(Topic ID: 299309)

Stern Insider Connected

By anathematize

55 days ago


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    #801 34 days ago
    Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

    now what about repair? Now you can't swap your main cpu board any more unless you have stern do an apple like repairing of the SN?

    Didn't we pass this long ago with node boards?

    #802 34 days ago

    Camera.
    Microphone
    Internet connectivity
    What I always wanted, a giant,4-legged Alexa collecting information and selling it to the highest bidder.
    Adding to Cloud file containing personal information.
    Paying for the privilege, at least fake book and twatter are free.
    Of course you have the option to Opt Out.
    The first few seconds of the Stern video shows a guy scanning a dongle from a smart phone to initiate game play.
    What innovation! A great concept! Cutting edge technology!
    I'll pass,hard pass.
    Wouldn't want it in my house, wouldn't really want to hang out to close to one with my friends at an arcade.

    -3
    #803 34 days ago
    Quoted from Blindseer:

    who wants to own a game that is not complete?

    That's a strawman logical fallacy. No one is arguing you should own an incomplete game.

    Trying to define "complete" in a situation where you can add things after the game leaves the factory is a fools errand. Do we buy computers that are not complete because we can add software to them to suit our use case? Of course not. The computer is complete as we purchased it. If we want additional capabilities we can add them.

    #804 34 days ago

    I'm ok with anything they want to do for location play, but as a HUO owner of a $7k+ amusement device, I don't think I need to pay anything more to Stern for the right to play the damn thing. Are they going to start holding me at ransom for code updates now as well? If this is the case, then they should offer some kind of long term code maintenance subscription.

    Does anyone remember the old days when your achievement was simply how high a score you got? I remember when the code that was relevant to play the game came WITH the game, not purchased incrementally via DLC.

    This is following the same Apple model they use for iPads... constant flux. Which, from a pinball standpoint, just kind of sucks. I get all the hype behind DLC and added functionality of new modes, new rules, new content to help bring customers back, or allowing a machine to adjust its offerings to lure more coin drop on location, but in a HUO environment, what I want from Stern is a complete machine, all bells and whistles, and not have to jump through setting up wifi and maintaining an account, logging in, and all the added BS hoops. I bought the damn thing, I've paid Stern enough already.

    I want to press Start and start playing a game.

    #805 34 days ago
    Quoted from Bublehead:

    I want to press Start and start playing a game.

    I think you still can do that.

    #806 34 days ago
    Quoted from tbaum:

    Sure, but when does "stuff that should have come with the purchase price or in the past as a free update" suddenly become "additional content". For a product at this price point, you shouldn't have to worry that you won't get the full experience.
    I'm not saying are absolutely going this, but it is starting to sound like the EA model of games, where you pay for 60% of a game and then have to pay more to "unlock" the rest.</

    That's a strawman logical fallacy. No one is arguing you should own an incomplete game.
    Trying to define "complete" in a situation where you can add things after the game leaves the factory is a fools errand. Do we buy computers that are not complete because we can add software to them to suit our use case? Of course not. The computer is complete as we purchased it. If we want additional capabilities we can add them.

    When buying a computer you know what it comes with, installed software, hardware capabilities, yadda yadda. With pinball the trend has been to ship incomplete code with the understanding that code will eventually be “completed”,but now we enter the land of world of anybody’s guess as to what you will or will not get, that’s a huge difference.

    -1
    #807 34 days ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    With pinball the trend has been to ship incomplete code with the understanding that code will eventually be “completed”,but now we enter the land of world of anybody’s guess as to what you will or will not get, that’s a huge difference.

    What exactly is the difference? It's always been "anybody's guess as to what you will or will not get" with code updates. You can assume code will eventually get to 1.0 but you never know exactly what that entails.

    If you're balking because people who pay extra can make your game do things you can't I refer you to the Supergame, standard on Judge Dredd . If I pay extra I get a completely different game experience.

    #808 34 days ago

    I think people are concerned that they are going to purchase a shiny expensive box with poor code and then be expected to keep paying even more to use the better code. Its possible they could force internet only updates, and always on connection, so if you aren't updated, or subscribed, you can't play the game.

    I have played that Judge Dredd supergame, but I am guessing that the home owner didn't have to put extra quarters on to access that mode. This new Stern system could force each player to pay extra, to see that content on your home game. So, your kids want to play, they each need their own subscription, or you scan in a family QR code so it unlocks the DLC but each kid doesn't get to see their own achievements.

