(Topic ID: 19613)

Pinball price bubble -- MM as an example


By HeyYouSir

7 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 271 posts
  • 106 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by leonml
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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Topic poll

“Predict the future of A list pinball prices”

  • They will continue to rise with no end in sight. ($30K for a MM someday!) 55 votes
    12%
  • They will continue to rise and then take a dip (Newer technology replacing old) 119 votes
    27%
  • They will stay about the same for a long time (Still out of reach for most) 171 votes
    39%
  • I don't want to think about it and enjoy the pins that I have. 44 votes
    10%
  • I don't care. 53 votes
    12%

(442 votes by 0 Pinsiders)

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#200 7 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

Why is no one addressing the real issue? The government has printed trillions of dollars in the past four years. That money sloshes around in the real economy but starts with the wealthy financiers who have first access to it. They don't spend the same way everyone else does; they spend more on collectibles than most. Collectibles like pinball machines rise first, as well as fine art and other things you don't buy on credit.
I noticed this when I bought a used car earlier this year. Used car prices are ridiculous right now. I brought cash to buy a late model Subaru and was shocked; the dealers don't care about it because their financing for their inventory is so cheap that they aren't in a hurry to move anything and cash buyers don't mean anything to them.
Pinball machines are tangible goods. Expect things they're not making any more of (Gold, Pinballs, Fine Art) will go up. The supply and demand you should look at is not the supply of pins but the supply of money.

Ron Paul is here! Welcome to Pinside!

#201 7 years ago

Good grief!

#202 7 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

Why is no one addressing the real issue? The government has printed trillions of dollars in the past four years. That money sloshes around in the real economy but starts with the wealthy financiers who have first access to it. They don't spend the same way everyone else does; they spend more on collectibles than most. Collectibles like pinball machines rise first, as well as fine art and other things you don't buy on credit.
I noticed this when I bought a used car earlier this year. Used car prices are ridiculous right now. I brought cash to buy a late model Subaru and was shocked; the dealers don't care about it because their financing for their inventory is so cheap that they aren't in a hurry to move anything and cash buyers don't mean anything to them.
Pinball machines are tangible goods. Expect things they're not making any more of (Gold, Pinballs, Fine Art) will go up. The supply and demand you should look at is not the supply of pins but the supply of money.

Took me a while but I just read every one of your posts. Great thread. This is the first time I've thought about purchasing an "A" title and taking a close look at current prices. Crazy prices and up to this point I'd never considered purchasing a new machine because they're so expensive, right? Uh, not so much anymore I guess. Someday I'd like to own an AFM but for the same or less money could have a NIB WOZ shipped to my door. Maybe I'll just pull the trigger and try that

There was another "economics 101" poster above that I agreed with as well. Those holy grail "A" titles are being snapped up and put into permanent collections. Those won't hit the market again for years and years so the ones available will be monster money. Might be better just to buy new for a while...

#203 7 years ago

your poll is flawed. You didn't give the option that the bubble will burst and prices will fall back down to a reasonable level. Which is going to happen and lots of people that bought out of pure rush, and threw loads of cash at games with the "gotta have it now" mentality, are going to lose their ass.

#204 7 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

your poll is flawed. You didn't give the option that the bubble will burst and prices will fall back down to a reasonable level. Which is going to happen and lots of people that bought out of pure rush, and threw loads of cash at games with the "gotta have it now" mentality, are going to lose their ass.

Very good point, Neo

#205 7 years ago
Quoted from Underspin:

Very good point, Neo

You are assuming the people who bought games in this market gave a rats ass about resale. This isn't a house. And honestly it's not a collectable either. If you are buying a pin as an investment, you are a moron.

So is anyone going to "lose their ass"? Hardly. Anyone with a pinball machine has disposable income.

#206 7 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

your poll is flawed. You didn't give the option that the bubble will burst and prices will fall back down to a reasonable level. Which is going to happen and lots of people that bought out of pure rush, and threw loads of cash at games with the "gotta have it now" mentality, are going to lose their ass.

