The stiff winds of momentum change in pinball manufacturing

(Topic ID: 218248)

The stiff winds of momentum change in pinball manufacturing


By Cserold

6 months ago



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  • 52 posts
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  • Latest reply 6 months ago by Brijam
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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    There are 52 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 6 months ago

    Apparently its Friday because I was just sitting here thinking about how stressful/difficult it must be for guys like Gary, Jack and others leading pinball manufacturing companies. With sales trending increasingly towards more home ownership purchases, there is so much emotion involved in the purchasing of a new pinball machine these days.

    It seems like public perception of the "hot" manufacturer can change in the matter of a few hours. I'm sure some will disagree, but it feels like just a few weeks ago the general consensus was that Stern's quick production/release model was losing steam with undeveloped code (GOTG,BM66), unpopular/uninspired art on massive licenses (Star Wars), having nothing to new to put on display at the biggest shows, etc. Felt like JJP was taking a big step towards gaining market share (and possibly control) with the unique and creative features of POTC and the traction it gained at the big shows.

    So, all this is going on and in the background, you have Gary holding his Iron Maiden card and not being able to say a thing and Jack having to know that POTC has some major design challenges that need to be changed. In complete contrast to recent history, Maiden drops to smashing reviews with developed code, sick art and a refreshingly unique layout. Poor Eric is thrown to wolves on POTC "tweaks." All the while both have to be shaking their heads at the popularity of TNA and Spooky running with Scott's design.

    This is NOT a JJP vs. Stern debate. It's simply an observation that this is a pretty unique competitive landscape and that I'm damn glad I'm not the guy running either of these companies....wow. Lot's of respect for them all and fingers crossed that the market is big enough to support all of them for a long time to come.

    In 5 years time, how do you think this all plays out?

    #2 6 months ago
    Quoted from Cserold:

    In 5 years time, how do you think this all plays out?

    $8500 pros, $14000 LES, $18000 JJPs

    #3 6 months ago

    I guess you are only as good as your last pin released.

    #4 6 months ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    I guess you are only as good as your last pin released.

    That about sums up my long winded post. Very nice.

    Quoted from InfiniteLives:

    $8500 pros, $1400 LES, $1800 JJPs

    The only way I can make sense of this is $850 pros. Typo?

    #5 6 months ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    I guess you are only as good as your last pin released.

    For manufactures, with rent and salaries to pay, this is quite true.

    #6 6 months ago

    its called pinside, and members having an opinion

    people will buy or not buy a game depending on if it is fun, not because of what pinside thinks

    #7 6 months ago

    I like the hype and excitement that the iron maiden launch brought with it.

    I have not played it as much as I will.

    The competive pinball landscape. Challenging. But I will take no bs. I have no filter.

    If I don't have anything good to say often I won't say anything now.

    But this is all great for us the players, buyers and everyone else.

    I watched the spooky presentation at golden state and was pretty impressed by thier team.

    #8 6 months ago

    Pinball is hard.

    Pinball is expensive.

    #9 6 months ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    I guess you are only as good as your last pin released.

    We always say at work.
    Your only as good as your last F*** Up.

    16
    #10 6 months ago

    without competition we'd still be seeing new DMD games. JJP is the true hero.

    #11 6 months ago
    Quoted from Cserold:

    Apparently its Friday because I was just sitting here thinking about how stressful/difficult it must be for guys like Gary, Jack and others leading pinball manufacturing companies. With sales trending increasingly towards more home ownership purchases, there is so much emotion involved in the purchasing of a new pinball machine these days.
    It seems like public perception of the "hot" manufacturer can change in the matter of a few hours. I'm sure some will disagree, but it feels like just a few weeks ago the general consensus was that Stern's quick production/release model was losing steam with undeveloped code (GOTG,BM66), unpopular/uninspired art on massive licenses (Star Wars), having nothing to new to put on display at the biggest shows, etc. Felt like JJP was taking a big step towards gaining market share (and possibly control) with the unique and creative features of POTC and the traction it gained at the big shows.
    So, all this is going on and in the background, you have Gary holding his Iron Maiden card and not being able to say a thing and Jack having to know that POTC has some major design challenges that need to be changed. In complete contrast to recent history, Maiden drops to smashing reviews with developed code, sick art and a refreshingly unique layout. Poor Eric is thrown to wolves on POTC "tweaks." All the while both have to be shaking their heads at the popularity of TNA and Spooky running with Scott's design.
    This is NOT a JJP vs. Stern debate. It's simply an observation that this is a pretty unique competitive landscape and that I'm damn glad I'm not the guy running either of these companies....wow. Lot's of respect for them all and fingers crossed that the market is big enough to support all of them for a long time to come.
    In 5 years time, how do you think this all plays out?