    Which brings up a fun thought. If I copy the QR code of a Stern employee, would that give me access to the DLC? I wouldn't care about the achievements, but I could play the hidden modes and access all the content?

    #809 34 days ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    I pay extra I get a completely different game experience.

    If you own the machine you pay nothing...

    #810 34 days ago

    Is there an official Stern page that explains what this does or is it a mystery and we’re all guessing?

    #811 34 days ago
    Quoted from thechakapakuni:

    Is there an official Stern page that explains what this does or is it a mystery and we’re all guessing?

    Bits and pieces from various articles, interviews and a video of George Gomez talking about the system. It actually speaks to the point TaylorVA is trying to make about knowing ahead of time what you're gonna get. Everyone is speculating what it will be, what direction it will go in, whether it's great, whether it is the worst idea Stern has ever had, whether we will get "less" in the core game than we have been, etc. The reality is, Stern announced Insider Connected to coincide with a price increase that it is a part of as well as the release of Godzilla (the first game released with the tech) but haven't yet adequately informed machine buyers what the immediate and long term plans are for it.

    #812 34 days ago
    Quoted from thechakapakuni:

    Is there an official Stern page that explains what this does or is it a mystery and we’re all guessing?

    https://insider.sternpinball.com/insider

    Logins are disabled but all the info is there on the various pages including commercial operators.

    #813 34 days ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    That's a strawman logical fallacy. No one is arguing you should own an incomplete game.

    Trying to define "complete" in a situation where you can add things after the game leaves the factory is a fools errand. Do we buy computers that are not complete because we can add software to them to suit our use case? Of course not. The computer is complete as we purchased it. If we want additional capabilities we can add them.

    That's a terrible analogy.

    A computer's main function is to run other software packages. You don't even get an OS unless you pay for it. That is understood when you buy the computer. You buy the computer to later install software on it to do what you want. If you want to add more RAM, you have to pay for more. But you understood 100% when you bought the computer that this would be the case.

    With a pinball machine, the common understanding is that you buy the hardware (pin), and get all software that runs on it (game code) for free. Now, it is very possible that Stern will release new features for something like Deadpool and will require you to pay $300.00 for the Connect hardware/software and $40.00 a year to access it. That completely changes how pinball has worked since, forever.

    As far as defining "complete" after the game leaves the factory, it is pretty simple. "Complete" means all game code ever released for that particular pin, ever. Topper DLC modes, Insider Connect gameplay modes, whatever they come up with.

    #814 34 days ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    What exactly is the difference? It's always been "anybody's guess as to what you will or will not get" with code updates. You can assume code will eventually get to 1.0 but you never know exactly what that entails.

    But you always knew it was free. Whatever they came out with you could just download. That is the difference, and it is a big one.

    The Judge Dredd case is again, not equivalent. No one who bought Judge Dredd had to pay more to have the super game functionality in the machine. Yes, a player would have to pay an extra quarter or whatever to play the mode, but not even close to the same thing.

    #815 34 days ago
    Quoted from Gizmata:

    I think people are concerned that they are going to purchase a shiny expensive box with poor code and then be expected to keep paying even more to use the better code. Its possible they could force internet only updates, and always on connection, so if you aren't updated, or subscribed, you can't play the game

    Gomez said in an interview that the pinball tables like Godzilla will continue to do everything they do today regardless of the QR feature, so I'm not too worried about HUOs getting screwed. I'm betting we will always be able to do USB updates, since they aren't going to rip out that SPIKE2 update code for all the existing tables that won't have Insider/QR kit support. Bricking tables would be incredibly dumb PR move for Stern. However, I can see Stern blocking tables with custom code (i.e. Pinball Browser and JP/TMNT content changes) from working with the Insider and limiting them to offline play.

    Crawling around their IC site, I'm not seeing anything that requires the machine owner to pay anything beyond cost of the kit. There's a free player account option, which looks like it will be tied to current free insider logins. I suspect it requires logging into the Insider website or a new Stern app (Nothing on the Google play store yet) with a new or existing Insider account, the same one that currently gets you all the marketing E-Mails and stuff. The free level looks to have the score tracking, forums, and achievements tied in. Makes sense, few people would use it if there was a cost.

    Paying the $39/year for the same Insider all-access unlocks the same LE merch store and table access (https://sternpinball.com/stern-insider/), plus whatever the new "special game related content" entails.

    There appears to be an application for operators (Insider Pro) that gives stats on machine plays, remote machine access to push updates/settings changes, and run/schedule promotions: https://insider.sternpinball.com/pro The apply link doesn't work since the IC website isn't accepting Insider accounts yet.

