Quoted from boogies:
I hope this project continues. I believe competion leads to better products, more variety, and better pricing.
I agree with the products and variety part. Not sure the pricing part really works though.
Easy example: JJP coming in definitely seemed to make Stern step up their game, I think it was a win for pinball. I think we can all agree prices definitely didn't come down, and Jack's pricing model might have actually accelerated Stern raising prices.
Obviously people love paying less money for things. But I think lowering prices can be a dangerous game. You chase the bottom line down too far and ultimately things can suffer. I know how much work the ColorDMD stuff is, not just coloring the games (though that's a ton of work) and not just assembling and shipping and figuring out brackets and doing booths at shows etc (ton of work there too) but also just developing the platform itself. They're still working on it, constantly improving things. Custom hardware, custom software.
When we just keep demanding they sell it for cheaper, with a product that frankly sells out every time and has a limited audience as far as growth goes, we risk killing the incentive to keep doing all that work. You reach a point where it's just not worth the time anymore.
As a mod maker I'm really conscious of what having these "second job" companies is like. I couldn't support myself going full time, and I wouldn't want to, it would be a lot more stress and a lot less fun to even try. But my free time is a precious thing. I have to charge for it to be able to justify it. Otherwise it just becomes something I dread doing, and I won't want to do another project. And then I think everyone loses.
Only you can decide if something is worth buying. But I think we should pay the prices things are worth, and support the small businesses that make this hobby even better.
/off soap box