Catching up with Scorbit on New Features, Growth & More!

Catching up with Scorbit on New Features, Growth & More!
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Catching up with Scorbit on New Features, Growth & More!
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Catching up with Scorbit on New Features, Growth & More!
Published on
April 18, 2024
Updated on
April 18, 2024
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Note: this interview first appeared in a recent edition of the This Week in Pinball newsletter. We're republishing it here so that more people can see it and learn about Scorbit and what they've been up to over the last year. Be sure to subscribe to This Week in Pinball for the best weekly newsletter in pinball.

Recently, Scorbit released a major app updated with a pretty neat feature they are dubbing the Interactive Score Timeline. Essentially, it’s a visualization of your gameplay session that logs all your major scoring moments, when modes start, when you make jackpots, etc. It’s a fun way to break down, analyze, and share pinball gameplay sessions that I haven’t seen done before.

The last time we talked to Scorbit was just over a year ago when Jersey Jack ended their relationship with the company. Since then, the company has been active but quietly so. With this new update, we figured it would be a good time to catch up with Co-Founder Ron Richards on the state of the company and where he sees things headed.

Interview with Ron Richards, Co-Founder of Scorbit

CA: What's been going on at Scorbit over the last year? What have you been focusing on?

RR: This past year, we’ve had tremendous user growth and development as an organization. Our silence is a sign of the “good kind” of distraction. We’ve sold out of our inventory of Scorbitrons twice in the past year. We now support more games than ever before as well as being embraced by the virtual pinball community, and it’s been a major year for catching up and catching our breath. We’ve been focusing on updates to our app, and along with that we’ve upgraded our architecture to support millions of live game sessions being fed into the platform. Not to mention some new hardware manufacturers integrating our platform. We’ve hardly had a moment of rest.

CA: With Stern growing their Insider Connected platform and JJP ending their relationship with Scorbit, what would you say the long term vision is for the service and where do you see it fitting in the future pinball landscape?

RR: We’re pretty pleased with where we fit in the pinball landscape as the largest connected pinball platform in the world, supporting the most titles and the largest feature set, including all of Stern’s games and still including most of JJP’s games. And we’re super excited for American Pinball, who are releasing Scorbit support for all of their new games (Barry O's BBQ Challenge is so much fun!) We also work on Spooky titles such as Total Nuclear Annihilation and Rick & Morty. Most importantly, Scorbit is the only platform that works with both retro machines (going all the way back to solid states) and modern machines, and the only platform with live scoring and mode display. And we’re really proud of the fact that Scorbit is the only platform that directly integrates with tournament software like Match Play Events and Drains Tournament Manager.

Regardless of what others may or may not decide, our long-term vision remains the same: To get more people playing pinball, in a way the next generation of players engage. When we say “the future of pinball is connected,” we mean it! It’s been great to see Stern’s progress with Insider Connected and seeing so many people having fun with their twenty or so Spike 2 games, many of them connected to both platforms. Their progress has been fantastic, it validates the demand, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

On our end, adding support for new manufacturers, new titles, and growing the potential of what we can do with the hundreds of existing titles we already support from the 1970s until today on the platform has been keeping us plenty busy!

CA: Can you share any upcoming initiatives that you're excited about?

RR: Top of mind, some keen eyes have noticed Pulp Fiction has been shipping with plans for full support of Scorbit. That game is one of the best new games to come out in the past year and we’re excited to partner with Play Mechanix and CGC to bring it into the connected pinball world. Look for this and many more new manufacturer integrations!

The Interactive Score Timeline in Action

Also, we just released our latest app update that includes an exciting new feature, the Interactive Score Timeline! This is truly a first in pinball and something we’ve been working towards for a while. When a game is connected to Scorbit, every individual game session is saved with a detailed log of what the player was doing and when. This includes what targets were hit, what scoring moments happened and what modes were stacked to achieve what score over the duration of the game.

We now made it possible for a player to go back in time to any game and “drag across” the timeline of the session, seeing what happened and when! You can scrub back and forth across a beautiful visualization of the score and modes, making it easy to understand how the game progressed. This includes game sessions we logged going all the way back to early 2020. Pinball can happen pretty fast, so this is a great way to go back and analyze your own gameplay or if you want to see how your friend or a top player you admire managed such a huge score, now you can see how it happened.

CA: What's the best way for someone new to the Scorbit experience to try this feature out?

RR: First, download and install the Scorbit app - available on the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android - and sign up with an account! From within the app, you can browse the Machines tab to take a look at your favorite games, check out their leaderboards, tap on a score that interests you, and explore with the feature yourself. Or you can go find your friends on Scorbit and check out their profile to see their recent scores. Tap on one that looks interesting and dive into their scoring timeline.

Second, to try out the features when you play, find a machine that is connected to the Scorbit platform, like at Outer Orbit in San Francisco for example. When the game starts, claim your player slot following the instructions in the app, either by navigating to the machine or scanning a QR code. This can be any machine with a Scorbitron installed or any machine that directly connects without hardware. You can even run Scorbit on VPINs (virtual pins), as machine developers have added it to many of those titles.

And despite rumors to the contrary, Jersey Jack games also do still directly connect to Scorbit, as long as the owner of the game has a version of the code that still has online features. If you want to try it, the owner just needs to reach out to Scorbit to re-enable the connectivity. Check out our support threads to see what software versions still work, or if you have to downgrade to an earlier version (that usually is the same code, just with Scorbit in it).

CA: In an ideal scenario, how do you see users best leveraging this new feature?

RR: We see users finish games all the time and look up at their score having no idea how they got there. Often, we all watch someone crush a game and wonder what choices they made or just how did they get that huge score? Using this feature allows a user to see how it was done. Which combination of game elements work well, and which do not?

Imagine: You now can go to any machine leaderboard on the Scorbit app, find the top scores, and visit their timelines to see how they were achieved!

This provides an entire new way of analyzing and improving your game performance. Manufacturers can also leverage this as a way to see what modes work and when, and how people are playing with their games, informing changes or their next titles. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what we can do with this data so there’s definitely more to come!