    similar to how it has the past 5 years but with more people. Pinball is still growing and in many sectors/ new areas.
    The fact that people are even talking, debating, arguing on multiple forums shows the continueed growth, hype, excitement around it.

    I think the online communities are us uber nerd hyper users and we are just excited for the next new thing constantly. Reality in the real world is that things are much more level and tempered...

    Iron Maiden is nothing special. It is a new fun game and delivery is happening. The excitement is fueled (sadly) since the previous bar was set so low with Stern that we all expected crap code and only 2 flippers on a game. Nice to see Stern has made it back to what many consider the baseline of acceptable.

    JJP POTC has obviously gone well beyond excitement phase do to the delay to production and changes from beta for many of us uber nerds, but most of the real world does not even know it exists yet.

    We are a community of passion and hype that are constantly looking for our next fix and the cycle time of those things continues to shrink. Hell, a Baywatch that is horribly over priced is trending news on pinside because we are bored this week with no real new news to feed off or debate

    #12 6 months ago

    It's like a group of kids chasing after a soccer ball.

    #13 6 months ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    I guess you are only as good as your last pin released.

    Steve Kordek said it: "Two dogs in a row can kill a pinball company."

    #14 6 months ago
    Quoted from Cserold:

    That about sums up my long winded post. Very nice.

    The only way I can make sense of this is $850 pros. Typo?

    missed the zeros on the other two lol. just a joke at how the prices continually rise with every release regardless of feature additions/subtractions

    in 5 years prices for NIB games will be even more dumb than they are today.

    #15 6 months ago

    Quad Assembly will change everything

    #16 6 months ago

    I don't think day to day hype that happens on pinside is at all a reflection of the actual operations of pinball manufacturers.

    I'd almost argue the largest two manufacturers aren't even competing against each other as much as you think. I am pretty sure operators are still a very large part of Stern's market (probably 50/50) whereas JJP due to its higher price point has a much smaller market of operators. (This is a WAG but probably 90 home/ 10% operators).

    There are actual challenges, like Stern's software being 'behind' a bit, but they've got new teams and are dropping code more often and have taken steps to rectify this. And the challenges of cost control, and funding operations. IMHO the biggest momentum change would be macro-economic; if the stock market tanks or the economy goes into recession, that would hurt manufacturers a lot more than whatever the next JJP/Stern/Spooky game is.

    #17 6 months ago
    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    its called pinside, and members having an opinion
    people will buy or not buy a game depending on if it is fun, not because of what pinside thinks

    I disagree with this. I think pinside along with podcasters play a big part in what peiple buy when they hype certain games. At a minimum I've seen people here say comments like "I really need to give that game a try" based on threads or comments

    #18 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinballTilt:

    I disagree with this. I think pinside along with podcasters play a big part in what peiple buy when they hype certain games. At a minimum I've seen people here say comments like "I really need to give that game a try" based on threads or comments

    My game purchases started out with whatever was cheap and local. Then when i could afford games that I actually wanted, I bought based on what I enjoyed playing at shows. I don't think I have ever made a purchase based on discussions on Pinside.

    #19 6 months ago
    Quoted from Nexyss:

    My game purchases started out with whatever was cheap and local. Then when i could afford games that I actually wanted, I bought based on what I enjoyed playing at shows. I don't think I have ever made a purchase based on discussions on Pinside.

    Yeah, not a large percentage would buy a game just because someone says it's the best game ever, but if we had a poll and people were honest I think there would be more than a handful that put down a pre-order or bought a game based in part on what someone on here said about it.

