(Topic ID: 204195)

Is this hobby still affordable??


By zpinman370

1 year ago



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  • 247 posts
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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Blake
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “Is Pinball still affordable to average Joe?”

    • NIB pricing is too high 285 votes
      52%
    • NIB pricing is what it should be 37 votes
      7%
    • Re-sale pricing is getting to be too much as well 226 votes
      41%

    (Multiple choice - 548 votes by 414 Pinsiders)

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    There are 247 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 5.
    #1 1 year ago

    Hi All,
    I know this has probably been discussed on other threads but I am just wondering if many of you are finding the hobby becoming unaffordable? With the pricing on NIB and even re-sale games what it is today looks like the average joe is going to get priced out of the hobby. I see some collections that have almost every new title and wonder how can these guys afford this? Obviously they have lots of disposable income which is great but for the rest of us who want to add more games it is hard to justify current pricing without sacrificing in some other area. I know supply and demand dictate pricing but at some point I believe we will reach a tipping point where the regular guy will say "hey man can't afford this anymore" (and or justify it to the wife why we ant to spend thousands on a game-lol) and get out of the hobby or just stop buying.

    #2 1 year ago

    I am sure it has reached that tipping point already for many people. The fact is that there are many affordable used games out there that are stellar.
    A couple of those are Champion Pub, No Good Gofers. These two are must haves for a large collection but can hold their own in a small collection. You can pick these two up in and around $3400 to 4k depending on condition. Just a couple of examples. There are many more. As far as NIB, you can work your way up to affording a NIB by flipping games. I have done this for years. I don't have 10k laying around for a NIB so I have to have a plan.

    #3 1 year ago

    Thanks for the insight and appreciate the tips on those machines. Will have to look for those locally and try them out.

    #4 1 year ago

    I’m honestly about priced out. I’m not sure when it will reach the full tipping point as there are a lot of people out there with money that will still scoop up games. It’s just closing in on what I can afford to spend! Which sucks!!!!

    #5 1 year ago

    Can you believe the price of a new Maserati?

    Soon no one will be able to afford to drive a car.

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from Hollywoodbone:

    I’m honestly about priced out. I’m not sure when it will reach the full tipping point as there are a lot of people out there with money that will still scoop up games. It’s just closing in on what I can afford to spend! Which sucks!!!!

    I hear what you are saying!! every time i say to the girlfriend i want to spend thousands on another pin she gives me the "are you for real " look and shakes her head. I love a lot of the new stuff coming out and lots of older titles but at an average of 5-6K for good used and 9-10K for NIB here in Canada it is like man this is too much - hasn't stopped me yet but getting close.

    29
    #7 1 year ago
    Quoted from zpinman370:

    I know this has probably been discussed on other threads but I am just wondering if many of you are finding the hobby becoming unaffordable?

    No. Buy used games. EMs especially. EMs and early SS games can be had for 1000 or less still all day long.

    #8 1 year ago

    NEWSFLASH! Pinball machines are expensive.

    Despite the truism, it remains one of the lowest cost pastimes/hobby's on the planet. I've owned 30-40 and I'm ahead of the game financially (and I don't often sell and never buy a pinball purely to flip).

    If you want to get your head handed to you (financially), go buy a pool table!

    snaroff

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    No. Buy used games. EMs especially. EMs and early SS games can be had for 1000 or less still all day long.

    Very true!

    #10 1 year ago
    Quoted from snaroff:

    NEWSFLASH! Pinball machines are expensive.
    Despite the truism, it remains one of the lowest cost pastimes/hobby's on the planet. I've owned 30-40 and I'm ahead of the game financially (and I don't often sell and never buy a pinball purely to flip).
    If you want to get your head handed to you (financially), go buy a pool table!
    snaroff

    I appreciate your comment and yes I believe we all know they are. Point is are we getting to the where (especially with NIB) the average person is going to say no i can't afford this. And I already have a pool table -

    14
    #11 1 year ago

    It doesn’t seem unreasonable that most people do not have the disposable income to purchase a new commercial Pinball machine, much less several of them. Social media like Pinside brings together people of widely varied income groups to make it seems as though it’s reasonable to have a room full of new, late model or nicely restored pins. It’s not reasonable for most.

