As video games have aged, the number of people who collect the old stuff has increased and we see more articles discussing the community behind the collecting. A strong collectors community exists behind pinball as well but they differ a little in helping drive new pinball sales on some level. Here is an article by Tampa Bay Online that gets into some of the changes the pinball industry has seen in modern days, specifically that collectors angle and how they help drive sales behind such machines.
The article gets into how sales of pinball machines to arcades has suffered, although it’s incorrect to state that no one in the amusement industry buys them anymore – I know of many locations that will, depending upon the theme. AVATAR shouldn’t be hard to find and if Stern takes the plunge on a TRON pinball then I think that will be relatively easy to find as well. But it is true, as the article discusses, that pinball isn’t the best ROI item an arcade can get. That’s why I’d love to see some technological improvements take place with the games although I can understand the problem that exists – Stern is trying to keep costs down and switching to something like an LCD would drive that up for them. At the same time I think that a pin which is up-to-speed with current technology would be much more likely to get a faster ROI than the current style of pins. This means someone will have to take a risk on it to find out, which at the very least Marsaplay is doing in Spain.
If you’re interested, the article can be read here.