to buy it.

25
#5 3 years ago

Batman '66 is most certainly a cash grab.

#6 3 years ago
Quoted from Nikonokin:

SUSTAINABILITY. All the doom and gloom....I never played pinball in my life until a couple years ago...I now own 7. It's all gonna be fine, there's a ton of people out there. I hope they start innovating the playfield in more exciting ways. If they make them irresistible...

Prices will go down if they're not sustainable. The rising prices suggest the market is getting bigger (more people interested).

-1
#7 3 years ago
Quoted from MinusWorlds:

Batman '66 is most certainly a cash grab.

I'd call it "finding the pricing ceiling". They'll make their profit on the 9k version. The SLE is just an experiment.

Companies are obligated to find the most profitable price for their products, especially if they're small. Otherwise they don't survive.

37
#8 3 years ago

Actually, brundaged, you have very little knowledge of market economics. A company finding the "most profitable price" for their products is almost always trading an immediate-term gain for a longer-term loss.

Markets are strengthened when they can be broadened and product purchases are repeatable. Extracting every last dollar narrows the customer base by shrinking potential buyers while decreasing the likelihood of repeat purchases for expanded offerings. Price elasticity is the subject of basic business economic courses through Masters and Doctorate level programs.

Simply put, Stern and JJP are scavenging their own customer base while alienating those who could become potential customers.

-11
#9 3 years ago
Quoted from MinusWorlds:

Batman '66 is most certainly a cash grab.

OP already dismissed that.

35
#10 3 years ago

The only thing you leave out in your calculations is the frustration that you lay on your consumer base.

For example, here in Canada we get gouged on Telecom services because there are only 3 big fish (Bell, Rogers, Shaw/Telus). These three big guns increased pricing for no real reason for years on internet, tv, mobile and phone services. Then netflix came along and completely changed the rules. This year alone, I'm one of 260K canadians that cancelled their TV service and went streaming solo only. I'm not even close to going back they pissed me off so much that I don't even bother looking at their offerings. Rogers tried launching shomi (netflix ripoff) and failed, Bell as craveTV but I'm sure they are not doing as well as netflix.

Point is, piss off someone long enough and you lose them as a client even if you lower the price of your items. When I cancelled they tried taking 60% off the price I was paying which a) pissed me off even more and b) proved to me that there entire platform was based on gouging.
To offset these loses they keep increasing the price... sometimes you can't even find the logic in it. It's like they are starring down a loaded barrel and don't even bother getting out of the way.

It might not relate exactly with pinball but principle is the same. A pissed off client base is never good for business even if you make record profits in the short term. It's shortsighted. I'm sure Bell still wonders where Netflix came from.

-3
#11 3 years ago
Quoted from robotron911:

Actually, brundaged, you have very little knowledge of market economics. A company finding the "most profitable price" for their products is almost always trading an immediate-term gain for a longer-term loss.
Markets are strengthened when they can be broadened and product purchases are repeatable. Extracting every last dollar narrows the customer base by shrinking potential buyers while decreasing the likelihood of repeat purchases for expanded offerings. Price elasticity is the subject of basic business economic courses through Masters and Doctorate level programs.
Simply put, Stern and JJP are scavenging their own customer base while alienating those who could become potential customers.

I wouldn't argue, for the most part. We can assume the producers view the market as cyclical and the present market situation to be temporary. It makes sense to establish themselves at the high end with increasing competition for the low end. And if the market contracts, they can always adjust down. In the meantime they need to generate profit for future development.

-3
#12 3 years ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

The only thing you leave out in your calculations is the frustration that you lay on your consumer base.

No, I acknowledge it's frustrating for those of us already in the market. But the manufacturers must view their market as expanding enough to support the changes.

#13 3 years ago

I don't have the answers here, but do you think that extra $180k is worth it to Stern in a strictly-dollars-and-cents way given the extra R&D, prototyping, etc. that must have gone into the SLE? Not to mention the costs of running that contest and the time that went into figuring out who should get offered one etc...? Maybe those costs are relatively small, I don't know, but overall the SLE seems more like a big promotional thing as well as a sort of market probe.

The 12k LE, though, that's some cash-grabbing right there...

