Warning, long post ahead...
What seems to be the problem IMO is the fans of one manufacturer seem to think it is an exclusive club. It is all or notihing, sort of like the old 3 automakers or the old three pinball makers... WMS, Bally, and Gottlieb... there were some major arguments back then as to who built the best machines... then Sega showed up and proved why some of us liked Bally and WMS machines better... then everything went in the shitter, Stern hung on (thank you Gary) and now we are back fighting the same war with different armies and different players.
I have given Stern so many passes over the years just because they were the ONLY game in pinball, and they kept it alive so it could have another renaissance. Now that they are the WMS of the latest resurgence, it just seems fitting people say the same things about the big dog Stern that they said back then about the big dog WMS/Bally.
JJP showed up because Jack thought he could do pinball better than Stern. Stern continues to do what Stern does, build pinball machines and sell to ops to use them to make money, oh and they sell more than a few games to the home market as well.
JJP makes machines that they hope live up to the the same standards as the old WMS and Bally titles. They are not cheap, and so require more capital to put on route. One would hope that means less cost on site, but JJP have had some quality issues on initial builds that have proven that is not always the case. They have had some misses. But ops do put them out on site and make money with them, some claiming the cost is worth it.
Every new manufacturer of pinball goes through the growing pains that come with maturing from a startup to big kid on the block, and I expect we will see the chaff fall by the wayside as all the new suppliers spring up and then die back as the next pinball frost hits which will certainly do a lot of them in.
You only need look at other industries caught in a positive growth curve to see that the battle ground gets strewn with the bloddy carcasses of failed companies pretty quickly. For the automotive world, during the start of American’s love for the automobile, we produced this classic list of failed companies, and it is not short:
So now I just enjoy all the new, unexpected growth that I didnt think could happen again and wish every new manufacturer the best of luck. Without them, new, playable, REAL pinball machines might become a thing of the past.