I agree that Gary Sterns loves making pinball and that Stern doesn't make as much money as they used to.
Trouble is, they are stuck in a catch-22 situation. It costs a lot of money to make a fun pinball, the cost of the designers, playfield manufacture and putting it all together all add up to be a lot. The more complicated a table is, the more it costs to produce. Also, traditionally new players don't really like playing the complicated games, as they don't have much of a clue as to what is going on.
What Stern has been doing for the last couple of years now is just knocking out machines for as cheap as possible, with little in the way of features for the more discerning 'pinhead'. This is good (I suppose) for first time players and operators, but it sucks for anyone with half an interest in pinball.
He's got rid of most of the good designers so now most Stern tables are just boring rehashes of ones from previous years. He really is treading water trying to keep the company afloat. It really is a shame to see machines from Williams/Bally during the mid-90's and what is being made today.
A lot gets said on mailing lists as to what the future of pinball is, but I'm betting is going down the same route as Harley. The baby boomer demographic who has a bit of spare cash burning in their pocket is disappearing, and once they are gone, Pinball just isn't appealing to kids who have played Xbox/PS3 etc.
I really hope another company pops up, but it's not likely.