Why Are Pinball Machines So Expensive?

why are pinball machines so expensive

Why are pinball machines so expensive?

It’s a lot of fun to play pinball.

You can play against other people or against the computer, and it’s easy to become addicted to the game. Depending on where you go, you may get to play a different pinball machine every time you visit. If you’re a big fan of the game, you’ve probably thought about buying a pinball machine for your own house. 

Unfortunately, you’re going to get a little sticker shock out of this. The cost of a pinball machine can be prohibitive for many. There are numerous explanations for this, and you may ultimately decide that investing in a new pinball machine is well worth it.

Reasons for Expensive Pinball Machines

The Game’s Design

The design of a pinball game is quite difficult.

Creating engaging games for pinball machines is a lucrative career path for pinball machine designers. A pinball machine’s internal workings reveal just how much time and effort the designer put into it.

This kind of design effort is critical if you want your pinball machine to stand out from the crowd. It takes a lot of time and effort for designers to learn what customers appreciate. What materials are available to utilize and how to incorporate them into a machine must also be considered.

There are similarities between the design of pinball games and the creation of music or engineering. To discover new paths, you’ll need an open mind and the ability to think creatively. You can’t create pinball machines if you don’t have any artistic ability.

Due to the difficulty of this process, designers might command a high salary. The game’s designers must have a thorough understanding of how the CNC machines will carve holes in the game’s components.

It might take a long time and cost a lot of money to go through this process. Pinball is a game that may be approached from a variety of perspectives. The machine’s unique design may surprise you.


It’s no longer possible to build a pinball machine and then roll it into a nearby arcade. Pinball, on the other hand, is a far more nuanced game. There are no unlicensed pinball machines on the market currently.

It takes a lot of effort and money to have a pinball machine licensed. Even if we don’t delve into the nitty-gritty of the process, licensing arrangements necessitate several moving pieces. Negotiation, legal counsel, and other services are all examples of this.

When you buy a pinball machine, you’ll end up spending more money on stuff like these. When you go to play pinball, these license agreements may wind up costing you extra money. Because of licensing, a fair and visually appealing pinball machine can be created.

In order to comply with the licensing agreement, the machine must adhere to its terms.


Take a look at the artwork, too, just as you would at the pinball machine’s design. A pinball machine’s artwork is truly one-of-a-kind. Artists are required to produce work that not only reflects the game’s topic but also conveys a narrative.

For a pinball game, there is a narrative going on, and removing the artwork will alter that narrative. Pinball machine artists have a special skill set. They will need to work with the game’s designers to ensure that everything is in keeping with the game’s overall design and theme.

The artwork for the pinball machine board will very certainly need to be tweaked quite a bit. Artwork or graphic design is often required in portions of the board that has been completed. Many pinball cabinets feature art design, as you may have noticed.

Pinball machines tend to go up in price because of all the artwork that is included.

Circuit Board

A circuit board is quite similar to a computer in terms of how it functions. The circuit board is the brains of the game, dictating every move. Additionally, the quality and functionality of the circuit board must be of the highest caliber.

Many diverse components are housed on a single circuit board, and as a result, they are quite expensive. The design of the circuit board, on the other hand, is the most expensive part. The same circuit board can be used for a variety of games, each of which will be given its own revision.

Inspecting the circuit board of a used pinball machine is a prerequisite before making a purchase. However, you need something that will last for many years and is composed of high-quality materials.

Your pinball machine relies on this in order to function. Repairing a pinball machine that has circuit board issues can be rather costly. As a result, the cost of repairing a pinball machine will continue to rise even after the equipment has been purchased.

Pinball Machine Cabinets

The cabinet in which a pinball machine is housed is instantly identifiable. If asked, most people could sketch out the cabinet of a pinball machine. Retro arcade cabinets like this one have been around for a long time.

There are a lot of pinball machine cabinets out there. They are designed to give players a clear view of the game at hand. Cabinets for pinball machines in arcades must be strong enough to withstand heavy use.

