(Topic ID: 201685)

Operator machines


By Bud

1 year ago



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  • 64 posts
  • 31 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by flynnibus
  • Topic is favorited by 7 Pinsiders

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    There are 64 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 1 year ago
    Quoted from kms_pinball:

    I tend to do just as well with an early Bally solid state game at 25 cents per play.

    This begs the question: Is it more worthwhile for operators to operate brand new games, even at a hypothetical "operator discount," or just to dig out their old Earthshaker or F-14 Tomcat and vend that instead? Do these new cutting edge games really make that big of a difference in the cash box?

    #52 1 year ago
    Quoted from Bud:

    That's all good and well if you started out with a large capital or could continue to purchase machines or you had exceptional coin drop. I'm not a business degree holder, but I don't think any business can expect to purchase items and sell at 50% to turn around and buy new machines at higher prices and repeat the discounted sale. At some point you'd run out of money or your profit would be severely decreased if not wiped out.
    The only way I can see this current situation working out as a sole income business venture is a good location that doesn't involve any sort of split. In other words, the operator also needs to be the location owner or have a location that is satisfied with the increased traffic of patrons due to the machines and is ok with not taking any money from the pins.

    Quoted from Bud:

    Couldn't have said it better!

    It's odd to me that flynnibus basically said the same thing that I was, and it seems you flipped your opinion of it. Or maybe I don't understand what you meant in the first response.

    I was arguing that coin drop pays for your depreciation and then some, then when the earnings for out in a worst case scenario you sell the game for 50% of its original price. The game earns that entire time, thus your profits. When it drops earnings, you sell the game (or, as Flynn put it, the mule). If you do it right, this works just fine.

    But again, and what it seems like people kiss, this is wholly dependant on your locations. Some locations you can put F14 into and make similar coin drop to putting in a new Dialed In. Others that Dialed In will make you gobs of money more than the old game.

    Some locations want specific machines, or the latest and greatest, and are willing to divvy up the coin box far more in your favor if you can provide that.

    Everyone wants a simple answer, but there are no simple answers in routing. If you aren't making money though at the current rates, and the ideas to make money you don't think will work for you for whatever reason you know your business best.

    #53 1 year ago

    No disasters, but I originally had all my tilt mechanisms all set fairly liberal. However, I've since had to tighten them up considerably. I've had more than one player shaking these 20-40 year old machines so damn hard that connections and mechs are failing. My Doctor Who sits waiting for repair and my Paragon had the entire GI go out after one of these episodes. Perhaps poor maintenance on my part, but until the machines went on vibrate they had been doing just fine. I get players want to keep the ball in play, but that behavior only belongs on a new Stern and pretty much nothing else.

    #54 1 year ago
    Quoted from pookycade:

    No disasters, but I originally had all my tilt mechanisms all set fairly liberal. However, I've since had to tighten them up considerably. I've had more than one player shaking these 20-40 year old machines so damn hard that connections and mechs are failing. My Doctor Who sits waiting for repair and my Paragon had the entire GI go out after one of these episodes. Perhaps poor maintenance on my part, but until the machines went on vibrate they had been doing just fine. I get players want to keep the ball in play, but that behavior only belongs on a new Stern and pretty much nothing else.

    I think you got your threads mixed like I did! Maybe? I might be mixed up.....again!

    #55 1 year ago
    Quoted from CadillacMusic:

    The cost is killer, but the bugs really hurt too. We've been talking to Stern for weeks about our Star Wars losing monitor image after being on for 24 hours or so. They keep giving us code updates that don't work. It's a good location, for a pin, but we're losing money when a brand new machine is broken. Plus, it looks bad for the company when games are down.
    That being said, I think two color games would be a terrible idea. Like it or not, I think the casual customer is attracted to the IP as much as anything. I'm sure the Star Wars license was expensive as heck, but people love hearing Yoda's voice. There just isn't a magic solution to make pinballs really profitable. People will go either for what the recognize, what's big and flashy, or what they can win a prize with. Pins don't really fit any of those descriptors without a big name IP.

    mine do the same thing. still waiting on the "fix" its really annoying when im not at the locations 24/7 to monitor and i walk in and someone has an out of order sign on it because of the screen not on. im thinking, how long has it been out of order, 3 days, 5 days? if they would just turn off and back on it comes right up. but who honestly would do that esp if not a "pinball" player. i had to put a sign next to the lcd screen asking patrons to shut off, then turn back on if screen is off.

