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(Topic ID: 167624)

Where will the pinball hobby be in 10 years?


By Rondogg

4 years ago



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  • Latest reply 7 months ago by Rondogg
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    #101 4 years ago

    In 10 years my collection will have shrunk down to 3 games. It will only consist of Tron, BSD, and Mata Hari. They will all fit in a nice small room in my new house. I'll still serve pizza and beer at my pin parties, and there will always be chips in the cupboard.

    #102 4 years ago
    Quoted from drsfmd:

    Nonsense. I work at a university. College aged kids don't watch old movies. They don't listen to any of the bands that have had pins themed after them... heck, many of their PARENTS are too young to listen to all of those bands except Metallica. They listen to EDM, they listen to rap. Very few listen to anything resembling rock.

    College age kids aren't the demographic pinball wants. It will take them years to pay off those loans. And their parents? Nah, they don't have the room now that the kids are out of school and can't get a job and move out.

    So that leaves the grand parents. Yes! That is the demographic pinball can work with.

    #103 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    College age kids aren't the demographic pinball wants. It will take them years to pay off those loans. And their parents? Nah, they don't have the room now that the kids are out of school and can't get a job and move out.
    So that leaves the grand parents. Yes! That is the demographic pinball can work with.

    I don't disagree. I was responding to the suggestion that the bands chosen for themed pinballs are "timeless". I mean, there's a certain population that drooled over the Elvis pin, and I'm sure there would be some limited market for a Danny and the Juniors pin... that doesn't mean that either are culturally relevant anymore.

    #104 4 years ago

    In 2026 slurpies won't be frozen drinks from convenience stores anymore, they'll be bio-genetic pets that lactate recreational drugs. Pinhauling will be easier with cars you don't have to steer and drones that can fly them to your house. The public will hate the hobby for its many many deaths caused from pinball machines falling out of the sky on the earliest trips.

    New machines will be custom pick your theme, sound, etc from an ever growing list of vintage and new play field layouts.

    ZombieYetti will own Stern, and we'll finally see a Primus pin.

    Jpop will still not have finished any pinball machines and that thread will still be going.

    Color will be blue.....blue....

    #105 4 years ago
    Quoted from drsfmd:

    I was responding to the suggestion that the bands chosen for themed pinballs are "timeless".

    I'm in total agreement with what you said. It is also true pinball is aging and catering to an aging generation.

    Would the younger generation get more involved if there was something more they could relate to? Who knows? It may never happen. In reality pinball caters to only a small part of the population to begin with. So it's a fine line trying to be cutting edge and stay afloat at the same time. I bought several newer games but they lost me somewhere along the way.

    #106 4 years ago

    Some say the younger people only want to play video games, but remember it was a generation of 80s video gamers that are big pinball enthusiasts now. Because they found pinball themes they could relate to.

    I'm just trying to make some sense of it all. The days of going to an arcade and being wowed by every new machine seem long gone.

    #107 4 years ago

    Yip pinball is going to die with this generation. So when the men die there is going to be widows out there with a room of dusty old pinball machine's like Spider-Man ve and kiss le, just waiting for some knock off garage gold youtube show dragging them off for wood recycling because land fills will be illegal or even better someone will repurpose it as a shelf or trunk to store their collection of old apple products and dolls. At worst it will be used for firewood.

    Or maybe even worst worst it's in a Museum with a sign saying "please don't touch the pinball machine".

    Of course you can watch how to make a shelf on youtube though nobody will be bothered everybody has forgotten how to use hand tools.

    10
    #108 4 years ago

    A lot of doom and gloom in this thread.

    I for one can't wait to load a $500 Medieval Madness into my flying car.

    #109 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I'm just trying to make some sense of it all. The days of going to an arcade and being wowed by every new machine seem long gone.

    To be fair, we've come a pretty long way and pinball and everything has pretty much been done before from a mechanical standpoint and sometimes even an art standpoint. I don't even know if I could think of something that would impress me to see on a machine anymore, and that's probably good (because so much has been done) and bad (because not much else can be done).

    It's all dependent on rules now and a good license, and not so much on innovation. Back in the day there was the invention of drop targets, vari-targets, spinning targets, when technology was tight and those designs had to be very thought over I'm sure.