I agree with you on many things, but I think the facts have shown otherwise for the past few years and I do not see that changing. I wish it would and I hope my MM is worth half of what I paid as that means all the other games I would like to own will also be half price

#207 7 years ago
Quoted from Pinchroma:

You are assuming the people who bought games in this market gave a rats ass about resale. This isn't a house. And honestly it's not a collectable either. If you are buying a pin as an investment, you are a moron.
So is anyone going to "lose their ass"? Hardly. Anyone with a pinball machine has disposable income.

well when the prices of games are the same as prices of some houses. (you can find 10k houses around here), then your looking at resale long term. You'd be surprised at how many people buy stuff they can't afford and don't have disposable income for. Most of america lives on debt, so I bet you more machines are bought without disposable than you think.

#208 7 years ago

That's no doubt true and is a sad state. Don't spend over your head

#209 7 years ago
Quoted from Pinchroma:

You are assuming the people who bought games in this market gave a rats ass about resale. This isn't a house. And honestly it's not a collectable either. If you are buying a pin as an investment, you are a moron.
So is anyone going to "lose their ass"? Hardly. Anyone with a pinball machine has disposable income.

Totally right. And I'm not convinced there's a bubble. The fact that new pins are also high priced is part of what's driving prices up. This isn't a poor mans hobby though. People should just get used to that.

#210 7 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

Most of america lives on debt, so I bet you more machines are bought without disposable than you think.

It's about to get worse, actually. The new credit card vending services tied to smartphones will allow joe and jane pinball owner to take credit cards when selling used pinballs. See Square ... Just a matter of time before people are buying used pinball machines with plastic, inflating prices further. The mentality will shift to "Well, I only have to pay $100 a month for 24 months!"

#211 7 years ago

Most of pinside appears to not live off of debt (based on recent polls of buying pins with cash vs. loan/ credit) so hopefully the subsection we represent has this trair in common with the majority of pinball collectors.

Even if people were to start buying pins on credit, if they don't pay the bills then we could expect to see some cheap repo'd pins come up for sale under their market value

#212 7 years ago

I think many in this thread fail to understand that "bubbles" are due to manic overspeculation by the broad market.

Of the total percentage of pin owners, how many are speculators? 10% even 25%? And at what volume? A bubble would require almost everyone in this hobby to be speculating with the vast majority of those persons purchasing on credit and not with disposable income. Most on here describe A list games as their "holy grail." That doesn't sound very speculative to me. I for one will be buying an MM next year when my bonus hits and I will never sell it, so you can scratch my name off that list.

As someone said earlier, a lot of these A list pins are going into private collections. Until we see the day with 20 MMs on the market at the same time and not selling, there will not be any major downward or "bubble bursting" pricing pressure on these titles.

Pins are not stocks, they are luxury items primarily used by the majority owners as entertainment or "garage queens," not speculative investment vehicles.

It would be more useful to have a poll of A list owners to say whether they bought to flip in the short(ish) term or whether they intend to hold onto these for the long term despite any devaluation of their A list pins. The results of that poll will be more indicative of a "bubble."

#213 7 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

It's about to get worse, actually. The new credit card vending services tied to smartphones will allow joe and jane pinball owner to take credit cards when selling used pinballs. See Square ... Just a matter of time before people are buying used pinball machines with plastic, inflating prices further. The mentality will shift to "Well, I only have to pay $100 a month for 24 months!"

I actually got "Square" to make it easier to sell machines with. My hobby/business doesn't do enough "business" to warrant overhead like a brick and mortar shop that accepts CC., etc. A card swipe system is perfect for me.

Now I haven't USED "Square" yet. I'm a little nervous to after reading some of the horror stories regarding them holding money for six months for no reason, capping sales to $2500 per month if you're not a merchant, the swipe itself not being encrypted...the list goes on and on. I've now switched gears and am looking at the Intuit (Quickbooks people) swiper. It requires a merchant account but the cost per swipe is about the same.

#214 7 years ago

Another thing people aren't taking into account is technology and cultural/social changes.

Something happened in the 80s that put a huge dent in the pinball market: video games. Pinballs recovered slightly but never were able to carve out the same successful market share they had in earlier years.

Then the video market was hit in a similar way with home consoles, and never recovered either.

On top of this, the video game market was further decimated by the development of PC-based emulators like MAME.