    #56 1 year ago

    how about when you walk into one of your locations and there is an out of order on the game because one coin slot is jammed, even though you also have a bill acceptor and another coin slot that still work?
    or , someone unplugs your machine to charge their cell phone and leaves your machine unplugged.

    here is another, patrons see the "25C" label on the coin reject button on a new stern for example, and they think that means it costs 25 cents to play. those coin slots really should have the word "quarters" on them, not a number. I 've seen that in front of me often then the parent is pushing the coin reject over and over wondering whats going on and i point out what the price to play is on the apron and they flip out thinking its so high to play at 75 cents or $1 per play.. i tell them, you know this is a new machine that costs 7 grand right? they don't see the actual price card on the apron. then they report the game "not working" and an unknowing employee marks it out of order.

    #57 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    That's the only answer. None of the manufacturers are going to make cheaper machines for ops. Nobody is going to release stripped down "street level" games as that experiment already happened in 1990 and was a dismal failure.
    Any newish pinball machine should be a dollar a play, simple as that. I'd probably turn off match and replay as well. No other arcade machines just give out free games.

    These street level games were 1500 when new just did not have any fancy ramps but earned less than a Pinbot or High Speed. The positive very little trouble ither than broken drop targets. Hoops is even better nothing but blown lights to replace. I was scared when new as Gottlieb sent nice bags in machine to ship the boards out for service.

    6b56c2593cac1b892c6329b886b6d6a89ee485c1 (resized).jpg

    #58 1 year ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    You're not looking at the operating income side of it. The point of the machines is to generate monthly operating income. They are mules... whose job it is to pull in the quarters.

    I like to think of our machines as horses. You got your workhorses, like our T2, that have been out in the field almost 30 years now, and are beat to heck and back. They still play fine, and can earn money, but the years of corners breaking off plastics and scrapes on the side art take their toll. Kids climb on them, people stuff pennies in the coin slots, they get band stickers stuck on them and folks throw up on them. They just keep ticking along.

    Then you have your show horses. These are the home use machines. They operate flawlessly, and never get hard use. People brag about them to their friends. The problem is that Stern has to make a machine that can be either a work horse OR a show horse. For limited funds. It can't be an easy task. I just wish show horse owners would understand that our machines aren't going to look and play quite as fine as theirs.

    #59 1 year ago
    Quoted from CadillacMusic:

    I like to think of our machines as horses.

    The reason behind that label was because "no one falls in love with a mule". Contrasted with a horse. They are utilities... not things to be babied, pampered, fallen in love with, etc. they are there to work. You take care of them, and they will do their job. But they do cost to maintain and move ... which is why you can't scale without overhead cost increases.

    The only thing the analogy lacks is the customer desire to see the new games... which also incentives you to swap those mules out.

    The real point is... the game is purchased and measured by how much operating income it makes. Success there will make any other things (residual price, operating costs, etc) secondary. The idea of residual value being 'profit' is hobbyist-operator thinking. The operator knows that selling a game and not putting that money into the next title means reducing the size of his pack of mules out there hauling in quarters... which reduces his earning potential month to month. So that's not viable.

    #60 1 year ago
    Quoted from goatdan:

    It's odd to me that flynnibus basically said the same thing that I was, and it seems you flipped your opinion of it. Or maybe I don't understand what you meant in the first response.
    I was arguing that coin drop pays for your depreciation and then some, then when the earnings for out in a worst case scenario you sell the game for 50% of its original price. The game earns that entire time, thus your profits. When it drops earnings, you sell the game (or, as Flynn put it, the mule). If you do it right, this works just fine.
    But again, and what it seems like people kiss, this is wholly dependant on your locations. Some locations you can put F14 into and make similar coin drop to putting in a new Dialed In. Others that Dialed In will make you gobs of money more than the old game.
    Some locations want specific machines, or the latest and greatest, and are willing to divvy up the coin box far more in your favor if you can provide that.
    Everyone wants a simple answer, but there are no simple answers in routing. If you aren't making money though at the current rates, and the ideas to make money you don't think will work for you for whatever reason you know your business best.