    I'm wondering if Pro access will have a cost or not. I can't see operators being keen on paying annual fees on top of kit costs to retrofit their existing machines since it would cut into ROI. I also wonder if Stern will eventually incorporate account balances and the ability to pay for games via scan. That feature would likely also require operators having the ability to give location owners the ability to give out free compensation games.

    #816 34 days ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    That's a terrible analogy.
    A computer's main function is to run other software packages. You don't even get an OS unless you pay for it. That is understood when you buy the computer. You buy the computer to later install software on it to do what you want. If you want to add more RAM, you have to pay for more. But you understood 100% when you bought the computer that this would be the case.
    With a pinball machine, the common understanding is that you buy the hardware (pin), and get all software that runs on it (game code) for free. Now, it is very possible that Stern will release new features for something like Deadpool and will require you to pay $300.00 for the Connect hardware/software and $40.00 a year to access it. That completely changes how pinball has worked since, forever.
    As far as defining "complete" after the game leaves the factory, it is pretty simple. "Complete" means all game code ever released for that particular pin, ever. Topper DLC modes, Insider Connect gameplay modes, whatever they come up with.

    You are also trying to apply dated concepts to today.

    Game Logic/features used to be part of the physical package - aka the relays switches and motors. Then it moved to ROMs. The games were 'done' and generally only fixes were added later. The game was not an open platform to be continually expanded. It was a physical device that could have its firmware swapped out to change behavior.

    What you describe as 'how pinball has worked since, forever' - Is simply 'how things were done' -- not necessarily a mandate of how things should be going forward.

    In the last 10+ years we've been in a period where games have gotten more significant changes after release - mostly via updated software - largely in part due to games shipping before they have been fully realized. A condition that has been easier to accept for the manufacturer because they made updating the product easier. As we moved from ROMs to flash storage... a field update is much easier. Stern in particular used this crutch to squeeze their readiness and let games ship that were less and less fully realized.

    The idea of a game being 'enhanced' and not just having fixes or incomplete concepts being wrapped up is a value add behavior that is relatively new. And sometimes used to help drive interest in an existing title... because now, unlike 15+ years ago, companies continue to run titles beyond their initial production runs. So adding new features through software is a way to keep driving interest in a title.

    The market and product today is different then it was 15+ years ago. We live in a digital age where people are accustomed to software defined functionality... post-sale enhancements... entitlement based features (software locked functionality). Trying to define what is in the base product and hence entitled to you for free based on how things were done 20+ years ago just is not sound logic. It would be like arguing we can't use fiat money because money used to always have intrinsic value. Well... not convention today.

    You can't define what is 'complete' in a game developed in 2021 based on how commercial operated equipment ran in 1994.

    #817 34 days ago
    Quoted from Gizmata:

    play, they each need their own subscription, or you scan in a family QR code so it unlocks the DLC but each kid doesn't get to see their own achievements.
    Which brings up a fun thought. If I copy the QR code of a Stern employee, would that give me access to the DLC? I wouldn't care about the achievements, but I could play the hidden modes and access all the content?

    also in tournament play Stern employee should be able to play if they scan in?? must scan in for all players in the game?

    #818 34 days ago

    My take away on this. Stern needs to put way more effort into educated and explaining this stuff. Seems like most pinballers think of online with all the negativity and failure from decades ago. There is just so much misinformation and fear towards this technology. Stern clearly needs to provide way more details and their long term vision. A lot of people are assuming the worst.

    #819 34 days ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:What exactly is the difference? It's always been "anybody's guess as to what you will or will not get" with code updates. You can assume code will eventually get to 1.0 but you never know exactly what that entails.
    If you're balking because people who pay extra can make your game do things you can't I refer you to the Supergame, standard on Judge Dredd . If I pay extra I get a completely different game experience.

    Recent track record would indicate that Stern turned the corner on not completing or fleshing out game code. My expectation would be that buying a game now and moving foreare would include code as finished as their recent titles, that would include features like playing the wizard modes Escape Nublar or AIQ’s BOM. If features like that are now behind a paywall I think they should let people know.

    -1
    #820 34 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    The idea of a game being 'enhanced' and not just having fixes or incomplete concepts being wrapped up is a value add behavior that is relatively new. And sometimes used to help drive interest in an existing title... because now, unlike 15+ years ago, companies continue to run titles beyond their initial production runs. So adding new features through software is a way to keep driving interest in a title.