Many of us (myself included) argue that there's no way a computer can accurately emulate an actual pinball machine, but people also felt the same way about digital cameras and film. It could be that technology could further cause pinballs to be less desirable. If history is any indication, this is more of a likelihood than not.

IMO any temporary bump in prices is more of a fad at this time. Now if public arcades make a come back and people decide they want to leave their houses and computers and play pinball, things could change. But I don't see pinball prices continuing to go up. And if some new entertainment technology comes out that everyone gets excited about, including pinheads, then the market would probably suffer even more. OTOH, if some new pinball technology comes out that revitalizes the hobby, it could go the other way. Time will tell.

#215 7 years ago
Quoted from Pinchroma:

If you are buying a pin as an investment, you are a moron.

So I shouldn't by a $3500 pin for $1500? Hmm....seemed like the right thing to do at the time.....

#216 7 years ago
Quoted from PinballHelp:

...if some new pinball technology comes out that revitalizes the hobby, it could go the other way. Time will tell....

I think the prices rising are already indicative of a revitalization of pinball. Unfortunately, it's not in the arcades like it used to be, it's in your home.

I for one will still visit my local pinhead places for a couple reasons. They have A-list games that I could never(well, at least never as in the near future) afford to own but love to play, and a sense of loyalty to the hobby. A lot of these guys have sacraficed everything to keep the game of pinball available to the public and that alone deserves, I might even say REQUIRES, us to visit them and pump a bunch of quarters in their machines.

#217 7 years ago
Quoted from PinballHelp:

Another thing people aren't taking into account is technology and cultural/social changes..... .... And if some new entertainment technology comes out that everyone gets excited about, including pinheads, then the market would probably suffer even more. OTOH, if some new pinball technology comes out that revitalizes the hobby, it could go the other way. Time will tell.

For a new technology to replace pinball, it would have to offer a similar quality experience for a lower price. I've heard some of the virtual cabinets people have put together are pretty cool, but they're also pretty expensive. They seem to be priced similarly to many A-list games. All of the new pinball companies are offering machines that cost more than at least 80% of used games.

Another draw to this hobby is the experience of walking into a room full of pinball machines set on freeplay. If your game room is filled with a mix of pins from A to D, it's still a good place to host friends. It would be very hard for any new technology to match the average machine price of a gameroom like that.

I am a new collector with two working machines and two projects. I am building my collection right now by finding good values for less than $1000. As I forecast my own future purchases, I fully expect to have to spend close to $5000 if I want to own some of my favorites. I expect to make annual purchases in that price range starting 2-3 years from now.

I don't see myself ever spending much over $5000 for a single machine.

I don't think prices will climb forever, but it's hard to see them dropping much from where I stand.

#218 7 years ago
Quoted from Miguel351:

So I shouldn't by a $3500 pin for $1500? Hmm....seemed like the right thing to do at the time.....

There are deals to be had but the ability to constantly turn a profit is not possible.

#219 7 years ago
Quoted from Pinchroma:

There are deals to be had but the ability to constantly turn a profit is not possible.

I'm not looking to do this consistently. I agree, a steady stream of great deals is just about impossible. But, if these dealers you see on the internet start getting these stupid prices they list everything at, us collectors are in for a world of hurt, to our wallets. They're the ones buying them from CL and estate sales, hosing them down and selling them at twice the price they paid. Even if someone haggles them down a few hundred, they still made money for hardly doing anything.

Funny thing is though, that through my deal, I'm finding a whole other level of ops and pin owners that don't care what "the market" says these things are worth. They know they'll never get that because they don't want to put the work into advertising them, or shipping them, or answering a bunch of phone calls and emails. They know what they're worth, they just can't sell them at that amount because they'll never sell.

So, guys like me come along and(hopefully) snatch a few of them up, clean them up really well, touch them up here and there, shop them out, put new parts in, get them to 100% and trade them out for what I really want! Then, I'm in the mix for a LOT less money than most. Yes, it'd be nice to sell them and take home the profit, but for a collector like me(just starting out), it's more important for me to use that equity to trade with instead of buy.

5 months later
#220 6 years ago

With all the talk about rising pinball prices I thought I would bring this old thread back from the dead. I like the topic and the speculation...

Let's say that you are in the market to buy a MM and the fair market price starts to drop.
Do you snatch one up or wait in hopes of buying one for a lower price?

