(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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    #134 56 days ago
    Quoted from Zambonilli:

    How would you associate game plays to players with just a QR code on the game?

    That's why you have a transaction in the cloud and the game and players request meet up there.

    Quoted from Zambonilli:

    For example, what if either the phone or the pinball machine are offline when the QR code is scanned or the game is started. While the solution sounds device centric, by scanning a players QR code you can at least accurately say this game is being played by player xyz and even store a bit of personalization in the QR code itself like player initials or name.

    Online connectivity is table stakes these days... they should add what is going to be hundreds of dollars in operator cost per game just so they can have temporary off-line functionality? That doesn't make sense IMO.

    The game can reach out to the cloud and setup a websocket or callback... and the player can initiate a transaction from their device to the cloud telling the service which game you are requesting to interact with. The game can get everything it needs to know about you from the cloud... and you can do any number of easy proximity checks to authenticate the game selection.

    This took what would have been a simple $30 USB dongle retrofit kit to now what will probably be a $150-$200 retrofit kit.

    #140 56 days ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    There are a whole lot of underlying things to consider here from a security standpoint. Hopefully the reason for the QR items has a lot to do with that. Would you want some effin hackers to be able to log directly into the games if you are an operator? Hell no. I would want them to identify themselves via the QR scanner and identify the machine by its QR code. Now the player and machine are connected through the cloud rather than directly and there is an extra huge layer of security.

    Uhh.. no

    There is NOTHING secure about QR codes - their purpose in life is to be a substitute for typing/data entry. They are not any form of authentication.

    Anything the platform can do via QR codes you could do via prompts or challenges and the app. Game displays code, you enter it into your app... etc.

    The main thing the scanner would offer is to be an INPUT device... and that is something I really question why the user needs to input something into the game itself when both the game and app can be talking to the same cloud. Things that need input (like admin access, reset, setup, etc) can be things you can limit to tasks that require physical access (use the USB port, portals menu, etc).

    #146 56 days ago
    Quoted from gblack:

    From the other point of view...you're assuming the user has decent cell service inside a location or the location has guest wifi available.

    Again, that's what we mean by table stakes. I could also make the argument "well you are assuming they have electricity... what if they don't..." . That's what table stakes means -- it's the minimum we assume everyone can provide.

    Cell phone coverage is ubitious - and almost as much with open wifi. If I'm an op with 4 pinballs in the room, if there was no open wifi, I could buy a $80 router and add it to the location just for this cheaper than buying $200 kits for every game. And the problem of internet access is only going to go DOWN in severity over time... not get worse. Yet here we've made an architecture decision that should stand for years.

    Quoted from gblack:

    I know I don't get great service in many locations and I don't like connecting to some random insecure wifi. With this being wifi from the game, the location/operator only has to worry about the game connected to their wifi and takes the end user device out of the equation.

    I bet $5 the app is gonna want internet access itself to work

    #148 56 days ago
    Quoted from Zambonilli:

    The network is reliable is the #1 fallacy of distributed computing.

    Poor choice to die on here.

    1) We're talking fixed locations
    2) We're talking microscopic transactions - not 4k streaming media - we don't need high quality internet, just something that a few RESTful TCP https posts can survive
    3) The whole thing is about being 'connected' -- Do you want to cripple adoption just to build for resiliency where the real game still works even without network?

    Plus, the game (or app) is still going to require network somehwere... scanner or not -- so trying to make it work in a complete island scenario is over engineering.

    Quoted from Zambonilli:

    Remember a lot of these machines are being setup in basements, rural areas and countries with poor ISPs, so network connectivity is not a given.

    We're making decisions based on the belief that the guys buying $8-12k toys can't afford to get wifi to their game room?
    Or that we are putting $8-10k location pinballs in the random corner of rural america truck stops?

    80/20 people... don't let the tail wag the dog.

    There needs to be some other use case they are embracing besides 'network resiliency' -- That's a horrible choice to cripple your adoption for in 2021... network access is only going to get better every day going forward.

    #151 56 days ago
    Quoted from BrewNinja:

    What if they dont have a phone? (believe it or not, some people dont or at least dont have smart phones. I work in IT at a college and when we tried to roll out 2FA it was crazy how many dont). Now all you have to do is log in to a computer and print off a QR code. Seems like a good decision to me. This way nobody is excluded.

    You think the person playing $1/play for entertainment ... but doesn't have a phone... is still gonna care about online features??

    I appreciate your 2FA story, but the elephant in that room is 'having a phone' vs 'having a phone I'm willing/able to let you install YOUR enterprise stuff on'.

    #160 55 days ago
    Quoted from Zambonilli:

    It's a business decision dude and Stern made the decision that "table stakes" was not needing their users to need an internet connection. Again, I actually agree with you but for most IoT products Stern's decision to support offline is the norm especially when you have an HMI involved.
    To answer your points directly.
    1. Fixed locations helps wifi for reliability because you don't typically have handoffs and hops but see fallacy 5. Nothing stops the network topology around a static location from changing. ISPs can and do change the network. Locations can and do change their network equipment and in leased buildings it might be unknown and not under their control.
    2. Most IoT doesn't use REST because HTTP is fat. MQTT, COAP, binary or protocol buffers are the norm.
    3. again a business decision that Stern believes getting game data is valuable enough to build more reliability than just a network

    1. People get in their car EVERY DAY without ever looking at a map blindly trusting their GPS will tell them how to get there, knowing they need network for that to happen. If people can take that risk... then people can take the risk that their bar game of Deadpool may not have internet connectivity at some random time because 'the internet is unreliable'. People pay $80 for home entertainment games that won't work at all if internet isn't available... or any countless number of industries whose product is 100% dead without internet. You're not breaking any new ground by saying "this requires internet connectivity"
    2. Ok, so the problem of reliable network is EVEN LESS critical then if using https. So, even less of a concern...
    3. And that's what I'm calling into question. It was also Sterns 'business decision' to be YEARS late to the decision to kill DMD. It was also Stern's 'business decision' to be YEARS late to internet connectivity. Just because Stern made a decision doesn't really justify it... it's just a statement of history.

    I'm trying to be optimistic there is some use case/functionality that isn't obvious yet that validates this hardware. I say it again, if it's just for 'operation during internet outtage' that is a colossal fail that people with many machines will NOT want to pay for.

    #161 55 days ago
    Quoted from gblack:

    Both valid points for sure. Especially at larger locations even if the retrofit kits are $100 which I think everyone assumes they will be more than that.

    Blank Stern Aprons cost basically $90 now... without art, without any electronics, without any 'new cool feature!' value. I think my spitball estimate of $150 for kits is even low...

    #164 55 days ago
    Quoted from MJK-911:

    Will it detect my Magic Spinner flying across the play field then reinstall it ? And the trough gate
    [quoted image][quoted image]

    would be cool if a user could just submit a photo from their app and it automatically sent that and details to the game owner tho

    #176 55 days ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    Not to mention most bars I’ve been in have shit signal and no wifi, because it’s a BAR why would you be on your phone when you’re getting slammed, and socializing? You honestly don’t see many people on their phones at the bar, despite popular beliefs.
    Dirty Bathroom Selfies don’t count!

    No one calls an uber at these bars?
    None of these bars use online menus?
    No one uses text messages or smartphone apps at these bars?

    Are people familiar with the term 'corner case'? Yeah.. you don't let the 2% drive the 98%.

    Bars with no internet... ok, those will be bars with no online connectivity! Next problem please...

    #178 55 days ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    Are you not familiar with the groundbreaking concept? If the bar has bad signal, most people go outside. They typical call ubers or cabs outside. Plenty of these bars don’t serve food, if they do it’s a giant menu above the bar.
    Not sure what posh bars you are going to, but none of them have pinball machines lmao

    So this dive bar where people live off the grid... why do they care about online gaming features again? More so then the ability to even send important snaps, texts, etc?

    Is this really the center of the market Stern should be aiming for?

    It really sounds like the fact the games not being online in your bar is the least of any patron's concerns. For you as the op... invest in fixing the problem if it's a deal breaker for the location. I'm sure the bar's PoS system isn't running on carrier pigeons... nor is the real owner/staff happy to go outside whenever they need to talk to the outside world.