    Now we have what feels to be an endless array of possibilities but not too much we can really use on a pinball machine, because everything is going virtual and while that works for video games (of course, because they were always virtual) it does not work for pinball even in today's times.

    There are only so many things that can knock a ball around or get hit by a pinball. Maybe seeing some more multi-level playfield stuff would be cool (Black Knight-ish, and also the kind like Haunted House too). The only really "new" feature I've seen that isn't lightbulb-related (worthless aesthetic) is the Slimer toy on Ghostbusters, but then again you have games like Junkyard which have basically the same thing. The only difference is that it hasn't been done to death, I guess.

    This is why I like to go back in time and find games I missed rather than wait for new ones. The new stuff feels over-saturated.

    #110 4 years ago
    Quoted from fugus:

    Or maybe even worst worst it's in a Museum with a sign saying "please don't touch the pinball machine".

    Reminds me of this place with their "no tilting" rule:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/porters-pinball-parlor-in-cincinnati

    #111 4 years ago

    I like pinball a lot but I am more concerned at where the world will be at in 10 years.

    #112 4 years ago
    Quoted from Wamprat:

    I like pinball a lot but I am more concerned at where the world will be at in 10 years.

    Ten years from now we can build a wall in front of our houses with all this scrap wood, and trade the copper for food and water.

    #113 4 years ago
    Quoted from RTR:

    People that own MMr will be talking down the crappy quality and feel of the new MMrr that just came out!

    Too soon?

    #114 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Ten years from now we can build a wall in front of our houses with all this scrap wood, and trade the copper for food and water.

    That sounds like a pastime that everyone can embrace with equality!

    #115 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Ten years from now we can build a wall in front of our houses with all this scrap wood, and trade the copper for food and water.

    But not the mm and cactus canyons they will be in mint condition with the rich 1% they also have the water and food.

    Yes agreed its a bit dark pinball will still be around 10 years time people will get bored playing VR pinball with themselves and will head out to discover real pinball machines and beer.

    Some may even get laid.

    #116 4 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    I'm constantly exposing everything I have to kids anytime I can get them in my basement.

    Whoa dude!!!

    #117 4 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Lots of other people keep saying "oh my 7 year old doesn't care about pinball" and proclaim that as some kind of death sentence for the hobby.
    Guess what...I didn't like Pinball when I was 7 either. Just because your elementary school kids would rather play with an iphone than a pinball machine doesn't mean they won't like pinball later on.

    I didn't like pinball until I was 35.

    #118 4 years ago

    In 10 years , boring,religious,serious people have taken over the power in a war in the year 2025 and all fun things will be burned,destroyed and forbidden by future laws.
    people that are secretely having fun, will be traced and executed.
    In an attempt to escape this faith, fun people will resort to habitable planet kepler 22b and start a new pinball factory called "funplex".
    I think we'll be fine..

    #119 4 years ago

    Knowledge, history, understanding.

    At the present time, people will price themselves right out of the hobby due to shenangins and manufacturer price testing, and prices will stall at least once. Eventually the economy will catch up and the process starts over.

    Manufacturers will only expand to the limits of the private market, and contract just as fast. Boutique manufacturers will not survive.

    For those "true" collectors this is the time to obtain your holy grail 90s machines.
    The future will not just be harder due to price, but quality.

    In many cases the people currently writing these comments on this forum will no longer exist and move on.
    The life expectancy of a pinball collector right now is three years or less.
    Dealers and distributors can vouch for my comments, and the smart ones are already stockpiling as quickly as they can from what is left for the next dry period, but have no reservations selling games at inflated prices to feed the monster either. Anyone that thinks a price for a used game is "set" by a dealer is crazy. You can always negotiate. NIB not so much due to volume of distributors.

    "Mom and pop" dealers will be long gone as soon as the winds change, unless they do it on the side or as a personal interest. The tides are already turning due to lack of expertise and extensive costs except for HER games. It is actually laughable at times when a buyer knows more about the game than a dealer.

    Flippers always come and go as long as a market exist.
    Brokers continue to have reduced sales, unless they have very large inventories and HUGE amounts of warehouse space. Tricky business with a gambling area of risk, because they may sit on inventory for years.

