Quoted from RobT:
No, it doesn't cut both ways at all unless you believe that JJP's mere existence has resulted in higher demand for *other* pins. Apparently that's what you think, but I don't buy that at all.
That demand was already there. That's largely the reason that JJP can even exist in the first place...demand for pins.
Further proof that the demand was already there is the mere fact that pin prices have continued to go up, even though there are supposedly over 1000 people with a minimum of $6500.00 tied up in a (still undelivered) pin, thereby taking a big chunk of change out of the market. In other words, people who have money tied up in WOZ can't use that money to buy another pin, which in theory would drive prices up even more.
Well, yes. I do believe that. It's kind of like the casino phenomenon: one casino alone does okay. But a few together actually heighten excitement and are mutually beneficial, like Las Vegas. Orlando attractions are another example that I can come up with. They result in these weird collaborations between competitors that increase business, which is why one sees group advertisements for both Vegas and Orlando. They compete, sure, for a bigger slice of the pie. But their presences generate enough excitement that the pie itself becomes bigger.
I think in this stage of the pinball hobby, the exposure generated by JJP in mainstream publications and within the industry has DEFINITELY made more people consider purchasing a pinball for personal use (and not just a JJP pinball). So, yes, I believe JJP's existence as an entity that markets its pinball machines (and hence pinballs in general secondarily) absolutely is expanding the demand for pins.
I think we might be quibbling over semantics to a degree and are probably saying similar things from a different angle. For instance, you state that even with all this JJP purchaser money tied up, the price of other pins are continuing to escalate as proof the demand predated the presence of JJP.
But to me it is plausible that at least for SOME of the people buying WOZ, it was not an either-WOZ-or-Stern proposition. That they weren't going to buy a pin at all except for the fact that they saw something different. So instead of buying NO pins at all, they purchased a WOZ, making the pinball market larger.
It also seems plausible to me that someone who didn't even KNOW about pins still existing sees a WOZ at Comicon, or in Fortune magazine, or from the buzz generated by women/children who JUST wouldn't talk about Tron or ACDC the same way, suddenly gets to exploring the entire hobby. Suddenly they're not just considering a Woz for the wife and kids. They're trying to get EVERYTHING they can get their hands on.
Heck, this forum has been crawling lately with new pinball enthusiasts bragging about having purchased their first pin and have two more on the way. You might describe this as preexisting demand. I'd describe it as generated demand created by another manufacturer being present with a different product that appeals to an untapped market segment. And thereby also increasing demand for pins across the board secondarily as a result.
So, yeah, I maintain more manufacturers both indicates presence of demand but also, at this stage, generates increased demand by widening the market by getting people who previously never considered or were aware of pinball interested.
Again, just look at the posts on this forum: there seems to be a lot of new pinball owners/enthusiasts. I believe a significant number of them are secondary to the attention created by marketing/increased visibility provided to the hobby from the increase from one manufacturer to two large-scale and multiple small scale manufacturers we've been lucky enough to see lately.
And the more the market expands, the better they all will do.
So yes, JJP and Stern compete. But to a degree, they are good for one another in boosting the visibility of pinball, which is what we need at this point.
Once everyone in the industrialized world is well aware of what pinball is, how much fun it is, and that machines with modern whiz-bang tech are being actively created and are purchaseable, well, THEN JJP vs Stern becomes much more cutthroat.
Until then, they are moving pinball from the relative fringe to the highly visible mainstream, increasing the number of potential customers (hopefully dramatically), and thus driving demand.
And causing prices, not just NIB but across the board, to increase.
Anyway that's how I see it.