    The market and product today is different then it was 15+ years ago. We live in a digital age where people are accustomed to software defined functionality... post-sale enhancements... entitlement based features (software locked functionality). Trying to define what is in the base product and hence entitled to you for free based on how things were done 20+ years ago just is not sound logic. It would be like arguing we can't use fiat money because money used to always have intrinsic value. Well... not convention today.

    You can't define what is 'complete' in a game developed in 2021 based on how commercial operated equipment ran in 1994.

    Thank you for the condescension and the pedantic explanation of value add through software. I get it. My career was in the software industry, so I am well aware of what happens in the digital age. Any attempt to compare what happens in software products that someone pays $60.00 for to $6000.00 pinball machines is a stretch at best.

    Your comparisons to 15 and 20 years ago are also not relevant. This did not change in the pinball industry 15 to 20 years ago, I am not pining for the good old days. I am defining what is 'complete' in a game (assumed everyone knew I meant "pinball machine" when I said game) developed in 2021 based on how commercial operated equipment (pinball machines) ran the day before Stern announced Insider Connect. Which was a few weeks ago, not 1994 ffs.

    #821 34 days ago

    Is there an actual release date for the add-ons?

    Has anyone seen these things at their local distributers yet?

    I'd like to try it out, as someone with only one machine, and it will probably be awhile before I buy my second, I am open to it.

    #822 34 days ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    Recent track record would indicate that Stern turned the corner on not completing or fleshing out game code. My expectation would be that buying a game now and moving foreare would include code as finished as their recent titles, that would include features like playing the wizard modes Escape Nublar or AIQ’s BOM. If features like that are now behind a paywall I think they should let people know.

    This is where Stern needs to be clear. Just a simple statement of the number of included modes, wizard, multiball or other and that every insert on the pin will be coded and complete. Then we have a clear definition of what comes with a pin and what is offered down the road as extra.

    #823 34 days ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    Recent track record would indicate that Stern turned the corner on not completing or fleshing out game code. My expectation would be that buying a game now and moving foreare would include code as finished as their recent titles, that would include features like playing the wizard modes Escape Nublar or AIQ’s BOM. If features like that are now behind a paywall I think they should let people know.

    Wow people sure are paranoid and love spreading fear about "new" tech lol. Not ANYWHERE in the interviews with GG or in the currently published articles has there been any talk about LIMITING games and preventing things from being done without paying extra. Sheesh.

    #824 34 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    My take away on this. Stern needs to put way more effort into educated and explaining this stuff. Seems like most pinballers think of online with all the negativity and failure from decades ago. There is just so much misinformation and fear towards this technology. Stern clearly needs to provide way more details and their long term vision. A lot of people are assuming the worst.

    Stern’s track record isn’t helpful: transformer’s QR codes , Stranger Things UV kits, Topper specific modes…etc.

    Buying an 8-12k pinball machine should not be like a buying a box of chocolates.

    3771A622-A5FF-47E5-996F-D4BB784EB4A3 (resized).jpeg
    #825 34 days ago
    Quoted from MrMikeman:

    Wow people sure are paranoid and love spreading fear about "new" tech lol. Not ANYWHERE in the interviews with GG or in the currently published articles has there been any talk about LIMITING games and preventing things from being done without paying extra. Sheesh.

    Disagree. Gomez has mentioned everywhere he has talked about this that there will be future features locked behind "All Access" subscriptions. Gary has mentioned it. It is coming.

    #826 34 days ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    Stern’s track record isn’t helpful: transformer’s QR codes , Stranger Things UV kits, Topper specific modes…etc.
    Buying an 8-12k pinball machine should not be like a buying a box of chocolates. [quoted image]

    No argument there, the UV kit is the worst it was clearly part of the pin you purchased. That was the exact shady shit the video gaming industry used to try and get away with. In general they have moved on from that shit it's just bad for business.

    Quoted from paul_8788:

    Disagree. Gomez has mentioned everywhere he has talked about this that there will be future features locked behind "All Access" subscriptions. Gary has mentioned it. It is coming.

    I see nothing wrong with paying for future features. If they added a halfway wizard mode on AC/DC I would happily pay for that. Those Cannon inserts are kinda shitty though.

    #827 34 days ago

    Here's a question or two that brings both the insider program and machine price hikes into focus...