    #217 55 days ago
    Quoted from MrMikeman:

    All this bitching and moaning about the QR code thing. Jeez guys. Is it really that hard to grasp?
    - Scorbit system: Machine needs the software/hardware, needs to be logged in, player needs a dedicated app and account and be logged in as well.
    - Stern system: Machine needs the software/hardware, needs to be logged in. Player only has to show QR code to the machine and does NOT need a specific app or even a phone, just an account.
    So less network overhead with Stern. I have Scorbit and it's ok. Similar service, different platform.

    Scorebit - no hardware needed on modern PC based games

    Stern... Let's add a hardware requirement for no good reason... yeah that will help drive adoption!

    "but scorebit needs an app..." and Stern thinks you are gonna print QR codes and carry them in your wallet... LOL wtf this isn't coupon clippers. The argument 'you don't need an app' -- but is all tied to benefits having an online account and profile is DUMB.

    People will use apps - what they don't like is FRICTION TO USING THE APP. (aka long startups, difficult signups/logins, multiple steps, etc).

    #218 55 days ago
    Quoted from EaglePin:

    I'm not going to get lost in the details of how they implemented it or how they maybe should have implemented it. I'm just looking at it for what it is: news about a new system that offers a chance to have even more fun on the machines, however it's done. To me it doesn't matter how they set it up as long as the way they set it up works relatively smoothly.

    you also haven't seen the price... really easy to think utopian when no one is asking you for your wallet before you can use it.

    #221 55 days ago
    Quoted from chooch:

    Stern charges you to become an insider so I can't imagine this will be any different.

    Well... they are gonna charge somebody... the question is simply who.

    My guess is they will charge per enabled game, not per user. That way an Op can pay for a game and customers can use features freely, while a home user would pay for the game to get the perks of enabling it. I imagine user profiles will always be free - but leveraging a games features is an easy way to monetize it. Subscription based of course.

    #232 55 days ago
    Quoted from Zambonilli:

    Yeah, as we've talked all this through the decision makes a lot of sense. They want the average person to create an account and a QR code is the least friction. As much as I'd like to believe that bluetooth could work here the last thing any player would want on location is to deal with pairing.

    Where the bluetooth situation breaks down immediately for pinball is the idea of more than one player on a game at a time. Plus, pairing differs in just about every device and you don't control the UX within your application. Plus, pairing means staring at spinning icons.... and potential for radio interference with alot of devices around.

    #243 55 days ago
    Quoted from jandrea95:

    Can we just agree Bluetooth absolutely sucks in general? Like you said, different devices vary and it works like 25 percent of the time the first time. It’s so clunky compared to WiFi in general.

    love it for airdrop negotiation... and spotify... and that's about it

    #247 55 days ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    Shouldn’t be a problem at all, one transceiver could handle limited data from quite a few different devices.

    It's just not really what most bluetooth stuff is setup for... it takes a slow process and literally multiplies it it out.. it's a mess.

    Bluetooth is used because you need a direct local peer to peer connection. It might be nice to use as a token exchange like airplay does then connect through the cloud... but pairing itself for a temporal public data connection really isn't where bluetooth shines. YMMV

    #327 55 days ago
    Quoted from Zitt:

    Ok. Sure. Whatever you need to tell yourself.

    Neither P3 nor Stern are innovating here - It's simply a question of who bothered to move into this realm for pinball. Stern probably sees P3 like Ford sees boutique car companies... neat, nice test beds, but not a concern for the main market.

    Stern has had to answer the online connectivity question for YEARS - they've dragged their butts. There is no need to 'respond' to P3s features here as P3 isn't challenging them in anyway. This is Stern finally making the decision it's right for THEM to do. It's years after when it should be... but this is also the same Stern that is still using the Sega Portals UI for service menus 25 years later...

    If anything motivated them timing wise I bet it was JJP finally getting their online connectivity to the market.

    But connectivity is just the baseline - with all these products it's the applications/features that make these things valuable or not. So this discussion will keep evolving in terms of 'worth'

    #333 55 days ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    Will pros have metal aprons going forward to house the scanner? If so I’m gonna miss my plastic bounce lazarus balls.

    Gotta keep up that product differentiation....

    Screen Shot 2021-08-27 at 11.27.21 AM (resized).png

    #334 55 days ago
    Quoted from Vino:

    Appreciate your perspective as you are a large operator. Do you believe location and casual players will pay higher coin drop to compensate you for these features in the future?

    Challenges and Achievements will certainly drive coin drop IN CERTAIN POPULATIONS

    That's the point often blown over with these kinds of discussions... something doesn't have to benefit 100% of people or have 100% adoption to have/add value.

    #336 55 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    I can not figure out why they need a scanner? The only reason I can think of that you need a scanner is if the pin was not online. That doesn't make any sense as the whole thing would be pointless. Does he explain why they need it in the podcast? Is it just redundancy for the event the pin is not online?

    So far... the only benefit is 'not needing a phone' because you've already printed your QR code and are carrying it around in your pocket...

    It makes sense from maybe a tournament/event perspective... but they have yet to mention any meaningful use case that justifies the expense.

    #339 55 days ago
    Quoted from joetechbob:

    Extra node board, QR code reader, housing, wiring (and apron for retrofit) is more than $50 extra. (Not to mention the additional engineering effort, support overhead, etc.)

    ... and annoyances to deal with their past choices. Like they mentioned the games that have non-standard aprons... now each of those games now require a special apron. How many product variations is stern ending up with to add this QR scanner now... 5, 7, 9?

    #357 55 days ago
    Quoted from DudeRegular:

    They want the game to recognize you as a player so they need to have the reader as well.

    No they don't... this can be done without a reader. This is the path they have taken for other reasons then just 'they want the game to recognize you'

    Quoted from DudeRegular:

    These "gotchas" folks are coming up with are addressed already in most cases.

    No, the apron discussion is someone asking where they are different because Stern told them they were different and they didn't understand where the difference was.

    #371 54 days ago
    Quoted from Gizmata:

    I assume the camera in the game is to make sure the player is actually at the table.
    You could take a picture of a QR code in the game and scan it when you weren't at the game, which would confuse the person about to play it or worse.
    Imagine sitting across the room and signing in all evening while others are trying to play the game, just to entertain yourself.

    The solution to your scenario is a simple dynamic challenge. Instead of a static QR code, you create a dynamic QR code that includes a runtime element.. that way only someone who could grab the code 'now' can do it.

    Bob steps up to the game as player 1... game shows a QR code on the screen for player 1.. bob scans... app goes to cloud, association linked. Player 1 is now bob
    Jim steps up on their turn... game shows a QR code on screen for player 2... jim scans.. app goes to cloud, association linked, game now knows Player 2 is jim.

    Or, you could use the same code for all players and make the cloud/app do some collision/state work to place players accurately.

    This is the same company that cuts pennies from material costs and $5 toys out of a game to optimize costs and you all are arguing that adding $50 in hard costs is justified without a firm use case that requires it. Kinda like you believe a topper is worth $500 just because that's what they set the price at...

    #372 54 days ago
    Quoted from DudeRegular:

    Some folks just want to argue. Thats fine. Enjoy.

    No, some folks want to understand and be convinced - not simply be dictated to

    #373 54 days ago

    The real reason they used a reader on the game....5nqagj (resized).jpg

    #391 54 days ago
    Quoted from Gizmata:

    I agree with you, but people were suggesting you just scan a static QR code on the apron and it log you in.

    To which you postulated the sensor was there for... yes obvious it's there to ID the player... the point is that's not NEEDED to link a player and game, and they haven't yet presented a case where it justifies all that extra PER GAME vs alternatives that are cheaper.

    Quoted from Gizmata:

    For a dynamic QR code they should have built an LCD in the apron which could have been used in all games to give you live information (timers, shot suggestion, tilt warning) and not just be a dedicated camera that is only used to read a QR code assuming someone wants to use it.

