(Topic ID: 299309)

Stern Insider Connected

By anathematize

3 months ago


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    #1451 41 days ago
    Quoted from Lermods:

    so if this is what you want out of the system (which is the same that I want and I think it's a cool innovation that JJP started), i don't understand what stern is trying to achieve or how this generates revenue for them. It would be much simpler to go with just a software route, like scorbit. when I log in to the insider account it asks me if I want to upgrade my account, which I am not doing because to me I don't see any benefit to it. I seriously doubt any casual player at a location is going to do anything more than register a basic account because all we really want to do is track scores and compete with friends. Like you and others have said, stern likely has their reasons for doing what they did, but the need to retrofit older games to me does not seem like the way to go with expensive hardware. sorry for beating a dead horse.

    Again, not disagreeing with your points because I think all of yours are valid. But, I think the counterpoints here are:

    1) this isn’t everything they plan to do with the platform, more functionality is expected and that functionality may (or may not, who knows) make it more enticing to drop $40 annually for all access. But I also don’t think the fee is intended to be a significant revenue stream for them anyway.

    2) IMO, in theory this first phase of IC generates more revenue for stern by engaging a younger audience to play pinball (or play pinball more). More players equals more machines sold to operators and (potentially, to a lesser degree) more home buyers. I don’t think Stern expects to make money on all access registration for casual location players, they probably just hope they can get their hooks into some new players at the “free” level. Pinheads and current members of the hobby will likely not mind dropping $40 for more of the pinball content they already crave. But if achievements or score tracking resonate with someone who previously didn’t care for the hobby… that’s a win for Stern.

    More people playing pinball, at the end of the day, drives machine sales indirectly.

    #1452 41 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    only because that's the way they've implemented registration - it's not the only way to do it. Does your Roku or FireTV have a QR scanner? No, these are all examples of models where the device talks to the cloud and uses a challenge model to associate the device to the user and help authorize the transaction.

    Yeah it seemed weird to me to have the scanning hardware in the machine rather than offload it to our phone like every other product seems to do.

    With golden tee you can log in with your credit card, your phone number, a game card or a unique ID given to you by the app. The hardware to do that is a lot cheaper than a camera which we all already own in our phone.

    The Atgames legends vpin shows a QR code that you scan with your phone and it tells the machine to log you in. Seems like the cheaper route if we all have to use an app anyways.

    #1453 41 days ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    Not sure why Stern wouldn't offer a non-QR reader workflow for Insider Connect. Would allow people with pre-Insider Connect pins to just buy a wifi dongle for $20 to get the Insider Connect features, and would provide an alternative workflow for if/when a QR reader on location is broken. Maybe that is on the roadmap for the future.
    While I think it would be fun to have achievements, spending a $1000.00 to upgrade my existing pins to Connect is not something I am going to do.

    I like this idea of “both options.” Probably would make the most sense for Stern to wait a while before releasing it though, as otherwise it undermines the QR reader that they chose to go with out of the gate.

    Theoretically after about 6 months or a year it seems unlikely that people will continue buying retrofit kits anyway. If you wanted one, you would have bought it by that point. So like you said, why not develop a non-hardware solution so that you can still interface with those machines who didn’t opt-in with a physical reader.

    #1454 41 days ago

    I wonder if Stern weighed out the pros and cons of all the different set ups and said 'Meh. Let's go with the worst, most expensive option.'

    /s

    #1455 41 days ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    I wonder if Stern weighed out the pros and cons of all the different set ups and said 'Meh. Let's go with the worst, most expensive option.'
    /s

    It's not like this is the first arcade machine to do this kind of thing. What benefits can you think of that come from doing it this way rather than the other way around? The only thing I can think of is that more can be handled on the client side rather than relying on the server, but I'm not even sure that's true.

    I can't think of any other systems that do it this way, almost all have some sort of card or ID for the user to use to log in.