    Are the Stern price increases, that are putting machines further out of the hands of the common man, making on location play more lucrative to operators?, -and- are operators willing to pay the higher machine prices knowing that it makes it harder to own a machine and more likely the common man will seek out location play as their best bang for the buck? Does the Insider program help operators by making it easier for the common man to afford on location play by providing discounts or loyalty points that can offset the high on-location game pricing that is being used to offset the higher machine costs, or is it more a perception thing, where the player perceives he is getting something for next to nothing?

    $40 bucks a year better get me at least 40 free games somewhere, or at least a fricken t-shirt (preferably one that fits, but most don't print anything bigger than a 3X) because even loot boxes have stuff worth some $$$ inside them. Just offering me "something to be named later", in that I have no idea what I am buying at the time of purchase, seems to be a growing market trend. Caveat Emptor or "buyer beware" is being replaced with "buyer don't care" and they argue the point by saying "it's only $39.95 a year, so why care?

    One thing is absolutely certain in all of this- This is just another scheme of Stern's to put more of your dollars in their pocket, or the pockets of operators, and no offense to operators, but why would they drop $200 per machine unless it has some ROI? And that ROI is actually my wallet goin "CHING!"

    #828 34 days ago
    Quoted from gblack:

    https://insider.sternpinball.com/insider
    Logins are disabled but all the info is there on the various pages including commercial operators.

    Ok, got it. And when will this be active?

    #829 34 days ago
    Quoted from Bublehead:

    Here's a question or two that brings both the insider program and machine price hikes into focus...
    Are the Stern price increases, that are putting machines further out of the hands of the common man, making on location play more lucrative to operators?

    I would say the price increase might have a small effect, although probably not an appreciable amount. The "common man" demographic group doesn't own machines, so they likely have no idea what the price of the machine is, or the fact there was a 10% price increase. The home owners demographic group that also play on location will continue to do so, likely at the same rate/frequency.

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    Are operators willing to pay the higher machine prices...

    Stern is still the cheapest of the new table manufacturers, and it's always been a requirement to "Keep up with the Joneses" for arcades.

    Outside of COVID impacts, the price increase is likely very manageable from a location business perspective, like the bar+arcade trend. If a $600 increase is a make or break point on affordability, it's probably not wise to pick up a new machine even without the increase. They'd be better of investing that money on the existing core business and advertising.

    I've seen the new hotness table at every pinball/arcade/gaming convention I've ever been to pick up 400-600 plays in two days. However, that's unusually specialized and ravenous traffic volumes that locations don't get all at once. I'm not a business owner though, so I can't say what profits are like with COVID right now and how much it would impact ROI.

    Straight operators that split intake with location owners are going to feel a bigger ROI pinch since they don't have things like bar and restaurant income to supplement or compensate. It might mean an increase in new game prices to $1.25 or $1.50 per game in some locations. If competition in the area is low, having the newest tables right away or adding Insider kits to current machines will be way less important. Smart location owners and operators would use the newer tables as differentiating factors in areas with competition, or as a way to increase return business via the promotion system.

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    ...knowing that it makes it harder to own a machine and more likely the common man will seek out location play as their best bang for the buck?

    To be specific, I don't believe there is any correlation between the "common man" demographic and location play vs. home ownership cost. The "common man" doesn't, and will likely never, own a pinball machine. It might tip the scales for home owners to buy Hot Wheels and just play Godzilla at the arcade, although I've talked to some owners that already take that stance. If the theme/game has a strong pull though, it likely won't matter. I own JP even though there are at least two on location in town.

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    Does the Insider program help operators by making it easier for the common man to afford on location play by providing discounts or loyalty points that can offset the high on-location game pricing that is being used to offset the higher machine costs, or is it more a perception thing, where the player perceives he is getting something for next to nothing?

    It's an incentive feature free to the customer which are VERY effective at driving repeat customers and building brand loyalty. It's exactly like club cards, flyer miles, hotel points, gas rewards, and any other loyalty program out there.

    Let me paint a picture:

    "I didn't really like LZ when they got it here since it felt kinda boring, and I'm not really a fan of their music. It's got the QR kit now though, and the app has instructions on what I need to do for these achievements. A lot of these seem pretty easy to pick up, and would bump up my XP leaderboard spot here at the arcade. I guess I could play a few games to try and unlock some of the achievements while Mando and Zilla still have longer lines."

    Or another scenario:

    "I've got JP at home already and opted not to get the QR kit since it was going to be $300 and felt like a waste at home. They've got it here though and it's a little while before league starts still. Hah! I'll go play a couple of games, try to hit Visitor Center, and knock out almost all these achievements. Even better, they're verified which I wouldn't get at home even if I had the kit."