    No - that's even worse! The whole point is how to make the system work with existing games and technology... and reduce added cost to each unit. You don't add what you don't need! You have a huge LCD at the back of the game that is easily seen by the player and drawing their eyes too. Just put your prompts and QR information up there. There is no fighting for real-estate because you don't need the QR code stuff except when starting players or finishing a game.

    Literally when the game says "Player 1 is up!" - make that a screen that shows generic player and encourage the player to scan the QR code to get signed in... even make the 'player 1 is up' screen show people's avatars they can customize, etc. This is all shit Stern controls!

    #392 54 days ago
    Quoted from Haymaker:

    I have to agree, I think its going to be a hit on location

    I think the idea of 'verified' achievements having a greater value is a good thing for Ops.

    #395 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.

    It's just incentive... it's not meant to be foolproof. Just a way to give value to location play while also acknowledging the obvious 'home owners can open the game' point.

    #398 54 days ago
    Quoted from Gizmata:

    I think that is a wonderful idea. I think that would have been a much cleaner solution since it wouldn't have added hardware costs to all machines.

    Yup.. think goldentee where players have fully customized avatars for when the player is up or on a scoreboard.. That's huge incentive to people and why IGT has banked millions over it. I mean, it's not like Stern is starting from scratch here...

    Quoted from Gizmata:

    I can only guess they want to scan the players QR code so some functionality would continue if the internet or servers were not available, so the machine could save the game information and upload it later once the connection/server was functioning again. There may be some reason we have no yet thought of that justifies the added cost of the camera in the apron to scan QR codes.

    Now you're catching up to yesterday...

    Quoted from flynnibus:

    The game can get everything it needs to know about you from the cloud... and you can do any number of easy proximity checks to authenticate the game selection.
    This took what would have been a simple $30 USB dongle retrofit kit to now what will probably be a $150-$200 retrofit kit.

    Quoted from flynnibus:

    There needs to be some other use case they are embracing besides 'network resiliency' -- That's a horrible choice to cripple your adoption for in 2021... network access is only going to get better every day going forward.

    Been saying this since announcement... they need a better justification than 'don't need a phone' and 'network resiliency' -- Those are pretty weak choices in 2021.

    #400 54 days ago
    Quoted from RC_like_the_cola:

    I bet a bracket of some sort could be fashioned for the bill validator cutout. Good idea.

    Until you remember the reader connects to the node boards up on the PF which goes up and down and in and out

    You could likely replace the RJ-45 cable they give you to run it back around to the top of the PF and back through the cabinet towards the door.. but you need to jumper in power too.

    And fill in the hole with something you just created in the apron...

    Seem like a lot of effort to avoid looking at a white square

    #415 54 days ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    And who made the decision to not include WiFi in Spike 2? WiFi existed for about 20 years before they started the design of it, so it would've had to be discussed. I think the conversation went something like:
    "We could include Wifi on Spike 2 for $x a CPU to future proof it and have it ready for our online plans!"
    "No way, let's just sell a dongle when we are ready, and be able to charge $4x!!!!"

    No, there are good reasons for not including wireless in the spike CPU years before you'd use it

    1) Radio requires different kinds of certifications and testing
    2) Radio frequency use is regional
    3) Putting wifi on the board still needs external antennas
    4) Putting wifi on the board locks you into the feature set of that wifi chip

    By using a dongle via common interface, you separate spike from all those things. The system was always intended to be modular - putting radio as a module or component totally fits that architecture. There is really no gain from putting it onboard when it's such a commodity item that is better served by being externalized.

    #416 54 days ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    The whole point of this is to be IN YOUR FACE! If they hid it in the DBV cutout, or just mentioned it on the screen, it will be ignored. Then forgotten.

    You are trying to argue the static 3" triangle on the apron is more IN YOUR FACE then the HUGE animated LCD Screen in the head of the game... you know where they put the TITLE of the game and thousands of hours of effort into making the draw of the game?

    And then remind people about how the QR codes on transformers on the apron were a complete flop.

    Ok...

    #421 54 days ago
    Quoted from Tranquilize:

    For people who route and don't visit their games often, this thing kicks ass. To warn them about issues is a perfect feature for those guys.

    Or you setup a google voice number, put a sticker on a game and tell people to text you any issues. 95% of the value, 0% of the cost

    It will be nice to have it built into the app... but let's not pretend this is some door opener. The metrics on game play, knowing its up, checking for variances in patterns, those would be bigger tells that are more difficult to do today.

    Quoted from Tranquilize:

    The social media/videogame-like parts are meh to me. Some people will definitely use them, and they might help to grow the community a bit, so that's a plus.
    Most old farts that buy games won't use it...

    I think people are undervaluing this. People that obcess about 'finishing' a game will buy right into achievements. Imagine when Pinside links your stern profile to your pinside profile and shows your XP and badges.. etc.

    If done well and kept up, people will wonder how they did without them before.

    #422 54 days ago
    Quoted from orangestorm87:

    What would be really cool / amazing would location Insider Connected Tournaments. Where by say a location has one Stern game hooked up to the system. Set it up to have a tournament run for the next two weeks or something. Anyone that logs in via the app can choose to participate. Then you try to get a high score. At the end of the two weeks, highest score user is declared the winner. Winners could get a special badge in the app, or discount on a drink at the location, or something.

    Ever heard of TOPS?

    #423 54 days ago

    Things like direct engagement to players - including the ability to transfer value to is a big deal. It's also the start of an eco-system... which is why jumping into this space is worth a lot more than simple 'high score boards'

    The example of like giving away promos... coupons... prizes... are all things that create new ways of engagement that if all digital, are far easier to implement then prior methods.

    What Stern didn't talk about yet is how your personal info maybe used or monetized.

    Imagine a scenario where as an Operator I was able to find out which zip code had how many Stern Insiders. Then if I were able to pay Stern to place a push ad to all those people to say "Hey, we just put a brand new Avengers Premium at Suds Laundromat! Come enter the launch tournament between now and Saturday!".

    The greater the attach rate of the app, the more valuable the user data and their patterns become.

    #424 54 days ago

    Important tells will be how focused Stern is at easy user adoption

    - What kind of credentials can I use with the app? Can I use m existing Google, Facebook, appleID, etc to make signup silky smooth and easy?
    - What kind of payment options can I use? Will they quickly integrate with platforms like apple pay, paypal, etc or try to lock you into adding credit cards manually, etc
    - What kind of programs will they offer Ops to push adoption?
    - How quickly before they move features behind being ONLY accessible via this eco-system...

    Lots of potential - but every step takes work from Stern. The opening launch plan is aggressive for game coverage... let's hope they have a similar roadmap for functionality.

    #442 54 days ago
    Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

    put in an Mini PCIe slot

    Why? when a USB port is more universal and does what is needed... the problem isn't there wasn't expansion, the poster wanted the radio built into the cpu board.

    #461 54 days ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    To be clear, the poster (me), isn't really concerned about the specific implementation. I fully concede that a USB dongle or some other modular way of doing the Wi-Fi is better. You made good points.
    //<![CDATA[
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    If I changed my original post to say "out of the box" instead of "on the cpu" would that make my problem clearer? Having Wi-Fi is now going to be an additional cost added on to a system that really should have had it out of the box. I don't think it is a hindsight thing, Spike 2 was designed in 2015 or so. Wi-Fi was pretty ubiquitous. There must've been a decision point to NOT include it back in the design phase, and I would have to guess that the option to sell it as an additional addon at some point was somewhere in that discussion.

    Ok, assume the baseline that you’ve agreed that doing it as a module is a good idea. Now you face the question of “do I include it…”

    You have no idea yet when the function will be needed/ready. But you know it can be trivially added after the fact by anyone without difficulty.

    So why pay for it now… when you don’t even know if it will be used… when you know you can always go back and add it? There is no incentive to do so… its just throwing money away for “future proofing” that doesn’t need to be factory installed.

    So that means its not greedy “haha we can sell this later!”… more like “we can always add this cheaper later if needed”. Maybe you sell it… maybe you bundle it. But the most critical decision is… “does it NEED to be factory installed?”. If not… then you have incentive to simply defer it… and tackle the cost when its needed.

