(Topic ID: 22434)

What should an LE consist of. Gary Stern, time to listen to your customer!


By thedarkknight77

7 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 124 posts
  • 52 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by AkumaZeto
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    There are 124 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 3.
    #101 7 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    I get that and for the most part, I agree with you guys. The thing is, Stern is selling boatloads of games right now. AC/DC appears to be a big success for them. Your timing couldn't be worse. You guys are jumping up and down screaming and they have no reason to listen. They're too busy building games. You say 'Time to listen to your customer', yet you aren't a customer. Your newest Stern is LOTR and you don't have any Stern's on your wishlist. Why on earth would they want to listen to you?

    Very true. Lol

    #102 7 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    I get that and for the most part, I agree with you guys. The thing is, Stern is selling boatloads of games right now. AC/DC appears to be a big success for them. Your timing couldn't be worse.

    No, timing is perfect... this post is a response to X-Men. AC/DC is the only one to date with the Premium model; equivalent to the LE feature by feature, without limits in production, and Stern retains the ability to re-run it to meet future demand. The full version of X-Men will never exceed the 550 production number. That's bad for both Stern and for their customers isn't it?

    #103 7 years ago
    Quoted from Baiter:

    No, timing is perfect... this post is a response to X-Men. AC/DC is the only one to date with the Premium model; equivalent to the LE feature by feature, without limits in production, and Stern retains the ability to re-run it to meet future demand. The full version of X-Men will never exceed the 550 production number. That's bad for both Stern and for their customers isn't it?

    Had anyone in this thread actually suggested that stern also run expensive premium models in larger quantities, I would have totally agreed. However, the main discussion has been centered around manufacturing costs hinting that stern should be producing the full game at the pro price. I think that would be nice. Hey it would be even nicer if they did it at half price / or free! But they're a business and won't. As for having a premium in every model I can't see much downside there. Especially since the xmen LE prices were more like acdc premium prices anyway.

    I can say in the area of xmen and as an LE owner, the pro will be a fine machine. minus the light show, very little lost in game play on the pro.

    #104 7 years ago

    If I look at the title of this topic, especially the 'time to listen to your customer' part, I can only wonder: if Gary did not listen prior to this post (and I'm not saying whether he did, or did not), yet he ran his company for the past 12 years the way he thinks it should be run, just what makes you think he will start listening now?

    #105 7 years ago

    Unitgroove,

    That is because he got us by our balls. If you like pinball and want something new it is your only choice. Why go all out, its about money, why invest when they are buying anyway?

    That why its a good thing we get more producers.

    #106 7 years ago

    Based on Gary's panel at CA EX, I am pretty sure he isn't interested in what his customers think.

    #107 7 years ago
    Quoted from Plungemaster:

    Unitgroove,

    That is because he got us by our balls. If you like pinball and want something new it is your only choice. Why go all out, its about money, why invest when they are buying anyway?

    That why its a good thing we get more producers.

    So true, that is why I bust his balls.........pinballs that is.

    #108 7 years ago
    Quoted from n2kenai:

    Based on Gary's panel at CA EX, I am pretty sure he isn't interested in what his customers think.

    Curious what was said, if useful.

    The thing is, pinball has been on the rise despite any of Stern's efforts, so to them it looks like their business model is successful. It's hard to disagree, and they've put out some great games lately, but I suspect there's a lot of truth in this thread that is not being acknowledged inside Stern. No one seemed to miss Iron Man LE, and Stern can make more as desired (unless their licensing expired).

    #109 7 years ago

    Just an FYI, Stern has listened to its customers. This is why the Premium / LE type lines exist in the first place. His solution was to cut costs over and over. His customers didnt like that. So his next step was to create more full featured machines at a more premium price. (Yes, this started *before* JJP existed with Tron LE). Personally, I don't think "But I don't want to pay more" is a valid argument. We cant expect someone to do something we want and then charge the price wa want, too. I think not buying if you're not happy is valid, though.