In other words, for example let's say you see them popping up for $12k again, but wonder if they
will be offered for $10k again soon? What to do? Or don't you see MM dropping in price anytime
soon?

#221 6 years ago

Their is NO pinball bubble people. It's not the housing market. It's a niche hobby with many new members and the same number of the classic pins. They will only go up up up and away.

#222 6 years ago

just missed buying an MM for $8500. it was on route.

#223 6 years ago
Quoted from coasterguy:

Their is NO pinball bubble people. It's not the housing market. It's a niche hobby with many new members and the same number of the classic pins. They will only go up up up and away.

No. The market will not sustain going "up up up and away" at the same level that it has in the last year.

#224 6 years ago

I can hear it now... Folks saying that MM is a $10k max pin.
In fact some are already saying that. As others have mentioned,
pins are worth whatever someone is willing to pay for them.

#225 6 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

No. The market will not sustain going "up up up and away" at the same level that it has in the last year.

Agreed, the market can definitely not sustain the crazy rate of inflation it had in the last year but that's not to say that it will drop anytime soon. I don't think it will continue rising at a crazy rate like last year, however I think we will see pricing remain fairly stagnant with little to no increase for the near future (or so I'm hoping?!).

30k MM's sound scary

#226 6 years ago

We are dealing with classic pins from classic companies that don't exist or don't make them any more. And only so many were made of each title. And only so many are left in great condition. And as more years go by, they become more classic. And just like muscle cars from the 60s, these are the muscle pins of the 90s. Bubble, my ass!

#227 6 years ago

Good luck guessing where pin prices will be in the future. If you can do that, you're in the wrong business, no matter what you're currently being paid to do.
On a very related note, I recently decided to buy an AFM. I found one that looks good (new PF installed) so I agreed to the sale price (I wont go into details, but it has some great mods and LEDs etc). It seemed very well priced when compared to what else is currently available.
Being in Canada, I have to pay an additional 13% tax and shipping is typically $500.
So... do the math and imagine what my "all in" price is.
You can imagine people up here have told me that "AFM isn't worth the 7-9k that people are selling them for". (My all in price is higher than 9k)
Well guess what: it's not even here yet and I've had someone tell me they want first dibs whenever I decide to sell it. THERE AREN'T ENOUGH MACHINES FOR SALE. So long as that's the case and there's little competition among sellers, prices will continue to rise.

And for the record: just cause someone says "Pin X isn't worth ____" -they're being complete morons unless they can prove it with: "Because there are currently 4 for sale in better condition at a lower price."
Supply and demand my friends.

#228 6 years ago
Quoted from Chambahz:

You can imagine people up here have told me that "AFM isn't worth the 7-9k that people are selling them for". (My all in price is higher than 9k)
Well guess what: it's not even here yet and I've had someone tell me they want first dibs whenever I decide to sell it. THERE AREN'T ENOUGH MACHINES FOR SALE. So long as that's the case and there's little competition among sellers, prices will continue to rise.
And for the record: just cause someone says "Pin X isn't worth ___" -they're being complete morons unless they can prove it with: "Because there are currently 4 for sale in better condition at a lower price." Supply and demand my friends.

Well said.
Some get it, some don't. Some can play, some can't play. Like with any commodity.

6 months later
#229 6 years ago

Good pinflation thread for those that like to speculate.
As I said a year ago when I started this thread...
Wish I had a proverbial crystal ball. I could sell it for a fortune!

#230 6 years ago
Quoted from Hwawonyu:

For now prices have topped out a bit. 6 months ago every sale created a new higher price and the titles moved. Lately not so much. May move again but clearly we have hit a price barrier.

The guys out there that have been collecting the last ten years or more will tell you that every summer game sales slow, everyone is on vacation,so that's where the money is going.
It used to be oct,nov,dec was the best time, but over the past three or four years it seems to be feb,march,April because of tax returns. So the only sales/price barrier is seasonal

#231 6 years ago
Quoted from HeyYouSir:

With all the talk about rising pinball prices I thought I would bring this old thread back from the dead. I like the topic and the speculation...
Let's say that you are in the market to buy a MM and the fair market price starts to drop.Do you snatch one up or wait in hopes of buying one for a lower price?
In other words, for example let's say you see them popping up for $12k again, but wonder if theywill be offered for $10k again soon? What to do? Or don't you see MM dropping in price anytimesoon?

