Quoted from jkashani:
Why can smaller companies like Heighway, Spooky and Jersey Jack have codes on new games close to completion when shipped and Stern cant do the same. The showing at expo of the batman 66 with a non playable game with expecting deposits is beyond me. Caveat Emptor! With this practice Stern will continue to lose customers. We all like their games and would like to patronize them, however, this type of business practice will discourage allot of buyers, including myself.
This statement is a little hard to take.
Spooky, JJP, and Heighway shipped near code complete games!!?? Ummm... nope. I haven't owned a Heighway machine yet, but my WOZ took ages to become fun, and same with Hobbit. My AMH is now amazing, but it became code complete a few months ago. Again, I have NO PROBLEM with that. It's part of the process, but to suggest only Stern is shipping games in need of code is ludicrous.
As for BM66 not being flippable at expo. I'm pretty certain that's something that Stern and everybody involved in the game would have wanted. Do you not think they all busted their asses to make that happen??!! It didn't happen... and yet, they sold a boat load of those pins.
My problem with all the negativity that seems to swirl around Stern is that I think it comes from misaligned expectations.
People talk about Stern as if they are Sony, or Ford, or Apple. Yes, they are the big player in the pinball world... but they are a TINY manufacturing company, in a super small niche market. They are filled with passionate pinball people who live and breathe pinball. They bust their asses to make amazing experiences for us. I'm grateful they do.
They employ many of the greats of the 90s Bally Williams days. Are they all there because they hate their customers? Are they all there because they don't believe in the magic of pinball? Are they all there because they believe in profit above all else!!?? How delusional is that viewpoint??!
Have you ever spoken to these guys? They light up when they talk about their designs. It's really exciting to visit the factory. It's an amazing place if you love pinball.
I think part of the problem is, as collectors, we've arbitrarily decided that a piece of commercial vending equipment is now a collectors item museum piece, and should ascribe to all the requisite demands of this market we've created. Imagine we'd done that with leaf blowers, or chain saws??! All of the sudden we'd be demanding that they never leak, or have scratches on them, or smelled of gas... bet you never thought you'd hear a leaf blower-gument, eh?! Stern is trying to adapt to and serve this market. They are succeeding in a lot of ways, but they will always fall short of impossibly (unreasonably?) high user expectations.
There is also a lot of talk about how Stern manages its social media presence. Banning negative comments or criticism etc... it's THEIR social media page! What do you THINK they should do??! Employ a full time staff member to type, "As we've stated many times, speak to your distro about your playfield. We have a program in place" or, "Sorry you feel that way, but we think GOT is actually really fun!" All day long?!! It's not their customer service department. They do exactly what I would do if I was trying to run a small manufacturing company. You can call Stern ANYTIME you like. I've done it many times. When I was having magnet board issues with my MET, I received AMAZING support from Stern.
I guess what I'm ultimately trying to say is, Stern is a pinball company. We'd all do well to keep that in perspective. They're celebrating 30 years of making pinball machines! That's an incredible thing. They've given us Seawitch, Lord of the Rings, The Walking Dead, Quicksilver, Metallica, Tron, Iron Man, Ghostbusters and 50 plus other titles?!!
They've had a few QC issues of late, and nobody is happy about rising prices... but is that cause to generate so much bile, and bluster?!!?
I'm not intending to beat a dead horse here, but I think it's important to voice some positivity. I'm genuinely excited about the future of pinball. I've been collecting for over 20 years, and the hobby has NEVER been more exciting. Is this the BUBBLE??!! OMG!!!! Haha. Who the F$&k knows?! What I know it that it's still a TINY industry with ENORMOUS growth potential.
I'm looking forward to spending more time on a Dialed In. I enjoyed it at Expo. I can't wait to see what Spooky does next. Aliens could end up being a really cool pin too. I hope Heighway gets it over the finish line soon.
But above all else, I'm CRAZY excited to get my BM66. I think it's going to be an amazing pinball machine. I think it's going to be fun, and I think it's going to be deep. I KNOW it's going to look spectacular.
Play more pinball everybody. This typing nonsense is for the birds!