The Pinball Show

shutyertrap

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Mar 14, 2012
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The announcement fo the acquisition was recent, but the processess of it happening had to be happening for well over 6-8 months. Zen had to present what their long term goals were if acquired, and I think that changed up how things otherwise were going to go at Zen, based on the idea of an influx of capitol. I believe that is why the new Pinball FX was fast tracked, why converting all tables to have Williams physics as an option went from "it's on our list of things we'd like to do" to "this is happening", why Battle Royale is going to be a thing, why VR is getting dropped into the mix again. These things are going to take a larger workforce and with secure capitol, hiring won't be an issue.

The thing that attracted Embracer to Zen was their RPG games, but they came away being really impressed by the pinball side of Zen. They've been pretty much told to keep on keepin' on, but think bigger. When 2021 closes, I think everyone is going to be blown away by the scope of what Zen achieved.
 

joeblow

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Feb 26, 2013
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^^^ While I hope all of what you say is true, it also remains to be seen if the new FX platform pushes a lot of us away with an unacceptable subscription model. That in and of itself isn't an issue as long as there is also an option to purchase tables outright.
 

shutyertrap

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Mar 14, 2012
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^^^ While I hope all of what you say is true, it also remains to be seen if the new FX platform pushes a lot of us away with an unacceptable subscription model. That in and of itself isn't an issue as long as there is also an option to purchase tables outright.

I love how the mention of "new business models" has morphed into full blown "subscription" based gaming (something born out of fear mongering minutes after it was uttered).

We already know Star Wars VR is going to sell for $25 (I think?), no mention of subscription. The business model that Zen has employed for the last 10 years is not going to suddenly change for Pinball FX. Purchasing tables outright is not going to change for PC and consoles. If Zen does upgrade mobile (and they seriously need to), it'll probably be much like Williams Pinball, utilizing the freemium model. The only place subscriptions might come into play is with Pinball Royale, and all you need look at is how Fortnite or Rocket League function to understand how that'll work. It's free to play, there are seasons, and if you don't want to grind for upgrades then you subscribe to season passes and get additional perks with those games. For pinball think in terms of what is available in the Williams app; custom ball trails, flipper skins, and ball skins.
 

joeblow

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Feb 26, 2013
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I was referring to console/PC only with my comment, but I'm not sure how you can dismiss the concerns for those platforms so easily. I mean, even your post shows a potentially two conflicting approaches where Zen Studios clearly hints about implementing new business models while you claim they are not going to stop charging for PFX.

So if they are going to keep charging for PFX, how is that the new business model? The only way that makes sense is if, as I said at the end of my last post, they allow purchasing of tables alongside whatever it is they are pushing as being new.

In the end, I think expressed concerns like mine are a good thing for the developer. The poll I posted shows that at least at this site, they have a large majority of fans that do not want to be forced to go the subscription route. I see far more negative comments from various PFX fans against a sub model than in support of it. Feedback on the 'net like that at least gives them additional market info to help plan their decisions before it is too late.
 
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The loafer

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Oct 28, 2012
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SYT: People overreact but where there is smoke, there is fire. There are two areas that have spread doubt with Zen and those areas can't be pushed under the carpet for those that feel they are bad "signs".

1 - the lack of tables and communication
2 - that Freemium model you spoke of

FYI Freemium exists for other games on PC/consoles, just take a look at steam so we can't just state "mobile" when mentioning this model. The onus is on Zen to do better on the communication here. I get that the best bang for the buck is as a company, you never release all your info in one shot. You want people to talk about it for a long time, build momentum. I get that. But not too sure their "pinball show" is the way to move forward at this stage, might have been better as a sustainment of momentum so that the picture is already clear and the momentum is sustained between releases. So although their is communication via their "Pinball Show", it is not the communication needed right now.

Anyway personally I'm a bit more indifferent towards Pinball FX (4) because of the lack of information and rarity of the releases. If they ever decide to go to a subscription model, they would lose me. I agree I doubt that's where they go so I don't fear it. However, freemium is absolutely a possibility and that does scare me. If they found the mobile version brought more money as freemium than the previous purchase versions, then they would be fools to not consider it. if they ever go that route, they will have lost me like they have on ios. It's just not my thing.

This hobby used to always be tagged with gamblers and seedy bars, so drugs, etc. I can see why, all we will need is some info (a fix) and we will all be right back in. so if the future is rosy as you say, all will be good ;)
 

trash80

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SYT: People overreact but where there is smoke, there is fire. There are two areas that have spread doubt with Zen and those areas can't be pushed under the carpet for those that feel they are bad "signs".

