Quoted from GreenMachine19:
The answer seems simple then. Just become a distributor and then share with everyone how much you get the machines for.
What are the steps to become a distributor?
Production cost is what you are asking about... but all all we really know after 4 pages of banter is this: retail price > wholesale price > production cost > manufacturing cost, so even if you had all of the retail/wholesale/manufacturing numbers, it still won't get you close to the total production costs per game.
If you just want the best deal possible on a game, you can become a distributor, but be clear that will involve working a lot of hours to save a few hundred dollars, making your games even more expensive if you're not going to go all in on the business.
One critical area that has not been considered is the understanding of licensing costs/programming fees for known trademarked properties.
This makes a difference in all profit margins from the manufacturing process to the distributors in terms of economic profit.
It has been this way for any product, pinball or likewise.
If it is not a licensed theme, the profit margin is immediately higher.
How much higher is determined by the individual property ownership deal.
Roger Sharpe is an absolute expert in this area for the past 40+ years.
Beyond this, individual game distributors do make varying amounts of profit dependent on their personal relationship with Stern.
Volume "platinum" sellers get better reductions in machine costs for sale, but we are not talking big $$$ here, only in the hundreds, not thousands of dollars. Not all distributors are created equal. The concept of "wholesale price" as applied to pinball machines is not really conducive to the way today's coin operated pinball market operates as Stern is not warehousing machines for stockpile.
Other factors include material costs variance on economics of industries such as Churchill Cabinet Co, which effect overall profit margins as well. These can change monthly.
I could list all sorts of aspects which "double down" in to the areas of time, money, and quality in manufacturing of pinball machines.
This is much too complex to sum up in just a few percentages of value, because the sources would not be understand and people would still be left asking the basic question "why"?
PinSide speculation, one of life's great mysteries.
Amazing how so many people here do not understand basic economics of a manufacturing business. I was about to drain this thread, but the more I read it the more I can now understand some of the things that are said here that never made any sense to me before. The reason they made no sense is because they literally made no sense.
Here is my suggestion if you want to buy a new pin at a price that brings the least profit to Stern: buy the worst selling game you can get (think WWF and not ACDC). That way Stern will not have sold enough units to have paid off the high cost of design and development of the hardware and software along with the factory tooling needed. That $5000 WWF Pro will net Stern a ton less profit than a $5000 Metallica Pro.
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