(Topic ID: 170740)

Is this the bubble?


By Russell

3 years ago



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#1 3 years ago

With all of the upcoming announcements, and especially with Stern cranking their prices to astronomical levels, I am starting to feel like stepping back from the collecting part of the hobby. (I still love to compete.).

I wonder if anyone else is having the same feeling at this time.

I'm not sure about the psychology of it all, perhaps it's related to having too many choices, and this making it paradoxically hard to decide.

This reminds me of the baseball card hobby in the early/mid 90s. It was very popular, then tons of new manufacturers came in with premium, limited, and super-duper-premium products at inflated prices. Collecters fled the hobby, bubble burst, prices plummeted.

Perhaps it is just me, but if this is indeed a common feeling as I suspect, this could be the beginning of the end of the pinball bubble.

12
#2 3 years ago

I may be tired of pinball, but I'll never get tired of talking about bubbles.

#3 3 years ago

I'll be placing ads soon, let me know if interested in any of my games.

22
#5 3 years ago

Easy solution. I can't afford new, so I collect used old games. You can still have a pinball hobby while ignoring the bubble.

-11
#6 3 years ago

Well if it is, I sure am glad I sold most of my stuff off to get a beach condominium.

But I would say YES for the following reason - I think remakes will be the killer. What kept this hobby growing was the quest for that sweet original limited MM, AFM, CC, .... Then someone comes along and builds a modern version of the game that has huge differences in platform and most don't care anymore which is original and which is a remake. Too few think it matters. To me it does but I sit in the small minority, maybe because I took on the quest 15 years ago to get my MM.

But the new guys in the hobby could care less. So if all the popular titles like MM, CC, MB, AFM, ... get remade, then it will all crash. Remakes will fetch 5/8 of what they sold for new and originals will probably get an extra 1/8 from nib remake prices, and that will only be if they are in nice shape. If not, they will sell for the same price as a used remake or slightly less.

This doesn't even include the flood the market is about to experience.

I am glad I got out.

18
#7 3 years ago

I think there's a significant bubble with used games, also.

12
#8 3 years ago

I am still buying and dont see anything remotely like a bubble, unless you are talking about high end new or high end A list expensive stuff.

Looking at your colleciton I would be concerned if $$$ is your concern.

I care more about playing and competing (which also means playing at home to practice).

I see in general the high dollar games have taken a hit. I have seen some B listers sit on the market a bit longer and prices seem to have plateaued (some games still going up). However, I also see that all the good condition mid range games are sucked up in collections meaning lower supply.

Looking at clist, the regional flippers in each area seem to have exhausted DMDs, moved on to SS, and now there are more and more EMs. Supply is at all time lows for used games.

Supply is at all time high for new and expensive games.

#9 3 years ago

Why would a bubble effect you wanting to have a collection? that seems like a straw man argument.

Can't you just keep the pins you like? also if there is a bubble can't you just sell/trade the same way you do now with other pins also devaluated it's a wash.

The only thing this effects is new pins (high price) while pins in circulation low price.

Just don't buy new pins what the problem?

This thread reminds me of people who need safe zones or who can't hear bad words because it'll hurt their feelings IMO.

#10 3 years ago

I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, whysnow.

I agree, the bubble has not burst yet. My post is more of a prediction, based upon my perception of the mood of the average collector.

I am convinced that the bubble will burst soon. I think that location pinball may be the beneficiary of this issue. I can always count on the fantastic locations in Colorado to have the latest, greatest.

If you're in CO, definitely check out the 1Up Colfax, 1Up Lodo, Lyons Classic Pinball, Press Play, Manitou Penny Arcade... We must support location pinball, regardless of what happens to the home collector market.

#11 3 years ago

I agree with Whysnow. The B and C titles get snapped up quickly if they are in decent condition for a decent price.
I also see that the high dollar games do sit a bit longer, but that's because not everyone has 8k to impulse buy with.
Heck, that 8k will get you 3 or 4 B/C titles...

Its been said before: If you don't like the high price tag of new games, Don't Pay It! If the demand isn't there, the price will drop.

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from rai:

Can't you just keep the pins you like? also if there is a bubble can't you just sell/trade the same way you do now with other pins also devaluated it's a wash

I agree. This will be the upside of the bubble bursting.

I'm not saying I no longer enjoy pinball. I'd just rather not be the guy holding all the Beanie Babies when the prices fall.

#13 3 years ago

Yup.

Batman 66 SLE will have the same resonance as Lastminutedotcom for those who remember the start of the tech crash.