1 - the lack of tables and communication
2 - that Freemium model you spoke of

FYI Freemium exists for other games on PC/consoles, just take a look at steam so we can't just state "mobile" when mentioning this model. The onus is on Zen to do better on the communication here. I get that the best bang for the buck is as a company, you never release all your info in one shot. You want people to talk about it for a long time, build momentum. I get that. But not too sure their "pinball show" is the way to move forward at this stage, might have been better as a sustainment of momentum so that the picture is already clear and the momentum is sustained between releases. So although their is communication via their "Pinball Show", it is not the communication needed right now.

Anyway personally I'm a bit more indifferent towards Pinball FX (4) because of the lack of information and rarity of the releases. If they ever decide to go to a subscription model, they would lose me. I agree I doubt that's where they go so I don't fear it. However, freemium is absolutely a possibility and that does scare me. If they found the mobile version brought more money as freemium than the previous purchase versions, then they would be fools to not consider it. if they ever go that route, they will have lost me like they have on ios. It's just not my thing.

This hobby used to always be tagged with gamblers and seedy bars, so drugs, etc. I can see why, all we will need is some info (a fix) and we will all be right back in. so if the future is rosy as you say, all will be good ;)

Shutyertrap is privy to some Zen information that has not yet been made public. However, specifics and dates may change and even deals fall through. Anyway...

It would be nice to post official answers to:

1. Will Steam be a storefront for Pinball FX (4)?
2. Will currently owned DLC carry over from Pinball FX 3 to the new Pinball FX (4) within the same PC/Console ecosystem?
3. Will there be exclusive DLC IP for specific Hardware and/or Subscription platforms (PS Plus, etc.)
4. Will there be an additional charge and/or subscription for Cabinet mode?

I think most people on this board lean toward and prefer the traditional digital representation of pinball, and are probably not as concerned about what changes may happen with the mobile platform and exactly how Pinball Royale is monetized. But should Zen continue to see increasing revenue spreads that favor the freemium model, I'm pretty sure we will see a transition to this across all hardware platforms. Maybe we'll get a WeChat pay to play app interface before too long too.
 

trash80

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I was referring to console/PC only with my comment, but I'm not sure how you can dismiss the concerns for those platforms so easily. I mean, even your post shows a potentially two conflicting approaches where Zen Studios clearly hints about implementing new business models while you claim they are not going to stop charging for PFX.

So if they are going to keep charging for PFX, how is that the new business model? The only way that makes sense is if, as I said at the end of my last post, they allow purchasing of tables alongside whatever it is they are pushing as being new.

In the end, I think expressed concerns like mine are a good thing for the developer. The poll I posted shows that at least at this site, they have a large majority of fans that do not want to be forced to go the subscription route. I see far more negative comments from various PFX fans against a sub model than in support of it. Feedback on the 'net like that at least gives them additional market info to help plan their decisions before it is too late.

It was too late over a year ago... You really needed to have the ad generated mobile revenue be a bust for us to not be having this conversation.

Zen (and most software compaines) do not look at outside forum polls for guidance of their business model. Plus this new cycle of Pinball FX has been in development for almost two years and the accompaning business model(s) have been planned out even longer. And given that Zen is now part of Embracer Group, there will likely be even more distance between niche (meaning US here on this forum) consumer and developer. Zen has reffered to internal market and sales data in the past and they know what is best for them to meet whatever goals and expectations they have placed on themselves.
 

dtown8532

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Apr 10, 2012
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Stern partnership and/or make your Arcade1Up cabs upgradable with new tables. That’s what most people want.
 

joeblow

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Feb 26, 2013
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It was too late over a year ago... You really needed to have the ad generated mobile revenue be a bust for us to not be having this conversation.

Zen (and most software compaines) do not look at outside forum polls for guidance of their business model. Plus this new cycle of Pinball FX has been in development for almost two years and the accompaning business model(s) have been planned out even longer. And given that Zen is now part of Embracer Group, there will likely be even more distance between niche (meaning US here on this forum) consumer and developer. Zen has reffered to internal market and sales data in the past and they know what is best for them to meet whatever goals and expectations they have placed on themselves.

Put aside the fact that I specifically claimed feedback from all around the internet influences decisions (not just a forum poll, which is just one contribution to that effort), your main point about what's been planned by the publisher is not so cut and dried. Reality is far more unpredictable than the nice and neat scenarios you describe.

