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Pinball, a dubious investment?

If you talk to pinball collectors, the subject of "pinball as an investment" often comes up. The idea behind this is that everything that is becoming rarer automatically increases in value, and our beloved pinball machines are therefore facing a huge increase in value. This argument is often used as a justification to excuse the high purchase price for a toy, sometimes to yourself. But is there really a guaranteed increase in value for pinball machines?

The decisive factor for my doubts is a situation that I have to experience right now in my circle of friends: The father of a friend is terminally ill and his son is now helping him to dissolve his household. Here a decision is made about the whereabouts of a wide variety of objects and the father is always shocked that his beautiful old things are no longer worth anything today. For example, a well-maintained oak wall unit that once cost a fortune and was cherished and cared for as an investment. It should be passed on for generations, but none of the children wants it now. With a heavy heart, the wall unit went into the bay without further ado to get at least a few more euros. But as already feared, the wall unit was ultimately auctioned for 1 EUR. This hit the old man very hard, his assumption that good craftsmanship would always be valued was a misconception. Nobody wants something like this today, regardless of what it cost or how well-made and well-preserved it is.

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From today's perspective, it seems almost absurd to view a wall unit as an investment. But don't we do exactly the same thing with our pinball machines? We believe that our pinball machines position themselves independently of trends and tastes. Is it really like that?

Unfortunately, there are examples that prove otherwise, such as the good old mechanical pinball machines. These are much older and rarer than our DMD devices, which are so beloved today, but nobody wants them and so they are hardly worth anything. The value of an object is therefore not only dependent on its rarity, but also on its desirability! The lack of desire for old EM devices is often explained by the fact that the fun with these devices is simply not as great as with modern pinball machines. But back then people also enjoyed themselves with the devices and spent whole nights in front of it, so how is it possible that the devices are perceived as boring today? Unfortunately, the perception of entertainment is also subject to a trend and general progress. Every day there are new toys that are able to entertain even more intensively, especially in the electronic entertainment market. So my thesis is that the price of the DMD devices will at some point be where the EM devices are today. You can also see another interesting trend: Devices with parts that tend to break and are difficult to get (e.g. the large DM displays on Sega devices) are already falling in value. According to the general theory, however, they should increase in value because they are becoming rarer. But nobody wants to tie such a device to their leg with unpredictable follow-up costs.

If you look at the average age of the users here in the forum, it is also clear that many of today's pinball collectors had their first contact with the devices in their youth. Today, however, there are almost no devices in the public eye, so the following generation will not develop an emotional bond with pinball machines. Most teenagers have a NextGen console or gamer PC that is capable of creating all imaginable worlds that are simply breathtaking in their complexity. Last week, Kinect was presented, a gesture control for the 360, the console is no longer operated with the controller, but simply by waving around in front of the TV. I remember a scene here from Back to the Future where Michael J. Fox proudly shows some future kids how to play an old arcade shooter (Wild Gunman). But they replied in disgust: "You play that with your hands? It's like children's toys!" The idea that an electronic toy could be subject to an increase in value is actually absurd, as there are hardly any popular examples that support this thesis. An old GameBoy is no more valuable today than it was 10 years ago.

It is difficult for me to imagine that a young person who grows up with today's entertainment offer will at some point spend 2000-6000 EUR on a game device that is very limited in its complexity and wants to be operated with only two buttons. Mainly because he is used to buying a game for a hundredth of this price (20-60 EUR) that is capable of captivating him in front of the screen for months. In a game like this, the end of the game can be anything from a racing driver to a gang star.

Summarized here again provocatively: I think the pinball prices are currently at their peak and will fall in the next few years. Anyone who spends 6000 EUR on a Medieval Madness today is, in my opinion, not well advised.

I think that I could hit the nerve of some readers with this thread. I don't really want to provoke, but encourage discussion. I am looking forward to your opinions and would be delighted if someone could convince me otherwise. I have also accumulated a few of these devices and would of course be happy if I am wrong. It will also be interesting to fish this thread out again in 10 years, as we know the Internet forgets nothing Perhaps it can also be used as a kind of time capsule in which we collect the current market prices of some of today's classics.