    #1456 40 days ago
    Quoted from Anony:

    What benefits can you think of that come from doing it this way rather than the other way around?

    I partner with the local novelty gift shop down the street. When people come in to their store and buy a godzilla plushie, they get a QR code for Pokey's with it. The code is limited use to one free game, and each one is unique. They can visit that day, later in the week, or give it to their grandchild who they know wants to try out pinball. It could expire in a month or even a year.

    They don't have to download anything, or even have a phone.

    That's one of the things I hope I can do with this system.

    #1457 40 days ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    I partner with the local novelty gift shop down the street. When people come in to their store and buy a godzilla plushie, they get a QR code for Pokey's with it. The code is limited use to one free game, and each one is unique. They can visit that day, later in the week, or give it to their grandchild who they know wants to try out pinball. It could expire in a month or even a year.
    They don't have to download anything, or even have a phone.
    That's one of the things I hope I can do with this system.

    Ok I can see where you're going with this. . Everyone has a phone but not everyone wants to download an app or log into a service. Not needing a phone with an app lowers the barrier to entry quite a bit

    #1458 40 days ago
    Quoted from Anony:

    Ok I can see where you're going with this. . Everyone has a phone but not everyone wants to download an app or log into a service. Not needing a phone with an app lowers the barrier to entry quite a bit

    As an operator, I just want to get feet through the door, and people trying out pinball. That one free game could turn into a customer that drops $100 a week in my place.

    #1459 40 days ago

    The QR code reader makes some sense for operators and location play, but it seems pointless for home buyers. Stern should have done a dual system for player login (QR Code reader or Scan QR Code on display, configurable in the game settings), and sold the QR reader as an optional add on for operators. Maybe I will be wrong, but I don't see how that QR code reader will be used for anything except player login in the home environment.

    #1460 40 days ago
    Quoted from Anony:

    Not needing a phone with an app lowers the barrier to entry quite a bit

    ..and gives up alot in return.

    It's a barrier, but one that is far more worth it for the vendor to entice people to get past.

    Lets be real... "Grandma gives the kids a quarter to buy some candy at the store..." use case is not a scenario people are interesting in pursuing. They want their hooks in anyone they can get. The freebies are the bait to get them over the hump.

    #1461 40 days ago
    Quoted from brucipher:

    The QR code reader makes some sense for operators and location play, but it seems pointless for home buyers. Stern should have done a dual system for player login (QR Code reader or Scan QR Code on display, configurable in the game settings), and sold the QR reader as an optional add on for operators. Maybe I will be wrong, but I don't see how that QR code reader will be used for anything except player login in the home environment.

    Even on location I think they should have a phone app option. Other than the cross promotional stuff which does sound like a great idea. I think that vast majority of people that use this would just use a phone. It would have been so much more accessible if when you walked into a location it showed you the list of available pins and you clicked the one you wanted to play. I think the QR scanner has it's place but the made it hard for 95% to satisfy 5%.

    #1462 40 days ago
    Quoted from brucipher:

    The QR code reader makes some sense for operators and location play, but it seems pointless for home buyers. Stern should have done a dual system for player login (QR Code reader or Scan QR Code on display, configurable in the game settings), and sold the QR reader as an optional add on for operators. Maybe I will be wrong, but I don't see how that QR code reader will be used for anything except player login in the home environment.

    I know i'm not the only one that plays my home pinball game and I don't want others playing under my login. I also don't want to manually log in via the game settings any time i want to login or log out.

    From an ease of use I have scorbit (app based where you can scan a QR code) and used IC. IC is more seamless for the end user. I sometimes forget to claim my session in the scorbit app till after the game is over and I lose my score.

    #1463 40 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    It would have been so much more accessible if when you walked into a location it showed you the list of available pins and you clicked the one you wanted to play.

    This can still be accomplished with the scanner in the game, correct? Why would having the scanner discount this option?

    Quoted from Darscot:

    I think that vast majority of people that use this would just use a phone.

