For the past 20 years, in somewhat of an odd phenomenon, pinball prices have been going up across the board. There are very few other items that you can buy where they continuously go up year after year, allowing you to buy and and play for a year and then get your money back.
I’ve been noticing that the market appears to be stagnating the past 6 to 12 months outside of a few titles like Indiana Jones, Twilight Zone, Addams Family, etc…titles that aren’t likely to be remade anytime soon. The remakes appear to be slowly dropping in value as well, leading to their lowest values yet. New games aren’t holding their values particularly well either, which leads to my question, “Have Pinball Prices Peaked?”.
Lack of Room?
It kind of feels like all of the machines made over the past few years are finally filling up everyone’s game rooms, leading to less demand overall. And the prices haven’t slowed down either, pricing out a lot of people in the hobby.
I know that I personally haven’t been buying much. I used to buy a game every few months or so but now I only buy one like once a year at most. Biggest reason is that the prices have gotten too high on the newer games and most of the time the software isn’t complete on them either. Who wants to spend $5k to $9k on an incomplete game? Evidently a lot of people based upon the past 5 years, but I think people are getting a little smarter with they’re buying (finally, lol). Also I don’t have any additional room either, I have to sell something to buy something.
Too much supply?
What I’m afraid may happen is that the supply from all the new manufacturers may start to overwhelm all the buyers, leading to big price drops on new machines. This in turn may put downward pressure on all games. The hobby has essentially flourished the past 20 years based on the steady appreciation of games. If that were to change, then you might see large collectors start to liquidate some of their warehouse holdings. There are a lot of people that just have 100’s of games in storage due to their appreciating nature.
Of course, this might also be just a short blip and prices may continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Prices have risen way past what I thought anyone would pay already. I’m personally pretty comfortable at the $5k and less level. At that level, it doesn’t feel super expensive, and any value lost would be minimal.
The 8k barrier
Where I don’t want to be at is the $8k and above level. It feels like that’s the line where games can’t really hold their value well above. Anything that’s been above that line has tended to drift back down below it due to lack of buyers. I think it’s the Medieval Madness line. Before all the remakes, all kinds of games were hitting $8k and above. When the Medieval Madness remake came, it kind of set the ceiling to $8k on about everything. I think that’s because since Medieval Madness is the gold standard for collectors, if a game is over $8k the collector will just buy a MM remake instead. Hence setting the price ceiling.
I know that personally I’d just buy a Medieval Madness if I was going to spend $8k on a machine. At least I’d know it was going to be in demand forever.
I think the biggest bargains right now are the Stern Pro’s from the past few years. Most of them are in the $4k to $5k range and the software is now complete on most of them. There are quite a few in that category that I wouldn’t mind owning someday. I wish that they had gotten the real voices for Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy, that would have made those games so much better.
What do you think will happen to pinball prices? Add your comment below!