Pinball machines have become very expensive, even more so now than ever before. The reason for this is simple: pinball machine manufacturers spend large amounts of money marketing their products and gathering revenue from them.
Marketers often overstate how popular or well-loved an item is to gain attention and draw in new customers. This sometimes results in people buying the product because they believe it’s an excellent investment!
This article will talk about some costly pinball games and why you should be outraged. If you are already aware of these game prices, feel free to skip down below the second bullet point!
What are the most expensive pinball games?
We will discuss several pinball games that cost at least $1,000 USD each. Some of these games can go as high as $5,000 apiece!
These extremely expensive pinball tables are not average pinball games – they are designed to win, to impress, and to make lots of money. It is no coincidence that all of these games were manufactured by one company: WMS Gaming.
WMS stands for World Manufacturing Company, and this company has produced many successful pinball games. They are known for creating highly detailed, beautiful pinball games with impressive soundtracks and graphics.
Why are pinball games so expensive?
It is important to understand the economics behind pinball table production before criticizing the price.
Another reason why pinball machines can be so expensive is due to the glass used to cover the table. Most of these games use laser-cut glass which adds up quickly.
Laser cut glass is manufactured by using a very powerful beam of light that cuts into the surface being illuminated, just like with regular cutting torches.
However, instead of creating a flat piece, it creates curved pieces. This process has to be done for each individual pane of glass, making it more costly than normal cutting methods.
Also, since it’s a liquid (solvent) based process, there are safety precautions that must be followed when working with lasers. These include wearing protective gear such as goggles and ear protection.
Unfortunately, due to how expensive pinball machines can be, they are not designed to last for very long. Because of this, most pinball manufacturers make parts that are hard to find and cost quite a bit money.
The components of a pinball machine — such as the flippers, bumper, paddles, and wheels — all require regular maintenance and repair.
If you look around, you will probably see at least one part in need of replacement. If you are looking to save some cash, it is important to do your research and know what types of replacements are available.
There are several websites and forums where people share their experiences with different games and what parts needed to be replaced. By doing this, you get an idea of which vendors have quality merchandise and who does not.
As mentioned before, pinball machines are not cheap to make or purchase! Licensing is one of the biggest costs in manufacturing pinball games. Companies that produce table designs and software for pinball games must be licensed through both third-party patent holders and pin manufacturer owners.
Licenses can get expensive very quickly. A small company may only need limited licenses, but as your game grows in popularity larger companies might require more expensive ones or even exclusive rights to use their technology.
These patents cover things like how the machine uses electricity (power pins!), the flipper design (the little plastic balls used to hit the bumper), computer chips used to control gameplay, and so on. Without these, you cannot manufacture or sell your pinball game!
There are also additional royalties paid to the original inventor of each component. These run between $1–$5 per item depending on who owns it now and who originally invented it!
The pinball industry is a bit bloated with many different manufacturers owning and using various parts of pinball.
The value of the machine
While some people enjoy playing pinball for its sleek, flashy appearance or because it was their favorite game as a child, most do not. This is why most people don’t care about pinball- there are very few games being made and if you want one, you have to buy old ones that are hard to find!
Since pinball games cost so much money, how can someone really afford one?
The reason most pinball machines go up in price is due to the equipment inside. A lot of companies that make the parts and/or software to operate the game use expensive materials and advanced manufacturing processes. These things add to the overall cost of the pinball machine.
There are also royalties and fees related to using copyrighted material such as music and logos. Since these things come with owning a pinball machine, this too adds to the final price.
The rarity of the machines
There are only three known copies of The Wizard of Oz in existence! That’s not very many, is it?
There are only three known working prototypes of an arcade game called Smash Up. Only one was built, by the company that made it.
And there is just ONE pinball machine ever produced with a pre-existing theme – Star Wars. It spent several years as a display piece before being sold for over $100,000. (That’s more than twice what it cost to make!)
Why are these so expensive? Because they are rare. Very, VERY RARE.
As hard as it may be to believe, not too many people have access to authentic artifacts from the past. Technically speaking, we’re in an era where anything at all can “happen” at any time.
In other words, you never know when someone will decide to sell their collection or throw out the junk they no longer use.
This is why most people don’t have a copy of War And Peace, even though everyone else does. It’s also why there aren’t too many remaining examples of classic furniture or artwork.
The collectors market
There are two main reasons why pinball machines can cost so much money these days-the collectors’ market and software engineers.
The collectors’ market refers to people who enjoy buying and collecting new toys, especially if they are games. These individuals will pay top dollar for any game that is within their style or genre.
There you have it! As mentioned before, pinball games make great collector’s items because of all of the parts you can find and add onto them. Games also go up in price as time goes on which makes sense since we are talking about toys here!
Software engineering has also played a huge part in how expensive some pinball games can be. Companies like DigiWorks and Zen Studios create the programming and graphics for most pinball games.
The nostalgia factor
People are very attached to pinball machines. There is just something about hitting flippers with balls, spinning wheels, or targets that brings back nostalgic feelings for people.
Many feel as if they have lost part of their childhood when they stop playing pinball games. It could be because you learned how to play before technology took over, or because it was your favorite game as a kid.
There’s also an expensive element to owning a pinball machine. Since most pinball games cost around 1,000 dollars, there is a lot of investment needed up front.
But even after spending that money, users will find themselves investing more in pinballs to improve their gameplay. This can include buying new tables, new paddles, or other components.
The classic designs
There are several reasons why pinball games cost so much money these days. Some say that pinball is just a way to make lots of money, so companies keep creating new versions with more bells and whistles to get people to spend extra cash on the game.
But there’s another reason why pinball costs so much money these days beyond pure greed– it’s expensive!
The components for most modern pinballs are very pricey. A mechanical ball catcher, flippers, bumper rails, netting, plastic parts, electrical wiring, and even glass panels can add up quickly. All of those pieces must be imported and built in China or Mexico, where the cheap labor allows manufacturers to produce their products at low prices.
That means all of those components have to travel across land and water which adds to the price tag. And since not everyone has a factory close by, the materials need to be shipped and stored until they are put together, again adding to the expense.