    I have a lot of customers over the age of 55 who don't have smart phones. And plenty of kids don't either.

    Why develop a solution that leaves a portion of the customer base locked out? I don't believe having a scanner in the games locks out anyone.

    But, who knows? Stern could have zero idea of what they are doing. Or they could have thought of situations where the scanner made sense.

    #1464 40 days ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    This can still be accomplished with the scanner in the game, correct? Why would having the scanner discount this option?

    I have a lot of customers over the age of 55 who don't have smart phones. And plenty of kids don't either.
    Why develop a solution that leaves a portion of the customer base locked out? I don't believe having a scanner in the games locks out anyone.
    But, who knows? Stern could have zero idea of what they are doing. Or they could have thought of situations where the scanner made sense.

    I'm not saying that the scanner is pointless, clearly there are people out there that can't use a phone. I highly doubt if you don't have a phone you are going to figure this out or want to use it. If you feel that is your client base all the power to you I am happy Stern made it available and will collect a tidy profit. My issue is there are countless better solutions that most people will use at a fraction of the cost. The scanner locks out every home user and operator that doesn't want to spend $200, when this could have been $15. Can you imagine if your TV required a $200 scanner so you could log in to Netflix. Pinball is just so horrifically bad at this stuff people accept what would be a disaster in any other product as good.

    I'm just all filled up with shitty QR codes for vaccine, if Stern thinks I need another one to play pin ball they are out of their mind.

    #1465 40 days ago

    I feel like only bar setups have pinballs anymore, most things that are more the family arcade type have almost no pins, usually no pins. I know it's because these things aren't making them the money all the other stuff does, namely the ticket redemption games. This thing would have to do some kind of unbelievable job bringing in customers to change that.

    Really, I think people want this to be something more unbelievable than it is. Most people aren't going to take out their phone, or sign up, they'll just play the game. So some people think this setup leaves people in the cold? No kidding, of course it does. Most people probably never scanned a qr code before the pandemic, when suddenly the loss of physical menus at restaurants made qr codes more common place.

    The question you ask yourself as a user is really simple, do you actually care about achievements? As an operator, it's will you be able to cover the up front cost? As a home pin user, it's really just, do I think this is worth $200. If the answer is no, then you simply don't buy it.

    Expecting this to drastically change pinball as we know it is expecting too much. It's a gimmick, a gimmick that could add to replayability of your home pin, or attract more customers as a operator, and have a few hardcore types actually try to get good at the pin, rather than just randomly flipping for a bit and moving on.

    I think overall it's positive, but whatever route they took this would have adoption problems. Though honestly, so far, the way they are promoting this I don't think is particularly effective, but maybe that has something to do with the fact they aren't actively selling these things yet.

    12
    #1466 40 days ago

    I think it's laughable to believe that anyone would both voluntarily choose to not have a smart phone in 2021, but would also then care, even in the slightest, that they can't log into an online achievement system for a pinball machine. And if there is someone who fits into this category, they need to go home, sit down, and reevaluate their priorities.

    #1467 40 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    I'm just all filled up with shitty QR codes for vaccine, if Stern thinks I need another one to play pin ball they are out of their mind.

    No doubt, people will start whipping out their vaccine passports and scanning them on these things.

    #1468 40 days ago

    One other thing that Mr. Gomez mentioned on the twitch stream information yesterday was that the insider connect system would "evolve".
    He did not elaborate on what exactly that might mean.
    He did mention that three separate groups of highly intelligent people are working diligently behind the scenes to make that happen.
    He also would not comment on Scorbit, in any fashion.
    Almost like he was refusing to admit that it exists.
    I guess you can use your imagination on what this system has as the goal post score.

