I see the problem lying along the fold. On one side, this hobby is only meant to be a source of fun for the majority of us. There was a time where buying and selling games might have resulted in the difference of a few hundred dollars. There were an abundance of old stock in basements and warehouses that came at a relatively frequent basis for those that were patient and wanting to restore old games.
It became more popular. More people are involved. More people meant that there was more competition that led to more money to fight over. There are less and less finds because they just aren't as abundant. That combined with the increased cost of new games (for a number of legitimate and maybe greedy reasons) means that more games are being bought from within the community. Everyone that takes a game does something to it that increases their perceived value of the game and that then reflects in the future sale price. It compounds from sale to sale to some extent. Those sales in turn are needed to fund new purchases.
On one level, it hurts because it's not about the money. It was just supposed to be fun. But the money is also what is driving Stern and all the other manufacturers to keep going. Once a certain price point is hit, it becomes attractive to people that are more into it for the profit than the fun. That's where I think the community is upset. Because it takes the fun out of it. It's not about the pinball as much as it is the game of buying and selling.
I don't know if it's a cancer as much as it is the natural evolution of a popular hobby.
The problem is that a number of us will eventually be priced out of the game that is buying and selling.
On the opposite side, if it wasn't as popular, a number of us would fall out because we wouldn't have the technical capabilities to produce our own parts and we would never see anything new. New old stock would eventually run out and some parts are hard to make in the garage.
On one hand we are lucky that we have the ability to order things from Marco and Pinball Life. On the other, the price of machines continues to maintain that collective value. The rest is collateral damage.
Then there's COVID