(Topic ID: 299309)

Stern Insider Connected

By anathematize

56 days ago


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    Post #1031 Notes directly from Stern's presentation to Stern Army members. Posted by chuckwurt (14 days ago)

    Post #1043 Additional notes from the Stern presentation. Posted by Smack (14 days ago)


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    #388 54 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Tournaments can be a plus or minus for a business.
    I've found for my location they were a minus. After almost 49 years I've learned what is good for my business and what isn't.
    Not true of every location. It may be a huge plus for others.
    LTG : )

    ToPS are a great way to boost earnings on games that dont get love. we usually end up with a prize pool of over $300. Having a way for people to participate at any time of the day by themselves if they dont like the pressure of groups is a great way to get more people invested.

    #397 54 days ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    That part was a confusing one to me: so if we drop 8-10k on a game for our homes, to participate fully we would have to go play it on location? Just to prove we had the glass on? What about ops that are cheaters?
    That part just seems a bit half baked to me, unless I am totally missing something.

    Its more to incentivize people to go to the arcade. Im sure there will be a base level of anti-cheat and when an exploit will be found it will be fixed. Also im sure Stern will pull certifications from locations that are caught so why would an operator risk it?

    I have 14 Stern games at my arcade. I hope they have an easy way to enter passwords for wifi instead of using flipper buttons. Also these kits need to be cheap or free for operators which sadly i dont think they will be.

    #402 54 days ago

    I just realized that Stranger Things Pro w/ UV kit needs a special apron as well. :/

    #406 54 days ago
    Quoted from thedarkknight77:

    I hate to admit it, but this will end up being a huge waste of time and resources, all paid for by us true pinheads.

    How is this a waste of time? Having Daily, weekly and custom challenges for points to redeem for merch or giveaways. This will add new life to games people get bored of.

    #571 50 days ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    stern can make the money off selling these on every game, but if they try to charge users or operators it could fade quickly.

    Im sure this will either have a cost or start off free but then charge for features. Also Stern will have the potential to know how much money a game makes on location.

    That being said with the upcoming price hikes on their next games and the shortage of parts that this will be a way for them to roll out new gameplay and make money and offset the production shortages.

    #598 49 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    It's similar to TOPS - you don't have to use it - but it's never used anymore because it had inherent weaknesses and didn't do enough to address them.... so it died.

    Can you tell us what are the weaknesses of the tournament system?

    #600 49 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    This is never going to pay out of real money or goods to a player.

    If a location sets up an achievement to give away free games, tokens, cash or merchandise then it can and will. I have no problem doing this at my location.

    #612 49 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    You are correct you may be able to set this up based on your pin that can only occur at your specific location and does not interact with any other location. Stern will not go anywhere near this with their network but they may let you do it on your specific machine locally. If it has any kind of connectivity with their system or players in other legal locations it becomes a legalities nightmare that is way above this price point. It is just never going to happen.

    #613 49 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    The biggest issue is there is no incentive/method to avoid one guy mopping up every event. The basic high score format doesn't work for a population with significantly different skill bases. You are susceptible to the one guy rolling in, putting up big scores, and running off the competition and thus incentive to play. Quickly you see fewer and fewer people playing. The op tries to incentivize play by seeding the pot... but then finds the entry fees keep declining, and it becomes a losing proposition.
    You can disallow paying out the same person multiple times, but when they've already run off the entries... it doesn't matter.
    TOPS died its own death because it did not provide enough of a repeatable operator incentive to pay for it.

    We run monthly tops tournaments on our machines we have 13 of them. We average $250 per ToPS and depending on the game different people win. ToPS is a great way to boost earnings on games that people dont play as much for newer games. It has also gotten people who dont like to play in our weekly or monthly tournaments a chance to compete without the anxiety. We also used ToPS to hold our last three release events that way people could participate any time of the day.

    You might think its dead but its a great system that works well for us.

    #614 49 days ago
    Quoted from GoodOmens:

    Don't have to worry if your location uses cash, tokens, or is on free play. I, as a player, don't have to create a million different accounts for each place I visit. Genius if you ask me.

    Totally agree. I am excited to add this to the 10 games that we have assuming they dont charge us too much for the kit. (STh pro w/ UV needs a special kit which they havent brought up) Also depends on if they will charge some monthly fee.

    The idea of breathing new life into older spike 2 games is amazing and will give us all a chance to play for different objectives.

    #618 49 days ago
    Quoted from Only_Pinball:

    As an operator that is interested in adding this, what are you willing to spend per machine? Just curious.

    Giveaways? not sure what you are asking. The kits will be a fixed price.

    1 week later
    #718 42 days ago
    Quoted from Only_Pinball:

    I meant what are you willing to pay for the kits? Put another way, what do you think is a fair price ti retro fit you games?

    TBH If the kits were $20 or free with a location monthly fee Id be more interested than $100+. To think that the service will be free or free forever is unrealistic. Locations that offer the service will be preferred over ones that do not have the service similar to the way Incredible Technologies handles Golden Tee. Stern needs to put the man hours for this to be worth the money.

    #720 42 days ago
    Quoted from RC_like_the_cola:

    I'd estimate ~$200 for the kits. Maybe $179 ish.