I just read this and thought of the two MM's that just came up for sale on Kijiji near me.
First one was listed at 12,500.00,wear around flipper buttons,and flipper bats.
First thing I thought was to much in that condition.
Second one comes up a few days later 12,750.00,no wear on the cabinet or playfield,really nice.
I thought good price,considering the condition of the other one.

Maybe if the first one was around the ten mark,I would have thought the other one was to high.
They are hard to come by around here,I was surprised to see two within days of each other.
The first one is still listed,second one was gone in a day

#232 6 years ago

Since I'm pretty new to the hobby I really like reading older threads and getting a sense of how things have progressed. Thanks for the good read!

1 month later
#233 6 years ago

I'll take a shot at a prediction here... Prices keep rising on certain top machines, Stern and others will take notice and jump at the chance to gain licensing to re-issue them, effectively cutting these 12k-15k MM and TZ prices by 1/2 or more. People will line up to buy these re-issues for 7-8k. Major profit margins for the pin companies, as there is no design phase, no coding, they could run the entire machine off of a single micro-controller doing emulation of the original chips.

We've seen it in the guitar world with these vintage re-issues, you end up with an over-saturated marketplace and people arguing over pointless details about which is better based on the type of wire and capacitors used. In the end, they'll be nearly identical, if not better and way more reliable electronically than 30+ year old PCBs, and more importantly it will allow everyone to get their hands on one. The demand is definitely there if people will plop down 12k on a machine.

#234 6 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Many games are settling into the permenant collections of rich people and hence the supply continues to go down. These same rich people are buying up the "A" listers with no intent of ever selling.

Quoted from markmon:

People should quit thinking nostalgia has anything to do with pin collectors. The first pinball I ever played was 2 years ago. Now look at my collection (of 37 of the very top machines). I have a local friend that's 25 and he has 30 pins.

I believe I'd have to put you in the "rich people" category.

#235 6 years ago
Quoted from HeyYouSir:

Good pinflation thread for those that like to speculate.
As I said a year ago when I started this thread...
Wish I had a proverbial crystal ball. I could sell it for a fortune!

There's a crystal ball in the WOZ game.

1 month later
#236 6 years ago

and then the MM remake pin was announced... Time will tell, but I think it may affect the market.

#237 6 years ago

Just saw a local CL add looking for an original MM for $6250.
I don't see that happening, but you never know.

#238 6 years ago
Quoted from thedefog:

I'll take a shot at a prediction here... Prices keep rising on certain top machines, Stern and others will take notice and jump at the chance to gain licensing to re-issue them, effectively cutting these 12k-15k MM and TZ prices by 1/2 or more. People will line up to buy these re-issues for 7-8k. Major profit margins for the pin companies, as there is no design phase, no coding, they could run the entire machine off of a single micro-controller doing emulation of the original chips.
We've seen it in the guitar world with these vintage re-issues, you end up with an over-saturated marketplace and people arguing over pointless details about which is better based on the type of wire and capacitors used. In the end, they'll be nearly identical, if not better and way more reliable electronically than 30+ year old PCBs, and more importantly it will allow everyone to get their hands on one. The demand is definitely there if people will plop down 12k on a machine.

Um could I get you to PM me the winning lotto numbers for the next drawing, because it appears that you can see the future

#239 6 years ago
Quoted from Concretehardt:

Um could I get you to PM me the winning lotto numbers for the next drawing, because it appears that you can see the future

Me too! Which penny stock should I buy?

#240 6 years ago

As person who loves old school ss ,em and a little newer I will throw in my 2 cents.
I paid 1500.00 for a nice Scared Stiff around 2001.

I make good money , wife does also . Almost 58 have two kids 14 an 12.

Lost a lot of bucks several times in stock mkt crashes ,poor investments.
But finally getting caught up .
If I want to work overtime I can make an extra 17 k a year to spend.