    I don’t like the cost, but I don’t blame anyone. There are a lot of used games available for purchase that can be cleaned up and enjoyed for a fraction of the price of a NIB game.

    #12 1 year ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    No. Buy used games. EMs especially. EMs and early SS games can be had for 1000 or less still all day long.

    I have been looking at these more and more actually. Have found a few solid titles but have been scooped up fast which does say lots in and of itself.

    45
    #14 1 year ago

    Sometimes spending too much time on here, watching streams and listening to podcasts can hurt the experience. These venues keep you always focussed on the newest (and most expensive) games. Sometimes it's smart just to put on the blinders and enjoy the games you have. Also, realize that the only thing that matters is that you like the game. If a "b or c-list" (by polls or pinside) game makes you happy and is within reach financially, go for it and don't look back. In a few years the new stuff will be old (and with completed code) and more affordable. I am learning that the trick to my enjoyment of this hobby is patience and being content with what I have.

    #15 1 year ago

    A couple of others are Fish Tales $2400, Junk Yard $3500, NBA Fastbreak $2500, I used to also say White Water but they are creeping up on the prices. You can usually get a player for 4k now. White Water is a must have IMHO.

    #16 1 year ago

    This hobby can be affordable to the average joe if he/she buys inexpensive used pins. The NIB pins available today are priced too high for most people. There are collectors here with 50 pins and more cash and there are guys that only have 1. I don’t think Stern or Jersey Jack market themselves to that guy with just 1 pin. They are completely focused on the hardcore collectors and some operators.

    #17 1 year ago

    Your poll is biased

    #18 1 year ago
    Quoted from westofrome:

    Can you believe the price of a new Maserati?
    Soon no one will be able to afford to drive a car.

    I was gonna offer the NFL argument or the day of golf argument instead of the car argument...

    The NFL - which I largely ignore - has crazy-high ticket prices along with silly concession prices. The NFL is tipping because folks would rather watch it on their fancy TV than waste an entire day and a huge wad of money on a game played by uninspiring individuals. The local team to westofrome and me has actually removed about 10K seats from the stadium to try to create the perception of demand and/or exclusivity (or maybe just to reduce ticket sales to visiting team fans in this area!). Probably a million viewpoints of the NFL, but I think they are closer to the tipping point than luxury cars. Relevance? In pinball we have some the cheap seats being removed (games parted out, etc.) and the food-fights for the rest are pushing prices beyond the "worth it" number for some folks; we have a growing supply of the perceived premium seats (NIB with the super-duper LE moniker). But unlike the NFL, pretty much all the pinball games are good in some way (i.e., not just the playoff games)!

    Golf here in big-city-land (DC area) has price/timed me out. 5 hour rounds, get there an hour early, 45+ minute drive to the course each way (so it's an all-day event), $100 green fees, and a marshal to hurry you along. But, tee times can still be hard to get around here so the local courses surely aren't missing me. I've played a total of 9 holes this year but my clubs are still in the trunk of the car. I think this is relevant because golf isn't seeing a tipping point in the local industry (there still plenty of demand) but average Joe players are sidelined... not necessarily disenfranchised with it but for sure on the sidelines. I would spend a rare Saturday golfing but not at an NFL game.

    In my view pinball as a hobby better resembles the DC golf scene I've described than the DC NFL scene, so I'm not convinced we've found the tipping point yet (or that one even exists).

    -Rob
    -visit http://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC Pinball resets, the Pinball Pyramid, or my Pinball 2000 H+V video sync combiner kit

    #19 1 year ago

    If your willing to travel and don't mind older games the deals are still out there. I've picked up 4 games this month all under 2k each.

    #20 1 year ago

    I have thought about trading my Stern collection in for 90's Williams/Bally pins and packing my arcade......then I look at the resale prices.....SMDH.