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    $40 bucks a year better get me at least 40 free games somewhere, or at least a fricken t-shirt (preferably one that fits, but most don't print anything bigger than a 3X) because even loot boxes have stuff worth some $$$ inside them. Just offering me "something to be named later", in that I have no idea what I am buying at the time of purchase, seems to be a growing market trend. Caveat Emptor or "buyer beware" is being replaced with "buyer don't care" and they argue the point by saying "it's only $39.95 a year, so why care?

    It's a moot point since all-access essentially does nothing right now; all the announced features are available at the free Insider account level. It's a matter of Stern showing sufficient value before people buy all-access that don't already have it. I really don't see Stern making the poor decision of locking any significant gameplay to all-access beyond the scope/impact of what toppers provide.

    It's a common saying that 80% of profits come from 20% of the users. I predict that all-access will add features that cater to whales and competitive crowds and will do things like profile picutre unlocks on the LCD display, have a username show up instead of initials, a special symbol or color change on high scores, longer initial limits, shows off completed achievements, that sort of thing. Features that are neat and flashy, but don't significantly impact the actual gameplay in any significant way. This is all a SWAG on whatever "special game related content" really turns into.

    Stern implemented topper DLC though, so who knows? Maybe all-access will enable the topper DLC modes without actually requiring the topper. That would actually be a really smart thing for Stern to do. The code is already written on the tables, toppers are a limited commodity, and seems like a very low effort to implement once IC code rolls out to tables. Then, a $200-300 kit and $30/year nets you the same thing as a $600-2,000 topper, minus the actual topper, of course.

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    One thing is absolutely certain in all of this- This is just another scheme of Stern's to put more of your dollars in their pocket, or the pockets of operators, and no offense to operators, but why would they drop $200 per machine unless it has some ROI?

    Operators should be absolutely salivating over the thought of a digital loyalty program with added routing benefits and easier analytics. Unless Stern neuters the program out of the gate by charging per machine fees for Pro accounts, or operators have no competition in their area, they should be all over this. It doesn't even touch on other possible advantages like tournament reporting, Twitch/YouTube integration, linked competitive play...

    #830 33 days ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    That's a strawman logical fallacy. No one is arguing you should own an incomplete game.
    Trying to define "complete" in a situation where you can add things after the game leaves the factory is a fools errand. Do we buy computers that are not complete because we can add software to them to suit our use case? Of course not. The computer is complete as we purchased it. If we want additional capabilities we can add them.

    Its equally short sighted to think that this wont happen or hasnt happened already ( JP topper unlocking an extra multiball)

    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    Do we buy computers that are not complete because we can add software to them to suit our use case? Of course not. The computer is complete as we purchased it. If we want additional capabilities we can add them.

    GPUs which are serial locked to PCs in Sega and namco games, suicide batteries, games that have features locked behind a pass or card which have a certain amount of writes before not working anymore like many japanese games, Maximum tune systems that require net connection, a per game charge and monthly per seat charge. Big Buck hunters requiring a yearly fee for updates.

    So yes will be able to own a game but in the age of games as a service and battle passes, pinball is entering it and no game will truely be feature complete without some kind of subscription. I am excited to see if but im not surprised when a service like insider connected takes off and operators will have to pay for the service as Gary told me during tuesday's meeting.

    Will you support an operator that offers a Godzilla or whatever game a year from now that isnt part of the network or will you go play at another arcade which has all the features?

    #831 33 days ago
    Quoted from Bublehead:

    Here's a question or two that brings both the insider program and machine price hikes into focus...
    Are the Stern price increases, that are putting machines further out of the hands of the common man,

    Demand and supply chain shortages due to covid is making it harder for Joe collector

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    making on location play more lucrative to operators?,

    Pinball has always been about operators first or it wouldnt have a coin door

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    are operators willing to pay the higher machine prices knowing that it makes it harder to own a machine and more likely the common man will seek out location play as their best bang for the buck?

    I purchase a pro and a premium but I dont see how thats making it harder for the "common man" to purchase a game. The incentive of verified insider scores might boost location play but thats dependent on your demographic.

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    Does the Insider program help operators by making it easier for the common man to afford on location play by providing discounts or loyalty points that can offset the high on-location game pricing that is being used to offset the higher machine costs,

    Im more concerned about ROI than changing coil stops and flipper cranks. Also, the spike 2 system is one of the most reliable systems made.

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    or is it more a perception thing, where the player perceives he is getting something for next to nothing?

