(Topic ID: 357687)

What's Your Bracket? (Pinball is DEAD!)

By JakeFAttie

42 days ago


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  • 91 posts
  • 45 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 20 days ago by yancy
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “My net worth is...”

    • Under One Million US dollars. 44 votes
      39%
    • 1-10 million $ 48 votes
      42%
    • Over 10 million 7 votes
      6%
    • Over 100 million. 15 votes
      13%

    (114 votes)

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    There are 91 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    -21
    #1 42 days ago

    So I finally played John Wick last night, and you know what, it's not bad. Fun and fairly attractive, if you love the movies it's probably a good pin for you. On the other hand, for $7000, jesus-fucking-christ, there are way better used pins out there. You could certainly have just as much fun with a nice used T2 for half the price.

    And, honestly, the same could be said about any of the new pins. They're all great, but there are 100,000 used pins out there that are just as fun for half (or a third) the price. Sure, if you are a pro player the depth of modern pin code is exciting, but pro pinball players represents probably like .001 percent of the general population.

    So, and we are getting closer to the point of this thread, who are these modern pinball machines being made for? Routing is essentially dead, middle-class folks who love pins can probably afford one machine, but will probably be more than happy with what's available in the used market at these prices. so that just leaves rich folks. And that is where we are, pinball has gone from a for-profit entertainment model to a luxury collectors hobby. And how sustainable is that? Luxury watches, exotic cars, private jets, yachts, even fancy sneakers; all these things have one thing in common, they are sexy. That is to say they show off wealth and attract women, but private game rooms will rarely get you laid. So pinball machines are now being made solely for rich folks who love pinball and have given up on sex?

    The truth is, if all the manufacturers went under today and no new pins were produced for a few decades, this hobby would be just fine, maybe better. If you're a millionaire and want to have a $100,000 game room, obviously that's your choice, but it is a little gross (just like yachts and private jets). Unless you are an operator, owning more than one or two machines at these prices is gauche. Of course that's the society we live in, everything is conspicuous consumption. So I'm not judging you, I'm just pointing out, you could feed a lot of starving kids, or plant a lot of trees, for $7000.

    OK, I know I'm going to get a lot of hate and downvotes for this thread, but fuck it; I love pinball but I'm ready to be ostracized off pinside! I really think not only has the bubble burst, but that we are going to see another major contraction of the industry. I suspect most of the smaller manufacturers will be gone in the next five years. Maybe Stern hangs on, but if they've been doing all this expansion on credit they may be in trouble too. The bottom line is the prices of modern machines are just not sustainable; there are too many better used games out there, enough to sustain most casual players. If the industry is now being driven solely for rich pinheads, how sustainable is this model?

    So what's your bracket?

    #3 42 days ago

    So, you are rich, have not been laid and are starving all the children. Cool story bro.

    #4 42 days ago

    Eleventy billion clams.

    #5 42 days ago
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    #6 42 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    if all the manufacturers went under today and no new pins were produced for a few decades, this hobby would be just fine, maybe better.

    what is even going on here

    #7 42 days ago

    I don't know - at its core isn't this just another thread about pinball prices being too high. And yes, at the end of the day there is certainly more noble ways to spend ones money - this true every almost everything though. And again yes, the secondary market is certainly a good place to look for the cost conscious consumer because of high NIB prices. And speaking of high . . . . . . . (wink wink nudge nudge)

    #8 42 days ago

    If this is a pricing bubble thread, Do Not tell Levi...

    #9 42 days ago
    Quoted from Threetreys:

    I don't know - at its core isn't this just another thread about pinball prices being too high.

    well yes and no. More than just a price BUBBLE or FULL PANIC thread, I want to talk about whether there is actually a sustainable business model being pursued industry wide. IMHO the covid market surge not only caused a price bubble, but a shift entirely away from a middle class hobby to a luxury collectable market. I just don't see how even a few hundred millionaire collectors can keep a dozen manufacturers afloat.

    I suspect the bubble and the distributor panic is just the tip of the iceberg and a major industry wide implosion is beginning.

    #10 42 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    well yes and no. More than just a price BUBBLE or FULL PANIC thread, I want to talk about whether there is actually a sustainable business model being pursued industry wide. IMHO the covid market surge not only caused a price bubble, but a shift entirely away from a middle class hobby to a luxury collectable market. I just don't see a few hundred millionaire collectors can keep a dozen manufacturers afloat.
    I suspect the bubble and the distributor panic is just the tip of the iceberg and a major industry wide implosion is beginning.