    If you were new and you saw a for sale thread for a game you think you'd like and everyone was saying it's a great game and a great deal, wouldn't those comments lead you to contact the seller? I liked the Houdini theme and enjoyed it when I played it, but I didn't pull the trigger in preordering until watching sdtms stream with the designer and seeing how awesome they think it was.

    Its all just my opinion

    #20 6 months ago
    Quoted from DennisDodel:

    Steve Kordek said it: "Two dogs in a row can kill a pinball company."

    I think that is definitely true for most right now. Perhaps Stern has already proven that to be false (in their case), however.

    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    It's like a group of kids chasing after a soccer ball.

    Totally agree and great analogy. If you have ever had to painfully watch 6 and under soccer you know exactly what he means.

    #21 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Iron Maiden is nothing special. It is a new fun game and delivery is happening. The excitement is fueled (sadly) since the previous bar was set so low with Stern that we all expected crap code and only 2 flippers on a game. Nice to see Stern has made it back to what many consider the baseline of acceptable.

    I understand and agree with your general sentiment here but totally disagree that it Maiden is "nothing special" This wasn't a theme game for me at all but is the hands down favorite for any NIB game I've owned. Thought it would be a while before something beat DI for me. You may just consider an occasional "in my opinion, " or "for me, " every now and again.

    #22 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinballTilt:

    Yeah, not a large percentage would buy a game just because someone says it's the best game ever, but if we had a poll and people were honest I think there would be more than a handful that put down a pre-order or bought a game based in part on what someone on here said about it.
    If you were new and you saw a for sale thread for a game you think you'd like and everyone was saying it's a great game and a great deal, wouldn't those comments lead you to contact the seller? I liked the Houdini theme and enjoyed it when I played it, but I didn't pull the trigger in preordering until watching sdtms stream with the designer and seeing how awesome they think it was.
    Its all just my opinion

    I liked playing the Hobbit at the last show I was at, so I went out looking for information on it. I found a SDTM video about it on youtube. I have no idea who they are other than that they are members here. I can't say that their opinion of it (they seemed to like the game) really pushed me further towards buying it though. I will need to play it more before I decide for sure, which will be difficult since there are none on location here.

    It could also be that I don't normally enjoy a lot of the popular games. At this point, I wouldn't play TZ for free. I just looked at the top 50 games, and counted 20 that I would play if I saw them. I included Houdini in the count even though I haven't played it because it looks interesting.

    #23 6 months ago
    Quoted from Cserold:

    You may just consider an occasional "in my opinion, " or "for me, " every now and again.

    should be assumed in any online forum IMO...

    #24 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    should be assumed in any online forum IMO...

    Ha. I see what you did there. And that’s a fair point.

    #25 6 months ago
    Quoted from Rondogg:

    without competition we'd still be seeing new DMD games. JJP is the true hero.

    Hero?, nope--but Jack did bring about change and an upward price spiral that has no end in sight.

    #26 6 months ago

    I really feel for the JJP POTC triple disc failure. It has obviously cost them some delays and surely a lot of money. I wonder if they had many playfields already produced expecting the triple disc mechanism to be ok. The initial "debut to hype" apex has clearly passed. I hope that it sells enough to cover the loss and they continue to make progress perfecting their production.

    #27 6 months ago
    Quoted from Cserold:

    Apparently its Friday because I was just sitting here thinking about how stressful/difficult it must be for guys like Gary, Jack and others leading pinball manufacturing companies. With sales trending increasingly towards more home ownership purchases, there is so much emotion involved in the purchasing of a new pinball machine these days.
    It seems like public perception of the "hot" manufacturer can change in the matter of a few hours. I'm sure some will disagree, but it feels like just a few weeks ago the general consensus was that Stern's quick production/release model was losing steam with undeveloped code (GOTG,BM66), unpopular/uninspired art on massive licenses (Star Wars), having nothing to new to put on display at the biggest shows, etc. Felt like JJP was taking a big step towards gaining market share (and possibly control) with the unique and creative features of POTC and the traction it gained at the big shows.
    So, all this is going on and in the background, you have Gary holding his Iron Maiden card and not being able to say a thing and Jack having to know that POTC has some major design challenges that need to be changed. In complete contrast to recent history, Maiden drops to smashing reviews with developed code, sick art and a refreshingly unique layout. Poor Eric is thrown to wolves on POTC "tweaks." All the while both have to be shaking their heads at the popularity of TNA and Spooky running with Scott's design.
    This is NOT a JJP vs. Stern debate. It's simply an observation that this is a pretty unique competitive landscape and that I'm damn glad I'm not the guy running either of these companies....wow. Lot's of respect for them all and fingers crossed that the market is big enough to support all of them for a long time to come.
    In 5 years time, how do you think this all plays out?

