This might not be a popular opinion to state out loud, but I wish new people would stop getting into the pinball hobby. New blood is great for pinball locations, great for tournaments and leagues, and great for pinball shows, but it's awful for us home collectors.
More people buying for their home just means more demand that the manufacturers can't keep up with. Stern and JJP's manufacturing capability isn't growing with the rate of new home buyers, so all these new collectors are just more competition for the limited number of Premiums, LEs, and Pros that are made. Not good for me or for you, since if you don't get in on that first run, you might be waiting months or years.
New people in the hobby is also bad for the 2nd-hand market. There are a finite number of older pins, but a growing number of people interested in buying them. So more people in the hobby just means it's that much harder to find those classic Bally/Williams pins for sale, and that much harder to find them at good prices.
So yeah, it's kinda awful to say it, but I don't actually want the pinball hobby to keep growing right now. I'd be happy for the location and tournament scene to grow, but once people get into playing on location or in tourneys, they almost invariably want to start owning pins at home.
What do you guys think? I can't really see any benefit for us home collectors in the continued growth of the pinball hobby. All I see is more buying competition and higher prices. Sorry to sound like a grumpy gatekeeper, but I think it's hard to argue I'm wrong here.
EDIT for Clarity:
Wow, I forgot how much Pinside is like Twitter these days. Some of you are getting very personal, and some you are doing a lot of projecting! So let me clarify a few things, so that no one can misunderstand.
1) I'm happy that the hobby is growing, and I hope it continues to grow. I have no desire to "return to the good ole days of the 90s" nor for things to return to the pricing and supply of the early 2000s.
2) My main point is that from a supply and demand perspective, the rapid growth we've had in the last 18 months isn't really very healthy. The demand for new and old pins is way, way up, but the supply is not. So prices have gone through the roof, and I don't know how anyone can say that's a good thing. I don't know how anyone can look at the LE-flipping, the sharktank feeding-frenzy that takes place every time a new pin is released, and the massive prices some people are willing to pay for what amount to mediocre games, and say that it's a good thing.
3) I'm not taking any of this very seriously at all, and I'm NOT mad! I'm actually generally a pretty happy and easy-going guy. I'm also not "locking my games away". We've got a decent little pinball co-op here in Sioux Falls, called The Pinball Room. We route games mainly so that the public can get a chance to play them, we help each other out, and we host leagues and tournaments. In the last year, I've put an AFMr, an Oktoberfest, a Beatles, a Paragon, a Twilight Zone, and a Stern Spiderman out on location for play. I try to mainly focus on slightly more obscure games that people don't often see on location, or just games that are really in demand and hard to find.
4) I don't want to push anyone out or away from this hobby, and I want everyone to feel welcome. Whether you've been owning pins for 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months, I'm happy to meet you and I'm glad that you're here.
5) I've all ready addressed the fact that I myself am pretty new to owning games, compared to many of you, but let me address it again. I have fixed dozens of pinball machines for people with no ability to do so themselves. Many more machines are now being played and enjoyed because of me. Also, I've dug up and found several totally dead pinball machines. These weren't projects listed for sale, but just broken games that had been sitting for years. I did the detective work, bought them, cleaned them up, got them working, and put them back out on the market. So from a net-supply perspective, I have ADDED games to the pinball supply pool. Not decreased it. And so if a new pinball buyer does the same, then they are a clear benefit to the hobby, and to the pinball supply.
6) I fully recognize all the benefits that new blood brings to the hobby. I listed several of them in my OP. And I don't want the new blood to go away. I would just like the supply and demand to balance out a bit more. And that can't happen with the exponential growth we're seeing in new pinball buyers.