    #1469 40 days ago

    I think the biggest issue with IC is not supporting other non Stern pinball machines. This narrows the scope to a very limited audience. Scorbit has this covered including Sterns. I saw Mando connected already and IC still not available on it. Maybe this will be Sterns plans in the future after they get their sea legs. But for a person who just likes to track my scores, I really don’t want to use 5 different apps to do this. Stern is really going to need to boost the incentives here in order for this to get adopted beyond the pins that have it built in. IE operators should get at least 5 retro kits for free (as a pay IC operator) and regular users should at least get 1 retro kit covered for a pay subscription IMO

    #1470 40 days ago
    Quoted from Anony:

    Yeah it seemed weird to me to have the scanning hardware in the machine rather than offload it to our phone like every other product seems to do

    Starbucks payments show your QR code on the app screen and the clerk scans your phone, just like the Stern system. I'd think other payment systems operate in similar fashion. This is not new or different.

    #1471 40 days ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    Not sure why Stern wouldn't offer a non-QR reader workflow for Insider Connect. Would allow people with pre-Insider Connect pins to just buy a wifi dongle for $20 to get the Insider Connect features, and would provide an alternative workflow for if/when a QR reader on location is broken. Maybe that is on the roadmap for the future.
    While I think it would be fun to have achievements, spending a $1000.00 to upgrade my existing pins to Connect is not something I am going to do.

    Agree. I only have two games I could add IC too but one of them is Elvira which already has an awesome mod in the spot that Stern uses for the QR reader. I might consider hooking it up if it could be used to scan with the coin door open, though that doesn’t seem likely.

    Stern may sell more upgrade kits if there some clever modder can come up with a way to move a reader from game to game for home use.

    #1472 40 days ago
    Quoted from gblack:

    From an ease of use I have scorbit (app based where you can scan a QR code) and used IC. IC is more seamless for the end user. I sometimes forget to claim my session in the scorbit app till after the game is over and I lose my score.

    that's just because scorbit integration is so passive... contrast that with how Stern puts player login in the game start sequence.

    That really has nothing to do with the hardware reader - but is more about how the user work flow is designed.

    #1473 40 days ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Why develop a solution that leaves a portion of the customer base locked out? I don't believe having a scanner in the games locks out anyone.
    But, who knows? Stern could have zero idea of what they are doing. Or they could have thought of situations where the scanner made sense.

    The problem isn't that they enabled a scanner... and people aren't denying examples like yours exist.. The problem is they designed their system to require it and built the flows around that alone.. so now everyone has to pay the tax for those cases instead of letting them be treated separately.

    It's better to have one flow vs multiple (to reduce complexity for the user and the developers) but the argument is... why do you hinder everything to serve a minor use case?

    I mean look at it... Stern can't even ship these kits and get games enabled these days because of supply issues for hardware... that they could have eliminated from the start.

    #1474 40 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    why do you hinder everything to serve a minor use case?

    The answer to that may be known at Stern. They've obviously made a large bet here. The best in the industry work there. They've shown time and time again that they can steer the ship even if we don't get every decision with our limited information and data.

    And you can be completely correct.

    #1475 40 days ago
    Quoted from Dent00:

    One other thing that Mr. Gomez mentioned on the twitch stream information yesterday was that the insider connect system would "evolve".
    He did not elaborate on what exactly that might mean.

    Ehh.. that is basically every software product

    That's just a polite way to deflect questions about functionality and say we plan to keep on developing this but I'm not going to commit one way or another to a specific feature or timeline.

    #1476 40 days ago
    Quoted from jfh:

    Agree. I only have two games I could add IC too but one of them is Elvira which already has an awesome mod in the spot that Stern uses for the QR reader. I might consider hooking it up if it could be used to scan with the coin door open, though that doesn’t seem likely.

    I'm sure someone will move the reader eventually... It's just a RJ-45 cable to it... and making it mounted/accessible.

    #1477 40 days ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    The answer to that may be known at Stern. They've obviously made a large bet here. The best in the industry work there. They've shown time and time again that they can steer the ship even if we don't get every decision with our limited information and data.
    And you can be completely correct.