    But your concern over cost is why i have been asking ‘why the reader?’. It makes an upgrade go from trivial to real costs you gotta justify. There really needs to be a decisive reason behind such a choice. So far, we haven’t seen one

    #462 54 days ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    It’s ALWAYS there, so yes. How many people sit and watch an attract loop?

    You don’t think the game has the person’s attention when the game starts? Is it not possible to convince the person AFTER their first game?

    Notice how JJP/scorebit take the opportunity to try to hook you AFTER the game too?

    Before the first coin drop is not the only time that matters…. You have lots more options and lots more times to make your push!

    #531 51 days ago
    Quoted from DakotaMike:

    It's funny, I always hear it said that people on Pinside want innovation, but I've never seen anyone asking for that in the threads I'm in.
    I see people asking for better quality pfs, better value, and more reliable parts and mechs. I also hear people asking for more stuff under the glass and more assets, and I see them complaining about having to wait 6 months to a year for their game to ship.
    But you know what I never hear, people asking for innovation.

    You know what I never hear... people citing the stuff that doesn't support their belief... like the talk about TNA or RM's locks... or RM bringing the pop bumper back at the flipper... or ACNC's toys... or the multi-level playfields in Holloween... or the ramps in AIQ hittable from 3 flippers.. or a multi-axis dinosaur head in JP...

    You're right, everyone just talks about playfields and what game is next...

    #587 50 days ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Again. If someone wants to do that and get all the burgers and shirts, I say let em. It doesn’t matter. These features sound fun and I’m glad they are being implemented.

    Until you are the guy buying all that swag and see the leaky bucket you didn't expect...

    #588 50 days ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Sounds like from the video that all location stern games are verified. Might just be as simple as stern being able to see the machine and where it’s located via wifi.

    Or follow existing models like IGT does where the operators register with their business and location info...

    #590 50 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    I like to make fun of pinball for being in the dark ages more than the next guy but lets be serious. There will never be a prize that is not accounted for in the marketing budget. I think even Stern has figured out how to do a simple promotion and has actual accountants on the pay role.

    You think Stern is gonna be the one providing all the prizes for operator ran promotions? buahahaha

    Stern gives out swag... but a drop at a time.

    The platform here is enabling operators to run their own promotions/events/redemptions. That's what we are talking about.

    #592 49 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    This will be no different than any other promotion being run at any pub or location. They get free promotional shit and they give it away. If your a location and you haven't been able to figure out a promotion this is not for you.

    How many routes are you running?

    #595 49 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    How is that relevant but I am happy to tell you the answer is zero.

    Because you are talking as if you know how all locations and operators interact, what they have access to, and how they fund operations. To which, you are taking some examples and falsely extrapolating to everyone. Because you don't actually know.

    #597 49 days ago
    Quoted from Darscot:

    None of this is mandatory, if you don't want this on your route don't do it. I can confirm if you never run a promotion you do not have to worry about losing money buying prizes. I didn't realize this was a difficult concept.

    The idea you don't have to use the feature doesn't have anything to do with the point raised.

    The platform is targeting use cases that involve real money/value... not just digital stamps... and falsehoods like 'its just marketing money' do not negate the concern. Discussion of the system being open to be gamed to the level of being impractical is a practical concern if the feature is to be viable.

    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.

    This platform has targeted exchange of real goods - goods that are not free - so balancing how those promotions work and are controlled very much is a real design concern. The more stakes you put in play, the larger the concern.

    #603 49 days ago
    Quoted from Blindseer:

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

    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.

    #609 49 days ago
    Quoted from Smack:

    What if the prizes are participation based and not merit based? ie: "Play a registered game on Mando in the next week to be entered into a draw for a t-shirt". This could work for both location based prizes as well as ones that perhaps Stern wants to sponsor.

    Note, the question was specifically about TOPS - Not Stern Insider.

    #611 49 days ago
    Quoted from Smack:

    Noted. My apologies, but it seems like there are similar concerns with Stern Insider Connected in this thread.

    I think we need to be honest... We should expect a very limited set of functionality from Stern at the start... with a lot of future potential we will have to wait and see if they ever expand into. They've highlighted the ideas of promotions, reward redemption, etc... but will they really expand into co-marketing opportunities, etc?

    This isn't Stern's core competency. This could be very much a chicken and the egg problem where Stern won't invest because there isn't immediate return for them... but there can't be return without a program given a chance.

    #635 48 days ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    We rarely ever had any issues getting stuff from Stern in my area for local tournaments or leagues.

    Getting 2-4 translites and a bunch of flyers won’t feed ongoing promotions.

    -1
    #637 48 days ago
    Quoted from RC_like_the_cola:

    I just won a Jurassic Park shooter knob at a launch tournament for AIQ. Not the whole assembly, but a legit Stern amber shooter know. They send some good stuff for those things.

    Again... key words here.. 'wont feed ONGOING promotions'

    Your event got one shooter rod - Very nice. That is certainly one of the rarer occurrences. Typically it's a token plaque and a translite or banner... and swag for maybe 2 prizes.

    But this example is not the same as funding ONGOING promotions at locations everywhere with multiple winners. Like "complete a set of trophies and get a t-shirt".. at hundreds of locations around the country each awarding what could be dozens of winners, etc. That's a whole different level of commitment.

    #658 47 days ago
    Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

    golden tee has CC cards and gift cards that go to ops' account but will op's pay golden tee fees per game?

    and Ops MUST pay golden tee for EVERY credit on the commercial games. They skim off the top for all games. It's not pleasant plus the annual $800 or so to keep with each year's trivial release

    I doubt Stern has the stones to try to force that kind of model yet... or build a real operator payment model.

    1 week later
    #756 36 days ago
    Quoted from Gotfrogs:

    I have asked the exact same question. What you described is how Scorbit has implemented things. It works perfect on WOZ and hobbit with no extra hardware required (just a WiFi usb dongle).
    https://scorbit.io/

    Everyone had this conversation 3 weeks ago...

    #760 36 days ago
    Quoted from cabal:

    But if everything is only app based you will need to put 30% back to apple store. In game purchases will not be possible and gets very complicated.

    This has nothing to do with the handshake solution between the player and the game.

    Besides, they aren't getting away from having an app - it's all about how they believe players will engage with and what friction they think exists for a player to actually "join" a game.

    Quoted from cabal:

    from Stern side i think it's a smart move to go this way and keep everything in their own control.

    I think Stern just saw what their buddy company Raw Thrills was doing and followed along.

    #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.

    -1
    #839 34 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 34 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.

    #875 29 days ago
    Quoted from cooked71:

    Also had another thought...not sure if this has been raised before...with this system Stern could effectively force all payments for location games, ie coin take, to go through their platform and take a cut of every game played. Like Apples App store purchases/subscriptions.
    Not sure they would be that brazen but it is Stern.

    This is the company that has yet to net enable their games in 2021.... aka a decade or so behind... I don't think we need to worry about them forcing everyone to a Stern payment system when they haven't even taken their first baby steps.

    Other vendors do this, but have well established platforms and a HECK of a lot more earnings potential along with a 'killer product' that Ops basically are forced to play along. None of that applies to Stern right now. So not seeing any of that kind of stuff for years at best.

    #878 29 days ago
    Quoted from Flipstream:

    It doesn't look like Stern wrote the service in-house: https://www.viget.com/work/stern-insider-connected/

    nice find

    we all assumed Stern would partner/outsource to get this rolling... the question has always been with who and how much reuse would there be.

    #891 27 days ago
    Quoted from thechakapakuni:

    Well looks like Scorbit just rolled out Achievements. IC a day late & a dollar short

    Same feature - different approach and potential.

    It's kinda more a risk to things like the pinball challenges on that 3rd party app. With Scorebit there is the potential for both 1st party and 3rd party achievements.. and have it work across many different platforms.

    I'm kinda suprised Spooky and API haven't gotten on board. Would have helped the critical mass topic.. and now that Stern has shown their cards, maybe they will.

