(Topic ID: 144051)

Why haven't new machines become easier to support remotely?


By BrianZ

4 years ago



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  • 113 posts
  • 42 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Captain_Kirk
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    There are 113 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 4 years ago

    I was thinking about this a bit yesterday, why have new machines not become easier to support for operators? I've seen some improvements in new machines (Stern SAM, and the MM remake), but it seems to be lacking.

    Why not better remote support? Everyone and their dog has WIFI. Why not build into machines where they could report audit and problem information to a site? For remote operators, I would think this would be worth it's weight in GOLD.

    Is there just not enough sales to OPS for the manufacturer's to care? To enable this would be a minimal increase in the price of a machine (under $100).

    And the additional opportunities this would provide...Remote tournaments, special modes, maybe even remote code updates...

    If someone is already doing this, let me know.....

    #2 4 years ago

    Would be nice to have. Things like:

    Credit dot/errors
    Time stamped coin drops (to figure out who your customer groups are and try to cater to them more)
    Various audits

    Have info pushed at the end of every game played or pulled when triggered by whatever interface the Op has.

    #3 4 years ago
    Quoted from BrianZ:

    Everyone and their dog has WIFI.

    image.jpg

    #4 4 years ago
    Quoted from desertT1:

    Would be nice to have. Things like:

    Credit dot/errors
    Time stamped coin drops (to figure out who your customer groups are and try to cater to them more)
    Various audits
    Have info pushed at the end of every game played or pulled when triggered by whatever interface the Op has.

    Exactly.. Operators could use it to understand peak periods. What sites make $$ or not... Adjust machine settings to increase or decrease ball times.
    And know when to visit to perform repairs or reel in the take. Reduce trips means more profit.

    #5 4 years ago

    The vending machine industry didn't start testing and incorporating this kind of IoT technology until something like 2 years ago, and last I checked the pinball industry was a little smaller than those guys.

    That said, I think multimorphic had something like this planned, yeah?

    #6 4 years ago

    I know exactly when my peak times are: After a few of my buddies get off work, and the nights that I host events.

    However, being able to access the switch test menu (for example) would let me know if something is stuck without actually being there. Once a week I get a text saying a machine is doing something goofy. I could have told them instantly if I could check the switches of a given machine.

    The last one was a piece of something fell off and was triggering an upper lane in a game when the flippers went off and shook the piece just enough. Was also cancelling out a skill shot if the player flipped before plunging because the switch registered. I couldn't have been able to do anything about it remotely, but I could have known what I was walking into next time I went in without poking around much.

    #7 4 years ago

    We literally just got LCD technology and you're talking about wifi already. We're not even on dial up yet.

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from DefaultGen:

    We literally just got LCD technology and you're talking about wifi already. We're not even on dial up yet.

    JJP has wifi on his boards though right? I thought I remember wireless updates as a part of the offerings at one point.

    #9 4 years ago

    Yes, please add in hardware that will email/msg me with errors the machines have. I also am wondering why this is not an option yet.

    -3
    #10 4 years ago

    WiFi could also be used to facilitate a number of alternative payments (CCs, SMS, NFC) and online tournaments.

    If location pinball was still relevant, all of these things would already be rolled out.

    Sad because a combination of these things might help make location pinball more relevant.

    #11 4 years ago
    Quoted from anthony691:

    WiFi could also be used to facilitate a number of alternative payments (CCs, SMS, NFC)

    All the ops I know DON'T want to take any payment other than cash.

    They usually report 25% of their income, and you can't do that if you are accepting electronic payments.

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from DefaultGen:

    We literally just got LCD technology and you're talking about wifi already. We're not even on dial up yet.

    It may be left up to the aftermarket to come up with a solution. I think it might be possible to reprogram this device to work. I'll let you know how it goes.

    PinballRemote.jpg

    #13 4 years ago

    This probably has already been said because it's pretty obvious but I would like to see high scores uploaded with wifi.

    #14 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    All the ops I know DON'T want to take any payment other than cash.
    They usually report 25% of their income, and you can't do that if you are accepting electronic payments.

    I've heard of at least 3 different ops that have installed PayRange, which accepts electronic payments. I guess the new guard is doing it differently.