    Possibly, but I feel like its all speculation at this point. I cant see them not charging for this service and also locations need to be charged as a location and not per game. If they plan on bringing 17 games online plus all future games including the one they will announce next tuesday it will be a harder sell. Again, this also is dependent on what features they rollout. They need to make older games attractive to regulars for this to be worth it. Also they need to keep new achievements coming out.

    TBH this service feels like its more geared for locations than the home owner but they know that consumers will want the ability to have this as well

    #721 42 days ago
    Quoted from shaub:

    I feel like the retrofit kit will certainly be a huge stumbling block for operators existing machines. But I guess, the upcoming games with it pre-installed will be a chance to test the waters. As a player, I feel like a single machine at a location with Insider Connected would kind of miss out on the overall potential of the system but I guess that is unavoidable as anything non-Spike2 will lack obviously lack the functionality.

    Thats where pinquest and scorebit need to step up their game. I have scorebit on our JJP games and it feels clunky and lacks features that Insider Connected has.

    #727 36 days ago
    Quoted from sataneatscheese:

    I can see these running foul of local gambling ordinances real quick.

    Depending on where you live this is not different than running a ToPS event.

    #798 34 days ago
    Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

    local game vs side wide vs muilt state

    Every video game tournament that takes place on the internet.

    #799 34 days ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    No. You don’t HAVE TO buy additional content. If you WANT TO buy additional content, you may.
    You don’t have to buy a color DMD with colorized game content. If you find value in that additional content you may buy it.

    Thats what they say about micro transactions or DLC but who wants to own a game that is not complete?

    #830 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.

    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 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,

    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.

    2 weeks later
    #1033 14 days ago
    Quoted from thechakapakuni:Can anybody use this on a pin today? Is there any reason or benefit to signing up if you don’t own a modern stern?

    Do you plan on playing on location? If so then yes. Also insider connected is replacing the older accounts.

    #1129 13 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    You didn't read his post - His post was the codes would be displayed on the screen instead of having them on paper.
    If I need a phone to get that code, and then move that code to the scanner... what did the scanner save me vs already having to have a phone to participate? Opening an app?
    Have you noticed most apps open without requiring you to sign in every time?
    Have you noticed apps that can function without any sign-in at all?
    How often do you carry around loyalty cards anymore vs having a simple sign-in or app?
    The whole point is this scanner is completely unnecessary for the use cases outlined.. and there are so many better solutions that wouldn't require ANY new hardware but internet connection."

    Having a QR code to give to a route location owner to play with game volume is a fine solution instead of having to drive out to a location and playing with it

    Quoted from flynnibus:

    The free play scenario? I could do much better with this scenario...
    I could make a simple paper sign and hang in the arcade that says "Text RARE12 to 202-555-1222 to get our app and get 5 free game credits for joining!" - and have players text, get a SMS back with app store links to open the app.. and just using their phone identifiers or phone numbers enable them for non-authenticated use and give them 5 free play credits in the app where all they have to do is scan the QR code of the game to redeem each of the credits. And because of the identifier, I can limit reuse. And now that they have the app, but no profile yet, I can offer them other promos to actually enroll and create a profile.

    Here I've lured the customer into giving me tracking info... I've given them some free play in return.. I've convinced them to install the app.. maybe we've even gotten them to enroll... AND IT DIDN"T REQUIRE ANY SCANNER ON THE GAME.
    Take this scenario and tweak it many ways if you want... let them scan a code instead of SMS... have a simple promo-code that is re-usable, but because it only allows it to be used once per phone identifier, you keep it from being an abuse issue. etc etc.
    The friction is getting people to have the app and creating a profile - not 'signing in' etc. That's a nothing-burger. These issues can be improved with other means without thinking people are going to print out their QR code or resort to giving up the app entirely.

    Why stop there why not have a calling card? Sadly google shut down text message based searching a few years ago. Everyone has a smartphone. Operators are incentivized to sign people up for insider connected. You can generate a new unique QR code if you lose it.

    #1131 13 days ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    Ditto. Stern, are you reading this?

    Yes they put out info regarding migration of accounts. No links for this yet.

    #1146 13 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Another solution you could solve with online access. I mean, yes, dummy cards are nice.. but is it worth $200 PER GAME instead of giving your location a simple app or webpage to do the same thing? Or something they could have solved with flipper codes or sequences FOR FREE?

    who said its $200 for operators? they said low cost for operators because we will have to buy multiple ones and we will be a bigger part of the initial rollout but no cost has been discussed. Also customers like flashy and techy stuff. Could they have done a scorebit style system? Sure but its not as polished as what stern is offering. Im excited for the system and will be signing up everyone i can. We will probably give away free games to incentivize repeat plays. From what they told us at the meeting it has great earnings potential.

    #1148 13 days ago
    Quoted from Smack:

    Would this be a standard button combo? If so word will get out and people will mute audio or crank it crazy high. Would it be operator specified? Do you really think a rotating staff at a bar is gonna want to remember button combinations to accomplish this kind of stuff regardless if it were standard or custom button combos?
    I do not disagree that this is all possible without QR codes but it is much less convenient that what was discussed in yesterdays presentation.

    Like everything else this will be handed to the owner of the location. You can set max volume separately and if it gets lost or abused then you can probably disable the qr code. But the operator will control what the person can access similar to a valet key.

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