    Most owners today will "sell out" long before the 10 year mark, as they will exhaust their income and not be able to afford continual NIB or A-title machines. The next generation of owners will simply not be able to afford the games. Late 40s and 50s won't care, as they trade them in for a new car, because they cannot fix their games. An economy shift accelerates the process.

    The overseas market will get harder to pitch due to rising costs. Market share will plummet, sales will dry up for a period. This has already started.

    Fewer and fewer owners will "carry the torch" and manage to learn how to repair their machines. Those that do will become the remaining future for the next pinball bust when enthusiasm wanes. It always goes in cycles of around 10-15 years, if it holds that long. When it is no longer "hip" again the hobby fades for a while, but never dies.

    This is the reality.
    Welcome to the world of pinball collecting.
    Sit down, and ride the locomotive or climb into the next mailbag to be collected at the next stop.

    Some of us already know.

    "Choo choo, all aboard!"

    #120 4 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    I'm curious what will happen to Stern once Gary dies. Will his children continue the biz? Will a minority owner step up and continue on the same path?

    That already happened years ago. An investment company already owns a large percentage of the company.

    I don't know what the split is.

    But whatever it is, I guarantee there is arrangements in place for what happens when Gary decides to exit the business.

    rd

    #121 4 years ago

    .

    #122 4 years ago
    Quoted from fugus:

    But not the mm and cactus canyons they will be in mint condition with the rich 1% they also have the water and food

    Two posts in a day John!! That's a new record!!

    On the subject, I have a pinball website here in NZ. I get emails every week from people wanting to enter the hobby. I'm personally to blame for doubling the hobby in NZ over the last 5-6 years.

    I think the pinball hobby will be around forever, in one form or another. Just as it has been for the last 25 years I've had machines.

    If there are no new machines being made, there are 10,000s of used ones (worldwide) to share around.

    rd

    #123 4 years ago

    question for the people that say pinball is dying or that it will be dead in ten years because only old people are interested:

    do you guys go to tournaments? at Pinburgh just last month, i played against so many people in their 20s. during my playoffs rounds in D division, i played against almost exclusively people significantly younger than me (i'm 40).

    throughout the tournament, i met countless people a good 15+ years younger than me from Seattle, Portland, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Chicago ... and that's just the specific folks i remember. all of them traveled halfway across the country to play competitive pinball, and almost all of them played in some kind of league back home.

    and last winter, at MAGfest, i met a lot of really wide-eyed 20-somethings asking me a lot of questions about the games i brought. some of them were more familiar with pinball machines than others but they all thought they were really cool.

    fostering a "next generation" is of course vital to pinball's survival, but i think it is actually doing somewhat okay in that regard. i do think Stern pitches its themes a little too heavy on the dad rock and nostalgia angle, but themes like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead definitely appeal to younger demos.

    some hobbies die out and some survive. i don't think it's insane to look at hobbies like jukeboxes or classic cars to try to model what might happen to pinball, but i do think each hobby is its own thing with its own factors. no hobby is exactly like any other.

    indeed, i think pinball has a lot going for it. i've found that kids today are actually pretty interested in pinball machines, despite all the old people that tend to hang around them grumbling about "kids today and their electronic telephone computers, mumble grumble where's my Preparation H?"

    unlike jukeboxes, and unlike cars, and unlike many other hobbies, pinball is an experience that can't be simulated. the game is fundamentally undigitizable. and that is its greatest strength. hardly anything is made physical anymore. everything that can be, especially in the gaming world, is virtual. but that steel ball in that box, with those spinners and bumpers and contraptions, and those two flippers to control it all ... that's a challenge unlike any other. and its accompanied by a lifetime's worth of cool art and varying rulesets to consume and enjoy and, if there's time, maybe even master a few.

    the truth is, in general, owning a collection of pinball machines really is for old people, for a great number of reasons: the technical, electrical, and mechanical skills, the time commitment, the money commitment, the space commitment ... all things young people are always short on (again, in general).

    and nobody (other than already-committed pinheads) is going to randomly drop quarters in machines sitting in random retail locations like in the old days. we all know that's true.

    so yeah, times change. it's not like it was before, at all. if pinball is to survive, it will do it by thriving as an organized, competitive thing -- local leagues and tournaments based in cities all over the country (and ideally the world). podcasts. livestreams of tournaments and league playoffs. this isn't wishful thinking. as far as i can tell, this is already where pinball is right now. i live in the DC area and there are a bunch of year-round leagues. maybe my area is unusual, but it sounded like most big metro areas had similar setups, based on the folks i talked to at Pinburgh. sure, arcades in the classic sense are dead and aren't coming back, but recreational gaming and competitive gaming and even spectating is really taking off! these are niches where pinball is positioned to potentially thrive.