#14 3 years ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

The only thing you leave out in your calculations is the frustration that you lay on your consumer base.
For example, here in Canada we get gouged on Telecom services because there are only 3 big fish (Bell, Rogers, Shaw/Telus). These three big guns increased pricing for no real reason for years on internet, tv, mobile and phone services. Then netflix came along and completely changed the rules. This year alone, I'm one of 260K canadians that cancelled their TV service and went streaming solo only. I'm not even close to going back they pissed me off so much that I don't even bother looking at their offerings. Rogers tried launching shomi (netflix ripoff) and failed, Bell as craveTV but I'm sure they are not doing as well as netflix.
Point is, piss off someone long enough and you lose them as a client even if you lower the price of your items. When I cancelled they tried taking 60% the price I was paying which a) pissed me off even more and b) proved to me that there entire platform was based on gouging.
To offset these loses they keep increasing the price... sometimes you can't even find the logic in it. It's like they are starring down a loaded barrel and don't even bother getting out of the way.
It might not relate exactly with pinball but principle is the same. A pissed off client base is never good for business even if you make record profits in the short term. It's shortsighted. I'm sure Bell still wonders where Netflix came from.

That right there is well said.

#15 3 years ago
Quoted from Air_Pinball:

OP already dismissed that.

Yeah well. He's incorrect.

#16 3 years ago

My friend Taxman is getting 2 Batmans and 2 Dialed In.

#17 3 years ago
Quoted from Radagast:

I don't have the answers here, but do you think that extra $180k is worth it to Stern in a strictly-dollars-and-cents way given the extra R&D, prototyping, etc. that must have gone into the SLE? Not to mention the costs of running that contest and the time that went into figuring out who should get offered one etc...? Maybe those costs are relatively small, I don't know, but overall the SLE seems more like a big promotional thing as well as a sort of market probe.
The 12k LE, though, that's some cash-grabbing right there...

Costs of running the contest? You mean jared looking at his email while hes watching netflix? Please now.

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

It makes sense to establish themselves at the high end with increasing competition for the low end.

That's the problem, there is no more low end in NIB purchases.

#19 3 years ago

80SLE x $15,000 = 1.2 million for 80 games...definitely a cash grab now. A company of this size would definitely like to add $750,000 profit to their bottom line for the year.

#20 3 years ago

I wonder how much the girl swallowing a coat hanger cost at the Stern party. Or how much to have the bat mobile or Ecto-1 there. Charge outrageous amounts for for rebadged games and then spend money frivolously. Way to test your pricing market.

#21 3 years ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

The only thing you leave out in your calculations is the frustration that you lay on your consumer base.
Point is, piss off someone long enough and you lose them as a client even if you lower the price of your items.
It might not relate exactly with pinball but principle is the same. A pissed off client base is never good for business even if you make record profits in the short term. It's shortsighted.

Agreed^^^

2016 seems to be the year two of the major pinball manufactures lost touch with the majority of their customers or at least me. So focused on large margin items or short term gains that they have actually damaged their reputation a little bit in my opinion. I've bought 5 NIB total from both companies in the last 12 months and I'm done with those two unless things change. For Stern to basically come out with a Pro Premium LE model and basically double the price doesn't sit well. This is America and it's their right as a business to operate as they see fit, but I won't support it. I'm a big fan of their pins, just not what their doing right now with respect to pricing and what you get.

Those new games have severe down side in my opinion and I just couldn't stand losing $2-4k each time I sold one. I'm gong to support other manufactures right now or buy nice used pins.

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from wisefwumyogwave:

Costs of running the contest? You mean jared looking at his email while hes watching netflix? Please now.

Exactly. The contest is not about the money they make from the SLE. It's about marketing and research.

#23 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

I wouldn't argue, for the most part. We can assume the producers view the market as cyclical and the present market situation to be temporary. It makes sense to establish themselves at the high end with increasing competition for the low end. And if the market contracts, they can always adjust down. In the meantime they need to generate profit for future development.

Generating profit for future development? First off, until recently they were using the pre-order model, so they were working with their customer's capital to profit. I've never heard of any consumer product so fortunate to have such a model: minimal capital outlay, predictable sales and very little financial risk. It's the equivalent of a casino giving you $25 to put in a slot machine that will pay you out $50 every pull.

Even with that model gone, what future development? There is very little extra tooling or capital outlay needed. They control they flow and volume of product. Their machines are just variations on an theme from an engineering sense. If this was the equivalent of say moving from 1080p to 4K, then I would understand it because there is the cost of advancing technology but that just isn't happening. Stern is now finally adding LCDs over DMDs. And that is likely saving them money because LCD costs are lower than DMD technology.