    #15 4 years ago

    lets make self leveling/pitching tables and tilt bobs that auto settle after each ball first..

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    It may be left up to the aftermarket to come up with a solution. I think it might be possible to reprogram this device to work. I'll let you know how it goes.
    PinballRemote.jpg

    Ha! We had that EXACT remote on the color Zenith my dad bought to watch the moon landing in '69.
    As I recall it had a little set of chimes inside that would trigger the remote actions. You could jiggle a set of keys & it would mess with the channels.
    .

    #17 4 years ago

    Big Data Pinball... <nerd emoji>

    #18 4 years ago

    Did anyone think that maybe having wifi would be a bad idea. Hacking in via cell phone and setting the game to freeplay?

    Wifi and pinball bad idea. Unless its just for audits. But you can check those when emptying the coin box. So why add an extra cost to already expensive machines.

    Being able to change setting by wifi, bad idea.

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    We had that EXACT remote on the color Zenith my dad bought to watch the moon landing in '69.

    They landed on the moon?

    #20 4 years ago
    Quoted from ryanwanger:

    I guess the new guard is doing it differently.

    Maybe.

    All the ops I know with big routes are still very "connected".

    -1
    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    They landed on the moon?

    Allegedly.

    #22 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    All the ops I know DON'T want to take any payment other than cash.
    They usually report 25% of their income, and you can't do that if you are accepting electronic payments.

    I completely get it, but they are cutting their own throats. I rarely see a pin on location, but saw a nice Shrek at a movie theater just last week. Countless people wanted to play, including myself... Instead it sat completely idle.....Why? Nobody carries cash anymore.

    Quoted from erak:

    Did anyone think that maybe having wifi would be a bad idea. Hacking in via cell phone and setting the game to freeplay?
    Wifi and pinball bad idea. Unless its just for audits. But you can check those when emptying the coin box. So why add an extra cost to already expensive machines.
    Being able to change setting by wifi, bad idea.

    Pinball machines are anything but secure. Much easier ways to get free games. If designed right with proper security, you can block the 99.999%. The small percent whom can get through most likely won't. They will be more focused on hacking your bank account. Could easily be controlled in settings, and up to the customer how many options to control remotely.

    O-din, Love the remote.....

    #23 4 years ago
    Quoted from BrianZ:

    I completely get it, but they are cutting their own throats. I rarely see a pin on location, but saw a nice Shrek at a movie theater just last week. Countless people wanted to play, including myself... Instead it sat completely idle.....Why? Nobody carries cash anymore.

    I could definitely see that happening. Are there coin changers that take debit? That would seem like an option for some places.

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from BrianZ:

    Instead it sat completely idle.....Why? Nobody carries cash anymore.

    I haven't carried cash in ten years---not unusual in Chicago. Even my drycleaner and tailor take cards now (the last holdouts).

    I have to stop at the bank to go play pinball.

    #25 4 years ago

    Why on Earth would an operator want all that wifi horseshit to deal with? Pinball machines are complicated enough and way overpriced now.

    Also, I have never owned nor wanted credit cards or debit cards. Those are horseshit I don't need. I only deal in cash.

    #26 4 years ago

    Being a complete pinball newb, I have no idea what type of data a newer SPIKE Stern pushes over it's internal network, but....
    my first concern with adding WiFi to a machine would be how to secure it.

    My second question would be, "Would the convenience be worth the risk?" considering most companies fail to properly secure their devices. Security is a cost that is typically in the way of profit.

    #27 4 years ago

    Maybe the new upcoming Spike2 system will have wifi?...

    #28 4 years ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    I only deal in cash.

    You must also use checks too, right?

    #29 4 years ago

    If wifi gets added it won't be all rainbows and butterflies, it will be a manufacturer product that links to their portal and probably carries a monthly fee, per machine. The hardware "activation" will have a cost just as JJP is demonstrating with their redemption code unlocking dongle.

    I don't see this as being a free hardware inclusion along with a freely hosted SaaS backend...no way

    #30 4 years ago
    Quoted from BrianZ:

    saw a nice Shrek at a movie theater just last week. Countless people wanted to play, including myself... Instead it sat completely idle.....Why? Nobody carries cash anymore.