    If manufacturers are finding that buyers are slowing down, they have several things that they can adjust to help boost the number of sales again. Prices, game licenses, game complexity, game code enhancements, game artwork, new game features, internet-connected game features, BOM cuts, new "economy" game editions...probably a whole bunch of other stuff I haven't thought of off the top of my head.

    The collectibles market as a whole has slowed down significantly since the covid market surge. I collect within a few different hobbies, and they've all displayed similar price decreases and a reduced number of purchases.

    The covid surge was mainly caused by people being cooped up with nothing else to do and nowhere to go. Since life has gotten back to normal, people are no longer cooped up like they were, and are spending again in other areas beyond just collectables. Then on top of that, there's also the inflation that has decreased everyone's buying power.

    However, the pinball ecosystem isn't suddenly going to collapse and disappear. It's still as strong as any other collectibles market. When something interesting comes along for a price they like, they will still buy it.

    #11 42 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    If manufacturers are finding that buyers are slowing down, they have several things that they can adjust to help boost the number of sales again.
    However, the pinball ecosystem isn't suddenly going to collapse and disappear. It's still as strong as any other collectibles market. When something interesting comes along for a price they like, they will still buy it.

    I hear you and thanks for taking this discussion seriously. I'm curious what other collectables markets are you in? In my opinion there is really nothing that is quite like pinball, mostly because the machines are designed to actually make money and be profitable. But I'm not sure that's possible anymore. We are witnessing a seismic shift in the industry's business model, comparable perhaps to when video games emerged in the early 80's. And we know how that turned out. If you go on comments made in other threads, there is definitely a slow down in sales. So what can manufacturers can do to boost things if they are unwilling (or unable) to lower prices?

    #12 42 days ago

    I would expect a price correction from manufacturers - it might not be on actual MSRP but maybe in rebates or allowing distros to run sales - like the car market(ouch - I just said price correction and car market - sigh). NIB market I would think will have to find a way to mimic the price decrease in the secondary market. So - if I have to pick a side I land on the side that says long term unsustainable without some type of change. But all the economics of pinball is purely speculative except for the actual manufactures and distros - only they know the real numbers. I know I’m staying in the secondary market.

    #13 42 days ago

    Pinball machines aren't something only a millionaire can afford. Yes, they are a luxury, but so are plenty of other things which people of all income brackets spend money on when they value it enough:

    (approximate equivalent of Stern Pros in parenthesis)

    - Pet (1-2)

    - Cottage (modest) (20-30)

    - 40 acres hunting land (20+)

    - Pontoon boat with 115 HP motor (4-6)

    - Travel trailer (3-5)

    - UTV (2-4)

    - An extra 1000 square feet of house one doesn't use (21)

    - Full-size crew cab pickup truck (8-12)

    - Alaska cruise booked through a travel agent (1/person)

    - Snowmobile/ATV (1)

    Are any of these worth it to the next person? Maybe, maybe not.

    Let's not forget, owning a house is a luxury. Having a lawn is a luxury. Having two cars in probably a luxury. As is smoking, drinking, putting kids in club sports, going to concerts, eating out, having an ebike, yada, yada, yada...

    I don't think lower prices will tip the market and flood it with buyers. Adding fun and enough depth to the games (story lines/role playing, competition, variety/unique experience every time, etc.) and other social aspects are need to expand the market.

    #14 42 days ago

    By Jove! These pinball contraptions are becoming prohibitively expensive.
    My gardener can scarcley afford a decent assortment.

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    #15 42 days ago

    Ok - it's been said before but I'll throw it out there again - Pinball leasing. Pay monthly until you're tired of the game and then return it. Lease to own option.
    Don't like a game send it back after the first month. Takes the economic risk/reward out of the system for those who choose this option. Could this not be a service for Distros - especially on slow selling games?

    #16 42 days ago

    Besides stern, I think CGC, JJP, American, and Spooky were all active before Covid. Spooky (and stern obviously) grew since then, but im not sure about the others. JJP moved…but are they really selling more pins? So, I don’t know…do we really have significantly more manufacturing (and new game selection) than we did precovid? Also, the market might be plateauing, but I think it’s still higher than it was before Covid.

    Consumers will cut back on NIBs. Then, because we did, there will be fewer of these recent releases in the used market and used prices will increase…maybe some consumers will end up feeling they missed out….then fomo will begin rising with the next releases. We doom ourselves and maybe one or two of the smaller struggling boutiques…in the end Stern will be fine as long as they want.

    #17 42 days ago
    Quoted from jackd104:

    Eleventy billion clams.

    #18 42 days ago
    Quoted from Threetreys:

    Ok - it's been said before but I'll throw it out there again - Pinball leasing. Pay monthly until you're tired of the game and then return it. Lease to own option.
    Don't like a game send it back after the first month. Takes the economic risk/reward out of the system for those who choose this option. Could this not be a service for Distros - especially on slow selling games?