#14 3 years ago

Basic supply and demand economics IMHO. There is a bunch of new supply coming to the market and the demand won't be able to keep up. Prices will fall eventually to move inventory.

I've only been in the hobby for a couple years so don't know how things have been long term. I'm happy I'm in this for fun and not profit. Market timing is a very difficult game to play.

#15 3 years ago
Quoted from Russell:

I agree, the bubble has not burst yet. My post is more of a prediction, based upon my perception of the mood of the average collector.

My prediction is that the main impacts are all on the high end. I see and increasing rate of new people still coming into the hobby on a weekly basis. For some antedotal data >>> 3 years ago we started routing games and I made a website. I used to get 1 message every few months askingabout buying games. Now I get 1-3 messages a week. These are complete newcomers looking to buy their first game. They all want to spend 2-4k on a game.

My prediciton is that the hobby base continues to grow and is stronger than ever with more people coming in than leaving.

At the sma etime I see lots of people that have gotten in over the past 3 years and bought for higher prices and build NIB collections. These guys are getting the cold hard reality of seeing those HUP games taking a 500-1k hit. I think many of these guys wont be selling which means no bubble. They will just hold on to what they like and work trades.

I think there is the initial gut reaction like you are having " oh crap, the sky is falling" "why do I have 40k of real money wrapped up in a hobby when I could pay down the house?" "I can go play great games on route so why have 40k of toys at home?" All the natural things that will make some people re-evalute what theya re doing in the hobby. I expect some people will reduce form 8 to 4 while others will take advantage of the sell off to grow form 4 to 8. In other words a net wash that is just being fueled by the resurgance of a new player and colelctor base.

In short I see:
1. NIB games have gone crazy! The cheapest new game seems to be a Stern pro at 5kish.
2. With NIB games too expensive that means new hobbyists will focus on the 2,3,4k range and those continue to go up, remain stable. Supply continues to dry up.
3. Used prices on recent HUO games take a 500-1k drop. XMle and AVLE were not annomolies and more of the norm, esp since some of the more popular games like TWD ans ST sold much better and have higher supply. Some people are trying to sell out on HUO titles at 5k and thinking that they can take advantage of the new Stern price hike to upsell their used game, but it does not seem to be working out.
4. Some manufacturer is going to find a way to solidly step into the sub 5k arena and then others will have to follow. I am honestly surprised that Stern has increased prices when they should be trying to take market share and kill the startups by underselling them.
5. There is no bubble but the collective hobbyist vibe has changed, that is for sure. I see a stabalization but no real 'bubble'
6. If you have a colleciton of expensive high end stuff then NOW is the time to re-evaluate. If you also are spoiled with good playing games on route local to you and playing/competing is your main joy, then why not down size a little and put the extra funds towards paying off the house and earlier retirment??? Seems like a good plan. I would just put a couple non-keepers up for sale and let go whatever sells. Now is the perfect time of year (aside from all the excitement of expo likely causing many to sit on funds for the immediate future)

Godo luck in whatever you decide. I know if I had as many great route gamaes locally (that I did not have to maintain), I would be thinking of selling a few of the more expensive games.

#16 3 years ago
Quoted from Russell:

I agree. This will be the upside of the bubble bursting.
I'm not saying I no longer enjoy pinball. I'd just rather not be the guy holding all the Beanie Babies when the prices fall.

But most of us are in this bc we love playing pinball and get the pins we love/want to own. So it really sldnt matter .......or people are in the hobby for the wrong reasons imo

#17 3 years ago

I think there is a bubble at the upper end. Games trading hands at higher and higher prices before people even see them in some cases, let alone play them. This kind of behavior happened in the housing market. Someone is going to get stuck. Could be that the market is taking a breather, same thing is happening in the collector car market. May have something also to do with the dollar being strong, foreign buyers, particularly in Europe, are getting hammered on pricing so demand there may be slowing.

The lower end is still pretty healthy and there are some good values out there, even if prices have been climbing. Low end being brought up by the higher end, which many can no longer afford. It's also getting harder to see value at the higher end, which can be priced 5x higher than the low end. Games lime JM, WW, T2, WPT, sop, rs, FH, BW, ngg, bsd, Ts, etc, are all great games, as good or better than many higher end games.

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from Russell:

I am convinced that the bubble will burst soon. I think that location pinball may be the beneficiary of this issue.

Don't you think this could be contradictory? If pinball is more prevalent on location there will likely be a corresponding increase in popularity. If there is an increase in popularity there will likely be an increase in demand for people wanting a machine for their home.