    #21 1 year ago

    I have struggled for years trying to justify paying even $3k for a pinball machine. I have finally reasoned it out in my own mind and tell myself that my pins are the boat that I've never had - pins are cheaper and much less expensive to maintain and own! I suspect that a lot on here that buy NIB constantly are not in a very good financial position and the hobby keeps them broke and probably in debt- just my opinion. I could easily afford to go crazy and buy every NIB game, but I'm not big on status or needing to have the latest and greatest. I have never bought NIB before as there hasn't been anything that compelling that I couldn't just wait a year or 2 to own and not pay the deprecation. As someone already said patients is the key! I have finally decided to buy my first NIB game - Houdini and that may very well be the only 1 I ever buy NIB. I have just as much fun playing a Flintstones or Fish Tales as some of the shiny new games with constant quality issues and aren't complete.

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from zpinman370:

    I have been looking at these more and more actually. Have found a few solid titles but have been scooped up fast which does say lots in and of itself.

    Lots of flippers and re-sellers in your area. Tough to find a good deal before the ambulance chasers drive up the cost so that they can profit for themselves.

    #23 1 year ago

    Get the Getaway that's up on kijiji for $2950..

    #24 1 year ago
    Quoted from zpinman370:

    I appreciate your comment and yes I believe we all know they are. Point is are we getting to the where (especially with NIB) the average person is going to say no i can't afford this. And I already have a pool table -

    Sure, then don't buy a NIB game!

    Not only are NIB more expensive, they often need to be "dialed in" and if you purchase it from a savvy owner, chances are the game will play BETTER than NIB.

    I just picked up a SWLE and DILE for considerably less than NIB (I'm the second owner). There are a surprising # of folks in this hobby that love getting a "new toy" and get bored after 20 games or so (and want to recoup most of their investment for other hobby's).

    #25 1 year ago

    I’m completely new to the hobby...and will agree it’s an expensive one...had originally only wanted to get one pin for our family game room..and then Landed here researching...and low and behold I bought 4 NIB...I blame all of you for that. ? Adding I am hooked, and looking to buy more and haven’t Even taken possession of the 4 I ordered....but agree there are other expensive hobbies out there that cost a fortune...I stopped collecting cars...and think this one is way more affordable, eye of the beholder I guess.

    Cheers,

    Requis

    #26 1 year ago

    What if I told you can still find a game with a great original theme with lots of humor and fantastic art (Freres and Youssi), awesome sound package, software by Lyman, Keith Johnson and Dwight Sullivan, and lots of ramps and features. This game is also more technically advanced than most modern games and easily found for under $3k. I'm talking about Revenge from Mars in case you didn't pick that up.

    #27 1 year ago
    Quoted from snaroff:

    Sure, then don't buy a NIB game!
    Not only are NIB more expensive, they often need to be "dialed in" and if you purchase it from a savvy owner, chances are the game will play BETTER than NIB.
    I just picked up a SWLE and DILE for considerably less than NIB (I'm the second owner). There are a surprising # of folks in this hobby that love getting a "new toy" and get bored after 20 games or so (and want to recoup most of their investment for other hobby's).

    Doesn't really work that way in Canada because there aren't as many new games around. You might save a few hundred, but nothing considerable. SWLE is 11k used, for example.

    #28 1 year ago
    Quoted from Maken:

    Doesn't really work that way in Canada because there aren't as many new games around. You might save a few hundred, but nothing considerable. SWLE is 11k used, for example.

    You could always move to California or Florida, but then healthcare will likely cost you more! Tradeoffs, tradeoffs, ...

    #29 1 year ago

    Damn it sounds like we need to build a secret tunnel for our northern family and sneak pins in.

    #30 1 year ago

    Underground pinball railroad...so that we skip the 13% customs fee when we pick one off in the US.

    #31 1 year ago

    Someone could be the next Pablo Escobar of pinball.