    #124 4 years ago
    Quoted from dung:

    What we don't have are new techs. Probably one of the largest hurdles in this hobby is having a dedicated person you can call up to repair your broken machine.

    It's the future!!

    You would jump on Pinside and connect with someone to take a look at your pin through your VR headset cam to help troubleshoot it, and demonstrate how to fix it through augmented reality.

    Virtual troubleshooting and repairs would all be archived, so others could search, view, and teach themselves.

    Eventually, sophisticated software would processes the archives, posts, and manuals to automatically diagnose issues, and upload the repair steps to your helper robot. (...and we would have more free time to play pinball!?!)

    #125 4 years ago

    Why repair just buy a new one.

    Rusty balls time for another machine.

    #126 4 years ago

    Pinfest in Newcastle Australia is a yearly (charity) event aimed at the general public and it attracts massive attendance mostly from "normal" families. It is on again Sept 24/25th. Fun for ALL ages and if the reaction from the kids I have seen attending is anything to go by, pinball has a long life yet! Pics below from Pinfest 2014.

    kidanddad (resized).jpg

    image_0018 (resized).jpg

    #127 4 years ago
    Quoted from Homepin:

    pinball has a long life yet!

    Games like that Fashion Show were built to last! Now there's a timeless theme. That game's fun for young and old.

    #128 4 years ago
    Quoted from pezpunk:

    question for the people that say pinball is dying or that it will be dead in ten years because only old people are interested:
    do you guys go to tournaments? at Pinburgh just last month, i played against so many people in their 20s. during my playoffs rounds in D division, i played against almost exclusively people significantly younger than me (i'm 40).
    throughout the tournament, i met countless people a good 15+ years younger than me from Seattle, Portland, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Chicago ... and that's just the specific folks i remember. all of them traveled halfway across the country to play competitive pinball, and almost all of them played in some kind of league back home.
    and last winter, at MAGfest, i met a lot of really wide-eyed 20-somethings asking me a lot of questions about the games i brought. some of them were more familiar with pinball machines than others but they all thought they were really cool.
    fostering a "next generation" is of course vital to pinball's survival, but i think it is actually doing somewhat okay in that regard. i do think Stern pitches its themes a little too heavy on the dad rock and nostalgia angle, but themes like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead definitely appeal to younger demos.
    some hobbies die out and some survive. i don't think it's insane to look at hobbies like jukeboxes or classic cars to try to model what might happen to pinball, but i do think each hobby is its own thing with its own factors. no hobby is exactly like any other.
    indeed, i think pinball has a lot going for it. i've found that kids today are actually pretty interested in pinball machines, despite all the old people that tend to hang around them grumbling about "kids today and their electronic telephone computers, mumble grumble where's my Preparation H?"
    unlike jukeboxes, and unlike cars, and unlike many other hobbies, pinball is an experience that can't be simulated. the game is fundamentally undigitizable. and that is its greatest strength. hardly anything is made physical anymore. everything that can be, especially in the gaming world, is virtual. but that steel ball in that box, with those spinners and bumpers and contraptions, and those two flippers to control it all ... that's a challenge unlike any other. and its accompanied by a lifetime's worth of cool art and varying rulesets to consume and enjoy and, if there's time, maybe even master a few.
    the truth is, in general, owning a collection of pinball machines really is for old people, for a great number of reasons: the technical, electrical, and mechanical skills, the time commitment, the money commitment, the space commitment ... all things young people are always short on (again, in general).
    and nobody (other than already-committed pinheads) is going to randomly drop quarters in machines sitting in random retail locations like in the old days. we all know that's true.
    so yeah, times change. it's not like it was before, at all. if pinball is to survive, it will do it by thriving as an organized, competitive thing -- local leagues and tournaments based in cities all over the country (and ideally the world). podcasts. livestreams of tournaments and league playoffs. this isn't wishful thinking. as far as i can tell, this is already where pinball is right now. i live in the DC area and there are a bunch of year-round leagues. maybe my area is unusual, but it sounded like most big metro areas had similar setups, based on the folks i talked to at Pinburgh. sure, arcades in the classic sense are dead and aren't coming back, but recreational gaming and competitive gaming and even spectating is really taking off! these are niches where pinball is positioned to potentially thrive.