    #905 27 days ago
    Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

    that may be slow to download + the SD cards are not that big

    Preferences are settings - not media. So you're talking bytes, not gigs.

    #969 20 days ago
    Quoted from Jman44:

    OK so can you turn off or disable the insider connected/IC so it wouldn't cause issues? Example, if you could put custom code on it, you would have it disconnected from Stern.

    Its not just disconnect - but they will likely put more controls over what software to load. Worst case, keep running your old code. But new games may not get custom loads at all.

    It all depends on how aggressive stern gets at auditing and confirming its own verified loads (digital signatures etc)

    #973 20 days ago
    Quoted from bdaddy:

    likely they will be very aggressive.
    1) they are already being aggressive in trying to shutdown custom code, such that the past few releases of code has been changed so that Pinball Browser had to adapt to even work with it. It seems the only reason they were doing those changes were to thwart software that can manipulate the code (probably to protect themselves for copyright reasons.)
    2) Even ignoring point #1, if they are being strict enough to only allow "verified" locations to register certain achievements in IC, they are likely going to be concerned someone isn't able to take advantage of achievements by manipulating the code in some manner - so they will want to have "verifiable" code on insider connect devices to make sure that doesn't happen.
    To me the best we can hope for is that we can run 2 different versions of code - 1 with insider connect, 1 with custom code - and you just switch in and out with whatever you want. I think the idea of being able to run custom code AND have insider connect features at the same time is not very likely. But at this point we don't know if we'll even get the former, much less the latter.

    The efforts to date have been to make it harder to manipulate assets, but hasn't taken on integrity, signing, etc. That's what will be the big issue where modified code won't run at all.. otherwise if it's still just 'make it harder to mod' you'll just be stuck running old builds. If Stern moves to blocking non-verified software all together, new games won't have that option to run code before that feature was added... and old games won't get new features added after the change.

    I seriously doubt Stern is going to change their IP protection strategy based on if you are connected or not.. makes no sense for them to do that if their intent is to secure the IP to appease the license holders.

    And don't expect Stern to put much effort into 'verified' locations and protecting that.

    #980 19 days ago
    Quoted from Dent00:

    Based on that observation, it would appear that a printout of your QR code could be scanned in to start a game and achievements could be observed later on with a computer at home, as was previously mentioned in this thread and a smart phone is probably not required to utilize the QR device, unless you want to track your achievements after each ball.

    Yeah no duh…. This has been covered multiple times. Its the only justification given by stern so far as why they need a reader in the game… they think people will print out qr codes ahead of time. Of course you can review your achievements later…. Thats why you have a profile…. Persistence

    #1035 14 days ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Not sure on price of kits. Supposed to be very cheap.

    The thing Stern has been cooking for years... is post-announcement and facing down their own big reveal at expo and still can't name a price?? That screams "we don't know what we can get away with..." -- not someone committed to making it cheap. If you were commited to cheap, you'd be subsidizing - clearly they aren't. Remember, this is the same company selling $500 toppers... 'cheap' is a relative term.

    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Can make custom QR codes to give out for freeplay, challenges, or to allow someone access to certain game adjustments.

    Remember when people kept saying "nothing of value..." to hack?

    How on earth is having a QR code anyone can pass around more secure then a simple authorization in the online system. Maybe Stern is investing in printer ink factories and thinks printing QR codes is the next big thing?

    #1040 14 days ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Are you asking me these questions? I don’t have any of these answers. I suggest asking stern when their forum opens up.

    statements - not questions

    Stern Forum? Lol... moderation training straight from their facebook page

    #1045 14 days ago
    Quoted from Smack:

    Dunno about more secure, but from the webinar today each operator will be able to generate QR codes that can be used for all kinds of things above and beyond just identifying yourself.

    Great notes - thx for sharing!

    I'm glad they are thinking of these promotion and currency things - I just highly doubt they will get them to anything critical mass anytime soon.

    And the scenarios they outline still don't need the QR reader on the game...

    If I had a QR code on a receipt, I can scan that in the app, scan the game's code, and go... Sure you have the friction of needing the app, but that's what YOU WANT. You want people signing up and using your app... you want that hook in people and their data.

    What is an anonymous person scanning a printed receipt anonymously into the game tell the Operator... how many burgers the place is selling?? No, you want to know who that player is, and if they come back, etc.

    I'm still flabbergasted Stern thinks adding $200 in cost to every game to AVOID having your player use or need a phone in 2021 is a good approach.

    The remote settings is interesting and welcome... along with audits and alerts we hope.

    Has there been any talk about push notifications in the app at launch?

    #1046 14 days ago

    This signup is so borked... old login doesn't work... password resets don't work... and it claims my email domain is invalid. Srsly? They can't even work out simple account migration... and they're gonna take-on prizes, digital economy, etc? LoL

    #1069 14 days ago
    Quoted from Smack:

    It really all depends on how you distribute and setup those QR codes.

    No it doesn't - printing out free QR codes is the equivalent of just handing out free quarters. As the OP you have no idea who that person is, or if it's 1 person or 10 people. You at best only know how many times it was used.

    Worse is, you don't want a QR code that can be reused for free games - because otherwise that code is basically a hole in your coinbox. So that means QR codes need to be limited used... that means making QR codes for promos on receipts can't be static they need to be dynamic. To be dynamic means integration between whatever is generating the QR codes and the thing printing them. Has stern talked about what POS systems they are integrating with and how? Notice talk of any of that or partnering??

    So that leaves stern's current pitch as printing out static coupons... which everyone should be familiar with the limitations of a paper coupon and a teller (the machine) that is completely ignorant of the buyer.

    As an Op it would be cheaper for me to just tell the bartender to give each new person you see an extra $1 and tell them to pick any game to play... then to spend $2k to update my machines to have a scanner to do basically the exact same thing.

    OR

    They could have static printed out coupons that the buyer redeems with their APP... and then had the APP tell the game what to do. Then, you have a profile, you have a backend that can validate if this player can use that coupon again, you have tracking of who is using them, you have motivation and attach for people to get your App. I don't need fancy dynamic codes... I don't need to worry about excess... in theory I don't even need to involve the location if I didn't want to. And I've have metrics on all the use, and I'd know who my users are, and I'd have actual metrics on how the promotion is working towards driving additional sales (because I can tell who used a promo and what their future sales are).

    Saving trees isn't the only reason people push their promotions through their apps these days!!

    All of that goes in the toilet when you instead give out anonymous coupons in an effort to avoid using a phone/app.... and insult to injury charge people $200/machine to participate.

    QR codes are not secure in any fashion - they are a simply a shorthand to something else... if you don't link it to something known or trusted... it's basically just an open door. This is why you should always be linking back to your profile, even in the case of promos. And if we are tying to a profile, you probably have your phone or your card.

    And everyone is moving to using your app as your 'membership card' because of the advantages it has.

    #1079 14 days ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    My guess is you just put on the receipt “sign up for stern Insider Connect using promo code #pinballbar for this establishment, get a QR code for a free game(s)”
    …along with their permanent QR.

    And to do that onsite, I need a smartphone to signup... so why do I need a QR reader on the game again to achieve this use case?

    Or are we going to increase the cost of every game $200 to enable the scenario where the user can read that sign, then go home, go online, print a QR code, and come back with that QR code and sign in?

    Which is more probable?

    Oh and if you have a guy scanning a QR code along with no app, that means your game now has to have the User Experience to either selection/acknowledge that they are redeeming their promo.. or you gotta make them print out yet another seperate QR code as the redemption.

    Remember how people make fun of the old people that print out Mapquest instructions instead of just using the app? Ain't nobody got time to be printing out single use QR codes when everyone has a phone in their pocket.

    #1080 14 days ago
    Quoted from J85M:

    Exactly and those codes will likely have a use limit so it can be a one time use, limited or unlimited for or until a set date. Not sure why Flynn is going full on meltdown with this

    Explain exactly how you are going to get these programmatically printed QR codes made and distributed. Then you'll start figuring out the dependencies and the liabilities.