So what's the point ? Been shopping for a new machine an can get one around 5 grand to 7 .
So I think MM over 10 k will have a limited market.
To me pinball is a limited market .
I am the only one I know who is interested in pinball an I am in the right age group to know more people.
I work in law enforcement an most of the officers are younger an they have no interest in pinball.
Also these things run in cycles.
Muscle cars crashed , came back a little . Comic books were hot try to sell one now . Etc

#241 6 years ago

Ahh, comic books are the hottest thing going right now. Conventions attendance is at an all-time high. There are still great comics being produced and the collectible market has exploded. Just look at the movies and pinball machines that are coming out. Comic books are dictating pop culture.

#242 6 years ago

It's funny to go back and read through the whole thread. The fact is, there never was a bubble, only a lack of classic B/W pins. Which apparently is going to be rectified shortly.

#243 6 years ago
Quoted from zimzam:

Ahh, comic books are the hottest thing going right now.

Tell that to the guys with collections of over-produced comics from the 90s.

In the 90's, crazy money was being made on comics after the influx of new collectors inspired by Tim Burton's "Batman" movie. As such, more and more people jumped into producing new comic series, and monthly quantities of pre-existing series went up like crazy.

It boomed for a while there, and then it crashed...HARD. Now 99% of those books are hardly even worth their original cover price...IF you can even find people to buy them.

1 week later
#244 6 years ago

Yes... A number of original MM pins to be had now locally in the $7,500 - $9,000 range.
Very interesting. If I only had the cash, space, and my better half's approval.

#245 6 years ago

when i started collecting games about 8 years ago MM cost 1750 euro about 2100usd and MB about 1500 euro about 1800usd
the guy had 6 games, i didn't bought them because i didn't liked the game and i could buy Totan and CV for 1200 and 1400 usd so i did not see why i should pay more for those other titles

even 2 years ago MM was 3500 usd for me and still i let them, but the last 1.5 years it went up like hell

in France we have prices from 8000usd now for a used MM

but since the MMR a lot of people start selling these games, only last week 6 MM's were available on a French forum, and normally we see about 3 a year so i think the bubble is collapsing slowly

#246 6 years ago
Quoted from littlecammi:

I believe I'd have to put you in the "rich people" category.

I bet lot's pinheads would love to take back their comments in this thread...

#247 6 years ago
Quoted from HeyYouSir:

Yes... A number of original MM pins to be had now locally in the $7,500 - $9,000 range.
Very interesting. If I only had the cash, space, and my better half's approval.

I just checked your CL. Nice wtb ad there too.

#248 6 years ago

Check the number of MM games for sale in Mr. Pinball and the prices. Prices on that site have historically been high, but they are not selling and keep getting relisted. And new sellers post fresh listings at lower prices. Same with Tron LE, AD/DC BIBLE and LTBR. The glory days of the flippers are done for right now.

Its simply a matter of supply and demand, and prices will slowly drop to get used games sold. We have multiple manufacturers now as opposed to having only one. If I had a brain in my head that worked properly I would sell all of my games right now and buy them back cheaper in a year, but I did not buy them to make money on anyway.

There is a lot of competition for they buyer's dollars right now, and there are only so many buyers. And they have less money to spend with the prices of new games being so high. The MMR and new JJP games are taking a lot of cash out of the marketplace with their prices being nearly twice that of Stern Pro games. But Stern left the door open to competition with their earlier quality issues and never ending code issues.

The bubble has not burst yet, but it does have a slow leak. And a lot of it is due the MMR. But is good that it leaks slowly instead of bursting. Better now than later. It had to happen someday.

#249 6 years ago

There's another factor people aren't taking into account: obsolescence.

The EM market is now basically flat. For the last two years, at the major pinball expos in Texas, EM sales were mostly flat. I watched a gorgeous Gottlieb Royal Flush sit in the parking lot in Dallas for $350-$400 and wouldn't sell. This year in Houston there were virtually no EMs at the swap meet at all, and an extremely rare and beautiful early Atari SS didn't sell either at ~$300. It's not even worth dragging them around now because demand is low (except for select "A" list games). SS games are plateauing as well. DMDs will soon go this way if the "next gen" of pinball games with LCDs in the head and playfield become commonplace.

My prediction is... if JJP can release 3-4 LCD-based games, and Stern produces a new tech line that uses displays, the DMD market will plummet an order of magnitude like the difference between SS and DMD is now.

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