    It depends on how a customer who cares about insider connected uses it. Some people like braging about scores and showing off gamifcation awards no different than an achievement or battlepass rewards

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    One thing is absolutely certain in all of this- This is just another scheme of Stern's to put more of your dollars in their pocket, or the pockets of operators, and no offense to operators, but why would they drop $200 per machine unless it has some ROI? And that ROI is actually my wallet goin "CHING!"

    Of course this is, its a way for stern to make money on already sold games by offering more gameplay to existing and new titles. Its a smart move on their part. If it does increase earnings then I'd have no problem paying for it and if no one cares then ill not pay for it.

    -1
    #832 33 days ago
    Quoted from Blindseer:

    Will you support an operator that offers a Godzilla or whatever game a year from now that isnt part of the network or will you go play at another arcade which has all the features?

    There’s no pinball arcade within a half hour drive that’s anywhere near my personal lineup (plus you’re guaranteed to have limp flippers on location), i suspect outside major cities you pretty much get what you get.

    #833 33 days ago

    The way code will work from now on....... what you get at launch is "feature complete" - meaning all modes/features etc are at the point that Stern deems complete.

    Only bug fixes will be "free" from then on.

    Any more modes or gameplay enhancements will be behind the paywall.

    The days of getting nice big "free" code releases down the track that change the way a game plays are finished.

    It ill also mean any future modes that are behind the paywall, and therefore optional, will only be "add on" modes/feartures. Meaning they wont be integral to the game otherwise how do you compare game scores if all games dont have the same add ons? So the add ons will be like mini games in a way.

    Launch will be "everything works" and the game is "playable". What you see is what you get.

    After that point you will pay.

    It just encourages Stern to release the game at a bare minimum (and why wouldnt they - the games sell out before anyone has played or even seen gameplay anyway) and then just sell you a bunch of meaningless fluff modes later.

    -3
    #834 33 days ago

    how long before there an $1 per player stern fee top of the $1 ifpa fee per event? to use tournament stuff?

    #835 33 days ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    The days of getting nice big "free" code releases down the track that change the way a game plays are finished.

    That day ended when Lyman left Stern.

    #836 33 days ago
    Quoted from Kneissl:

    There’s no pinball arcade within a half hour drive that’s anywhere near my personal lineup (plus you’re guaranteed to have limp flippers on location), i suspect outside major cities you pretty much get what you get.

    Warning:Sarcasm. I know some great ops who love the game and it shows I'll always drop insane amounts on their locations, and even the worst ones I wouldn't wish this on them.

    _____

    What finally drove me to buy a NiB was wasn't the cost per play or not being able to find my favorites, it was watching them slowly decline from new to utterly broken while the op watched.

    You know what would really increase my per game and overall coin drop? Increased operator engagement! Bring on the opchievements and make them public. Good ops will be overrun with new players and shitty ones can switch to redemption machines and free up their games for people who appreciate them for the works of art they are.

    Fixed a broken switch. 10 points. 5 bonus points if they remember to remove the balls before lifting the playfield. 10 more if they fixed it before it was reported by 5 different players.

    Knows the terms coil stop and coil sleeve. 20 points. 10 more if they can tell them apart.

    Actually did recommended maitenance in the last 2000 plays 50 points.

    Didn't just shrug when alerted to a gamebreaking issue that anyone who actually plays pinball can spot the first time they ever play the game. 500 points.

    Will ops like it? Maybe.
    Will their games be more valuable? Wait and see.
    Will the machines actually be maintained properly? Results not guaranteed.

    But they'll be engaged.

    #837 33 days ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    That day ended when Lyman left Stern.

    What sucks about this is I think there are decent odds this boom is just a setup to shut it all down when the next downturn comes. The margin increase today from the 2000s is huge. Will the money behind stern keep the lights on when it’s razor thin? We’ll be left with hardcore pinhead boutiques like spooky.

    #838 33 days ago
    Quoted from Flipstream:

    Stern is still the cheapest of the new table manufacturers, and it's always been a requirement to "Keep up with the Joneses" for arcades.

    With the new price increase, American Pinball is now the cheapest NIB game in town at $6300. They have a temporary $100 surcharge due to materials cost increase, at present.

    -1
    #839 33 days ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    Thank you for the condescension and the pedantic explanation of value add through software. I get it. My career was in the software industry, so I am well aware of what happens in the digital age. Any attempt to compare what happens in software products that someone pays $60.00 for to $6000.00 pinball machines is a stretch at best.

