LICENSED TO THRILL?
Story dated 12th July 2001
It seems as though Stern Pinball Inc is firmly committed to licensing as a means of boosting pinball game sales.
Their current game, Austin Powers, was the first licensed theme developed under the Stern name and is selling well.(South Park and Harley Davidson were manufactured by SPI but developed and initially manufactured by Sega before the sale to Gary Stern.)
Reaction to the High Roller Casino game was very positive so gambling-style themes are also thought of positively. Remember that William's has moved the majority of its production over to gaming machines, and while pinball will never compete directly with slot machines it can benefit from the growth of that particular market through association.
It will come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that Hasbro today confirmed they have granted Stern Pinball Inc a licence to manufacture a coin-operated pinball game using the Monopoly theme.
This game has been the subject of much rumour and it is expected to start manufacture after the current Austin Powers run is completed towards the end of the year. It combines the appeal of instant player recognition and a gambling aspect. It is believed the game will be developed by the Pat Lawlor Design team who - when employed by William's - were in the process of completing a similar game for the Pinball 2000 platform.
The success of the Austin Powers theme has prompted SPI to look towards another licence for the game after Monopoly.
Through a tie-up with the NFL, Stern also managed to sell a modest number of modified Striker Xtremes.
It hasn't all been plain sailing, though. The deal with Incredible Technologies to incorporate their tournament system into Stern's Sharkey's Shootout failed. The two companies couldn't work out a pricing method which would justify the extra investment. A low price-per-play is an expected feature of pinball games (unlike some video games) and leaves next-to-nothing for the tournament fees. Players were not expected to favour a doubling or tripling of the game cost in order to participate in a tournament.
© Pinball News 2002