    I would like this option. Try everything and end up with the one I like the most.

    Interestingly, I make right at the average annual wage here in the US ($60k) and with some careful planning and spending, I could buy one game every year at $7k. Is that responsible? Heck no! But sometimes you just need to live. You dont have to have a large net worth to have luxuries. I am curious to see where this hobby goes as I too think these prices are unsustainable in the long term. Manufacturers will just have to figure it out as they go and so will we.

    #19 41 days ago

    I just planted 27 nice sized trees. Am I allowed to keep my pinball machines?

    #21 41 days ago

    Some people might scoff at the lease option and just say - "go play it on location and buy it if you like it" - but I don't care how often you get out to your local barcade ( and I am a big fan of these) it will never give you the same experience as having it at your house where you can really deep dive rules and all the sounds and visuals. And don't just offer new games - put some older A grade titles as options - I would love to lease a CFTBL for 2-3 months or a Flash Gordon. I think one of the problems with Pinside ratings is the fact that people will rate a game after a few flips on a game at their local pinball venue (including me). Ok, wait forget I said that - not trying to get a whole different topic going on here.

    #22 41 days ago

    $100 a month for a pro? $150 for a premium? might be a business model there.

    #23 41 days ago

    Did anyone get past the first few sentences of the OP? I need a TLDR recap because I aint reading that.

    #24 41 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    Luxury watches, exotic cars, private jets, yachts, even fancy sneakers; all these things have one thing in common, they are sexy. That is to say they show off wealth and attract women

    How ugly are you exactly?

    #25 41 days ago
    Quoted from HawaiiPinball:

    Pinball machines aren't something only a millionaire can afford. Yes, they are a luxury, but so are plenty of other things which people of all income brackets spend money on when they value it enough:
    (approximate equivalent of Stern Pros in parenthesis)
    - Pet (1-2)
    - Cottage (modest) (20-30)
    - 40 acres hunting land (20+)
    - Pontoon boat with 115 HP motor (4-6)
    - Travel trailer (3-5)
    - UTV (2-4)
    - An extra 1000 square feet of house one doesn't use (21)
    - Full-size crew cab pickup truck (8-12)
    - Alaska cruise booked through a travel agent (1/person)
    - Snowmobile/ATV (1)
    Are any of these worth it to the next person? Maybe, maybe not.
    Let's not forget, owning a house is a luxury. Having a lawn is a luxury. Having two cars in probably a luxury. As is smoking, drinking, putting kids in club sports, going to concerts, eating out, having an ebike, yada, yada, yada...
    I don't think lower prices will tip the market and flood it with buyers. Adding fun and enough depth to the games (story lines/role playing, competition, variety/unique experience every time, etc.) and other social aspects are need to expand the market.

    Shit this isn't a cargument its an everythingment!

    #26 41 days ago

    $10,000 by Christmas

    #27 41 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    If you're a millionaire and want to have a $100,000 game room, obviously that's your choice, but it is a little gross (just like yachts and private jets).

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    #28 41 days ago

    Just don't buy new games. I don't see what the big deal is?

    #29 41 days ago
    Quoted from RyanStl:

    Did anyone get past the first few sentences of the OP? I need a TLDR recap because I aint reading that.

    Another pissing thread about prices,etc. Now back to the wow stern distro thread

    #30 41 days ago

    I have 50 Late model LE Sterns and JJP's
    I have a Grimley lock on my door, you should be able to pick it in 25 seconds
    It looks like i have cameras, but they are dummies
    It is a dead-end road, so no passing traffic
    My neighbors hate the noise my games make, so they will probably help you load your truck
    I am often not home between 1.00 PM and 5.00 PM

    #31 41 days ago

    as pinheads, we are naturally very curious about the state of the pinball industry. Since the pinball makers are not publicly traded companies, there is virtually no reliable information about the state of the pinball industry. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if an insider spilled the beans on how many games are being produced, what it costs to produce them including a detailed breakdown of the fixed and variable costs, who is buying the games and where do they live, etc.?

    So we speculate, based on prices of new games, opinions of new games in Pinside, what we observe at arcades and what the people we know tell us. Sometimes somebody in Pinside who routes games will give us a bit of insight about his/her experience, but of course, it’s only a very small part of the overall situation. Near me there are only a handful of places which have commercially run pins and they are mostly B/W, pre-Spike Sterns or EMs. Whenever I am at one of these establishments, it seems like I am the only one playing so it is very hard for me to imagine that anybody is making much money off these pins. It also suggests to me that people route the machines they already have, but see no benefit in buying newer games and routing them.