    Dude, it feels like you're extrapolating a lot based on Pinside gossip. Pinside is cool and all, but the noise on here is far from "general consensus", or "public perception". Lots of it is just bogus drama.

    Stern pumps out probably 20x the volume of Spooky and 5x-10x the volume of JJP. No question who the big dog is. No one is vying for control. These companies are just trying to sell some pins.

    Some titles are bigger hits than others. Some have more code at launch than others. It's nothing new.

    And it's impossible for Stern to drop a new title at every big show. Whoever thinks theirs is the biggest show and gets miffed if no new Stern gets announced needs to get over themselves.

    Maybe I'm being a sourpuss here, but I'm not a big fan of "Who's hot? Who's not?" type of discussions. Feels like Yahoo or Huffpo trash.

    I do agree making pins for a living is hard and the increase in home collectors buying NIB pins is probably a PITA.

    #28 6 months ago

    IMG_1521 (resized).jpg
    #29 6 months ago
    Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

    Lots of it is just bogus drama.

    speaking of bogus drama....

    can you please prove this?

    Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

    Stern pumps out probably 20x the volume of Spooky and 5x-10x the volume of JJP

    Everything I can see is more like Stern is making 3-5x of JJP currently and that number shrinking...

    #30 6 months ago
    Quoted from Cserold:

    public perception

    and a handful of people arguing...errr.....'discussing' latest releases on Pinside are not the same thing. For a fun reference - go back to the Stern Star Trek thread when it was released and drink in the hate. This isn't a slam on Pinside - people here are passionate and hyper focused on any new news/releases as almost a full side hobby....but its also not a solid barometer.

    #31 6 months ago
    Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

    Stern pumps out probably 20x the volume of Spooky and 5x-10x the volume of JJP.

    You forgot the multiplier on CGC, American Pinball, Multimorphic, etc...

    #32 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Iron Maiden is nothing special. It is a new fun game and delivery is happening. The excitement is fueled (sadly) since the previous bar was set so low with Stern that we all expected crap code and only 2 flippers on a game. Nice to see Stern has made it back to what many consider the baseline of acceptable.

    I think you mean it IS something special... More than that. I had a non pinhead friend over last night and he couldn't get enough of IMDN. My other machines are pretty amazing too, so this is something more than special.

    #33 6 months ago
    Quoted from dts:

    I had a non pinhead friend over last night and he couldn't get enough of IMDN.

    Wow...someone liked your pinball machine; truly special.

    #34 6 months ago
    Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

    Lots of [pinside noise] is just bogus drama.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    speaking of bogus drama.... can you please prove this?

    if we could determine who the ringmaster is we could eliminate most of it.

    ringmaster01 (resized).jpg
    #35 6 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Wow...someone liked your pinball machine; truly special.

    Him and only a couple of others.

    #36 6 months ago
    Quoted from dts:

    I think you mean it IS something special... More than that. I had a non pinhead friend over last night and he couldn't get enough of IMDN. My other machines are pretty amazing too, so this is something more than special.

    nah, I think it is the current flavor of the month and combined with how low our expectations have been for Stern it is a huge step up to what should be considered the baseline. I think it is a good game and fun, but also think the hype and fluff beasts are string just because it is finally a return to baseline.

    Already see lots for sale and changing hands which tells me it is good, not great.

    On route the numbers also show it as good, not great.

    Time will tell, but appears to be hot for now.

    #37 6 months ago
    Quoted from greenhornet:

    if we could determine who the ringmaster is we could eliminate most of it.

    I did an image search for "Kaneda Pinball" and I'm pretty sure he is the Ringmaster.

    #38 6 months ago
    Quoted from greenhornet:

    if we could determine who the ringmaster is we could eliminate most of it.

    which of your dup accounts did you mean to post this from?

