Quoted from Frax:
I'm not talking about BHZA/RAZA or whatever the crap it's called.. I'm talking about something that would go like this:
Factory builds the cabinet, decals the cabinet. Installs the coin door and side rails. Factory makes the wire harness with the correct lengths, zipties it, bundles it up. No connectors installed. All parts for the game are packed into the cabinet body. End user must install all other cabinet hardware, pin the harness, install the circuit boards, install the playfield components on the playfield, solder the connections, basically all the tedious manual work that it takes to assemble a game that can be done without a big professional workspace, or things like say a spray booth, etc. This is something that I could reasonably do in my condo piecemeal that wouldn't require me to have a garage or barn.
I just think it would be fun to build a WPC or Sys 11 game from all new parts at home...could run the wiring the way I want it, and at the end of the day be able to say "I put this together".
I can't see this happening. Here's why.
-A smart company does not want to run the risk of a layperson putting things together incorrectly and then potentially representing their brand in a negative light. It doesn't seem smart for a company to allow this to happen with a complex product intended to be professionally manufactured.
-A smart company wants to avoid any legal liability problems. You build it incorrectly by accident and somehow a siderail is electrified, or maybe the machine catches fire and burns down your house. Any UL/CSA (etc) certifications a game might have rolling out of the factory fully assembled would probably be nullified if it was built by John Q. Public. It's not like a Kit Car you can build and then take on the road - you have to get those cars approved and inspected according to local regulations. If you built a pinball machine and miswired it, there is no agency to protect you from killing yourself before you use it. No warranty either if they're smart.
-They would not want to provide any support for it at all if they were smart. Since they probably realize the first two things I mention, this issue is moot since they'd probably never do this in the first place. The cost associated with supporting a product like this would likely make it unprofitable. Think about the information (manuals, very thorough step by step assembly instructions + packaging for each specific step, exact list of tools required, maybe a DVD, email and telephone support, yadda yadda yadda) that would be required for your average person to assemble something like a pinball machine in their house. Wow what a pain. Problem is, without a kit support team, almost nobody would ever get the game put together properly.
You said it would take less manpower, I think it would take about the same (minus a few low salary line workers) in terms of manufacturing PLUS a team dedicated to kits specifically. I imagine the people who support the kits would be paid a lot more than the line workers because they would legitimately need some pretty big juicy brains.
-Finally, those who could actually handle something of this nature from start to finish AND wanted to do it... that's probably about 200-300 people on the whole planet.
You called someone else stupid for suggesting it wouldn't be profitable. And I think he's right on the money if we're talking about Stern or JJP. Maybe this idea is...