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(Topic ID: 266262)

Why didn't Stern buy the Bally/Williams rights?


By DakotaMike

6 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 28 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by o-din
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 6 months ago

Opening title says it all. How/Why in the world did Gary Stern let Planetary Pinball get the rights to Bally/Williams machines? Surely they could have outbid PP, couldn't they? Seems crazy they'd let it happen. Is there a good history anywhere of how all of that went down? From Mr. Pinball Australia gaining the bally/williams rights, and then eventually selling them to Planetary. Sounds like hard-to-believe stuff! Maybe an idea for Silverball Chronicles?

#2 6 months ago

No reason to.

They outlived Williams. Williams didn't want that division to continue, much of what you need wasn't for sale. They did sell license rights to make parts to Wayne, Gene. Later Planetary Pinball.

The remakes came around 14 years after Williams closed the pinball division.

And Stern is doing fine and growing with their product.

Plenty of info out there. On Rec Games Pinball, and the internet.

LTG : )

#3 6 months ago
Quoted from DakotaMike:

Opening title says it all. How/Why in the world did Gary Stern let Planetary Pinball get the rights to Bally/Williams machines? Surely they could have outbid PP, couldn't they? Seems crazy they'd let it happen. Is there a good history anywhere of how all of that went down? From Mr. Pinball Australia gaining the bally/williams rights, and then eventually selling them to Planetary. Sounds like hard-to-believe stuff! Maybe an idea for Silverball Chronicles?

Does Gary Stern own / control the rights to the former Sega pinball division which I think is a prior combination of ( Sega, Data East and STERN Electronics )

#4 6 months ago
Quoted from Pinballrocks:

Does Gary Stern own / control the rights to the former Sega pinball division which I think is a prior combination of ( Sega, Data East and STERN Electronics )

Now THIS is more interesting. From my research it appears that Stern let all of the Classic Stern IPs lapse. All of the Stern Electronic’s copyrights seem to be out in the open. Notice when Stern remade Seawitch into the Beatles they didn’t have to credit any precious designers or ANYTHING. And they declined to even give them a shoutout.
I believe there’s a quote from Gary about how the past was the past and he has no interest in what they did and only cares about what they’re GOING to do. Which is sensible when running a large business and staying afloat in the pinball game. However the old Sega and Data East games seem to have been retroactively branded into Sterns based on the Pinball Arcade and other emulators which now show no reference to DE or Sega and just edit in the Stern logo instead.

#5 6 months ago

I heard that classic Stern IP went to Gary's ex-wife.

#6 6 months ago

Assuming this is correct it appears Gary Stern has the rights to Stern Electronics, Data East & Sega

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_(game_company)

Wikipedia-

Stern Pinball, Inc.[edit]
By 1999, the pinball industry was virtually dead and Williams stopped manufacturing pinball machines and focused on gambling devices as WMS Gaming. During the same year, Sega left the pinball industry and sold its pinball division, previously purchased from Data East in 1994[1], to Gary Stern, the son of Sam Stern. In October 1999, Sega sold the pinball portion of its company to Gary Stern, who had been running Data East/Sega pinball since 1986, and Stern Pinball was born.[1][2][3] Stern Pinball, Inc. is based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

#7 6 months ago

Why would Stern even want to make parts for B/W games?

#8 6 months ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

Why would Stern even want to make parts for B/W games?

Parts would be the Primary reason! Most any business especially pinball can make 20-30% revenue on parts alone. Games cost money, parts make money.

#9 6 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Parts would be the Primary reason! Most any business especially pinball can make 20-30% revenue on parts alone. Games cost money, parts make money.

Why make small money on parts and help your ex competitor machines stay operational ??
While its your core business to sell your own new machines and there is Sterns big profits ?
When there are no parts to keep bly/wms running, operators need to buy more Stern games.

Quoted from KenLayton:

I heard that classic Stern IP went to Gary's ex-wife.

Also read something last year, here in a discussion when Mirco started making Stern repro
playfields..

#10 6 months ago
Quoted from DakotaMike:

Surely they could have outbid PP, couldn't they?

That's where you're so wrong. There is an individual involved with PP that has more money than Gary Stern could ever dream of having.

#11 6 months ago
Quoted from Bryan_Kelly:

That's where you're so wrong. There is an individual involved with PP that has more money than Gary Stern could ever dream of having.

And all this time I thought Rick was on unemployment!

#12 6 months ago
Quoted from jake35:

And all this time I thought Rick was on unemployment!

Oh, it ain't Rick.

#13 6 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Games cost money, parts make money.

I live this quote every time I have to go to the dealership to get a part for my car that can't be gotten outside of OEM channels.

#14 6 months ago

Thank god they didn’t ! Seeing a MM with a metal back box and a cheesy lockdown bar ? CGC builds beautiful games

10
#15 6 months ago
Quoted from whitey:

Thank god they didn’t ! Seeing a MM with a metal back box and a cheesy lockdown bar ? CGC builds beautiful games

No question on CGC. With that said, I must be in the minority as I rather Like the change they made with the lock down bar. Simple, efficient, and strong. Sometimes less complicated is Better.