    #110 7 years ago

    Mark I understand the cost cutting, but that was a time and place. If you go back to the cost cutting time frame, the world was about to end. The market had crashed and every business in this country was in major fear. Companies whose business model fell under "discretionary" spending were seeing their sales drop 50% over night............They were all running scared. Smaller companies like Stern don't carry the cash to survive two quarters of loses. Check out where Disney's stock was at the time or perhaps Americas loved Harley Davidson. I didn't even mention C, BAC, WFC or JPM. Those days are gone, Stern is plenty healthy.

    #111 7 years ago
    Quoted from Baiter:

    this post is a response to X-Men. AC/DC is the only one to date with the Premium model

    AC/DC is also the only recent game with the proper amount of development time. I believe Steve was back at Stern for more than a year when AC/DC finally shipped. The rest of the games are being hurried out the door. TF shipped about 6 months after Gomez came back. It showed. Judging by just the software, XM was being built before the software department even got the memo.

    If you don't like what they're selling now, wait until after OZ ships and see if they change their MO. If you can't wait, then go to a show and talk to Gary. Screaming here accomplishing nothing.

    Quoted from markmon:

    So his next step was to create more full featured machines at a more premium price.

    I think many here underestimate just how much influence Stern's new investors have. The 'full featured' games came out not long after the new investors showed up. So I wouldn't say it was Gary's next step, more like their next step. Gary is no longer making all the calls solo.

    #112 7 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Gary is no longer making all the calls solo.

    Good point, he is probably not making the calls, the investors have someone like me to screw us all...............That was my profession for years. Give advice to clueless companies by understanding their business model better than they did. Do you realize how many companies have existed in this country for decades without once asking their customers why they bought their products and what they like and dislike??? We come in and study the consumers and the market, while learning how to maximize profits. It is easy in a small niche market like pinball collecting where a large percentage of owners have more money than they know what to do with. One focus group would have given them the power to increase prices 20% over night.

    #113 7 years ago
    Quoted from markmon:

    Just an FYI, Stern has listened to its customers. This is why the Premium / LE type lines exist in the first place. His solution was to cut costs over and over. His customers didnt like that. So his next step was to create more full featured machines at a more premium price. (Yes, this started *before* JJP existed with TRON LE). Personally, I don't think "But I don't want to pay more" is a valid argument. We cant expect someone to do something we want and then charge the price wa want, too. I think not buying if you're not happy is valid, though.

    What you said is it in a nutshell.

    STERN has figured out the mentality of collectors in the last couple years. No matter what collectors say about costs, bill of materials, "think of the noobies", blah blah blah, they all ultimately want one thing: the same or better toys than other collectors.

    The funny thing is I don't think it has anything to do with the gameplay, which is marginally different in the LE/Premiums, and sometimes, arguably inferior (TF mini-pf comes to mind). It's just one has a LE badge, and other has a Pro badge, therefore, "if I'm playing a Pro I must be having less fun".

    #114 7 years ago

    Would like to see a LE with a different art package on playfield as well as the cabinet than the pro models. It's a "Limited Edition" and should be much more special than the Pro routed models. I like how Stern made a different art package on cab with X-Men but with this theme the Pro recieved the full x-men art package which is ok with me since I am a Wolv fan. Which brings to mind "Theme"!!! I purchased the latest Stern solely on the title and the LE options. Turned out to be a very nice LE package in my opinion. About time they did a comic base art!!!!See what everybody has been yelling to make! It's a Gorgeous PINBALL! Ahh, look it sold out to distribution...Imagine that? Please ooh please whoever is listening at Stern if Avengers is to be made please make it Comic ART!!!!! (There I tried)

    Would ofcourse like to see more mechanicals on the LE than the Pro and not just cosmetic perks with added software.

    Thank you JJP for doing what your doing because it's only making Stern more agressive!

    #115 7 years ago
    Quoted from Naf:

    Would ofcourse like to see more mechanicals on the LE than the Pro and not just cosmetic perks with added software.