I'm trying to think about what's happened since I've been in the hobby. If I use the numbers below for a general guideline of A / New, A Minus / Almost New, B-List, C-List, etc. Most games seemed to have shifted up one notch in the last 5-years.

$6,000 to $10,000
$4,000 to $6,000
$2,000 to $4,000
$1,000 to $2,000
Under $1,000

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from Saveleaningtower:

But the new guys in the hobby could care less.

Most of us are players first and collectors second. So yeah, if a brand new MMR plays just as good or better than a routed one from 20+ years ago, Hell yeah I want one!

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

Most of us are players first and collectors second

And that is how the new folks in the hobby have changed it. Guys like me were collectors and players.

#21 3 years ago
Quoted from Lermods:

I think there is a bubble at the upper end. Games trading hands at higher and higher prices before people even see them in some cases, let alone play them. This kind of behavior happened in the housing market. Someone is going to get stuck. Could be that the market is taking a breather, same thing is happening in the collector car market. May have something also to do with the dollar being strong, foreign buyers, particularly in Europe, are getting hammered on pricing so demand there may be slowing.
The lower end is still pretty healthy and there are some good values out there, even if prices have been climbing. Low end being brought up by the higher end, which many can no longer afford. It's also getting harder to see value at the higher end, which can be priced 5x higher than the low end. Games lime JM, WW, T2, WPT, sop, rs, FH, BW, ngg, bsd, Ts, etc, are all great games, as good or better than many higher end games.

Ive owned many b-c title's and still do but have recently sold few them and also some good stern titles and have gotten afm and mb and cldnt be happier as they are definitely much better imo and won't be going anywhere. I cld care less about the refakes or the price bc i got what i wanted and they are amazing titles which is y people want them remade.

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from Saveleaningtower:

And that is how the new folks in the hobby have changed it. Guys like me were collectors and players.

Im with u man...original all the way . Just got a restored mb and beautiful original afm and absolutely love them and bc of trading they didn't break the bank .

#23 3 years ago

I am unsure if the bubble will burst or not and if it does and your not cashing out then it shouldn't really matter. There might be a price correction in our future which would be a good thing IMO. Let the craziness of these prices correct themselves. Supply and demand will prevail. Demand could go away especially if Stern keeps putting out machines with tons of QC issues, questionable marketing practices and crazy pricing models...this pisses off people and could chase away a lot of new blood in the hobby. Stern being the main player in production of pinballs they have a lot of power but other manufacturers could benefit from these issues and grab market share. If JJP#3 is a hot title I think they will grab some of that market share. To me the bubble only matters if you are a pinball investor I guess or need the money for other real life matters. Otherwise if it does burst just ride it out...it will recover like all the other markets out there in the real world.

#24 3 years ago

Never got into this to make money. I justify the two machines I bought in the box by pointing at the older games I bought when there seemingly was no demand. If I really wanted to just throw away money on a hobby I would just play golf.

#25 3 years ago

I know quite a few people that are wanting my huo tz ,afm and mb and are willing to pay the high price for nice original condition pins. Seems like things are a little stale here on pinside sales but there is a whole other pinball world outside of here believe it or not. Its a magical place filled with great people and nice pins not crazy priced ....

#26 3 years ago

People have been predicting the peak of prices and the soon to burst bubble one Pinside every day since the dawn of time.

#27 3 years ago

I think there is potential for the market to correct itself price wise with extra competition and prices come down a bit. There may be companies that don't survive. I think that's all we'll see. I think the hobby is healthy and growing due to a lot of factors.

1. Increased exposure from better marketing/more companies
2. Podcasts
3. Pinball Apps like the Pinball Arcade
4. Twitch feeds
5. Tournaments
6. Websites like Pinside

#28 3 years ago
Quoted from bigd1979:

original all the way

Yes. I am not sure where it got lost but I really believe this younger Millennial generation just doesn't respect history, nostalgia, music, their elders, ..... They just want everything cheap or free and they could care less if it is remade, copied, fake, stolen (as in the case with movies and music illegally downloaded from the internet), ..... Last night my girls got a lesson in music history. The You Don't Own Me sampled version with the obligatory rap came on the car radio. I quickly turned it off and pulled up the original version on youtube and played it through the car's audio Bluetooth. My girls, 5 and 8, were amazed how much better it sounded, how classy Leslie Gore was in the video from the sixties, and how what they were hearing on the radio wasn't original. This is what society is evolving into - We will take the old stuff and make it new again because that is what is easiest. But here is an idea - Use your brains to come up with something NEW!!

