(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
  • They will continue to rise and then take a dip (Newer technology replacing old) 119 votes
  • They will stay about the same for a long time (Still out of reach for most) 171 votes
  • I don't want to think about it and enjoy the pins that I have. 44 votes
  • I don't care. 53 votes

(442 votes by 0 Pinsiders)

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#157 7 years ago

Medieval Madness is a bad example. The "holy grail" games will always command a high price, while other games won't. The market for pinball cannot be measured on the holy grails. For example, Action Comics #1 has increased in value dramatically, while Action Comics #2 has not.

#168 7 years ago
Quoted from eggbert52:

Games are already going down in price. I totally agree that MM may be the only example where that is not true but once JJP releases WOZ and a solid year goes buy...MM is gonna be what it is...an 8-10K game.

IMO, the A-list games are only commanding high prices because they represent the (retro) pinnacle of pinball and all the current manufacturers are continuing to pander to 40-year-old technology. Even WOZ is likely to be a "retro pinball" game. It is unlikely to revitalize the pinball industry - they're just pandering to the old collector market.

The only game that could change that would be P^3 and what the P-ROC people are doing.. they are the only manufacturer actually doing pinball innovation. If they manage to produce a popular pinball platform, then you can expect the value of DMD machines to drop dramatically, not unlike how SS made EM games less-valuable and DMD made SS games less valuable. I also believe if there had been more P2K titles out that platform would have made DMD games go the way of EMs in terms of popularity, desirability and value.

#179 7 years ago
Quoted from davewtf:

Good thing you said "if". "if" it's an innovation like pin2K was, it will have little, if any, effect. Holy comma crazy sentence, that.

That's only because Bally/WMS killed the whole program even though it was successful. As a result, there aren't enough games and titles out there to establish the new platform as the next generation. Imagine if only 1-2 solid state ("Spirit of '76" by Mirco was the first SS) or the first 2 DMD machines made (Data East "Checkpoint"?) were left as representatives of what that platform was capable of? P2K was a great success for its time but could have been so much better. We'll never know because the platform was scuttled prematurely.

RFM is an amazing game. If it suffers from anything, it's due to the fact that the game is overly linear in nature. It was designed to rake in quarters so players could get further along in the modes - like SWE1, it was not designed for a home environment and gets old fast, but the platform and the technology is excellent. A few more titles on this platform could have really shown P2K to be light years ahead of everything else. Both the existing titles were overly linear in their ruleset. But the projected video over the playfield is totally genius. Even P^3 looks primitive in comparison on that front. It's a true 3D pinball/video experience. And that was 15 years ago!

#182 7 years ago

For years I've been trying to get the guy from Boston Pinball to graph multiple machine sale prices over time. Just selecting TAF is not a good representative. He should take 2-3 machines from every era and show their sales, as well as group machines by A-list and B-list and we'd get a much better idea of trends.

For example, here's the BP graph:

There's not enough data to claim that overall pinball values are going up. There is no distinction between EMs, SSs or DMDs. It just shows average sale price is going up, but that's more likely the result of higher-value machines being sold more often. Overall the graph doesn't seem to indicate any dramatic increase in prices. There's not enough data there, but from what we can glean, overal, there is no "bubble" (a real "bubble" would show both prices and number of auctions going up) - there's more likely a bubble in a tiny part of the market representing certain A-list games. But that could simply be the result of high demand for certain games that are not coming up for sale as often.

He only has one example using TAF:


Another problem with the above graph is that it only shows price, not quantity of auctions as is in the first graph, so it's difficult to tell if the prices are really going up or down overall, or simply as a result of limited supply.

TAF is also an odd machine to use as a benchmark. It is popular, but it's also the highest-production game ever. In all likelihood, it should go up in price at a much lower rate than the rest of the average market with lower production numbers.

1 week later
#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.

1 year later
#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.

#251 6 years ago
Quoted from playernumber4:

Stern will have to get on the bandwagon eventually to an LCD

I don't think Stern will need to go that route unless they see sales slump significantly. I don't think JJP will cut into their market until they get to games #3 and #4.

Right now Stern is selling old-tech games like hotcakes.

The question is, can JJP stay in business long enough to carve out their place in the market? I have a feeling presales of Hobbit are slow and will remain that way until WOZ is out and the code is polished. But will JJP be able to hang in there that long? The fact that they've already announced and are taking orders for another LE version of WOZ appears to be a sign that they need operating capital.

Will Stern suck all the money out of the market before JJP can catch their production up? This is the big question.

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