Quoted from chuckwurt:
Gotta get those achievements on location if you’re trying to compare with others and compete. Achievements at home won’t be officially verified. Those will just be for bragging rights.
There’s no value to be seen. Every new game will have these whether it’s your cup of tea or not.
The way I see it, if someone is so hung up on being validated by high scores/achievement points/etc then they will most likely find a way to game the system. It's not always that difficult. (Ha, I know the guy collecting and he let me play after hours with the glass off at the sub shop)
In general, the cost to close all the various edge cases can be prohibitive. For example, consider just the man hours/time required for the design/engineering/test of this one feature. In this case, I'm convinced this was a choice Stern made because there are bigger problems to solve up front and they need to actually deliver a product.
That being said, there are plenty of "big data" ways to shore up the validation of a persons play that doesn't require it to be on location. The most simple solution that comes to mind is to simply log each switch activation with a timestamp and to save that history with each score. So this is going to give flipper activation and time of flight info. In the early stages this is a LOT of data, and sorting this manually is probably prohibitive but it can be examined if there are questions. Later, machine learning algorithms can be used to compare and contrast this info to all the other scores that are logged and provide some measure of guarantee that the player actually played the game, rather than manipulated it. I'm suspicious that they probably log all this info already simply for the software/game development engineering. So uploading would be pretty basic. It becomes a storage problem at first, and a ML problem later. But having the data up front means more than validating it right away.
Can someone scam this, yes but it's definitely going to require more effort. Most of these "security" devices are more about making it difficult and keeping honest people honest.
Anyway, just my thoughts. YMMV.