    The best in pinball may work there - not the best necessarily in this technology/space. This is a new frontier for them and it's likely they are partnered with someone else to even get this far.

    The good news is... it's easier to abandon hardware then it is to add it

    #1478 40 days ago

    all these people being all like, i want to move the QR reader! can we get a mod for the QR reader? why does the QR reader need to be there??

    and I'm over here all like, damn, that QR reader looks pretty sweet on the apron, like that.

    #1479 40 days ago
    Quoted from bigehrl:

    and I'm over here all like, damn, that QR reader looks pretty sweet on the apron, like that.

    Are you getting a lot of your players using it?

    #1480 40 days ago

    Stern have 200$ reasons to put a physical QR reader in each game. It's all about the Benjamin's.

    Meh...

    #1481 40 days ago
    Quoted from Lhyrgoif:

    Stern have 200$ reasons to put a physical QR reader in each game. It's all about the Benjamin's.
    Meh...

    Stern isn't very smart if they think operators are going to pay to retrofit their games to build their ecosystem. Good fkn luck. They should be giving these out for free if they want to build it. Why would I spend money to enable Stern to cash grab on a subscription. Laughable.

    #1482 40 days ago
    Quoted from Lermods:

    well, good for them, but not for the consumer. I won't be adding hardware or this system to any of my games.

    Yeah, it's too bad. I really want to get in on this, and I'll check it out when my Godzilla LE comes in, but I'm not buying kits at $200 per for my old Spike 2s. This seems very operator/location player focused. And that's fine, I just wish there were a cheaper middle ground for all those home owners wanting to add Insider Connected to their old Spike 2s.

    #1483 40 days ago
    Quoted from Lhyrgoif:

    Stern have 200$ reasons to put a physical QR reader in each game. It's all about the Benjamin's.
    Meh...

    Gary said the kits would be discounted for a short period of time to help with adoption, and George said that operators get first dibs on the kits. So, I wonder if the price will be $300 by the time they begin offering them to non-operators?

    #1484 40 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    I'm sure someone will move the reader eventually... It's just a RJ-45 cable to it... and making it mounted/accessible.

    Is the node board connected to the QR reader?

    #1485 40 days ago
    Quoted from Only_Pinball:

    Are you getting a lot of your players using it?

    yeah, a ton. almost every NYC regular either had their account ready to go or signed up as soon as they saw the QR reader staring at them. it being there is the best promotion it can ask for. it's nothing short of brilliant, really.

    it's incredibly well designed. the glow is bright enough for you to notice it when you're not playing, but not bright enough to distract you when you are. as a matter of fact, I've never once thought about it when in a game. not to mention, it's just cool looking on the machine. it looks better than many of the illuminated mods i see people installing on their games.

    #1486 40 days ago
    Quoted from fattdirk:

    Stern isn't very smart if they think operators are going to pay to retrofit their games to build their ecosystem.

    yes, the company that has a backorder of 5000+ machines, on top of the 1000's they deliver every few months across 10 different successful titles, and is rolling in our money as we eagerly pull it from our pockets to throw at them regardless of how high they raise their prices, and also has by all measures successfully rolled this system out just on the very few godzillas they've actually shipped, must not be very smart. Can we get someone who knows what they're doing in here, please??!!

    #1487 40 days ago
    Quoted from bigehrl:

    yes, the company that has a backorder of 5000+ machines, on top of the 1000's they deliver every few months across 10 different successful titles, and is rolling in our money as we eagerly pull it from our pockets to throw at them regardless of how high they raise their prices, and also has by all measures successfully rolled this system out just on the very few godzillas they've actually shipped, must not be very smart. Can we get someone who knows what they're doing in here, please??!!

    I'm not criticizing Stern as a company but the decision to build their ecosystem on the backs of operators. Operators should refuse to buy the devices and Stern will give them to us.

