Quoted from Lhyrgoif:
The whole tier approach is awful in my opinion. Its simply a way for pinball manufacturers to motivate higher prices.
I would love if they stopped this silliness and kept doing what manufacturers did before 2000, one title - one version, simple as that. I realize they won't change back (because money) but one can always dream.
Another silly thing is the tier naming. Calling the "basic/standard" version Pro is simply an attempt to make it sound better than it is. Premium should be named Pro. If they called them Standard, Pro and CE/LE that would at least make more sense.
If one have to choose in this tier hell, I would agree the premium is often the sweetspot between (high) price and features.
It's true the tiered approach isn't likely to be popular with consumers. It's not designed for them. It's a standard economic practice across pretty much all non-commodity consumer goods now, which manufacturers use to maximize profit. It's Business 101, and allows manufacturers to capture the most sales across all segments of the buying market. The practice is designed to benefit the manufacturers, not the consumers.
People need to stop worrying about the tiers. Recognize that there's only one tier designed for your economic segment, and decide whether you would like to stay in that segment, or (if you are not already in the lowest-cost segment) if you would like to take advantage of the lower prices that a lower-cost segment is enjoying and go with that version instead.
People definitely need to not waste effort railing against tiered goods. That's not going away, and there are easy ways to avoid worrying about it.
In most cases (i.e. for most manufactured goods), I go with the lowest-cost segment that is "good enough". In some cases, the very lowest-cost segment is missing a lot of features, and the next segment up doesn't cost very much, making it a good value. But in the majority of cases, the lowest-cost segment performs completely adequately, and the increase in price to the next segments costs a lot more than it should, making it a poor value.
For most manufactured goods, the cost/value proposition is clear. For pinball, it's more fuzzy because it's strictly an entertainment device and can't be judged on objective things like processing power, how much built-in RAM and storage it has, how many miles to the gallon it gets, how much weight it can support, etc. So you have to apply subjective criteria, and it really makes no sense to ask other people about their subjective criteria, because the criteria are subjective, which by definition means someone else's criteria may not be the same as your own. Just because I enjoy the extra mechanicals enough to justify an extra $2500 or so in cost, that doesn't mean that's the right choice for someone else. Just because I think the non-mechanical upgrades aren't worth another $2500 or so in cost, doesn't mean those upgrades aren't the right choice for someone else.
"Know thyself and to thine own self be true" (to mix a couple of famous bits of advice )