#29 3 years ago

I personally want nothing to do with the remakes. To me the originals are much more collectible. Would you rather have an original ferrari or a kit car?

#30 3 years ago

Interesting timing with this thread, over the last few days I have been seriously considering selling almost all of my games. Then repurchasing some in a year or 2. I actually enjoy repairing and restoring more than playing at this point, but would have to keep at least SM and MET for my wife to play.
I have about 25k tied up in my gameroom and I need to purchase a new house next year...this may be the time to bail for awhile...

#31 3 years ago

Sweet, it's the 10th semi-annual bubble burst thread

#32 3 years ago

People making money and/or leverage are thr cause of 98% of all bubbles bursting.

No one is making money in pinball. I don't mean $200 here and $300 there. I mean making thousands of dollars a month buying and selling games.

Everyone I know pays cash for their games and has a good job and can afford to buy pins. Pinball actually made a comeback around 2010 when the economy was still on recovery from the housing and stock market bubble.

All people I know expect to lose money getting involved with pinball. This goes beyond their own collections. Folks I hang with give parts to friends, don't ask for gas money if they use their own vehicle to help get someone else's game and buy a round for folks at pin events or get togethers and don't even think about it. People are happy to spend and lose money on pinball? I guess.

Like Whysnow said though, I don't understand why Stern is competing against themselves by shorting supply and raising prices trying to make the most profit they can while cutting back on what they put in their products. They are seriously fucking stupid doing this. You have a bigger factory now - use it! $15k for a BM66!? pfft!

Something for everyone in Pinabll though. In the past month some friends I know who have bought a lot of new Sterns just bought their first EM's and a Flight 2000!?

When people stop playing that is when pinball will crash.

#33 3 years ago

I disagree on the bubble from one simple observation. Games are NOT sitting and people are still paying prices, fairly quickly I might add. What's preventing this from bursting is that with the advent of the barcade scene around the county, the 30-50 somethings are still in a "relatively" recently discovered area of "holy crap, I played all this stuff as a kid. I can have these in my HOUSE?!".

So while Pinsider buyers are typically stretching the dollar and holding out for the best deal (not always!), there is a huge untapped source of doctors, lawyers, business owners, IT techs, born-again pinheads, or anyone else with some money to purchase an old or new game...and then get hooked. The new entries into the market or those who just want Game X right now are not quibbling over the price or looking back through historic prices and thinking "wow, this is a really steep price for this title".

#35 3 years ago
Quoted from cosmokramer:

Interesting timing with this thread, over the last few days I have been seriously considering selling almost all of my games. Then repurchasing some in a year or 2. I actually enjoy repairing and restoring more than playing at this point, but would have to keep at least SM and MET for my wife to play.
I have about 25k tied up in my gameroom and I need to purchase a new house next year...this may be the time to bail for awhile...

I wonder how many other immediatley look at your colleciton to see what they could buy I know I did...

I wuold say that if you are concerned about money then NOW is the time to dump SM and MET out of anything in your colleciton.

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

NOW is the time to dump SM and MET out of anything in your colleciton.

agreed, but I would like to remain married...

I'm not trying to "cash out", as I have enjoyed my games and never considered them an investment. I could just use the cash better for something else right now and feel that I wont miss out on any great deals in the near future because there wont be any...

#37 3 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

5. There is no bubble but the collective hobbyist vibe has changed, that is for sure. I see a stabalization but no real 'bubble'

Quoted from wxforecaster:

I disagree on the bubble from one simple observation. Games are NOT sitting and people are still paying prices, fairly quickly I might add.

The only bubble is in the economy. When the economic bubble pops then the pinball bubble will pop.

#38 3 years ago
Quoted from Russell:

I think there's a significant bubble with used games, also.

For sure there is and I have moved to the $1500 or less part of the hobby and you know what? I love it. If a must have theme comes up like Alien then I'll spend some money but that's rare and I have to be honest my 1 to 2K games provide me with the same enjoyment as those over priced 90's DMD's, System 11's are even becoming too expensive at least up here, for me its all Gottliebs right now and I thank the pinball world for having a bias, they are great fun and cheap. People complain about Stern's pricing but Stern can't keep raising prices if we don't buy them so who's fault is it, who's fault is it that when a Shadow bought 3 years ago for 1800 is now worth 3500? We are all guilty for the price increase in this hobby.

#39 3 years ago

Don't know if I'd call it the bubble or the upswing to the bubble bursting, but I do know NIB prices are now at a level where I can no longer dabble. I've got two used machines and one NIB. I'd love to be on the list for Alien and perhaps JJP#3 or Spooky's next, but with limited space and limited funds, I can't justify buying NIB right now. Think my next pin purchase will be either a nice EM or...??