Take a look at Microsoft, who is as big of a company as they come, yet when they announced a new pricing structure for XBox Gold subscriptions a month or so ago (a sharp price increase) the internet mob went after them, and they changed their tune in a day or two. The same company backtracked on an always online console and the inability to trade physical games soon after announcing those "features" at the beginning of the last console generation.

So I stand by my overall point: the only thing fans of PFX can do is express their displeasure (on forums, reddit, polls, twitter, whatever) when decisions made from on high are potentially not in sync with their expectations, all in hopes of getting changes if need be, and the sooner it's done the better. After that, we vote with our wallets.
 
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trash80

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Dec 14, 2018
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Put aside the fact that I specifically claimed feedback from all around the internet influences decisions (not just a forum poll, which is just one contribution to that effort), your main point about what's been planned by the publisher is not so cut and dried. Reality is far more unpredictable than the nice and neat scenarios you describe.

Take a look at Microsoft, who is as big of a company as they come, yet when they announced a new pricing structure for XBox Gold subscriptions a month or so ago (a sharp price increase) the internet mob went after them, and they changed their tune in a day or two. The same company backtracked on an always online console and the inability to trade physical games soon after announcing those "features" at the beginning of the last console generation.

So I stand by my overall point: the only thing fans of PFX can do is express their displeasure (on forums, reddit, polls, twitter, whatever) when decisions made from on high are potentially not in sync with their expectations, all in hopes of getting changes if need be, and the sooner it's done the better. After that, we vote with our wallets.

You should pay attention to the history of Zen Studios for possible future guidance. Do you remember the FX2 to FX3 transition? While they use official polls and direct user and sales feedback to dictate their path forward, Zen's business and development cycle is 18+ months out, and many of the issues that customers have with Zen are related to things that have many moving parts and with third parties involved. Getting things to change AFTER they have been announced is not going to happen.

Censorship on Consoles
Football (Soccer) Table
Various licenses
etc...

Maybe Zen has been listening to all of the internet forum feedback and this is why we are getting a new Pinball FX sooner rather than later, including all of the warts that may come with the new platform.

Here is an example of user feedback getting us to where we are today. People repeatedly asked for the Williams physics to be applied to all the other Zen tables in FX3. Zen gave us a response that it was something they would like to do. Zen then gave us a response that it was a whole lot more work than initially thought but that they are working on it. Zen is now implying that the new Pinball FX game and engine being used will facilitate the Williams physics being applied to the Original Zen tables. But if we break this down... the consumers are still not getting what they asked for, that all of the FX3 tables have Williams physics. Instead we are getting a completely brand new game with completely new physics across the board, and all of the tables that will carry over will be updated and remastered. FX3 will remain in the state that it is in and I guess we will just have to wait and see how these new physics play in the new FX.

Your examples don't really apply.
An internet mob got Microsoft to reverse a decision to make a $1 dollar per month increase to the price of Xbox Gold? There is no comparison here.
The physical media trading (reselling) is protected by both US and EU laws. Again, no comparison here.
 
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joeblow

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Feb 26, 2013
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You say that things with Zen don't change "AFTER" they've been announced, right? Well guess what? The details of the ominous new business models hasn't been revealed yet. In fact, didn't one of the devs hint somewhere that we won't get that info until later this year?

If so, then there is time for them to re-calibrate the new business models if they see well in advanced that the most aggressive change some of us worry about (100% subscription model on PC/console) will meet with resistance. In the end, I'll be more than happy to find out if they at least continue to support ownership of table purchases along with whatever other ideas they have, but we may never know if that type of set up was the original plan from the beginning when they stated that changes were coming.

BTW, you don't seem to understand what happened with the XBox Gold situation. The $1 price was for Gamepass, and it was for promotion only (there are a lot of GP members that paid the full price). I wasn't referring to that at all.

The retail price XBox Gold was $60 a year, and they changed it to $60 for six months. Some retail stores actually had the new XBG cards to put out for sale. The mob raged, and later not only did MS reverse the pricing structure back to the original price, but to appease the angry mob they also removed the requirement to subscribe to XBG in order to play free online games on the XBox consoles (like some MMOs, Fortnight, etc.). All that came with an apology for messing up (their words). They also humbled themselves to the angry mob by saying "you were right for letting us know".