    #1083 14 days ago
    Quoted from JStoltz:

    Ehh, idk about that. Electronic distribution is definitely easier/quicker, but it still seems pretty straightforward in concept for an operator to print out a few sheets of "free play" QR codes (~100 or so on a single sheet of 8.5x11 paper, maybe?) to give the location to keep in a bowl behind the bar.

    Like I said before.. it basically becomes the same as handing out money at that point. As an Op now I gotta stock the bar too? And pay for it's redemption tool? Why is this better than being able to give out a code the person redeems themselves on their phone?

    And in this model the only thing the Op knows is how much is going out. He doesn't know to whom.. how it relates to future sales.. who are using it.. doesn't know if he's reaching 500 new people or just 5. All problems that would be solved and enhanced if you gave PROFILES coupons - not just handed out paper token credits that are used anonymously.

    Oh and let's not forget that stack of QR codes is not secure in any fashion... now people just start printing their own once the algorithm is known... big hole in your coinbox. By not having any association between use and USER/PROFILE you lose so much.

    No op wants another service call "hey, the coupon pile is out..."

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    Operator could also negotiate a deal with the location such that they "sell" the sheet of free play QR codes to the business at some discounted rate, and the business gives customers a "free play" QR code with purchase of a 16oz Coors Light. Operator still makes money on the plays (indirectly), people who might not have played pinball are now able to get their feet wet, etc. Everyone wins.
    Paper is still convenient imo. Bartenders have to work quick, and grabbing a slip of paper is a lot faster (for them) than figuring out what a customer's cell phone number or email address is in order to send it to them electronically. Plus, the QR code could be theoretically set up for one free play on each game in the location, or 5 free games in any combination, etc. That's ALSO easier than a bartender counting out tokens each time they sell a 16oz Coors.

    Both use cases that could be solved without putting $200 worth of kit on every game and no way would you be asking people to setup an email address, etc. The bartender gives you a code or QR code that the person takes a photo of (or you distribute in some way if you care). The user is invited to redeem this coupon and do so via the app. They scan the coupon in the app, and then scan the game, and they play.

    No paper piles to stock...
    No static QR codes lying around as a liability...
    You can limit re-uses
    You can make your QR generator just be another phone/terminal without any POS integration
    You drive people to install the app
    The platform knows who is redeeming coupons
    The platform would be able to track success metrics from users of these coupons
    The platform now has a hook into that user to push future promotions
    The platform now has the potential to know a ton more about that player going forward

    None of which is possible if you just hand out paper tokens... and pay $200 to add a scanner to every game.

    Why does the grocery store make you sign up for their loyalty program instead of just marking the price down on the shelf for everyone if everyone can get the same discount? Because they are driving people to enroll and give them that constant customer contact.

    Adding to the BOM of every game so you can avoid the phone requirement is a shortsighted move that greatly limits the potential and usability of the platform.

    -1
    #1094 13 days ago
    Quoted from J85M:

    or one I didn’t think the operator would be making them, more along the lines of a bunch of promotional pre programmed QR codes, that could easily be put up on the LCD to offer any new user to Insider (stern will need an incentive once this gets an APP & an APP is a must to bring in the new generations and make it user friendly) a free game.

    So what's the purpose of the QR reader on the game if I need some means to get the QR code from the screen to the game?

    #1097 13 days ago
    Quoted from JStoltz:

    I'm not an operator but this seems like it opens the door for some creative promotions and some "outside the box" thinking when it comes to negotiating with the business owner. Even better if you happen to own both the business and the machines.

    Promotions are good - yes.
    Adding $200 to every game to enable promotions that I can't track the success of - Not good.

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    But you don't know any of that today either, it's just coins in the box-- right? I think you're unfairly expecting this to scratch EVERY itch at the same time. It's different use cases that accomplish different goals, and that should be OK.

    I'm not paying an extra $200 for my machine today either.. but now I will be. The point is by requiring the system to be functional without a co-resident app, you cripple the potentials. On top of that, insult to injury, you're asking me to pay extra for this 'benefit' which really is an inferior solution for some petty use cases that are easily covered if you accept the app setup friction. A compromise that is COMMONPLACE everywhere else.

    Want that coupon at the grocery store? enroll
    Want that McDonalds promo? enroll
    Want that gas discount? enroll
    Want that 20% coupon from that webstore before you buy? enroll

    Yes, setting up an app is some initial friction - but it's common place. Heck, you could even allow the app to work WITHOUT ENROLLMENT for some things. Instead... 'please pay $200 a game when everyone around you has a super computer in their pocket'

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    I was imagining a scenario where the operator generates a set of QR codes, associates them with his location's machines, and distributes them. Wouldn't it be pretty tough to spoof one of a few hundred valid QR codes that happen to be associated with that location? I guess anything is possible but I just don't think this is a big enough concern to be creating a stink over.

    See prior list of issues with static QR codes.. they basically become currency you have to manage OR allow reuse and hence become a bottomless pit unless you use user profiles.. and if you do that... why not just use the app in the first place? Who is this mythical user who will have a profile at home, but no access to it away from home?

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    I would, if I worked out some kind of deal with the business where I'm still profiting off of those QR codes (maybe just slightly less for the sake of the promotion).

    Again you're tying value to the codes... they now become some form of token currency to manage and not usable.

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    I like your architecture, and think it makes sense for folks who care enough to go through the registration process... but I also think you're over-estimating how likely a "non pinball" person is to go through that many steps to play a pinball machine they wouldn't have dropped $1 of their own money in anyway. "Receive a coupon, scan a coupon, play a game" is just way simpler in my opinion. Is it the fanciest, slickest, most secure implementation? Definitely not. But it also doesn't have to be. Sometimes simpler is better imo.

    If you want simple.. like I said before... give away credits... not pay $200/game for the privledge of giving away credits.

    I bet 24months from now you see Insider Connect without any QR scanner on the game.

    #1119 13 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Why do you keep saying this (over and over and over and over and over)?
    Do you know something we don't?

    The price increase is tied to IC availability - This is known
    Existing games will need to be retrofit to leverage the system - This is known
    Stern will be charging for the kids to retrofit the games - This is known

    Take offense with the number if you want - but you can't be believing it's going to be free, and Stern at this point is making the kit the mandatory way people engage the game.

    #1120 13 days ago
    Quoted from JStoltz:

    There's no getting around the $200 cost, that's true.

    But that's the point - the cost isn't necessary!! It's only necessary because Stern chose this path and I've been saying "Show me the use case that justifies that choice". Because I don't see it... every potential they have shown can be done equally or BETTER with an app.. and the few 'no phone' scenarios that have been brought up I'd argue don't justify the expense for what is bound to be a very small use case. Instead, we burden EVERY game with that choice.

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    But promotions aren't the only value you're expected to get out of the hardware. To require every individual feature of the hardware to be "worth $200" is unreasonable and you're going to be impossible to please if that's your way of framing it. It is but one potential launch feature of a platform we're told will be expanded substantially in the future.

    See above - justify the hardware... the scenarios proposed here don't need it and actually HINDER the platform by not linking these things to profiles.. or driving adoption.

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    Honestly, why not both? Why not allow standalone QR coupons that don't require enrollment AND allow them to be deposited into your user profile? Then operators like you can choose the one that works best for you? I think we're both talking about different target demographics anyway, which may be the problem.

    Stern isn't giving you this choice - you have to buy into the scanner approach because it's the only way they are allowing players to engage.

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    More to manage, but also targeted "bait" to attract new players to your machines. If you give out tokens or quarters, those can go to any other machine in the arcade/barcade.

    Managable risk. It's gonna take a lot of pocket loss to outpace the upfront and GUARUNTEED sunk cost of the scanner system. Besides, to each person it's a dollar.. it's not like they are gonna turn around and be like "oh I can take vacation now instead...". Money in hand is readily spent. Give a kid .50c and say 'pick a game play'... the vast majority are gonna run over and play. Not pocket it and be like 'eventually, I'll be able to buy that pack of gum!"

    The whole point of giving away credits is to lure people into playing more. If you can't quantify the results, you're less likely to keep doing it. The more insight you have into what is working and why - the more intelligent your decisions will be. By not tying your promotions to individuals, you give up a ton.

