(Topic ID: 299309)

Stern Insider Connected

By anathematize

51 days ago

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    Post #1031 Notes directly from Stern's presentation to Stern Army members. Posted by chuckwurt (10 days ago)

    Post #1043 Additional notes from the Stern presentation. Posted by Smack (10 days ago)

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    #45 51 days ago

    Feels like it should've just been a wifi dongle and QR code on the apron (instruction card or sticker) itself instead of all of this complexity per game. Are they trying to save people needing a phone, like I'm going to print out my QR code at home since there's a reader in the game???

    I heard George mention being able to have promotional QR codes that the game can read (free plays for good customers, etc.), but it feels like this is edge case-y and could've still been done via a stern phone app that just associates that with your account after you scan the promo QR code with your phone.

    I can't imagine this will be less than $200 as an upgrade (probably higher)...Wifi dongle + QR code printout could've been like 30 bucks.

    #61 51 days ago
    Quoted from Zambonilli:

    How would you associate game plays to players with just a QR code on the game? The only thing you could go off of is timestamps for the games and the timestamp of the player scanning the QR code into their phone. You'd have to do some sort of matching game on the backend which would unveil a slew of use cases that might not be accurate. 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.

    There would obviously need to be some hand shaking between the game and Stern's back-end, but doesn't seem like it would be a big deal as the game could simply be in login mode and prompt you to scan the QR code on the apron with your phone*. In the end, you would end up in the same/similar state.

    I'm not sure it's worth over designing for the chance that there's spotty connectivity. Just make 99%+ connectivity a requirement.

    * If you've played the "You Don't Know Jack" line of party games on your console, they do something similar, except they display a unique 6(?) digit code in the lobby that you enter into your device to join the game. No login required there, but that could've just been built into a phone app, e.g.

    #67 51 days ago
    Quoted from Zambonilli:

    Not taking money unless there is internet connectivity is a pretty huge leap here.

    I'm not getting that this replaces traditional payment methods (possibly augments it?)...I still see card swipers, dollar bill acceptors, coin slots, payrange, etc., given operators operate a variety of games from multiple manufacturers. Unless stern has some big vision to overtake payrange?

    P.S. I can all but guarantee that Stern will never make login a requirement to play a game. Would completely weed out casual players that just want to put in a buck and flip a game.

    #96 51 days ago
    Quoted from gblack:

    The game will be connected to wifi. It's in the podcast. The QR code was used to keep things simple and not have yet another device such as bluetooth / NFC to troubleshoot connectivity with.

    He just means that it seems bass ackwards, as the phone/app could've been the QR scanner instead of the game. I'm sure they have their reasons, but on the surface it seems to make the solution a lot more complex and expensive.

    #174 51 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.

    It seems like a comparatively large expense/level of complexity to support what is likely a small segment of the community (phone-less) who would potentially use/care about this feature.

    Personally, if it's multiple hundreds of dollars to add to one machine, I will probably pass unless it's just insanely amazing. If it was tens of dollars, I probably would've bought if it was even mildly interesting...

    Plus, it's got to be partly responsible for the rumored price increases...I'd (naively) rather have the old cheaper pro w/ no connectivity.

    #182 51 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    I'm sure the bar's PoS system isn't running on carrier pigeons...

    #222 51 days ago

    As much as I don't like Stern's seemingly Rube-Goldberg-like approach to this problem, I will commend them for not making people connect via fucking Bluetooth or NFC.

    ...I wonder if they started with NFC, figured out it would suck, and said "fuck it, swap it out that POS in the apron for a QR reader instead"?

    #338 50 days ago
    Quoted from BrewNinja:

    LOL...You guys are all funny. Take a step back from your high horses and look at the population. Not everyone is a 40 year old dude playing a pin in their home. There are a lot of people on location that play because they cant afford to own one, don't have room, etc. There are also a lot of old people, kids, etc that play and don't have smart phones. Saying that people who don't have a smart phone don't care is ridiculous. Like having a smart phone is what defines if you care? HUH? What if there is a tournament and they can piggy back off this? What if there is some other feature that is killer or needed for something. You guys are very short sighted on what can be done or what this could be possibly used for. Why not design something that works for every single person instead of just most people? Sorry it costs $50 extra to be fully inclusive

    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.)

    Are these phoneless people actually going to go home, create an account and print off a QR code so they can use these features? If they don't have a phone -- what if they don't have a computer and printer at home? Go to the library or school to do the same? What about people that don't know how to use a computer at all? Get their niece or nephew to figure it out for them? (You can keep going on and on...)

    IMO the "right" approach would've been to start with a more lean solution as a mvp ($30 wifi dongle [optional] + software) and then iterate from there based on customer feedback. You can always iterate to something more complex/expensive if necessary.

    $30 per game retrofit or incremental cost on new games would've interested me as a home user. $200/300/400 or whatever it ends up costing per game, not so much. Probably not a big deal either way for an operator though, as the telemetry and remote configuration aspects alone make it worth even the higher price. (Though, even there, a more lean implementation of wifi and some software improvements would've been sufficient for the use case.)

    #386 50 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.

    If you're concerned about that, then a code on the LCD screen like the jackbox family of party games would suffice. (I.e.: You don't even need QR codes...)

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