As an example for the topic here, absolutely it applies because it shows in general that companies can't simply make far-reaching pricing decisions and not expect a significant blow back if many fans reject it. The idea is for game makers like Zen Studios to figure this out sooner than later, and react accordingly if they have something like this up their sleeve. It's far better to be in front of controversy than to try to clean it up afterwards when damage is already done.
 
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trash80

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Dec 14, 2018
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You say that things with Zen don't change "AFTER" they've been announced, right? Well guess what? The details of the ominous new business models hasn't been revealed yet. In fact, didn't one of the devs hint somewhere that we won't get that info until later this year?

If so, then there is time for them to re-calibrate the new business models if they see well in advanced that the most aggressive change some of us worry about (100% subscription model on PC/console) will meet with resistance. In the end, I'll be more than happy to find out if they at least continue to support ownership of table purchases along with whatever other ideas they have, but we may never know if that type of set up was the original plan from the beginning when they stated that changes were coming.

BTW, you don't seem to understand what happened with the XBox Gold situation. The $1 price was for Gamepass, and it was for promotion only (there are a lot of GP members that paid the full price). I wasn't referring to that at all.

The retail price XBox Gold was $60 a year, and they changed it to $60 for six months. Some retail stores actually had the new XBG cards to put out for sale. The mob raged, and later not only did MS reverse the pricing structure back to the original price, but to appease the angry mob they also removed the requirement to subscribe to XBG in order to play free online games on the XBox consoles (like some MMOs, Fortnight, etc.). All that came with an apology for messing up (their words). They also humbled themselves to the angry mob by saying "you were right for letting us know".

As an example for the topic here, absolutely it applies because it shows in general that companies can't simply make far-reaching pricing decisions and not expect a significant blow back if many fans reject it. The idea is for game makers like Zen Studios to figure this out sooner than later, and react accordingly if they have something like this up their sleeve. It's far better to be in front of controversy than to try to clean it up afterwards when damage is already done.

Zen has already announced that changes in monetization and business model are coming this year. Why announce a change if everything was going to remain the way it currently is? The official dev statement you are referring to was regarding whether Steam would get the new Pinball FX and also if/when/what tables and IP may be coming over to the new Pinball FX platform. Since those items require third party licensing in place, they are not making any specific announcements regarding titles and/or marketplaces until all licensing is finalized and there should be an announcement as early as later this month.

That link you post about MS is exactly what I was referring to. Many regions are still getting an increase in price, but now you get a 45 day window to determine how to deal with it. There was similar outrage when Office went to subscriptions. MS spends untold millions on focus groups, pilot programs, think tanks and third-party marketing research and no matter what they do there will always be a very vocal group demanding something else. Since we are discussing subscriptions... Microsoft is now considered a subscription based company, and just like other software companies like Adobe, they have modeled their business after Netflix which is considered the gold standard of consistent customer and revenue growth. Pretty much every business in existence is shifting from high up-front initial point of sale over to a subscription based business model that ensures a continued revenue stream and a locked in user.

Haven't you heard that it is always easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission? Same goes for business.

And to add. I'm pretty sure Embracer Group now has a large enough roster and catalog to facilitate their own subscription based portal.
 
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joeblow

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Feb 26, 2013
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I didn't say that the business model won't (or even shouldn't) change at all. In pretty much each of my last few posts here I specifically state my solution: at minimum Zen Studios should allow us to continue to purchase tables (on PC/console) alongside whatever new business model they've come up with. Give us a choice instead potentially ramming down one approach down our throats, then everyone should be happy.

As for the XBox Gold link, again you misunderstand what happened. The top part of the link in bold is the newest update to an older article that detailed the increase in prices for subscribers. That updated text states: "As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing." You are focused on the old text in the article, which I admit is a messy way of conveying new information. Still, even that section clearly shows the terrible new pricing structure was crossed out. The remaining uncrossed text you quoted was tied to that, which again I agree is a messy way for them to handle the problem. Just know that as of today, no one in the XBox community is complaining because they are not changing the prices at all anywhere.
 

trash80

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Dec 14, 2018
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I didn't say that the business model won't (or even shouldn't) change at all. In pretty much each of my last few posts here I specifically state my solution: at minimum Zen Studios should allow us to continue to purchase tables (on PC/console) alongside whatever new business model they've come up with. Give us a choice instead potentially ramming down one approach down our throats, then everyone should be happy.