    This is the complete opposite of what needs to happen. The game play should never differ. Its not the same game if it does. The games should never be different software wise either. Xmen is good becasue it still has NC in the software Ice man in the software etc. It is wrong to penalize the player based on what model they played.

    Pro models being aimed at route situations. Do you think a player should play a pro and go i would like to own this then get a LE and its completely different? Or a player play the pro on route then go to a tournament where the LE is significantly different?

    This is quickly turning into a elitist club which is not good. Even the designers i have spoken too see it the same way. Hence why xmen is the way it is.

    If the pro is to survive it needs to change. GOOD NEWS!!!!! it is going to change. Its getting full LEDS it seem's from Avengers forward. The cost will not change. If anything it will go DOWN. Gary has said time and time again the pro cannot i repeat CANNOT go up anymore or it will not be viable anymore. This will also be true for the LCD. The pro needs to be up to speed and the LE needs to foot the bill for the pro increase. BOOOOO i bet some of you say BOOOOO but its the way it needs to be.

    Distros dont make much money at all from these. Hardly any on the le models. Margins where tight on TF it was not even funny. The average distro making 200 on the LE and maybe 400 on the pro.

    The market wont last. Lots of new time people to the Hobby dropping 25-30 grand a year on LE machines will not last.

    The Euro tanks harder the pros wont keep stern afloat either. I have friends in other countries who tell me the prices on the PRO's holy cow one fellow i know in Germany told me acdc le was 10,xxx USD or more pros being close to 7,xxx usd. This wont last. Lots of factors here.

    #116 7 years ago

    I also like the fact that Gary likes to play pinball with his customers. He is in it for the love of pinball and I give him major kudos for sticking to it and keeping it alive while this economy has been flushed down the toilet for the past 5 years! I am still amazed that factory is still pumping out pinball machines! Can't complain but please COMIC ART on AVENGERS!!! lol

    #117 7 years ago

    While i am happy with your above spirits i cant agree with you. Just a few years ago Gary was treating us all like crap. Denying that the home market is worth a damn. Calling us all jerks etc.

    This only changed after he couldn't run his company without financial backing from others. At which point Garys attitude changed swiftly and became more fan and home owner friendly. So while the new guys see the somewhat happy go lucky Stern most of us older collectors will never forget the things he sad to us at shows and at trade shows.

    Gary is a lawyer swift and crafty. Smooth talker. But many of Stern employee has told me off the record that he does not really care all to much about the game just the money attached to the game. I am not going to into that to deep. But many old timers know what i am talking about here.

    Quoted from Naf:

    COMIC ART on AVENGERS!!! lol

    This would be nice but sorry its movie themed and most of all teh art is most def approved by now and production will most likely start in September with the game being at expo for play.

    #118 7 years ago
    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    Pro models being aimed at route situations. Do you think a player should play a pro and go i would like to own this then get a LE and its completely different? Or a player play the pro on route then go to a tournament where the LE is significantly different?</blockq

    Freedom of choice and Stern has given us that option. I do agree on the tournament aspect though and kind of take back what I said regarding diff pf art. It would look like a whole diff game.

    I do like the mechanicals on pinball. It's what lured me into this hobby. So I will suggest no LE's no Pro's just ONE pimped out edition to sell to all! Better for the ops and the distributors. The TFLE was very confusing at first.

    #119 7 years ago

    NO doubt mechanical shit is awesome. But i think most people are getting angry that physical differences might be getting to great. Ac/Dc is the biggest one so far. There has only been one true LE model so far and that has been ac/dc Tron sure Tf sure but as a after thought. So with ac/dc the pro is missing damn near 40% of stuff maybe 50% lower rgb bell etc. So it really is a whole new game in a sense. The pro does not compensate or at least not yet and i dont see that it will via software. No way for lyman to really make up for rgb in a pro set. But xmen took it back and John made sure the software was still there. Moving forward if they are going to be different it needs to be made so that software can compensate for lack of physical.

    #120 7 years ago
    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    This would be nice but sorry its movie themed and most of all teh art is most def approved by now and production will most likely start in September with the game being at expo for play.

