Quoted from Cadespa:
Stern makes a luxury good. Luxury goods don't care what inflation looks like, it's simple supply and demand. Luxury items create their own special markets.
Speculators buy everything with no intention of keeping anything, similar to StubHub. They have the fastest computer or the best hookups and will make enough money from presales to cover any losses from what ends up being a dog. Even the dogs will find a home due to geography and demand. Reminds me of IPOs where an extremely limited number of people have dibs to the first offerings.
Collectors buy games in hopes of them becoming Collector's Items. Franklin Mint, Precious Moments, etc. all have their own secondary markets that only those collectors value. Collectors sell items amongst themselves or to hobbyists or someone like me who just wants to have a couple machines for entertainment. Collectors range from day traders to 401k holders and no matter where they fall in that range they expect to make a profit over the long run.
You are talking about the LE buyers, not pinball in general. I have a pinball collection because the closest pinball on location is 7 miles away, and very rarely anything gets rotated. If I want to play the latest Stern, I have to drive downtown (easily a 90 minute drive plus a hassle to find parking). Being a hobbyist almost isn't a choice if you want to play pinball. You gain a collection so you can have people over, so they will in turn also invite you over. I'm not in it for the investment, I just want to play pinball.. And if companies like Stern continue to make it a painful experience for everyone, it's not going to be fun anymore and people will just quit the hobby and pursue something else. There are plenty of other fun things to spend money on, it's not like pinball is the last bastion of entertainment.