    Wow dude, lot of words there

    #129 4 years ago

    Pinball in 10 years? Barring another "great" recession or serious war the pinball hobby will be as strong as ever, if not more so. We have entered another golden age (3rd-4th?) of pinball. Like others have pointed out, gen y and even millenials are grabbing the torch and running with it. Unfortunately unlike the past golden ages i believe the makers have crossed into dangerous territory by shifting the market to private collectors. In days past you went to public places (arcades, bowling alleys, bars, etc) to play the newest releases. Prices are almost, if not already, out of reach for operators. To see any new release on location is a rare thing in alot of major cities. Very few can justify a $5k+ purchase to guarantee any sort of decent return on thier investment. Driving pinball underground into collectors basements and the general populous not coming into contact with the new releases to keep things fresh eventually will force the hobby to fizzle and die. Once the market saturates itself with these high end toys for private collections it may well spell doom for many, if not all, pinball companies.

    #130 4 years ago

    In 2026, Multimorphic is the dominant pinball manufacturer. There are a number of independent third party companies making games for the P4, the second iteration of their multi-game platform. Stern, JJP and Dutch Pinball also all make games for the P4. There is a much wider range of games available: redemption games, children's games, educational games, multi-player role-playing games and even gambling games often sited in casinos. With increased production, the price of the P4 has dropped considerably and there is a large and vibrant community of owners who buy, sell and trade games, playfield modules and parts.

    #131 4 years ago

    .

    Games (resized).png

    #132 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    The days of going to an arcade and being wowed by every new machine seem long gone.

    OMG I miss that. A new game would magically show up on the floor and I'd stuff a quarter into it. I didn't know anything about it, I never knew who designed it. It's entire story was new to me. I'd look at the playfield, and I'd play a game. If I liked it, I kept playing it. If I didn't, I walked away. I thought Herccules was cool the first time I played it (before it kept breaking). Haunted House felt like it dropped out of heaven with its 3 playfields. Fun times.

    #133 4 years ago

    Screen oriented tech made by boutique manufacturers in low production runs with high price points, and with sales almost exclusively to private home buyers.

    The current manufacturers who don't adapt will have either fizzled out or moved into other areas altogether.

    Quoted from Homepin:

    Pinfest in Newcastle Australia is a yearly (charity) event aimed at the general public and it attracts massive attendance mostly from "normal" families. It is on again Sept 24/25th. Fun for ALL ages and if the reaction from the kids I have seen attending is anything to go by, pinball has a long life yet! Pics below from Pinfest 2014.

    The broader intentions were good in bringing pinball to the masses, which makes it a shame the event has historically had such an underlying emphasis on one domestic forum's parochial agenda.

    Looking forward to seeing what exactly is behind the bamboo curtain.

    #134 4 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    I'm constantly exposing everything I have to kids anytime I can get them in my basement.

    Quoted from Air_Pinball:

    I'll bet you do......

    apparently rob's branching out with basement parties now because this hasn't been pulling in the kids like it used to for him

    free-candy-van (resized).jpeg

    #135 4 years ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    That already happened years ago. An investment company already owns a large percentage of the company.
    I don't know what the split is.
    But whatever it is, I guarantee there is arrangements in place for what happens when Gary decides to exit the business.
    rd

    Yeah. It's called George Gomez.

    #136 4 years ago

    10 years isnt that long really and it will fly by so i dont think a whole lot will change other than the prices continue to increase bc of lots of new people getting into the hobby. The days of wpc pins below 3k are almost behind us all ready with data east and sega not far behind. Used pins will continue to go up as long as stern keeps raising their prices.

    -2
    #137 4 years ago
    Quoted from drsfmd:

    Except it's not.

    There are car shows every weekend in the nicer months. There are cruise-ins in practically every city. It's a FAR more popular hobby than pinball. We have a handful of businesses that cater to the pinball hobby. There are literally thousands of companies that cater to the antique car hobby-- from guys who run a small business out of their garage to huge international companies.

