I will further explain industrial profit margins.
Education is helpful in making good decisions, so I am trying assist people here that may not understand what is going on.
I am basing values on a current considering of a $8000 MSRP for a Premium example, which is a little higher than most NIB previous titles, but is useful in percentage calculations for an even number instead of "$7299" or something similar. This does not consider any actual "deals" or distributor discounts.
The percentage is based off the baseline MSRP calculation and large ticket items, not TV sets or iPhones. I am not talking about the percentage of profit over production cost, but a cut percentage of a listed MSRP. There is a huge difference. It makes it easier for consumers to understand because that is what they are used to seeing "in the wild". People in market advertising think in reverse basing profits purely based on raw construction construction costs which is why people may think 20% is small. However, this does not include a comprehensive perspective.
If I speak in only percentage over construction, it may confuse people.
This standard in the latter is based on construction costs only, and is not the way operation managers think in terms of developing streamlined production.
I am not trying to provide an entire industrial production class in a simple post.
20% is not the profit margin for reruns of a product. This was only the estimated initial profit margin as the product rolls off the line. In this you have to consider production efficiency and effectiveness. On thing that should be noted is pinball remains niched, a luxury, and specialized. This prohibits higher profit margins than those found in other industries. There are only a handful that are comparable, some that charge enormous sums of money for products.
The profit margin for reruns or continued production of a product will increase over time until it reaches a cap based on reductions of mass ordering materials, labor, and streamlined construction. That is the "lucrative" factor with more expensive high end consumer products (or any marketed product). However, unlike other pinball products of the past, Stern's "modular" construction program in the assembly line has allowed production overhead costs to be reduced. If a manufacturer did not calculate this profit percentage prior to the start of production, they never make the game in the first place. It makes no sense to have a profit margin lower than 20% because with consumer products of this nature, the manufacturer assumes a huge risk in development costs.
In the long term, there is no way to directly calculate an increasing direct profit margin over time of a MSRP based on experience of workers without being on the factory floor. Essentially this is a time efficiency based calculation based on part of the management, but is is very important in determining all sorts of factors beyond just profit margins, but also the success of the manufacturer. Additional considerations are parts reduction costs based on additional mass ordering, and others. Rarely however does this percentage exceed 35-40%, which is extremely high for expensive ticket items.
iPhones are not pinball machines. There is too much hands on assembly to create them, which is a very important differentiation from many modern electronics. Also, there are simply too many variables, especially if market sales become saturated and sales drop as a result. You also have to consider introduced competing products, which causes changes in price simultaneously and will effect the percentage, if nothing is done to offset.
This means you are constantly evaluating necessary changes.
Stern is doing this very well, and have a dedicated small team to evaluating the market.
WMS from the old days went a different direction, they simply diversified their investments in order to offset any losses and stuck to their guns of the old pinball "one run and done" productions except for a few rare exceptions.
The best example of late based on Stern would be MET, as they renewed their license for the machine for continued production now preparing to enter its 4th year.
Rarely do you see any product produced consecutively without significant changes to "feed the need" of the consumer for improvements.
Quite a substantial achievement for a small company such as Stern.
People can point fingers at everybody else for increasing prices, but the reality is simply look in the mirror.
It is not just the uninformed new buyers that are stumbling over themselves for new titles.
There are in some cases very affluent older collectors that don't care what the price is overall, they just accept it as a choice.
I have several pinball collector friends where money is never an object of conjecture.
I certainly have my choices, hence I have my own pinball goals.
"Just because you have the means to buy the games new, does not mean you should."
You can have a pretty nice collection of machines, if you stay away from hype.
If you wondering why some companies succeed and some fail based on marketed products that initially sell well, look to these areas for answers. Eventually you have to become an expert at determining these factors when times or the economy is lean. Stern learned important experience in the mid 2000s, and recently reformatted their factory regarding QI/QM.
If they had not made changes, they would not be producing games now, and we would not be talking about Stern anyway.
One company in the pinball world does not understand this information very well at all, and will most likely be gone before the end of 2017.
They also have not been able to grow fast enough to meet the demands of consumers, nor provide the "released" product in a timely manner regardless of promises.
That is the industry, as has occurred many times in the past regarding pinball.
You have to "strike when the iron is hot" if you want to capitalize on any buzz generated, not 1-2 years later, if at all.
PPS for example made a smart move by not "releasing" the preproduction announcement of AFMr, as it was not the right time to do so in the changing market conditions.
When the time is right, they will do so.
Until you see a major breakout of pinball into mainstream America and the world (the "chicken in every pot" analogy), prices will always be in flux and not stabilized.
This is hard for me to happening in overseas markets right now for pinball, as the NIB prices are just too damn high for either the average collector or operators to purchase.
Hence, there is never been any significant pinball appraisers that have ever existed in this market.
As a result, manufacturers will continue to charge whatever they want, regardless of actual game value.
My primary background is engineering, operations management, and manufacturing process efficiency evaluation all of which is used to increase the effectiveness of production. This is the baseline for some of the discussion, and the rest is based my internal interests of the pinball market/industry, evaluation consideration for pinball collection/ownership, advisory status, and experience.
The one primary benefit that would help the market in the LONG term is everybody owns a pinball machine in their home.
I think every enthusiast would smile about that aspect.