There isn't a ration argument that can be made for their pricing model other than price gouging. And they will continue to get away with it as long as people will pay. Doesn't matter how much bitching and moaning their is. Its the pocketbook that does the voting. Frankly, I was thrilled that the DI reveal at Expo was met with silence. The optimist in me was hoping that JJP (and others) would say that they've finally pushed too far. But we will see the inevitable rationalizing, likely. And people will plop down $12.5K for these pains. You know...a fool and their money is soon parted.

#24 3 years ago
Quoted from Pinballlew:

80SLE x $15,000 = 1.2 million for 80 games...definitely a cash grab now. A company of this size would definitely like to add $750,000 profit to their bottom line for the year.

Where do you get 80 games? Last I knew it was 30.

In any case, the SLE is only worth 6k each since the buyers would buy the LE if it wasn't there.

#25 3 years ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

That's the problem, there is no more low end.

This is the area of the pinball market most ripe for expansion. Anyone want to start a pinball company focused on value?

#26 3 years ago
Quoted from Sticky:

This is the area of the pinball market most ripe for expansion. Anyone want to start a pinball company focused on value?

Yup now where's the pinball netflix!

#27 3 years ago
Quoted from robotron911:

First off, until recently they were using the pre-order model, so they were working with their customer's capital to profit.

I'm talking about the whole market, not just JJP. I have no argument with their business model, and competition is good.

#28 3 years ago

Agree with the OP on manufacturers' intentions, but the result for the customer is something like going to the Ford dealer and finding that they won't sell you the Ford Focus because the new base models are Fusion or Mustang. Then you go next door and all they sell there is BMW now. New Stern or JJP pinball is not for the average Joe any more, and we're grieving this like any other loss.

If I knew they would sell 6000+ Pro/premium units into the arcade/bar/location business, providing the hobby with a pile of beaters in need of TLC in 3 to 8 years, I wouldn't give the "new" price a second thought. Let time do its thing, shut up and wait. I don't see that happening.

#29 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

Where do you get 80 games? Last I knew it was 30.
In any case, the SLE is only worth 6k each since the buyers would buy the LE if it wasn't there.

Well it started at 30 SLE then Gary had a little radio interview which you can find on their FB page and he said it is now 80. Ok even though I don't necessarily agree with your second line, 80SLE x 6,000= $480,000 of pure profit added to your bottom line for the year.

#30 3 years ago

How is it good for pinball when an operator has to charge $2 per game to afford to put a new machine out on location? No thanks, I'll just play this one over here for $.50. Also who wants to put a machine that costs that much out where it can get damaged?

The collectors market for the most part involves collecting and not as much playing (no offense, I have machines too) and the most exposure and use a pin can get is usually in the wild. It is what will keep pinball relevant for the future.

I would argue that making machines that cost this much when they are only a little fancier than the older and much cheaper pinball machines is not good for the hobby.

#31 3 years ago
Quoted from Sticky:

This is the area of the pinball market most ripe for expansion. Anyone want to start a pinball company focused on value?

Look at the smaller manufacturers out there, and the lower-cost options. Heighway's swappable system, for example. That's the new low end.

#32 3 years ago
Quoted from Pinballlew:

Well it started at 30 SLE then Gary had a little radio interview which you can find on their FB page and he said it is now 80. Ok even though I don't necessarily agree with your second line, 80SLE x 6,000= $480,000 of pure profit added to your bottom line for the year.

They do have development costs. But expanding the number just proves they're testing the market.

18
#33 3 years ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

Yup now where's the pinball netflix!

I'm getting so angry about these prices I'm trying to contemplate how to pull that off.

Why do we need lcds and Bluetooth and so forth? Can't someone make 80's Bally style games for 4k? Great art, great gameplay, and great value.

#34 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

Look at the smaller manufacturers out there, and the lower-cost options. Heighway's swappable system, for example. That's the new low end.

If Heighway is the low end the entire market is broken.

The playfield swap adds value though, definitely.

#35 3 years ago

It keeps the flippers away! Oh wait, the manufacturers are the flippers now!

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

They do have development costs. But expanding the number just proves they're testing the market.

It's a BDKVE but nice try on the R&D line.

#37 3 years ago
Quoted from QuietEarp:

How is it good for pinball when an operator has to charge $2 per game to afford to put a new machine out on location?