    Did you hit your head before you read my post? Because clearly you crossed it with someone else.. considering it only talked about pinball machines, not software products.

    Quoted from paul_8788:

    Your comparisons to 15 and 20 years ago are also not relevant.

    Funny, you are the one that made the assertion of how things should because "That completely changes how pinball has worked since, forever" - but don't want forever to be.. not even the last generation of games? I guess I didn't realize 'forever' in your world meant.. just what you think is relevant now.

    Your position is nothing more than 'wahhh - I don't want optional add-ons'. Well, guess what... in your 'forever' world Stern crossed that bridge long ago when they made accessories and product tiers part of their business. Software delivered features are just another optional part of the product people will be offered.

    File your concern in the same circular bin alongside the complaints that cry "a LE should have everything available in it!".

    #840 33 days ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    It just encourages Stern to release the game at a bare minimum (and why wouldnt they - the games sell out before anyone has played or even seen gameplay anyway) and then just sell you a bunch of meaningless fluff modes later.

    If it's just meaningless fluff - don't buy it. (see: Goat frenzy)

    That's the great thing about itemized products - you actually get better visibility into what works and doesn't.

    The thing about paid features is... people pay, so people also get more particular about what they are getting.

    If it doesn't sell - the good news is we can expect change.

    If it sucks and it still keeps selling like mad - we only have the bozos around us to blame.

    #841 33 days ago

    Flipstream and Blindseer, thanks for answering my questions objectively. This is the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

    #842 33 days ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    I think it was Burnout Revenge, and that was my favorite one. I never got tired of wrecking cars. Burnout Paradise was all too much and required way too much thought. Just let me wreck shit.

    I got Burnout Paradise for PS4 one Black Friday for $10 - was pretty excited cuz I loved Revenge. I started a race & got lost in the city - figured the race would end since I clearly wasn’t on the path. But it wouldn’t end. I couldn’t figure out how to end it and start over or do something else. I couldn’t believe how unintuitive a racing game could be….I haven’t touched it since.

    #843 33 days ago
    Quoted from thechakapakuni:

    So you’re hoping for something that hasn’t been announced as part of this feature?

    I'm not hoping for this. I just expect it. Personally, I would prefer if there wasn't any subscription model at all.

    Gomez clearly was looking at Xbox Live and PS Network when pitching this idea. A subscription model for users is much more likely than one for owners.

    #844 33 days ago

    I think the entire Stern Insider Connected integration sounds awesome! This is something that I've been waiting for a pinball company to do. Scorebit is decent but nothing on the level of what Stern is showing. Stern's new system will likely help grow the hobby as well.

    I'm planning to add the system module to my TMNT premium. It sounds like with recent premiums we won't have to buy an entire new apron and instead can just buy the module that goes into the existing apron.

    #845 33 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:It sounds like with recent premiums we won't have to buy an entire new apron and instead can just buy the module that goes into the existing apron

    Where will in go? In the instruction card slot?

    #846 33 days ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    Where will in go? In the instruction card slot?

    It will replace the right hand side plastic lighted window.

    #847 33 days ago
    Quoted from RC_like_the_cola:

    It will replace the right hand side plastic lighted window.

    Yep, that triangular plastic behind the triangular knockout in the apron will be removed and have the reader mounted underneath.

    Exceptions are (I think) Batman 66, EHOH, and Star Wars because their "stock" aprons don't have that triangular knockout. BM66 and SW don't have the triangular knockout, and EHOH doesn't have a spot for the instruction card.

    I guess technically you could probably get away with the stock apron on EHOH if you don't need to or don't care to display the instruction card (Home use environment, for example). Wonder if they'll offer that?

    #848 33 days ago
    Quoted from JStoltz:

    I guess technically you could probably get away with the stock apron on EHOH if you don't need to or don't care to display the instruction card (Home use environment, for example). Wonder if they'll offer that?

    Doubt it. Stern has already indicated new aprons will be included in the Batman and Elvira kits.

    #849 32 days ago

    Anyone else having it fail when you try and create an insider connected account? It keeps saying my gmail.com email domain is invalid which is odd given how ubiquitous gmail.com is.

    EDIT: Nm, just saw that you can't create accounts until the game ships.

    #850 32 days ago
    Quoted from Reality_Studio:

    Anyone else having it fail when you try and create an insider connected account? It keeps saying my gmail.com email domain is invalid which is odd given how ubiquitous gmail.com is.

    I thing it only works for stern ones for now

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