    You have to carry cash to tip your waiters. If you tip on the credit card, they never get the full amount.

    If countless people wanted to play, somebody would have some real cash to get change

    I always have $500 on me in case I see crap at a garage sale, fresh un-waxed apples at a roadside stand (season is almost over folks), a good condition throwaway, the tip for the maitre d', strip bar money......

    #31 4 years ago
    Quoted from ryanwanger:

    You must also use checks too, right?

    Nope. But I do buy money orders every month to pay rent.

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Nope. But I do buy money orders every month to pay rent.

    Bravo, this is amazing.

    How do you order pinball parts?

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    All the ops I know DON'T want to take any payment other than cash.
    They usually report 25% of their income, and you can't do that if you are accepting electronic payments.

    And they'll be out of business in a few years. Can't wait to buy their pins cheap. Most ops I know are going electronic payments and making triple or more

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Why on Earth would an operator want all that wifi horseshit to deal with? Pinball machines are complicated enough and way overpriced now.
    Also, I have never owned nor wanted credit cards or debit cards. Those are horseshit I don't need. I only deal in cash.

    Wi-Fi horeshit? This isn't the 90s old man :p get with it!

    Pins don't need it for payment as the payment solutions provide it.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from jrivelli:

    Most ops I know are going electronic payments and making triple or more

    one would have to figure out if paying for the 5% fee on the electronic payments, plus the additional taxes going into the toilet for Uncle Scam by declaring 100% of the income, the bar wants cash - never a taxable check, then the family gets the cut they are owed - they don't take checks either (every conversion step loses more money); a lot of math there to figure out if you are really on top or not.

    Even taking in 3x might not be enough to actually net you more money (even though the game is getting 3x the wear and tear).

    #36 4 years ago

    It seems simple enoug, put an on off switch on it. If the operator does not want turn it off. I as a homeowner would love to have it on and have any problems going mediately to the manufacturer

    #37 4 years ago
    Quoted from jrivelli:

    And they'll be out of business in a few years. Can't wait to buy their pins cheap. Most ops I know are going electronic payments and making triple or more

    I have to disagree. Our location games are cash only and many bill acceptors don't even work because you can't find parts for them. They are rarely used anyway as most people just drop quarters. They are earning just fine.

    #38 4 years ago

    Wow, I managed to spark 2 discussions in 1. The WiFi connected machine and debit/credit payments.

    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Why on Earth would an operator want all that wifi horseshit to deal with? Pinball machines are complicated enough and way overpriced now.
    Also, I have never owned nor wanted credit cards or debit cards. Those are horseshit I don't need. I only deal in cash.

    No offense, but that cracks me up. I've never heard WiFi deemed as "horseshit".....
    Operators want to maximize return on investment. If they have more data, reduce number of trips on site, and have a better working game (creating revenue); they would do what ever it takes. Machines are at $9K!! WTF? And they don't have this? We need to keep innovating, so that pinball can continue to grow.

    #39 4 years ago

    Ontop of this they are still using the worst, cheapest crap components from plastics to electronics to sideart..... Is there another market or hobby where people are ripped off more and exploited than pinball owners ?

    Overpriced Everything....

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from Crash:

    I have to disagree. Our location games are cash only and many bill acceptors don't even work because you can't find parts for them. They are rarely used anyway as most people just drop quarters. They are earning just fine.

    It depends on your geographic location, the characteristics of the bar, etc., and the demographic characteristics of your target customers.

    If I saw one of my peers using cash, I'd assume they developed a coke habit. Seriously.

    #41 4 years ago

    One good thing about quarters "they just work"

    Bill validators seem to only accept newly printed, crisp bills from thr bank.

    WiFi would be easy to add to a PC but opens up attack vectors developers would rather not have to deal with.

    Why not jump right to Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc? Everybody has a smartphone. Though I'm not sure how many people actually use that feature (I don't)

    #42 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    one would have to figure out if paying for the 5% fee on the electronic payments, plus the additional taxes going into the toilet for Uncle Scam by declaring 100% of the income, the bar wants cash - never a taxable check, then the family gets the cut they are owed - they don't take checks either (every conversion step loses more money); a lot of math there to figure out if you are really on top or not.
    Even taking in 3x might not be enough to actually net you more money (even though the game is getting 3x the wear and tear).