    #1488 40 days ago
    Quoted from bigehrl:

    yeah, a ton. almost every NYC regular either had their account ready to go or signed up as soon as they saw the QR reader staring at them. it being there is the best promotion it can ask for. it's nothing short of brilliant, really.

    That's awesome. I cant wait to try it myself.

    #1489 40 days ago
    Quoted from jfh:

    Is the node board connected to the QR reader?

    Yes - i posted a photo earlier in the thread. Should be in the thread gallery.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/stern-insider-connected/page/25#post-6541862

    Its just basically a 2”x2” or so board… on the same assembly as the reader. one rj45 jack that connects to the node8 board where the terminator jack is installed.

    #1490 40 days ago

    Living in an area with a lot of locations, and being an ICer, if one location has the QR kits and one doesn’t, I’ll be pumping money into the location that has their pins retrofitted.

    #1491 40 days ago

    Anybody having trouble logging in the AM? Maybe its down, both our accounts having trouble.

    #1492 39 days ago
    Quoted from Gizmata:

    Gary said the kits would be discounted for a short period of time to help with adoption

    Getting caught up on this subject, but certainly hope 200 clams a pop isn’t the adoption discount for operators.

    #1493 39 days ago
    Quoted from Gizmata:

    Gary said the kits would be discounted for a short period of time to help with adoption, and George said that operators get first dibs on the kits. So, I wonder if the price will be $300 by the time they begin offering them to non-operators?

    Magic Eight ball says : Highly Probable

    #1494 39 days ago

    Tried this out yesterday at Arcade Monsters on a Godzilla Pro. It was nice seeing the achievements and having my initials automatically in the game.

    #1495 39 days ago

    After two weeks of casual players at our location, not a single person utilized this feature. Some of the pinheads are using it, some are not, but for us I don't see the need to retrofit.

    #1496 39 days ago
    Quoted from thePLAyNone:

    After two weeks of casual players at our location, not a single person utilized this feature. Some of the pinheads are using it, some are not, but for us I don't see the need to retrofit.

    I have about four people from league that used it as a novelty. Noone seems super interested in it so far.

    #1497 39 days ago
    Quoted from thePLAyNone:

    After two weeks of casual players at our location, not a single person utilized this feature. Some of the pinheads are using it, some are not, but for us I don't see the need to retrofit.

    Quoted from fattdirk:

    I have about four people from league that used it as a novelty. Noone seems super interested in it so far.

    They need to introduce something more than collecting trophies and leaderboards, otherwise it’ll be a flash in the pan - lots of curiosity at first followed by “couldn’t be bothered”. Apart from the free games and promotional stuff has anyone given any hints as to what else is coming?

    #1498 39 days ago
    Quoted from gblack:

    I know i'm not the only one that plays my home pinball game and I don't want others playing under my login. I also don't want to manually log in via the game settings any time i want to login or log out.
    From an ease of use I have scorbit (app based where you can scan a QR code) and used IC. IC is more seamless for the end user. I sometimes forget to claim my session in the scorbit app till after the game is over and I lose my score.

    on the flip side I forgot to logout of a game and some dood was playing GZ with my user ID. Pinball machines as they are today aren't designed for online thus both the reader and the scorbit solution are hacks to normal pinball workflow. Both with up and down sides. after what's happened to other QR codes its an interesting choice for user authentication.

    #1499 39 days ago
    Quoted from cooked71:They need to introduce something more than collecting trophies and leaderboards, otherwise it’ll be a flash in the pan - lots of curiosity at first followed by “couldn’t be bothered”. Apart from the free games and promotional stuff has anyone given any hints as to what else is coming?

    Stuff is coming. What that is I don't know... We'll just have to wait and see.

    Rob

    #1500 39 days ago
    Quoted from NeilMcRae:

    on the flip side I forgot to logout of a game and some dood was playing GZ with my user ID.

    Finally, some achievements!

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