Quoted from Lermods:
You are missing a lot of costs here. Employee salaries and benefits, insurance, rent, utilities, machinery, permits, taxes, etc. And, of course, there needs to be some profit built in so they can invest in the business.
Stern is not a good example as they likely have very large economies of scale.
that is the whole point. Even using simple math it is easy to see how someone that is an actual pinball manufacturer can make a simple game (or reproduce a classic) with very little effort for much cheaper than current pro pricing.
Take a star gazer as a quick and dirty. Art is done so just minimal cost/effort for all that.
2 flippers, 3 pops, 3 3-banks, 3 spinners, 9 stand ups, and a through are the major parts. This can all be done for $1500 retail in parts on the pf.
modernize it with a new board set and simplified wiring and lighting and your assembly becomes minimal. No layers of ramps or extra stuff to deal with cuts lots of actual assembly time and people. most expensive part is the 3 bank drops for $150 retail.
cabinet art is 2 color paint and will take less effort
re-program code for the new board set with some junior staff and hell you could even spend a little time refining it to make things slightly different.
Manufacturing scale of course cuts cost down majorly for all these things. If stern can design and build brand new modern Pros with all new assets and a full team of 10+ design people per game, then remaking a classic is going to be less. All simple math, but it also seems easy to put together in my opinion.