    Then I hope they make a HULK LE!!!

    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    While i am happy with your above spirits i cant agree with you. Just a few years ago Gary was treating us all like crap. Denying that the home market is worth a damn. Calling us all jerks etc.

    I remember all the Stern bashing on RGP for the past 10 years ago or so when I came into this hobby? I can also see his outlook on being business savy which most business men are. I have only met him twice. Once at the Southern Pinball Festival in FL and once while on the bus taking the tour. WHile at SPF I noticed him playing and enjoying the game with folks. So I do not know of his antics back in the day or before the investors came in. Just what I witnessed which was only last year. Glad he changed his tune. Which would be hard because if I had forums that cornered the home buying market that was bashing my co. all the time I would be probably a little more stand off as well?

    What if there was a Private labeled pinball machine? Hmmmm, Interesting!

    #121 7 years ago

    I kind of like what Stern was going for with Tron Legacy.

    Stern is able to produce the LE. This is the grandaddy of the SKUs. Stern limits their numbers to bring forth the collectible factor. Throw in custom backglass, cabinet art, and numbered plaque...and you have a machine that for those things alone brings the "gotta own one" factor to a pin (we saw this before with Spider Man Black & Lord of the Rings LE....and many many years ago with Addams Family Gold). If you can make custom side rails, flipper button armor, and powder coated legs...maybe a more expensive aesthetic feature in the actual game (like the neon ramps in Tron Legacy LE or differing art packages found in Xmen)...then all the better reasoning for the increased price for collectors with large disposable incomes (or who can sell lots of their games for the cash).

    The premium model makes sense for collectors that decide to buy the game, after the initial word of mouth is out. The owners who preordered their LE models will spread word of mouth on the feature set of their game (minus the aesthetic stuff associated with their LE title), and recommend the next best thing with is the Premium. I think its important to have this model, since some people don't like to preorder...maybe they want more second opinions on a game from LE owners before committing to an expensive purchase....or many not have enough income to cover the cost of an LE right away.

    Which brings us to the Pro model. I think this model is important when we think of economics. This SKU isn't just for operators. With access to distributors, pinheads on budgets can buy the same title as everyone else. You can't put all pinball machine collectors into one bin that says they are ALL willing to spend $6-7K on a machine. I myself won't ever spend more than $5K on a machine (for the price of one LE...I can buy a Pro AND a decent B title pin). It seems fair that for $4500-$5000, you are able to have just as much fun with a particular title...BUT...at the cost of being less collectible and have different aesthetic. I'm still not fond of what they did with AC/DC Pro's removal of important 'game defining' features like the bell being removed (some 'game defining' features actually work against the title like in Transformers LE...in favor of the Pro model).

    Between all the SKUs, I would rather them do something like Tron Legacy Pro and LE keeping one unified software version throughout, on only aesthetically different machines (like the Neon ramps in Tron, or the lazer cut ramps in Transformers)...and try to keep the gameplay the same on all machines.

    #122 7 years ago
    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    This is the complete opposite of what needs to happen. The game play should never differ. Its not the same game if it does. The games should never be different software wise either. Xmen is good becasue it still has NC in the software Ice man in the software etc. It is wrong to penalize the player based on what model they played.
    Pro models being aimed at route situations. Do you think a player should play a pro and go i would like to own this then get a LE and its completely different? Or a player play the pro on route then go to a tournament where the LE is significantly different?
    This is quickly turning into a elitist club which is not good. Even the designers i have spoken too see it the same way. Hence why xmen is the way it is.

    Ha ha, I just talked about this and sure enough here it is. The gameplay is very marginally different between the models. At least, the features in either one don't make or break the pro or LE. This "different rules" argument that's continually harped on is vastly overstated. I have yet to ever meet a person who said, "Wow Tron Pro sucks, but the LE is great."

    Going to tournaments? At a tournament, unless your name ends in Kerins or Elwin you can expect 50% of the games or more to be ones you've never seen before. But Stern should change their product strategy because a player might have to be aware of an additional mode or two?

