Pinball Machines At Best Buy!
By James Grahame
Stern Pinball announced yesterday that their lineup of machines is now available on the Best Buy website, with in-store availability slated for later this year. This is great news for Stern, since it provides unbeatable exposure across the United States.
With list prices starting at $3,799, these machines aren't going to be popular holiday gifts. Still, the arrangement will make it easier for well-heeled enthusiasts and collectors to pick up a modern pinball machine with convenient local delivery. Additionally, displays in high-traffic stores will dramatically increase Stern's visibility. I suspect the most common comment will probably be, "Wow! I didn't know anyone still made these."
Stern Pinball is the last large-scale pinball manufacturer in the world. The latest iteration of the company was founded by Gary Stern in 1999, following the demise of all of the major industry players.
The marketplace has changed dramatically since the heyday of pinball thirty years ago. Back in those days, machines were sold almost exclusively to coin-op dealers for use in arcades and high traffic businesses. It was all about making a living, 25 cents at a time.
Now, the vast majority of purchasers are collectors interested in owning a pristine Rolling Stones Limited Edition [$5,699] or TRON: Legacy [$4,799] table. Exposure through Best Buy will provide excellent access to Stern's new market of well-heeled, tech-savvy buyers. It won't bring about a dramatic resurgence in popularity, but it may provide Stern with sufficient sales to extend their product range.