Pinball FX (latest iteration of Zen Pinball in 2023) is finally out for real. And it's...confusing.

I’m still a bit confused about what’s going on with Zen Studios’ pinball franchise, but whatever they’ve had on early access at the Epic Games Store has finally gone live today. It’s called Pinball FX – no number – and it’s basically their latest catalogue presented as a subscription service for $100 a year. You can also buy individual tables and bundles, of course, but it seems they’re really pushing for people to subscribe.

Some of the tables are old, of course, but plenty are new. In fact, there are waaaay more new tables than what I expected! They’ve got Bride of Pinbot in there now (the Pinbots were conspicuously missing from their classic Williams collections). There are Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon Tables from Dreamworks. Addams Family just debuted, along with a Peanuts and My Little Pony table. Weird, but I’m game!

And did y’all know there’s a Lovecraft table now?

Well, maybe not quite Lovecraft. I just played it once and it doesn’t make much of a first impression, and it even sounds like they’re avoiding actual references to Lovecraft. But the intent is clear. This is one of about a half dozen new originals, including a steampunk table, a noire detective table, and a mummy table. I’m still sampling the various tables, which are all available as a free trial to get you to buy them. I’m also still wrapping my head around the new front end. Waaaaah, I don’t like change!

Of course, the whole thing is available as a free-to-play package, and the free table, Wild West, is one of my favorites among Zen’s originals. But I guess they’re leaving Steam for good? I don’t know if this is a year-long exclusive, but I don’t think they’ve said anything about options for Steam owners to make the leap, at least not that I’ve heard.

Wait, so all the tables I bought on Steam for Pinball FX3 are just stuck there?

Edit: WTF


Like all the tables for Pinball FX2 were before, like Zen Pinball’s were even before. Mabe they should have went subscription based many years before, and that would have prevented them being backlashed on Steam’s angrymopinions!

The entire justification for doing the subscription was that it’s cross-platform, and it’s not.

If they ever add VR support to this, I might get on board, but otherwise I’ll just stick to what I have already.

Most tables from FX2 imported right over to FX3. I know because I had a bunch carry over.

excepting all the marvel ones…, which are magically back in this new one.

ah, the greed!

and this was on pc only, console users didn’t have this feature if I recall (as usual
with Zen, because of technical issues and other companies, never their own scheme).

There was some weirdness, but there was a process. I have no idea how many tables imported.

wow i had missed that. those guys really should get better at spreading the word!

Actually, it looks like they managed to shed most (?) of their Marvel tables. There are only a handful, whereas the Star Wars section is as glutted as ever. I wonder if that’s a rights thing, which seems weird since both are Disney properties. But also the Marvel tables are currently assembled as “Marvel Pack 1”, so maybe they’re still porting in the older ones for later Marvel packs?

As far as I know? And furthermore, the new tables don’t seem to be coming to Steam. But maybe it’s some year-long exclusive thing and this all comes to Steam in 2024? Whatever the case, it does seem like a big middle finger to their Steam fanbase and to those of us who have been cultivating our friends lists and high scores over the years.

The FAQ on their page says Pinball FX 3 developement is over and there will be no new content for it.

Speaking of rights dealing feats, they announced the Addams Family table on their forum today !

What the heck are the coins for?

it’s unintuitive : 220 coins get you a monthly pass, 1200 the yearly one. supposedly cross platform although it’s not spelled out.

I was kinda hoping you could just feed a coin per pinball game, as that’d fit my way of playing irregularly but on big bursts, but you can’t apparently.

Subscriptions. $100 for a year gives you access to all the tables*. And when you win their little official tournaments, it looks like one of the prizes is a day pass!

* Indiana Jones excepted, along with the Marvel pack, I think?

Ugh. Can’t say I was impressed with the $100/year pinball pass with almost all of the tables. I’m just not that committed. Nor am I rebuying the tables from PFX3. The new thing is kinda meh, not very snappy on my Series X, and was crawling with FTP “features.”

Yay, another chance to re-buy all the tables I’ve bought a couple times already? Nah, thanks guys.

Looks like I’ll be sticking with Pinball FX3. I’m not rebuying everything, and there’s no chance of me getting a $100 a year sub.

Yep. The problem for me is that I really want the new tables! I’m the kind of people Zen has over a barrel. :(

wow, that’s rough! it’s one of the huge attractors.

Per the FAQ:

Seems bananas to me to launch this as 1.0 without the entire reason for doing it, but there you are.