Quoted from PinballCompany:
I'm surprised that in a world where LCD TVs, PCs, and other consumer electronics have fallen drastically, new pinball machines have gone the other direction. Is a change on the way? Will we ever see a quality machine for $3995 or less?
You should not be surprised at all. The products you mention are all built in Asian factories and built by the tens of thousands. There is WAY too much USA labor in a pinball machine to see prices go down while building them domestically. Also, they simply don't make enough of them to push pricing down on parts, etc... You would either have to have a technological breakthrough that allowed some other way to build the machines with a drastically lowered total man hours, or move them to over seas production to ever see the price go DOWN. Stern's cost of doing business only goes UP each year. Insurance, wages, power bills, parts... all going up. That makes the game price go up.
I think trying to build a pinball machine in China/Indonesia would be a nightmare at first, but could be done. I was with a major electronics and sound company during their shift to building in China, after being all USA built for 30+ years. It was a painful process with major QC issues, but eventually very good products (complex amps, mixers, controllers, etc) are now being produced at a FRACTION of the price that they could be in the USA. Also the parts list plays a major roll in getting the price down. When you build in China, you generally start using more Chinese (less expensive) built parts too.
Fine, I will do a podcast.