BTW OP - how do you like FT?

#40 3 years ago
Quoted from sadler28:

Basic supply and demand economics IMHO. There is a bunch of new supply coming to the market and the demand won't be able to keep up. Prices will fall eventually to move inventory.
I've only been in the hobby for a couple years so don't know how things have been long term. I'm happy I'm in this for fun and not profit. Market timing is a very difficult game to play.

i've been on Pinside for several years now and there is almost always a small contingent of people wringing their hands about "the bubble". it's been going on since at least 2012, and i've seen people quote similar posts (from RGP) from as far back as 2005.

in my opinion Pinball is growing, and the demand is real. the housing bubble was fueled by flippers -- right before the crash, 66% of new home buyers never even lived in those homes before flipping them. that's false demand.

when two thirds of NIB games get stored and flipped instead of opened and played, that's when you should worry about a bubble. i would guess right now that figure is something below 10%, which is probably okay. that indicates actual demand for the product, even if you personally think it's overpriced.

#41 3 years ago
Quoted from dtowndobe:

Think my next pin purchase will be either a nice EM or...??

try system 80's, they are fun and cheap under rated pinball machines.

#42 3 years ago
Quoted from Tomahawkjim:

The only bubble is in the economy. When the economic bubble pops then the pinball bubble will pop.

luxury hobbies like ours tend not to correlate to the broader economy. there was no pinball crash in 2007, and that was the largest recession since the great depression.

11
#43 3 years ago

Is there a bubble on "is this a bubble" threads on pinside?

I feel like the "is this a bubble" thread market is still going strong, as we see one - almost identical to the last - once a month.

But with so many "is this a bubble" threads, is NOW the time to get out? Can this forum possibly support yet one more "is this a bubble?" Thread?

I feel like it can. Every time people start to say that the "bubble thread" market is about to pop, we see another one. I've been hearing - since at least 2003 - that the bubble thread market will burst, and it never happens. The pinball market always remains strong, and each additional "is this a bubble" thread continues unabated as the pinball bubble refuses to burst despite the desperate wishes of people who want to buy a twilight zone for $1500.

So, you can keep insisting that the bubble thread market is a bubble, but it doesn't make it true. History has shown us there's ALWAYS room for yet one more "is this a bubble?" Thread. And with more hobbyists entering the pinball hobby daily, it's clear that we have an almost inexhaustible supply of people willing to post rhetorical questions about the supposed pinball bubble.

#44 3 years ago
Quoted from pezpunk:

luxury hobbies like ours tend not to correlate to the broader economy. there was no pinball crash in 2007, and that was the largest recession since the great depression.

are you sure about that? i don't remember it that way

#45 3 years ago
Quoted from Saveleaningtower:

And that is how the new folks in the hobby have changed it. Guys like me were collectors and players.

people should be grateful for new blood in the hobby - it desperately needs an infusion of youth for many reasons, including in terms of maintaining demand. people my age and younger don't have as much nostalgic tie to these games as the 45+ crowd, because by the time i was going to arcades, vids had so far supplanted pins that if the arcade had them at all, it was just a small section in the back and they were often broken. (i remember thinking "these must have been really cool when they were new and working...oh well, back to Street Fighter [or whatever]")

so i think it stands to reason that what is going to interest the younger set is not so much a game's "authenticity" as much as how good it looks, how well it plays, how good it is for tournaments, how deep the rules are, how interesting the layout is, reliability, and how much long-term replayability the game has.

i think the contingent that is concerned with scarcity-based value is in the minority, as every Pinside poll has shown. that is also an indicator that there's not a bubble ready to pop. bubbles arise when speculators and flippers outnumber the people who legitimately desire the product for its own sake. while Pinball does have a lot of flippers and speculators, those folks are greatly outnumbered by legitimate pinball fanatics.

#46 3 years ago
Quoted from forensicd:

I personally want nothing to do with the remakes. To me the originals are much more collectible. Would you rather have an original ferrari or a kit car?

i'll take whichever one is more fun to drive. i'm not operating a museum here.

#48 3 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

Most of us are players first and collectors second.

You think so? I definitely put myself mostly in the player category, but the vibe I get is that Pinside is mostly collectors. TiltForums is mostly players.

#49 3 years ago

The bubble has already burst
$2k by xmas

#50 3 years ago
Quoted from dtowndobe:

BTW OP - how do you like FT?

I love it. Don't love the theme. Code is shallow. But man, it is blazing fast and hectic.

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