    Pinball ownership has ALWAYS been an elitist club. Who are these poor, destitute collectors being crowded into homeless shelters and using a translite as a blanket? How many people do I know who can come up with 5k for a pro but would descend into abject 3rd world poverty if they had to cough up an additional 2k for a premium/LE? By God, why is there no charity for this forgotten underclass?

    #123 7 years ago
    Quoted from Baiter:

    Curious what was said, if useful.

    Gary was pretty into himself and carrying on his legacy. I have heard this is how he is. I couldn't believe it, until I experienced it for myself. He compared his games to American made cars which seems pretty accurate. To me, that says cheap quality. He also said that we are not his priority market, and he was more concerned about shipping overseas, because that is where he makes his money. The vibe I got from him was, regardless of quality, someone will buy his games. If you don't like them, too bad. He was also pretty firm about how true pinball is made where he makes them, and no where else. This was an obvious jab at other new manufacturers.

    During the Q and A a few guys asked about updates to recent games like Transformers, Tron and X-men, but he pretty much shot them down saying those games are done, but a update was coming for AC-DC. Those guys seemed pretty disappointed. I would be too. After all, I played the brand new X-men Pro they had on the floor and I couldn't believe how many times I had to hit Wolverine before it registered a hit. It also reminded how screwed up the Transformers LE was with the misfiring of Mega-tron's balls and the multiple balls getting stuck in the shaker shot. I was left thinking, Is this what you get for your thousand's of dollars? His audience was begging him for an update and they were met with a too bad, so sad.

    There was a Color DMD panel before Gary's, and one of the final questions was if there was any hope for Color DMD's to come in a Stern game. These nice guys didn't rule it out, and obviously want to, but Gary pretty much shunned the notion in his panel.

    Gary wants you to continue buying his games, because he is worried about his factory closing down. All of these families seems to be his priority, rather than delivering to you a quality product. He urged the crowd to stop collecting and start businesses like the recent Barcade movement. Gary want's to relive the past where he made millions on quarters on his routes, and you can help him by opening up your own business, while he sells you more machines. I tell you, it was around this time, when I thought this was getting pretty creepy.

    He touched on the three legs of why games are made. Pros are for routes, LE's are for the collectors as he gestured us in the audience, but he also had a third tier for Rich people, who apparently weren't in the audience, but he wanted to acknowledge them and their multi-car garages filled with his games. Nice.

    He also commented and seem pretty bothered that guys who harass him about making another wide body game. In a nutshell, he said he wouldn't. The perception I got was he doesn't want to spend more to make a wide body game when he can sell you a standard sized game for the same money. Gary claims that wide body's are slow and he is only interested in making fast paced games. This to me was absolutely stupid. I found myself enjoying a ton of wide body games on the show floor from Genie and Superman, to 4x4 and Gun and Roses. Personally, I got the feeling that he meant faster paced games means losing faster. Losing faster means more quarters in the machine. His explanation also included that Pros are easier for the new players that don't know how to play, and LE's have more stuff to satisfy the experienced collectors.

    To sum up, Gary is old school, and he doesn't want to learn new tricks to stay current in the market. When asked if he visited blogs for opinions, he proudly said no, and joked that he actually uses his iPhone as a phone and nothing else. When questioned about the upcoming competition of quality between him and Jersey Jack Pinball, he decided not to comment at all, because the question clearly aggravated him. He finished the panel by throwing on the floor a stack of flyers from his X-men game. He just seemed to not give a crap about anyone and he sounds as if he doesn't plan on changing.

    #124 7 years ago

    Thats the Gary i know more douche bag than Gene lol. Thats a tough one too

    Quoted from jonnyo:

    "Wow Tron Pro sucks, but the LE is great."

    Thats because its not. One bonus mode.

    Quoted from jonnyo:

    Going to tournaments? At a tournament, unless your name ends in Kerins or Elwin you can expect 50% of the games or more to be ones you've never seen before

    Damn i better stop playing at all the local ifpaa events. Shit thanks for telling me .

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