Story dated 27th July 2001. Thanks to AB Europe for the details.

Things are not going too smoothly at Stern Pinball.

Sales have not gone as well as hoped and now this has led to a cut in staff numbers and other moves designed to reduce costs.

Three members of the game design team have gone and the company is looking to outsource more game design in the future. The next game is expected to be Monopoly designed by Pat Lawlor Design and it looks like they could be in line for more game design work. "We will continue with outsourced designers," said Stern Pinball Inc's president Gary Stern.

The decision to use PLD looked like an indulgence at the time it was announced back in November 2000 but it turns out to be part of a cost reduction plan.

In addition, twelve hourly-paid workers - believed to be employed in game manufacture - are to be made redundant. They will be replaced by agency staff when needed. Gary Stern explained: "We are not making games 100% of the time so we end up having people doing nothing."

Another saving will come from Stern's decision to reduce the planned number of games from four to three a year. Neither figure has yet been reached but game turnaround has slowly increased with an expected 3 games this year. The exact figure is flexible depending on each game's popularity and production run.

Commenting on future game themes, Gary Stern said: "Our strategy is to stick with long-term, classic licences, rather than ones that come and go."

It's never nice to hear of Pinball workers losing their jobs - we've had far too much of that in the recent past - so our sympathies go to those who were laid-off in this round of cost cutting measures. Hopefully these are the right measures to keep Stern Pinball afloat and perhaps the extended use of outside design companies will lead to more job opportunities for these talented people.


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