#16 6 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

No question on CGC. With that said, I must be in the minority as I rather Like the change they made with the lock down bar. Simple, efficient, and strong. Sometimes less complicated is Better.

MMR doesn’t have a metal back box? And the lockdown is different?

#17 6 months ago

Gary Stern got the best assets that Williams/Bally/Midway had; Steve Ritchie, Pat Lawlor, Dennis Nordman, etc.

#18 6 months ago
Quoted from Steve_in_Escalon:

Gary Stern got the best assets that Williams/Bally/Midway had; Steve Ritchie, Pat Lawlor, Dennis Nordman, etc.

His biggest asset is Lyman Sheats.

#19 6 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

No question on CGC. With that said, I must be in the minority as I rather Like the change they made with the lock down bar. Simple, efficient, and strong. Sometimes less complicated is Better.

I agree. The toggle clamp lock down bar is rock solid.

#20 6 months ago
Quoted from pintechev:

MMR doesn’t have a metal back box? And the lockdown is different?

I never said that it did.

#21 6 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

I never said that it did.

Oops - quoted the wrong post - my apologies.

#22 6 months ago
Quoted from Pinballrocks:

Does Gary Stern own / control the rights to the former Sega pinball division which I think is a prior combination of ( Sega, Data East and STERN Electronics )

No, Sega was just Data East and Sega into the modern Stern Pinball.

Stern Electronics, Inc. went bankrupt, just like Chicago Coin did when they (Stern family, Sam/Gary) bought their assets... without their liabilities. Now, where those assets went to (Gary's ex-wife, possibly) there would be no way for Gary to have moved the assets directly to Data East pinball (or Pinstar, the company set up between SEI and DE pinball) without having taken on the liabilities as well. (Bankruptcy courts don't let you just take the valuable stuff with you and leave the crap for the creditors to fight over....).

As for crediting the original designers, remember they were all employed in a work-for-hire situation... they don't own any of the work they created. The SEI entity did.

The only thing in common are the people.

#23 6 months ago
Quoted from DakotaMike:

Opening title says it all. How/Why in the world did Gary Stern let Planetary Pinball get the rights to Bally/Williams machines? Surely they could have outbid PP, couldn't they? Seems crazy they'd let it happen. Is there a good history anywhere of how all of that went down? From Mr. Pinball Australia gaining the bally/williams rights, and then eventually selling them to Planetary. Sounds like hard-to-believe stuff! Maybe an idea for Silverball Chronicles?

I can answer that, They couldn't get all their ducks in a row WMS told me, couldn't get the money together at the time!

#24 6 months ago

Also, Williams (under the umbrella of Scientific Games) still actually OWNS all the intellectual property, and none of the other parties since then has actually purchased the IP, they just paid for the rights to use the licenses. Scientific still uses the old pinball IP from time to time as part of their slot machine lineup. (Black Knight, AFM, Funhouse).

I remember discussing this with Rick when I was first looking into selling my EPROM adapters, and he had to get their permission for me to migrate from multiple EPROM's to a single chip, even though the actual content was unchanged. IIRC it was the first time he handled a derivative work with them so it took a while to get sorted out.

-Hans

#25 6 months ago
Quoted from HHaase:

Also, Williams (under the umbrella of Scientific Games) still actually OWNS all the intellectual property, and none of the other parties since then has actually purchased the IP, they just paid for the rights to use the licenses. Scientific still uses the old pinball IP from time to time as part of their slot machine lineup. (Black Knight, AFM, Funhouse).
I remember discussing this with Rick when I was first looking into selling my EPROM adapters, and he had to get their permission for me to migrate from multiple EPROM's to a single chip, even though the actual content was unchanged. IIRC it was the first time he handled a derivative work with them so it took a while to get sorted out.
-Hans

Not exactly Correct 78 Patents were transferred and the Pinball.com domain, in fact the Bally Trademark was not owned by Williams its licensed from Cesars Entertainment

#26 6 months ago

How valuable is the B/W ip? I don't see much money in parts. It's all small run, niche stuff and few have skills to do things like pf swaps/full restorations. No new games are built except for the remakes and remakes have their limits. Stern doesn't need any of that stuff or headaches that go with it. They can build their own games and parts with some of the same people that built B/W games.

#27 6 months ago
Quoted from DakotaMike:

Opening title says it all. How/Why in the world did Gary Stern let Planetary Pinball get the rights to Bally/Williams machines? Surely they could have outbid PP, couldn't they? Seems crazy they'd let it happen. Is there a good history anywhere of how all of that went down? From Mr. Pinball Australia gaining the bally/williams rights, and then eventually selling them to Planetary. Sounds like hard-to-believe stuff! Maybe an idea for Silverball Chronicles?

Have you considered it was a strategic move by Williams management rather than an oversight by Stern?

If you were the CEO of Williams and you had to convince the management board to shut down the entire pinball division due to declining sales it would make sense not to subsequently sell to the entity with the next best capability of producing pinball machines and turning potential sales around but instead sell to the one with the least ability of doing so.

#28 6 months ago

They were too busy making top quality games with only the best and current licensed themes to pick up where Williams left off.

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