This is by no means a complaint of the current pinball prices, but more of a suggestion for manufacturers.
As an operator I find it becoming harder and harder to make a profit when buying new machines. Prices keep rising while coin drop maintains an average. It takes longer and longer to get a machine paid for or at least get the depreciation paid for. Then we can talk about breaking even when that machine is sold as the deprecated vs market value reach equilibrium.
I would be ecstatic if these manufacturers really made a pin that was exclusive to operators who have been properly vetted. The idea is a pin that is sold cheaper than what machines are currently sold for. This would also encourage growth for public pinball and more operators. There could be legal requirements that restrict price discussion, sales of these machines to non operators until a specific time period has lapsed, or a factory credit buy back towards another machine later.
I would sacrifice a lot of cosmetics for a more cost effective pin that will stand up to commercial use yet have full features. These manufacturers could even make an "operator edition" or "OE" and sell it to general public at a higher rate for all I care. I think it would be neat to have an "OE" pinball that was very generic in appearance and could save money. Things like black and white cab art or two color art. That way you could easily differentiate between different titles, one might be blue and white and the next title to come out might be green and white. I'd go for non powder coated trim, non painted toys, non painted inner cabs and things of that nature. I would also be willing to pay more for features like backbox latch locks instead of bolts, playfield slides instead of stubs, lockbar receivers instead of manual latches etc. I'd also pay a premium for a playfield that had a nice thick coat of durable clear on it.
I have a long list of ideas for this, not that it matters. I just get tired of all the price bashing/complaining and no real suggestions or ideas that could benefit both customer/manufacturer.
What do you think? What do you suggest?
I know it wouldn't save a lot of money, but the main idea is to encourage more operators, more locations, tournaments, realibility and everything associated with pinball marketing and growth and business . A manufacture could benefit from a loyalty program and solid machines would strengthen or rebuild reputation and faith.