    Shows are no different than leagues. People are competing for trophies in the different divisions, others come to watch the spectacle. Big shows (like the Hershey show coming up next month) are events that draw people from all over the world. The swap meets cover acres and acres. You clearly haven't ever been to one, because you have no concept of the scale... they make the pinball shows look tiny by comparison. A show like Hershey has thousands of cars in the show. Many hundreds more for sale in the car corral.

    I know guys who have literal airport hangers filled with old cars. I know guys with enough parts in their collections to build entire cars and they wouldn't make a dent in their parts collections. Just because it's outside of the realm of your NYC existence doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    On this, you have a point. The cost of entry into the hobby is too high for most. The cost of a single desirable collector car would put a Big Bang Bar, a Cactus Canyon, and a HEP AFM. Most guys in the hobby have more than one car. While I don't have any really high dollar cars, I have a collection of 9 vintage cars (and enough parts to build about 3 more), and could sell them off and fund one hell of a pinball collection...
    Then again, I don't know very many "older millenials and younger Gen Xers" who have large pinball collections either.

    And now you're just blowing hot air. The "No True Scotsman" argument isn't going to work with me.

    I read about 3 words of this ridiculous "cargument defense manifesto" and gave up. Fallacies and pointless nonsense that has NOTHING to do with the pinball hobby.

    You want to think cars and pinball machines are the same thing? Great, knock yourself out. You aren't the first person on the internet to think cars need to be the touchstone for comparing anything to anything else, and you won't be the last. See any discussion about anything, ever, and you'll see what I mean.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to drive my pinball machine to work, and then put a few quarters into a 1956 DeSoto at my local bar during my lunch break. I hope things go well and I win a free car!

    #138 4 years ago

    If you don't see the correlation between the pinball hobby and collecting cars then you are either dumb or have made a decision you consider intractable and will defend it no matter how ludicrous the argument is. Personally, I don't think you're dumb.

    #139 4 years ago
    Quoted from Rondogg:

    If you don't see the correlation between the pinball hobby and collecting cars then you are either dumb or have made a decision you consider intractable and will defend it no matter how ludicrous the argument is. Personally, I don't think you're dumb.

    I do not think you are dumb if you don't understand why it's a classic "apples and oranges" fallacy, just ignorant.

    Personally, I think you are ignorant.

    But seriously bro...why cars? You and your fellow cargumenters sole criteria for describing a hobby as "the same as pinball" is that there's collecting involved. Why not stamps? Why not dead butterflies? Why not baseball cards? Why not barbed wire?

    People actually collect barbed wire. And somewhere, some idiot in the dark nether regions of the internet is trying to say collecting barbed wire and collecting cars are basically the same thing.

    #140 4 years ago

    I hope Kevin Kulek is in jail....

    #141 4 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Why not barbed wire?
    People actually collect barbed wire. And somewhere, some idiot in the dark nether regions of the internet is trying to say collecting barbed wire and collecting cars are basically the same thing.

    This made me laugh as I actually have a small collection of barbed wire. I walk a lot of property lines in the woods and it's kind of interesting to see the different types. I only collect the real unusual stuff. It's similar to collecting cars in that both items have different manufacturers and they are both made of metal. You also usually find cars and barbed wire rusty. Also, both seem to....

    #142 4 years ago
    Quoted from Thrillhouse:

    Pinball in 10 years? Barring another "great" recession or serious war the pinball hobby will be as strong as ever, if not more so. We have entered another golden age (3rd-4th?) of pinball. Like others have pointed out, gen y and even millennials are grabbing the torch and running with it. Unfortunately unlike the past golden ages i believe the makers have crossed into dangerous territory by shifting the market to private collectors. In days past you went to public places (arcades, bowling alleys, bars, etc) to play the newest releases. Prices are almost, if not already, out of reach for operators. To see any new release on location is a rare thing in a lot of major cities. Very few can justify a $5k+ purchase to guarantee any sort of decent return on their investment. Driving pinball underground into collectors basements and the general populous not coming into contact with the new releases to keep things fresh eventually will force the hobby to fizzle and die. Once the market saturates itself with these high end toys for private collections it may well spell doom for many, if not all, pinball companies.

