WiFi Connectivity Pros and Cons:
*WiFi refers to the ability to hook your pinball machine up to the internet to a centralized server wirelessly through your home/work WiFi router. I think what everyone really means by this is internet connectivity.
1. Ability to have code updates applied automatically to your machine. You walk up to your machine on Monday and it says, "press test to install latest code update".
2. Ability to have online leaderboards.
3. Potential for online competition play, tournaments, and contests.
4. Potential for limited time contests, modes, and capabilities. Maybe your TNMT game animations have a winter theme for a few months around Christmas or maybe there is a limited time mode for a contest.
Essentially, internet connectivity gives pinball machines to have all of the functions of Golden Tee golf.
1. With online connectivity and extra features, there is the possibility of implementing a "pay to play" model. Want to participate in contests or online play? That will be 19.99 per month, per machine, plus $.05 per play.
2. There is the possibility that Stern could implement a real subcription model, where initial base code is free and comes with the game, but if you want to unlock a 6 ball multiball instead of just 4, or you want to play all the modes, that has a monthly fee. They could potentially require online connectivity and a paid subscription or the machine bricks itself.
3. Your pinball machine becomes part of the "internet of things". It would be theoretically possible (although unlikely) for someone to remotely encrypt your game and require a virtual online payment online to play the game, (Stern or anyone).
I like the free to play, internet free model. I am afraid of Stern or any of these companies going the way of Golden Tee and wanting a piece of the location play pie. I would like continued code updates on these machines like anyone else, but until they have the capacity to really improve my game, I refuse to pay a monthly fee for any pinball service.