    #39 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    nah, I think it is the current flavor of the month and combined with how low our expectations have been for Stern it is a huge step up to what should be considered the baseline. I think it is a good game and fun, but also think the hype and fluff beasts are string just because it is finally a return to baseline.
    Already see lots for sale and changing hands which tells me it is good, not great.
    On route the numbers also show it as good, not great.
    Time will tell, but appears to be hot for now.

    Maybe you're right, time will tell. Time answers most questions!

    #40 6 months ago

    Stern keeps reporting that they've had their best month/year ever. They also seem focused on new markets (overseas).

    Everyone else seems to be battling over the "pinball show" crowd, which is very finite.

    #41 6 months ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    ...They also seem focused on new markets (overseas).

    If China ever finds a love for pinball that could be huge. I doubt it will ever happen but it's within the realm of future possibilities.

    #42 6 months ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    It's like a group of kids chasing after a soccer ball.

    Not really. Pinball is fun. Soccer sucks.

    #43 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    which of your dup accounts did you mean to post this from?

    if someone in the 'peanut gallery' still believes the posts of greenhornet should/could be originating from somewhere else, im sure the pinside staff would appreciate you having the goods. you will be wasting their time though, as they already looked into this matter months ago.

    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    Pinside staff comment:
    We have looked into the matter and do not see anything that leads us to believe greenhornet is a duplicate, in fact, our investigation leads us to believe he is not a duplicate. His posting style likewise does not emulate any usual duplicate account suspect.
    If anyone has hard data to show or suggest (other than the third person comment above) he's a duplicate please give it to us in a private MF thread, otherwise we view the matter as closed and instruct everyone to go back on topic.
    Thank you all for your attention.

    #44 6 months ago


    Quoted from greenhornet:if someone in the 'peanut gallery' still believes the posts of greenhornet should/could be originating from somewhere else, im sure the pinside staff would appreciate you having the goods. you will be wasting their time though, as they already looked into this matter months ago.

    so you just condescendingly always talk about your self in the 3rd person? while defending yourself and doing so in a way that always reads like you forgot to log back in to your alt account to do so... OK

    #45 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    so you just condescendingly always talk about your self in the 3rd person?

    take it to pm.

    you completely missed the humour.
    the reply from months ago by tiger law contains a reference 'other than the 3rd person comment above', so i included a 3rd person reference in my post from today since it would be above his.

    #46 6 months ago
    Quoted from FlippyD:

    If China ever finds a love for pinball that could be huge. I doubt it will ever happen but it's within the realm of future possibilities.

    Now your thinking...

    In my thinking, it would take a Chinese company to lead this charge. Internally in the culture. I like a challenge.

    #47 6 months ago
    Quoted from Azmodeus:

    Now your thinking...
    In my thinking, it would take a Chinese company to lead this charge. Internally in the culture. I like a challenge.

    What would interest a country to play pinball in China? I wonder.

    #48 6 months ago

    Chinese success doesn't even have to be a huge change in culture. You're talking 1.4 Billion people. What would it take to sell 1000 pinballs to shops that have amusement entertainment devices.

    #49 6 months ago
    Quoted from FlippyD:

    If China ever finds a love for pinball that could be huge. I doubt it will ever happen but it's within the realm of future possibilities.

    Yes, but you have to find a theme they at least recognise
    Metallica, nup. Batman 66, nup. Aerosmith, nup
    follow the Mouse, Disney (which includes Marvel) has made inroads into China, so if I was G Stern, I would vault IronMan and The Avengers into the Chinese market

    #50 6 months ago
    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    Yes, but you have to find a theme they at least recognise
    Metallica, nup. Batman 66, nup. Aerosmith, nup
    follow the Mouse, Disney (which includes Marvel) has made inroads into China, so if I was G Stern, I would vault IronMan and The Avengers into the Chinese market

    I would love to see a market open up in China and Gary has been to China. Didn't Homepin announce that their next title is going to be catered to China? All wishful thinking. They have zero cultural interest in pinball. It would be like wondering if Pachinko is ever going to take off in the USA, possible, but a lot of cultural shifts would have to change to make that possible. Still holding out hope however...

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