    #32 1 year ago

    I'm going to start gutting my rv and find a fake family $$$$$$$$$

    #33 1 year ago
    Quoted from snaroff:

    You could always move to California or Florida, but then healthcare will likely cost you more! Tradeoffs, tradeoffs, ...

    "Free healthcare" Don't believe it. Everything up here costs money.

    #34 1 year ago

    Yes, $1 a game is reasonable. It is not pricing me out of this hobby

    #35 1 year ago

    Well, having only been in the hobby for less than two years, my observation would be supply and demand centric. Without having empirical data, my impression is that their are many in my shoes who are just entering the hobby. Seems like the shows are bigger (TPF was my first last year - wow!), there is more buzz with social media (Pinside included), and that there are just plain more hobbyist that can afford these. I would also say that with an older demographic, these are generally better established and higher income earners who are willing to spend whatever they need to in order to get what they want. Personally, I overpaid for my first pin (only one at this point, but looking to add), but I knew what I wanted and was happy to do so to get into the hobby (don't get me started on how much I've put into it since).

    I could go on, but my basic view is that the free market is always right. If I'm priced out, then so be it. I'm sure that most of us have tastes and desires that well exceed our means. In those situations, find an alternative. Make friends with other pin owners, join clubs, etc.

    #36 1 year ago

    I prefer DMD, Alphanumeric, and solid state games, but EMs are really quite fun. Especially when playing against friends, and most of them are still very affordable. If I had unlimited room and funds, I'd have row of at least 10 of my favorite EMs.

    I couldn't express this opinion in your poll, as it seems you're only concerned about NIB/Newer pins. That's alright if that's all you're interested in, but there's lot of affordable pinball out there if you expand your outlook.

    #37 1 year ago

    Talk about "stacking the deck" with the poll choices.

    #38 1 year ago

    If your participation in this hobby is buying NIB games on a limited budget than yes, NIB prices are too high.

    #39 1 year ago

    NIB pinball machines have never been affordable for the “average” collector. That’s why the overwhelming majority of pinball enthusiast buy much older games. Let them get routed for years. Buy them used. Clean them up. They will still play and the price will be less.

    #40 1 year ago

    90lockquote cite="#4105051">If your participation in this hobby is buying NIB games on a limited budget than yes, NIB prices are too high.

    Wow lots of feedback since i posed the question. In my case i am interested in most pins early 90's to present. NIB would always be nice but not a necessity just seems that even the titles from the 90s early 2000 are still pricy but not near a much as the NIB has gone to these days and that's just for a pro never mind a premium or LE.

    #41 1 year ago

    buy cheap games and shop them, trade them off or sell them. eventually trade up to the pinball machine you want. there are many ways to build a collection over the years. i used to buy only nib games, then i started giving older games a try. right now my favorite is smdm in a row of cv, woz, ss, mb, space station, nba fb, bk.
    was looking to buy nib again (gotg) by selling one off but am holding off on this.

    #42 1 year ago

    IMO kind of like stocks, bitcoin, etc. People that got in early and saw huge changes in the market had an initial investment work for them. Then you're playing with "found money" from then on and you're not paying attention to the numbers any more.

    It's a lot harder if you're entering in today's market. You have to buy right, you have to know that machines you're buying just need TLC & not be spending hundreds of dollars on parts expecting to gain all that back and possibly make a profit on the time/work you had into a machine. There's still deals to be had, just a lot harder to find & a lot more people looking these days since there's money to be made. Like the guys that bought bitcoin at $1 or $10 that can now sell it for $9-10k, having a massive gain that you can pump into the next investment gives you a ton of opportunity to take risks, throw more mud at the wall and see it stick. Money is then working for you and isn't affecting your lifestyle.

    Just looking at the current market, yeah I'd be priced out on anything but EMs or earlier solid state machines if I was just starting now with zero machines. But, I'd enjoy what I could buy.. be smart about looking for deals, fixing machines up and working my way up to better machines. It's just going to happen a lot slower these days unless you snag a few really good deals along the way.