    I am also of the opinion that new games are too expensive, so I do not buy them.

    #32 41 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    $100 a month for a pro? $150 for a premium? might be a business model there.

    How about just saving up $150 a month until you have enough to buy the game you want?

    #33 41 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    So pinball machines are now being made solely for rich folks who love pinball and have given up on sex?

    These are the hot takes my morning needs.

    #34 41 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    $100 a month for a pro? $150 for a premium? might be a business model there.

    Too cheap

    #35 41 days ago

    The answer has always and will always be wedgeheads. Vic Camp has it right. Anyone concerned with the price of new pinball machines needs to get a collection of wedgeheads. Once some initial time cleaning and adjusting a wedgehead is done to get it working, they rarely break. The best of them offer great art work, short ball times, and amazing entertainment.

    #36 41 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    $100 a month for a pro? $150 for a premium? might be a business model there.

    It’ll take the operator 6 years (not including gas, insurance, time, tech, etc) of busting their ass to get their money back on a Zep pro.

    #37 41 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    $100 a month for a pro? $150 for a premium? might be a business model there.

    Its been tried before, but your rates are way low. $300 a month for a pro, $400 a month for a premium seems to be the going rate.

    Here is someone in the NE doing it. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/northeast-us-for-sale-thread/page/507#post-7156840

    Now, $100 a month makes no sense for an operatoer, but $300 a month you can start making some good money, but remember you have to be able to do a service call, set up, remove, pay insurance, and hope no one goes into foreclosure, steals your stuff, or gets evicted with your machine in their house.

    #38 41 days ago

    Yeah - $300-500 could maybe make a business model - plus some kind of delivery charge - plus a deposit for any unreasonable wear or tear. But yeah, just like Santa says lot of things to consider - I don't think just pinball leasing could work - but maybe a side deal for distros or operators that are rotating out machines . . .

    #39 41 days ago
    Quoted from DanMarino:

    The answer has always and will always be wedgeheads. Vic Camp has it right. Anyone concerned with the price of new pinball machines needs to get a collection of wedgeheads.

    Shhhh…

    IMG_1403.gifIMG_1403.gif

    #40 41 days ago
    Quoted from DanMarino:

    The answer has always and will always be wedgeheads. Vic Camp has it right. Anyone concerned with the price of new pinball machines needs to get a collection of wedgeheads. Once some initial time cleaning and adjusting a wedgehead is done to get it working, they rarely break. The best of them offer great art work, short ball times, and amazing entertainment.

    But those are nothing like videogames…the way I want pinball to be!

    #41 41 days ago

    Reluctantly upvoted the OP because I mostly agree, but selfishly hope this thread is locked ASAP so I have one less thing to waste time on.

    #42 41 days ago

    You know, and I know, that chaos and bedlam are consuming the entire world! UV light waves are only the beginning, Tom. We have an inch of topsoil left.

    Sexually transmitted diseases, deforestation, irreversibly progressive depletion of the global gene pool. It all adds up to oblivion, pal. Governments will fall, anarchies will reign. It's a brave new world.

    #43 41 days ago
    Quoted from Atari_Daze:

    You know, and I know, that chaos and bedlam are consuming the entire world! UV light waves are only the beginning, Tom. We have an inch of topsoil left.

    You know what, Stuart? I like you. You're not like the other people here, in the trailer park.

    Oh, don't get me wrong. They're fine people, they're good Americans. But they're content to sit back, maybe watch a little Mork & Mindy on channel 57, maybe kick back a cold Coors 16-ouncer. They're good, fine people, Stuart. But they don't know what the queers are doing to the soil!

    #44 41 days ago

    .

    #45 41 days ago

    Networth? I'm doing very well for my age all things considered

    Liquid cash? I'm payday rich.

    12
    #46 41 days ago

    So what's my bracket?

    All the bills are paid and got it made in the shade.

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    #47 41 days ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    So what's my bracket?
    All the bills are paid and got it made in the shade.[quoted image]

    IMG_7445 (resized).pngIMG_7445 (resized).png
    #48 41 days ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    All the bills are paid and got it made in the shade.

    King of the Hill's theme song played in my head when I saw that photo.

    #49 41 days ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    So what's my bracket?
    All the bills are paid and got it made in the shade.[quoted image]

    What's the neighbor across the street think? Looks like you're waiting for the bus.

    #50 41 days ago
    Quoted from poppapin:

    What's the neighbor across the street think? Looks like you're waiting for the bus.

    He's totally cool. But has some serious health issues that have popped up out of nowhere in the last three years.

    I did however see the Lazy Boy truck drop off his new couch recently.

    There are 91 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.

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