    Quoted from JStoltz:

    Isn't that whole idea of coupons, to give something away in expectation of something in return? "Might as well go get my free McChicken sandwich.. and I'll throw a couple bucks in of my own for a drink and some fries."

    And if you pay attention, you see everyone asking for more and more in return to get those freebies. Because knowledge is power, and access is king. As a business owner I want not just your $1 today, but the potential to get many more dollars from you as time goes on.

    Stern Insider has the potential to enable that... but if we focus on 'free credits will increase coin drop!' we're talking 1970s promotions, not 2021 enablement.

    #1122 13 days ago
    Quoted from Rarehero:

    The point is that it’s a quick zap to “log you in” and track your accomplishments without having to do a long convoluted sign in process every time you play pinball. One zap, it knows what game you’re on & your previous history with that game. The idea is that when you step up to that game, you’re already signed up. It’s a simple & elegant solution to this trophy/social concept, IMO.

    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.

    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.

    #1123 13 days ago

    FWIW - account creation that failed yesterday with 'domain invalid' errors are working correctly today...

    and when you 'make stats visible to others' you also share not just your nickname/avatar but your full name and 'location'

    Following others is 1-way at this point.. you follow their stats, but they don't see your follow or follow you back automatically.

    #1133 13 days ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Also, what is the alternative to the scenario above that allowed the bartender to turn the volume up or down using a QR code only?

    Quoted from Blindseer:

    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

    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?

    #1140 13 days ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Are you suggesting Stern would provide that functionality for individual locations? Like, an admin console, that I manage, and can set up users and permissions per game, and do password resets, and monitor when employees get fired from locations so that I can delete their user account, etc, etc.
    Versus handing them a QR code.

    I would never give them individual accounts. I'm suggesting a simple approach to the problem is the idea of delegated access. Same way you as an Operator may want to give employees limited-access to your features. You could create a location account they could use locally and manage as needed. (all things you can do from your couch...). You could even give them a magic QR code to login!

    If you only give them volume controls just how worried are you about 'rogue' use? Are you equally worried about having to create NEW QR codes every time you figure out someone is playing with your location by copying the code or a former employee is doing the same?

    Low exposure here, and easy fix if exploited. Besides, it would be functionality built upon other things you need (delegated admins).

    Or like I said, if it's such a necessary feature (volume toggle) why isn't it built into the game as it sits today? Operator defined button/flipper sequence to enable a toggle of profiles where the operator defines what the profiles are.

    I'd rather configure some settings and teach them "Hold action button, tap right flipper 3 times to enable quiet mode" then I would paying $200 for volume controls.

    #1147 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.

    No - check it again.. "Operator defined button/flipper sequence to enable a toggle of profiles where the operator defines what the profiles are."

    Operator defined sequence - this gives you some security through obscurity and basically try to avoid people accidentally triggering the profile toggle.

    You don't need to give them direct control over volume - you're enable the ability to swap between sets of settings (profiles) the Operator defines as sets. This way you really are only enabling the switching between pre-approved settings. You have a 'day' and a 'night' profile and you define the sequence that triggers the toggle. Because it's pre-set groups, you really aren't concerned with security... this is about convenience.

    This is not hard thinking for Stern....

    Just saying if this was so important - there are easier ways to get there. It will be a nice perk with what they have shown with IC - I just don't think it justifies the architectural choices.

    #1150 13 days ago
    Quoted from Blindseer:

    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.

    The price increase on titles is there already - so you've already paid the uplift on your Godzilla... and you're going to pay it on any re-run games you have on order too.
    Two, I keep using the $200 ballpark because 1) IC is what Stern keeps justifying their new price lift with 2) We have some basic references with existing parts.
    It's a placeholder value... and I bet it's not that far off (my initial bet was $150+.. but I'm thinking more especially with the custom apron games)

    'low cost' is relative. You really think Stern is gonna sell these below their typical margins? I don't. $150-$200 is 'low cost' in Stern's world of inflated parts.

    #1152 13 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I just think declaring it’s $200 with absolute conviction six times per page is a little overboard considering we don’t actually know what the cost.

    Want air quotes around it every time, will that make you feel better? Or how about $XXXXXX ? We all know it's simply a number for the sake of dialogue.. the number itself isn't that critical because...

    It ain't free... it's gonna cost per game... and unless Stern turns over a new leaf somehow between now and the end of the month it I am not going to be that far off I bet.

    So have your angst about the SPECIFIC number - but there will be a number these features need to offset and justify.

    You're getting hung up on nitpicks and hiding from the point.

    What do you think the number is going to be Levi?

    #1165 13 days ago
    Quoted from jfh:

    flynnibus has been dead on with his analysis of IC so far, but this is slightly off. Stern will sell the retro kits closer to $300 for sure and more for games like Batman and Elvira that require special aprons.

    I sure hope not! I was trying to be optimistic that Stern would be aggressive and price the kits on the lower side.. hence my $150-$200 estimate. I think if they reach that $300 plus level they are going to have a hard time getting Ops to buy retrofits - especially across the board.

    Hopefully Stern has been stock piling these things and can actually ship them in volume... can't have their usual 'maybe in 4 months we'll have it again' approach they take with accessories.

    The privacy document really doesn't make any distinctions yet about Operators and data they might collect from Ops or make available to Ops. At this point, I'm just hoping there is a more completely baked story really soon. With Godzilla hitting the street now... Ops need to know.

    #1197 12 days ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Because one will be the price you pay if the machine is already in stock at a distro. The other price is for games that leave the factory here on out as the kits will be in the games already.

    And when have they done that before after a price increase?

    #1199 12 days ago

    Yeah so out of box experience so far?

    These guys are not ready for operators.

    No way to setup a location… you just register the game to an insider account and it treats it like your personal game.

    You add the wifi details, then scan a IC profile QR code to link the game to that profile. Then goto your profile to complete the registration. There you add an address for the game. But then says that address will be used for all future games….

    A new group is seen in your IC account “machines”

    You can’t cancel a pending/incomplete registration… but you can unregister a game once registration is complete.

    Other notes… the QR advertisement takes the spot you’d use for pricing cards… and no card designs are provided that include both iC branding and pricing.

    One interesting feature… after you add wifi details it gives you a QR code you can save to streamline wifi setup on your other games.

    #1200 12 days ago

    We were able to setup the game and play without using IC at all as well. So fully optional - but it is all or nothing at this point for IC enabled functions. No control over what features are on/off etc that i have seen yet

    #1202 12 days ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Do you have a verified operator account with Stern? They mentioned operators will have to be vetted by Stern, and they will have a different account for Insider.
    Were you part of the web conference where they discussed all of this?

    And there is no way to do this yet that i am aware of

    #1211 12 days ago
    Quoted from mbrave77:

    May be complications with apple wanting a cut of all their subs. Same deal with xbox and others

    Or just complications with getting it approved and published. Apple is a pita with getting new apps through their process in a predictable time

    #1218 12 days ago
    Quoted from mpdpvdpin:

    So…I’m getting Godzilla on Monday and my location does not have wifi. Does the game itself need to be connected to wi fi or does insider just connect to your phone via the QR code?

    The game needs Internet access. Wifi or ethernet.

    #1228 11 days ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    Take a video of the initial setup process without internet access. Will be interesting to see if users will have additional steps needed if not connecting.

    No extra steps - didnt get to see if its part of guided setup or not.

    You goto a net menu and network and IC are both in that subpage tho

    #1229 11 days ago

    For those curious.. a quick shot under the apron.

    Qr reader and node board are one assembly. No other stuff under the PF except the rj45 daisy chain from the node board near the player end of playfied. Would go in the old spot that normally has the terminator plug in it.

    Didn’t peek in the head at the spike board yet as we had people playing almost immediately

    FD525293-2A41-45C4-A35E-62CB2C8ECFE1 (resized).jpeg
    #1234 11 days ago

    31F3F683-2317-4B89-BD7F-16A41A992FA4 (resized).jpegWifi dongle…

    #1235 11 days ago

    We have our operator account now too… so i can compare with personal too. Operator they call ‘pro’

    Locations are there verse the single address for games in personal mode.

