Americans bicker about prices, what about us poor euros who gets the proper shafting? You all know it by now, import taxes yada yada and so on.
I'm nowhere near able to buy a toy for ~$8000 but I never even would if I could. There is NOTHING that can motivate these prices on a machine except for the number of employees and their wages. Because let's face it, the things that make up a pinball machines, some wood and electronics, is cheap. Especially with todays super cheap processing power.
All it takes is one pinball maker who dares to charge 3-4000 for a decent NIB machine, and Stern goes bye bye.
The market has shifted towards private players and collectors. I don't know how large share of the sold Stern games are going to an operator but it can't be much, at least not here in Europe. Would an operator get his money back on a pinball machine? What's the expected return on investment on a machine? Sorry...getting a bit off topic now.