As for the XBox Gold link, again you misunderstand what happened. The top part of the link in bold is the newest update to an older article that detailed the increase in prices for subscribers. That updated text states: "As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing." You are focused on the old text in the article, which I admit is a messy way of conveying new information. Still, even that section clearly shows the terrible new pricing structure was crossed out. The remaining uncrossed text you quoted was tied to that, which again I agree is a messy way for them to handle the problem. Just know that as of today, no one in the XBox community is complaining because they are not changing the prices at all anywhere.

Oh, there will be more complaining soon... There are still Xbox Gold pricing changes happening in certain regions, and MS is still going to eventually push everyone over from a Gold to a Game Pass Ultimate sub.
 
Oct 15, 2013
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Since getting an Xbox Series S in November I've been checking out Game Pass Ultimate. Wow, what a service. I've played and beaten so many games over the past few months it's crazy. Had a PS4 last gen so I was new to Game Pass and I also skipped the Xbox One. So it's the perfect fit for me, playing exclusive Xbox One games I missed and all the third party stuff as well. They keep adding recent releases too. Dirt 5, The Falconer, Madden 21, etc. Granted I've been using deals and promos so far but what a value. When my current promo is up I think I'm going to get three years of Gold at full retail and convert it to Game Pass Ultimate. At least give the devs a little money. I think it comes out to 65 bucks a year. That's less than one new current gen game.

Anyway on the pinball front I wonder if FX would come to Game Pass? Maybe have tables on there for a certain period of time and then take them off. If you want to play them forever you can buy them.
 

shutyertrap

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Mar 14, 2012
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Shutyertrap is privy to some Zen information that has not yet been made public. However, specifics and dates may change and even deals fall through. Anyway...

While true I am privy to certain information, how things are going to be sold or distributed is not one of them. When I talk here or in BlahCade about such things, it truly is out of speculation.

Jared and I however are pretty good students of the past and how that applies to the future. We literally know as much about Pinball Royale as the rest of you, but we can certainly ascertain why Zen would make it and apply how they'd make money from it. I've seen enough of your comments trash80 to know you have a good grasp on speculating Zen's thinking too.
 

shutyertrap

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Mar 14, 2012
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In pretty much each of my last few posts here I specifically state my solution: at minimum Zen Studios should allow us to continue to purchase tables (on PC/console) alongside whatever new business model they've come up with. Give us a choice instead potentially ramming down one approach down our throats, then everyone should be happy.

I hear what you (and others) are saying, but perhaps it's the way it's being said that wrankles. See, a problem is being raised that doesn't exist yet (subscription pricing without ability to purchase outright), followed by an acceptable 'solution' (purchasing tables being an option along side subscription).

So if Zen then releases how they plan on selling the tables and subscription doesn't exist, the group then cheers and says "we did it, they listened!" when it may have never even been an option Zen was exploring. Get what I'm saying? Vocal community creates a problem so that they can claim victory on fixing it, even though it never existed in the first place.

See I'm all for the speculating of possibilities and do think various scenarios are ripe for discussion. List the various possibilities of what "new business models" could be (we certainly did on our show) but don't lock in on the worst one and start hating on Zen for it. It's like the one time I woke up to my wife scowling at me for something I did in her dream. Never mind the fact it was beyond ridiculous what occured in the dream (as in physically not possible), it felt real enough to her that she was mad at me for the next 3 hours.
 

joeblow

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Feb 26, 2013
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^^^ Actually, I said something similar a few posts up:

In the end, I'll be more than happy to find out if they at least continue to support ownership of table purchases along with whatever other ideas they have, but we may never know if that type of set up was the original plan from the beginning when they stated that changes were coming.

You can see that in the quote, I also expressed what my ultimate goal is... it's not to claim victory over a perceived change that even I admit we may never know. It's to simply be happy if they allow us to buy Neo-PFX tables instead of being forced to subscribe on PC/console. Literally, that's it.

If a collective nudge by some of their fans well in advance of describing the new business models encourages them to make it possible, then these type of debates will have served that specific purpose very well.
 
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shutyertrap

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Mar 14, 2012
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I do see that joeblow, and you'll have to forgive me for lumping your statements in with other similar statements I've seen on other message threads from people that would do exactly what I described, claiming victory. I also don't want to imply that you yourself are 'fear mongering', but I am trying to point out that the wave of sentiments regarding 'a wholely subscription based' business model came from some fear mongerers minutes after that TPS episode aired and has taken on a life of its own since. The debate is good as long as logical practicalites are included, something many refuse to acknowledge.
 

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