The expense of making the pinball machine cabinets is high. Because of their size and the amount of reinforcement, they are extremely long-lasting. Another element that will raise the price is the number of materials required to keep the pinball machine in top working order.

If you don’t have a cabinet, a pinball machine is useless. Due to its importance in a home, the cost of the cabinet will rise again.


If you were to remove all of the pinball machine’s wiring (which we don’t recommend), you’d be shocked at what’s going on. The wiring of a pinball machine is fairly complex. To play this game, you don’t have to be an electrician, but you do need to have a thorough grasp of the mechanics.

You may be astonished to learn that kilometers of wire are used in the construction of a pinball machine. Wiring pinball machines necessitates a thorough knowledge of both the machine’s overall layout and the specifics of the circuit board.

As a result, it’s going to cost a lot of money to learn this particular expertise. Additionally, wires are crucial to the long-term viability of a system. This can cause problems with the game’s functionality if the wiring is not done correctly.

When it comes to pinball machines, the wiring is far more intricate than it appears. As things become more difficult and expensive, so does the cost.


You can’t buy a pinball machine pre-assembled. A pinball machine will require some assembly, so budget for that expense ahead of time. This equipment is massive, intricate, and necessitates extreme care during transport.

A pinball machine will need to be brought and assembled at your home if you wish to buy one. As you may be aware, this will need paying for the assembly workers. Of course, the most expensive component of every product is its labor.

There will almost always be more than one person needed to set up a pinball machine in your house. Two or three personnel are typically sent to this assignment by most companies. There is nothing more frustrating than having a pinball machine that has been meticulously prepared and ready for sale fall apart during the final installation.

Before the pinball machine is delivered to your house, it must first be assembled at a warehouse. When it arrives at your place, it’s usually just the game and the cabinet, which means you’ll have to put them together when you get it.

You will, however, have already paid for the facility’s assembly services. The cost of a pinball machine is going to rise because of the time and effort required to build it.

Project Management

According to our earlier discussion, this pinball machine company has a lot of moving parts. Circuit boards, license agreements, artists, and installers are all part of the picture you’ve seen. They could all work on their tasks at the same time and deliver them on time in a perfect world.

This isn’t a possibility. Industrial engineers are needed to manage the entire project. They’ll do their best to ensure that everything comes together as planned. Additionally, the industrial engineer will examine previous designs to see what has worked and what hasn’t in order to improve future designs.

The nature of the business is to maintain the pinball machines up to date with current trends and appealing to players. People would stop playing pinball if this wasn’t in place. This gigantic pinball creation process has a lot of hands involved, so it’s easy to see why the price tag is so high.

Pinball machines wouldn’t be the same without these characters, and removing them would be a mistake.


It doesn’t matter if you play pinball at an arcade or if you want to buy one to put in your house; marketing is going to be involved. The expense of marketing is high, and it adds up rapidly. When it comes to pinball machine marketing, pinball manufacturers have little choice but to do so.

If they want their goods to be sold, they’ll need to get the word out about it. The way pinball machines are marketed is quite different. On any given day, most people don’t think about making this purchase.

Manufacturers of pinball machines must come up with novel methods of reaching their clients, as this is not a common occurrence. The more unusual or sophisticated the marketing, the more expensive it is going to be.

When it comes to a pinball machine, it will cost a lot of money to get a consumer. Customers are referred to as acquisition costs because of this. Promotion efforts can certainly bring in a lot of money for pinball companies, but they cannot always ensure that the marketing will be successful.


The weight of a pinball machine is the final reason why they are so pricey. There is a lot of weight in a pinball machine. Their combined weight is going to necessitate a large team to transport them.

Shipment, labor, and assembly expenses will all rise as a result. There is no substitute for a strong and capable laborer when it comes to large machinery like this. Pinball machines are expensive because of all of these reasons.

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