Quoted from o-din:
Perhaps pinball itself has outlived it's own relevance by becoming a hobby of nostalgia, but in doing so it has affirmed it's own death sentence by not trying to appeal to a younger generation. When it finally does fade out for good along with the rest of us, our kids will be left wondering what to do with these contraptions that are monuments to bands and movies that they never heard of and have no reason to have any interest in.
First of all, you make it sound like the only themes Stern uses are nostalgic. You're focusing on the classic rock pin every few years when there are plenty of themes "for the kids". Iron Man, Avengers, Transformers, Avatar, Shrek, Simpsons, WWE, etc....almost every theme they do is multi-generational and current....perfect "younger generation" themes. Are those getting "the kids" to flock to arcades? Of course not, their generation doesn't go out for gaming, they have it in their pocket and at home...and - it's not Stern's job to make the gaming arcade relevant again. They manufacture a specific machine for coin-op locations...they don't run the joints themselves. The arcade days as we remember them are long gone...they're either a time killer at a movie theater or a specific nostalgia journey with barcades and adult-leaning establishments. They could make Taylor Swift Pinball, Lady Gaga Pinball....current artists all day long. "The kids" still won't flock to arcades, and the nostalgic pinball lovers won't buy it.
It's incredible that Stern's been able to stay in business in this post-arcade era, where their machines are relatively irrelevant. If iconic rock bands sell machines, then don't fault them for doing the right thing for their business. New bands won't sell machines or raise awareness with "the kids".