    My opinion remains the same, it never flip flopped. I was simply trying to say that no money has been made until the depreciated value has been paid off from what the machine earns. That is the break even point monetarily if one was to ever sell the machine off.

    A common misconception is that regardless of a machines cost, the operator can just "sell" it and go buy a better machine. My whole argument is that every time you sell a machine, you are loosing money (unless it was like the AC/DC example given earlier) due to depression because you have to turn around and take that money from the sale and add more money to get another machine. Even at that break even figure, if an operator was to sell, he basically worked for nothing for that machine. Time buying, transportation, set up, maintenance etc. cost something.

    #61 1 year ago
    Quoted from Bud:

    My opinion remains the same, it never flip flopped. I was simply trying to say that no money has been made until the depreciated value has been paid off from what the machine earns. That is the break even point monetarily if one was to ever sell the machine off.
    A common misconception is that regardless of a machines cost, the operator can just "sell" it and go buy a better machine. My whole argument is that every time you sell a machine, you are loosing money (unless it was like the AC/DC example given earlier) due to depression because you have to turn around and take that money from the sale and add more money to get another machine. Even at that break even figure, if an operator was to sell, he basically worked for nothing for that machine. Time buying, transportation, set up, maintenance etc. cost something.

    I think you mean you're losing money due to depreciation, but like I showed with the original explanation, the machine should be more than covering depreciation with location coin drop. If it's not, then buying a new game would be absolutely stupid, unless your plan is to sell and replace with a cheaper, older game.

    If you have a game making money like that ACDC, I was pointing out how you can make a decent amount by switching up the machines regularly and flipping the old. This doesn't work with every location, however.

    A successful route would have a few locations where they want the new shiny games regularly, a few decently earning locations that they don't, and more going further down the earning hole. Then, you don't sell, you just keep rotating and hopefully gaining new locations. I have a few friends with huge routes that do just this. The new games definitely don't make sense everywhere, but they buy a bunch every year for the places they do make sense. And they have even invested in some Premium games recently for the return they get from certain locations.

    If you don't have the locations that support the new shiny games, you shouldn't be buying them for those second and third tier locations. You're correct, you'll lose money.

    #62 1 year ago
    Quoted from silver_spinner:

    here is another, patrons see the "25C" label on the coin reject button on a new stern for example, and they think that means it costs 25 cents to play. those coin slots really should have the word "quarters" on them, not a number. I 've seen that in front of me often then the parent is pushing the coin reject over and over wondering whats going on and i point out what the price to play is on the apron and they flip out thinking its so high to play at 75 cents or $1 per play.. i tell them, you know this is a new machine that costs 7 grand right? they don't see the actual price card on the apron. then they report the game "not working" and an unknowing employee marks it out of order.

    Any operator that doesn't take the time to change out the stock 25c button tag to the base price to play is just foolish. Most customers are dumb. And will kick the crap out of a $100 coin door to get their single quarter back. Most can't even find the flashing start button.

    #63 1 year ago
    Quoted from Joker2415:

    I think you got your threads mixed like I did! Maybe? I might be mixed up.....again!

    You know I was trying to figure out where that post went to. Now I know having run into it again. Yep wrong thread

    #64 1 year ago
    Quoted from Bud:

    My opinion remains the same, it never flip flopped. I was simply trying to say that no money has been made until the depreciated value has been paid off from what the machine earns. That is the break even point monetarily if one was to ever sell the machine off.

    I think the wrong thinking here is the idea that profit is riding on a single piece of equipment's outcome. Profit is something that has to be measured month to month... not just when equipment is turned over. That's why I outlined it as "The business is all about your monthly income (coin drop) covering your depreciation, expenses, and desired profit.". Equipment costs should not be seen as operating expenses but capital investment that is depreciated and on a predictable line. You aren't going to look at "am I winning or failing" by looking at residual values.. you need to be looking at incoming revenue first.

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