    Maybe they should simply stop the tax fraud

    #43 4 years ago
    Quoted from benheck:

    One good thing about quarters "they just work"
    Bill validators seem to only accept newly printed, crisp bills from thr bank.
    WiFi would be easy to add to a PC but opens up attack vectors developers would rather not have to deal with.
    Why not jump right to Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc? Everybody has a smartphone. Though I'm not sure how many people actually use that feature (I don't)

    I'm always finding quarter mechs broken or jammed up and stuck and an operator has to come in and fix.

    One of the phone app payment readers had an issue and was fixed remotely in minutes by posting in our pdx pinball group. Op for that game was notified and fixed quickly.

    That kinda of stuff is cool and if that's how the benefits can work then extra sweet.

    If course stuck balls etc and the such may never be fixed without an in person visit. Unless no cash or quarters are used and location is trusted for basics like that. No cash to mess with or have to trust someone with then they can be given key

    #44 4 years ago

    I actually could see the value in both.

    To say "Nobody carries cash anymore" is a far to extreme. My games only accept bills and coins and they do very well so cash is still used by many and it is very easy to get quarters from a change machine or hostess/bartender.

    The wifi would not be a bad idea but the one thing I personally would worry about is the hackers that would eventually gain access. Yes, you could say well turn it off but then what would be the point to adding it. It's a good idea, but just don't see this happening and it would raise the cost of an already expensive machine. An added value of wifi would be able to find out what issues the game is having so it would save time to repair before arriving at the location, that I like but not sure if I think I would pass on it if I had the option.

    #45 4 years ago

    The hardware cost of implementing WiFi with Spike is <$20/machine. Period. Their current design can accommodate WiFi and magnetic strip reading over USB.

    The costs associated with developing the relevant software are a lot higher. Security isn't as big a deal as you all think when you can just use off the shelf solutions.

    Bottom line is, this sort of move would cost something on the order of $250k. Stern would not make this up in increased sales. They'd probably want to charge license fees. They probably still wouldn't make it up.

    The key play would be to get a point or two on the payment processing. Then it might make commercial sense.

    The problem is, when >60% of the games are going straight into basements, it barely makes sense to put a coin door on them---let alone invest tons of money in features that benefit only a minority of their customers at all.

    If Stern rolled this sort of thing out, I'd route a couple of NIBs for fun. I'd enjoy getting to pour through the data and checking up on the machines remotely, because I'm a dork like that.

    #46 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    It may be left up to the aftermarket to come up with a solution. I think it might be possible to reprogram this device to work. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Ha!! we did not need that fancy stuff. When I was a kid, I was the remote control.

    #47 4 years ago
    Quoted from jrivelli:

    Maybe they should simply stop the tax fraud

    LOL

    That's great material.

    #48 4 years ago
    Quoted from anthony691:

    The hardware cost of implementing WiFi with Spike is <$20/machine. Period. Their current design can accommodate WiFi and magnetic strip reading over USB.

    I get it, I'm not the trusting type... I'll pay at stores with a mag strip, but I wouldn't play a pinball machine using a card. This is the exact reason cards now include chips. I don't want some fly by night operator getting my card details. I don't want a record of them sitting in a pinball machine that comes off route and gets sold for someone to hack. No thanks. A few quarters work just fine.

    #49 4 years ago

    "At some point in the future Heighway says that Full Throttle, Alien and subsequent machines will use Wi-Fi connectivity so you can log in to a machine and upload your high scores and use prepaid credits. If that’s not available when Alien is released then this will be made available via a software update at a later date."

    #50 4 years ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    I get it, I'm not the trusting type... I'll pay at stores with a mag strip, but I wouldn't play a pinball machine using a card. This is the exact reason cards now include chips. I don't want some fly by night operator getting my card details. I don't want a record of them sitting in a pinball machine that comes off route and gets sold for someone to hack. No thanks. A few quarters work just fine.

    That's just not how payment processors work. You never get access to the full card # or information.

    However, if the OP puts some special device in to steal data then sure. Although, seems unlikely based on the posts above

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