    There are basic earnings metrics and connectivity status indicators.

    Looks like they have a wifi setup wizard like there is in the game to setup qr codes for wifi i guess.

    Setting up a game is basically the same as a personal game. Scan in your qr code, log into account to complete/accept the registration. The main difference is you assign the game to a location when you confirm it.

    Pro accounts can be same login as personal accounts - you have a toggle of which view to be in

    #1241 11 days ago
    Quoted from thechakapakuni:

    And there lies the one main issue with IC. First finding locations with the 4 models that have it then wondering if the operator cared to set it up and connect it to to the internet. Hopefully this is easy to determine from the app (ie zip code/proximity search). What a bummer getting a blown out GC and then not having it recorded

    Main issue?

    IC is simply icing on the cake.. if it's not there you have the same draw you had to play pinball last week. Your GC was recorded in the high score list same as it was the week before.

    I get the interest in seeking out IC connected games, but main issue?? The lady doth protest too much, methinks

    besides, it's something pinball map or the like can correct easy enough if Stern doesn't put a location finder in their product.. which seems inevitable.

    This is a short term issue at best

    #1242 11 days ago

    the replay offer with the same players already logged in seems to be tied to having credits on the game. Presumably in freeplay it will do it after each game... I have not tested.

    #1244 11 days ago
    Quoted from Sprudeldudel:

    I own one Stern game privately. What does this gimmick really do for me? I don't get it yet. Can someone explain that in simple terms?

    Basically an xbox achievement system…
    Online software upgrades (including automatic)
    And in the future maybe additional exclusive content

    #1246 11 days ago

    They do have achievements that are both per game and cumulative over multiple games.

    Note here how this award is “lifetime” and it is counting my buildings for both verified and unverified games concurrently

    A816AF16-0512-4C10-B4F7-1F4B49CA8768 (resized).jpeg

    #1263 10 days ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I don’t think the pro accounts are live yet.

    They are - but you must manually get it done by contacts at stern

    #1270 10 days ago
    Quoted from thechakapakuni:

    IC devs need to have a clear scan response when these games are not connected IE “Game Offline” Would also be nice if it’s not connected, it could send the update later once it does connect or send the update through your phone app. That might solve the inconsistencies of locations not being connected

    If not connected - you just don't get to scan in. This isn't hard

    The funky state is if the game was previously registered, but isn't valid now.. then when you scan in, it rejects you and doesn't let you badge in, tho badging in is offered.

    #1272 10 days ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    That is a clever workaround. Why not use everyone's connectivity instead of having a single point of failure?

    There are more important questions... like why is the latency and throughput to their service point so bad.

    Our game was reporting over 1000ms latency and 500kb/sec throughput.. where other devices on same network were getting over 4meg down and 1meg up to public speed test sites. 1000ms latency is crazzzzy for anything domestic. Someone do some traffic inspection and see where their service point is. I gotta imagine this is pure application stuff at this point, those numbers are just pathetic for anything sitting on a normal datacenter site.

    4gig downloads at 500kb/sec? ouch...

    #1276 10 days ago
    Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

    I hope that they don't need to download full update images to update. and do the SD cards have room for an 4G download file anyways?

    While JJP has done delta updates, Stern hasn't done those for prior updates.. and no tip offs of changes yet.

    I haven't looked at the cards, but I bet they are at least 16gig... hard to find smaller these days. Doubt space is much of an issue.

    #1286 10 days ago
    Quoted from RoyalJack:

    I definitely can't argue that. I was just stating its been done before.

    yeah but for completely different reasons and goals.

    Dr Who was simply a safety feature to avoid chopping fingers off. It had no ambitions to keep the dishonest under control.

    It's all rubbish anyways. Just wait till we have 'verified events' or achievements based on doing it at certain locations under certain conditions, etc. This can go on and on and on. People getting worked up over digital trophies now will have a field day when this actually matures to where the rest of the world already is.

    Think IFPA Championship verified achievements, etc etc etc

    #1287 10 days ago
    Quoted from thechakapakuni:

    With everything going online it seems like (sadly) maybe it’s time to have a glass out sensor?

    As long as the owners are gods of their machines -- any effort here is pointless. It's not meant to be a fool proof system, it's meant to be for fun.

    In the future I'm sure there will be things that can only be earned under other conditions too.. don't sweat it.

    #1290 10 days ago
    Quoted from GoodOmens:

    Sadly your game is 854 miles away.

    Godzilla is worth the trip!

    Stern has gotten their initial batch of operator pros out... hopefully by Expo Stern will have the pro setup more streamlined and location maps start populating quicker.

    #1311 8 days ago
    Quoted from chuckcasey:

    Anyone know how to connect Godzilla to Stern Insider Connected?
    Anyone done it yet?
    There're only 10 GZs listed so far on LOCATIONS.
    I'm un-boxing tomorrow and I hope its as east as Gomez says.
    We have wifi and hard-wired internet available.
    Any advice on setting it up on location is appreciated.

    Contact stern and get a verified operator account.

    Enter network details.. Scan QR code of the account you are linking to and confirm game in online profile. It's brain dead simple... except actually having the Operator account to start. That requires manual intervention at stern still. Having your location defined in your profile first will also make things easier. But still need 'pro' account first to create a location.

    #1312 8 days ago
    Quoted from gblack:

    I didn’t get my hopes up but I am disappointed the “6 games supported at launch” is really only one since the wifi kits and code aren’t available. Anyone have any intel on that?

    Welcome to the nebulous 'well what is the launch?' -- Presumably this is Expo.. not Godzilla launch.

    #1318 8 days ago
    Quoted from kermit24:

    I helped my friend set his up today on location. There is a screen on the operator pro section that prompts you to confirm the location for the machine. This confirmation didn’t save with an iPhone safari browser. We needed to confirm the machine on a laptop. Then it went online and worked.

    worked fine here all via iphone. Both personal and pro mode to confirm a game. Maybe you didn't set the location drop-down when you were trying on the mobile device? You must set the drop-down choice and confirm the game. (assuming the location was already setup before trying to confirm the game).

    Personal will ask you for an address if its your first game added...

    #1323 7 days ago
    Quoted from KingPinGames:

    i am not into modding / craft making, but is there any "decal" material that is see through? could someone make a decal that covers the scanner, but still allows functionality for home use?

    No - it's purely optical so it needs to see unobstructed. You could move the module, but it's still gonna be a camera that needs a decent field of view.

    12
    #1333 6 days ago
    Quoted from yancy:

    Seth, if you're reading this, welcome to the madness. Get ready to be blamed for every change going forward. We fear change.

    You should fear this change... you guys are freaking out about simple DLC... this guy comes from a company that has dedicated itself to 'increasing yield' - aka how to extract more money from every customer and comes from the financial planning (aka winning by spreadsheet) part of the business. Not success through better product - but success through more revenue generation and minimizing cost.

    It's great Stern is growing up enough to pull in these kind of outside Execs - but you should be afraid of this guy's background.. very afraid.

    #1347 6 days ago

    Extra challenge formats like team play, escape from nublar, etc are all perfect fits for an optional subscription access.

    Making some achievements exclusive to paid opportunities, etc… also natural fits.

    The storm is coming… return to your homes

    #1376 2 days ago
    Quoted from Flipstream:

    Hate to break this to you, but...
    [quoted image]

    What?

    #1385 1 day ago
    Quoted from epthegeek:

    Goat mania is the topper based mode, so to get that achievement you'd have to play on a game with the topper installed. Which essentially puts that achievement behind a paywall.
    At least, I think that's what he was getting at.

    Except... that's exactly what I said...
    "Making some achievements exclusive to paid opportunities, etc… also natural fits."

    That achievements could readily be made for events, behind exclusives, paid opportunities, etc. So not sure what he's breaking to me...

    #1396 12 hours ago

    good to see the Operation registration pages live and the location count going up! Now if stern would move the pages past placeholders and actually have things like filters, location, searching, etc... we can start to have some magic. It's live, let's iterate!

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