I'd suggest that the per game cost does need to go up for pinball to be sustainable.

Also, other non-pinball location games commonly cost $15k and up. The prices going up suggests the market is moving to support it.

13
#38 3 years ago

You know what really pisses me off about all this crap: the fact that most of us can't afford these "luxury items" now, so all the cheap used pins are going up.....

When this house of cards comes to the ground, I couldn't be happier.

#39 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

They do have development costs. But expanding the number just proves they're testing the market.

The development costs on art ok I'll give you that 480,000 minus the 5k development difference from SLE vs LE 475,000 pure profit.

#40 3 years ago
Quoted from Sticky:

If Heighway is the low end the entire market is broken.

Not broken, but fundamentally changing. That's why so many are uncomfortable.

#41 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

I'd suggest that the per game cost does need to go up for pinball to be sustainable.
Also, other non-pinball location games commonly cost $15k and up. The prices going up suggests the market is moving to support it.

Even if $2 is OK for one of us to pay to play a pinball, novices and kids will never get their moneys worth. Remember when you first started playing? Pinball was a huge waste of your quarters until you learned how to play. The future is in getting new players.

Also I love pinball! If a $12,000 game showed up at $2 a play I would probably play 3 games on it total. No more.

#42 3 years ago
Quoted from Pinballlew:

The development costs on art ok I'll give you that 480,000 minus the 5k development difference from SLE vs LE 475,000 pure profit.

I'm willing to concede they're making money on the SLE at the new limit. But the original run of 30 was pure experiment, which apparently was successful.

#43 3 years ago

This is crazy talk. This is a full on cash grab with Batman '66 and, because of Stern, JJP saw room to price up their game, so they're doing so.

These prices are unsustainable. I'm not priced out yet, but I'm done with NIB games. It no longer makes any rational sense to be paying these costs when there's no increase in game features and quality. Adding an LCD screen doesn't count as new features, because it's actually cheaper than a DMD display. Stern is raising margins as fast as they can, and it's greedy.

Do you think that their new investors really care about pinball? No. They just want to get their money back, turn a profit, and go find the next company to play with. When Stern (and JJP) took outside money, this was always going to be the end result. The investors will milk the customer base for as much as they can and move on.

There's no good reason for pinball to cost this much, especially from the two companies that build at the largest scale. It's all greed.

-3
#44 3 years ago
Quoted from QuietEarp:

If a $12,000 game showed up at $2 a play I would probably play 3 games on it total. No more.

The future of pinball may be a lot more people playing just a few games. The agony over pricing is mostly about home collectors not being able to afford NIB, which I understand.

11
#45 3 years ago

Never thought "10K by Christmas" would sound like a good deal.

#46 3 years ago
Quoted from jar155:

This is crazy talk...It's all greed.

This is an emotional response, which I can sympathize with.

Business is hard, especially in the present environment. Companies need to take profit if they can. If it's not sustainable, it will change.

15
#47 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

The future of pinball may be a lot more people playing just a few games. The agony over pricing is mostly about home collectors not being able to afford NIB, which I understand.

Home collectors can't afford them
Operators don't want them because it doesn't make sense as a business model

Who's left?

19
#48 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

This is an emotional response, which I can sympathize with.
Business is hard, especially in the present environment. Companies need to take profit if they can. If it's not sustainable, it will change.

This is not emotional, this is rational talk. They're pumping as much air into an ever thinning bubble as they can. The bottom is going to fall out if they keep this up.

There is no way that a mass market can support these prices. Operators won't want to put $9,000-$12,000 machines on location, and if they do, they won't pay off for a very long time.

$1 a play is already turning people off. $2 a play is a complete non-starter. It won't work.

#49 3 years ago
Quoted from MinusWorlds:

Home collectors can't afford them
Operators don't want them because it doesn't make sense as a business model
Who's left?

This is my point. There's still a market despite this thinking, so either the market is bigger or the thinking is wrong. Manufacturers will adjust back down if it doesn't work.

#50 3 years ago
Quoted from brundaged:

This is my point. There's still a market despite this thinking, so either the market is bigger or the thinking is wrong. Manufacturers will adjust back down if it doesn't work.

That will be a fun talk with the shareholders. They ramped up prices way too quickly.

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
6,500
Machine - For Sale
Perham, MN
7,500 (OBO)
Machine - For Sale
Topeka, KS
There are 294 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 6.

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside