Quoted from kvan99:
Btw, Blackknight there is no way Stern's cost on a premium is that high. On a few occasions other pinsiders have enumerated the cost breakdown...IIRC the Pro came to $1200-1500 bucks. The Premium should have what, about $200 Dollars worth of bling over the Pro. I don't even think the BM66 SLE cost them $4500 to make.
Construction labor kicks production costs in the pants on pinball machines, always.
People underestimate these costs all the time in this industry.
An average time of construction of a machine from a playfield blank is 72 hours (3 days).
Offset labor costs alone is well over $1500-2000 (dependent on title complexity and experience on staff), not counting any materials, pre assemblies of any parts which is separately calculated, testing and quality control, or tagged license fees (if applicable).
Additionally, this still does not consider any cost overheads, rejected parts, or market advertising either.
People generally take the easiest path when calculating costs but overlook areas that impact the costs beyond things such as materials.
There are many similarities between pinball production and other areas of industrial manufacturing, but are done at a smaller scale.
The only reason that people compare modern electronics to pinball machines, is that what consumers have a certain comfortability in trying to rationalize and describe, but it simply not the case here, as the production standards are completely different.
Stern has tried to move pinball into the "modern world" with electronics, but there is only so far you can take it since it is still a physical game. There still are also "accepted standards" of what a pinball is supposed to look like, even though some parts have very little practical value.
That is why pinball remains everlasting and eternal, why EM pinball machines are still fun after over 50 years, and why it cannot be replaced with other forms of entertainment.