    it's really not the manufacturers that drove pinball to the collectors rather than the operators. pinball has been a losing proposition in terms of cost and maintenance for operators for decades. times change. the classic arcade is dead and it's not coming back. the casual lone pin on location at a laundromat or 7/11 is even more dead. operators that make money on pinball nowadays do so by actively promoting the game as a draw itself, and/or by organizing local social leagues and tournaments.

    i think pinball will survive, but to do so it will continue to evolve. home collecting will remain a large component of that both out of necessity for the manufacturers, and out of demand from collectors. streaming tournaments will become a bigger deal. hopefully, some new tech can come along soon that makes use of the internet in a creative way to bring more interest / competition / fun to a younger generation. (the first place peoples' minds usually jump to when someone mentions putting pins on the internet is competing online at different physical locations, but i think that is intractably problematic ... i think there are other stronger, more interesting opportunities for networked pins).

    #143 4 years ago

    Another strike against pins on location that nobody carries money anymore.

    Slap Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other wireless, secure payments on them, and they will get played more.

    Even all the vending machines where I work have this. I wouldn't be buying from them 1/10th as much if they only took money.

    There is nothing more convenient (some would say insidious) than using my Apple Watch to pay for something. Immediate, seamless, secure.

    #144 4 years ago
    Quoted from Air_Pinball:

    Slap Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other wireless, secure payments on them, and they will get played more.

    data shows otherwise.

    We have payrange on numerous pins and it has yet to even pay off the cost of the devices let alone the percentage they take off the top to "manage" the account.

    #145 4 years ago

    I think the current resurgence in part is due to people in their 30's (like me) who were the last generation to grow up and remember going to an arcade and seeing pins in bowling alley's and theaters. We are making more money now and some are spending it on pinball.

    I think pinball will survive and potentially thrive in the next 10 years. People in their 30's will be in their 40's and still buying pins. The people in their 40's will be in their 50's and still going strong in the hobby. The baby boomers may slow their spending a bit and not be as active potentially in the hobby.

    Will millennials pick it up? I think they will. I already see more younger people at shows and barcades.

    Technology is driving a lot of the hobby and will continue to grow. Pinball apps have also introduced a ton of people to pinball that are already hooked which helps pick up the slack for the lack of location play. Podcasts grow the hobby. Twitch feeds are big. Future network play could be cool.

    Tournament play will get bigger and bigger.

    #146 4 years ago
    Quoted from Air_Pinball:

    nobody carries money anymore.

    Not true...

    #147 4 years ago

    Yeah, I'm already fighting on two fronts in this thread - the "carguments are stupid" battle and the "people have been saying the hobby will be dead in 10 years for 20 years" fight - so I was a little reluctant to wade into this.

    But what the hell. Utter nonsense. Not a single NYC location has some silly eGadget hooked up to the coin mech and they are all thriving. Bars have money. Pinball machines go in bars. Until that dynamic changes I don't see why anybody needs to throw money away on digital pay tech. Really, a bill acceptor - which costs a couple hundred on its own - is enough for pins these days. I do think the quarter mech is/should be dying out - games should cost $1 a play anyway these days, and quarter mechs - with their constant jamming, and the general pain in the ass of getting quarters - have outlived their usefullness.

    #148 4 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I read about 3 words of this ridiculous "cargument defense manifesto" and gave up. Fallacies and pointless nonsense that has NOTHING to do with the pinball hobby.
    You want to think cars and pinball machines are the same thing? Great, knock yourself out. You aren't the first person on the internet to think cars need to be the touchstone for comparing anything to anything else, and you won't be the last. See any discussion about anything, ever, and you'll see what I mean.
    Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to drive my pinball machine to work, and then put a few quarters into a 1956 DeSoto at my local bar during my lunch break. I hope things go well and I win a free car!

    The only thing that's ridiculous is this "precious snowflake" argument that you're making that nothing else can be compared to pinball. The parallels between the two hobbies are inexorable.

    #149 4 years ago
    Quoted from drsfmd:

    The only thing that's ridiculous is this "precious snowflake" argument that you're making that nothing else can be compared to pinball. The parallels between the two hobbies are inexorable.

    We will agree to disagree on this one.

    You see, disagreements are kind of like cars...

    #150 4 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    We will agree to disagree on this one.

    We will. I could agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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