    #43 1 year ago

    I have spent the last 7 years building up my current collection and been through quite a few titles. I haven't really bought anything since 2014 mostly due to space and can't really give anything I have up. I just decided recently to build another full sized virtual pinball cabinet just because I am done looking and chasing deals and new pinball prices are out of my comfort zone. I use to be very active from 2009-2012 in the virtual pinball community till I discovered you could actually own real pinball machines

    It looks like Visual Pinball 10 aka VPX has come a long way in the looks department as well as ball physics. I am just getting reacquainted with the new software and front end that drives it. I put together a computer and hooked it up to my tv downstairs to test. Going to be ordering parts to build a pin2dmd display next and figure out how to get it to work with VPX. After that I will be building a cabinet from scratch. I think this will be the best way for me to be able to enjoy and play EM, SS and modern DMD games I don't own.

    IMG-20171201-WA0011 (resized).jpeg
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    #44 1 year ago

    The hobby isn't necessarily pricing anyone out, it's just limiting one's selection and quantity, imho.

    I started less than a year ago, got what I felt was a decent deal on an old 1978 pin. It's been really fun! I appreciate it for what it is.

    Now I'm a 3 pin house.

    None of my pins are NIB, HUO, immaculate examples, but they are all fun (to me).

    I haven't been priced out, but I also realize Attack From Mars won't be in my line up any time soon. Without overstepping my financial situation I can enjoy the hobby. I could easily see the sickness causing many to risk savings needlessly though.

    I like the Maserati analogy above. Pins aren't unattainable, just certain titles for the Average Joe.

    #45 1 year ago

    If it helps, way out the expense of the potential loss rather than the money you laid out on the purchase. This hobby allows you(in most cases) to buy an item and use it, then resell it at a 10-20% loss. I’m in a lot of hobby’s and mostly everything I purchase for them is a total loss. So if you paid 8k (still not chump change) for a NIB and used the piss out of it for a year, sold it for 6.5-7k that’s still cheap entertainment!

    #46 1 year ago

    NIB is out of reach of most families in middle America imho. When it’s possible to buy a nice used vehicle or a new pin, guess which one gets bought. Em’s and early ss are still affordable for an average middle class family though.

    #47 1 year ago
    Quoted from robotron:

    buy cheap games and shop them, trade them off or sell them.

    Easy to say, hard to do.

    I used to pick up games fresh off-route at the auction, at shows where the flea markets were overflowing or from classified ads in the newspaper. All three of those things no longer exist - auctions moved online or stopped, shows have slim pickings of expensive projects and if a game shows up in a classified it’s gone in minutes.

    EMs that I used to grab for $50-100 are $500-1,000 now - forget DMD games.

    So yes, what was once a somewhat affordable hobby is now an expensive one, no matter what segment you’re interested in.

    #48 1 year ago

    I've owned boats (or should I say a boat owned me), tinkered with cars, gone fishing, collected "things" but also avoided golf and in comparison, this is by far the least expensive hobby of all of them.

    I'm also retired and I can honestly say that any time spent off my ass and on my feet is a blessing. If people think flipping a boxed machine is going to be a money maker or wash, forget about it. If the cost going in is a problem, there's always credit and if you understand the proper ways to use it later in life, again, this hobby is cheap.

    This isn't baseball cards, beanie babies or coins. There isn't yet a large market. There is no large drop anywhere near happening.

    About the only way to lose big is to not be able to maintain and do small repairs. If it isn't broken, it isn't pinball.

    #49 1 year ago

    Pinball machines are not designed or priced for residential use. They are a commercial device designed to make money in a public venue.

    Pinball as a hobby has many different avenues, and private ownership is only one small facet of it. If you can afford to have them in your home, good for you. If not, go find one of these public venues that is promoting the hobby and support it.

    #50 1 year ago

    I wouldn’t worry about it much. I read on pinside that the bubble was going to be bursting soon!!! Cheap machines for everyone once again!!!!!!!!

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