Pinball FX 3

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Pinball FX 3
Pinball FX 3 pre-release Steam header.jpg
Developer(s)Zen Studios
Publisher(s)Zen Studios
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • September 26, 2017
  • Nintendo Switch
  • December 12, 2017
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Pinball FX 3 is a pinball simulator video game developed and published by Zen Studios and was released on Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 in September 2017 and then later released on the Nintendo Switch in December 2017. It is a continuation of Zen Studios' pinball series and a joint sequel to both Pinball FX 2 and Zen Pinball 2, bridging a prior divide between Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms that existed between the first two Pinball FX games and the Zen Pinball sub-series.


Pinball FX 3 allows players to play one of several simulated pinball tables, and includes online scoreboard support for informal competition with other players. The game is aimed to provide a more engaging multiplayer experience than previous titles; the game will provide support for asynchronous competitive multiplayer options, and tournament-style play.[1] There will be shared leaderboards and multiplayer options among platforms, although PlayStation 4 players can only compete with users playing through Steam on Windows due to Sony's initial decision to prohibit cross-platform play between its PlayStation 4 and other consoles.[2]


Zen's prior games have been split across consoles. The Pinball FX games typically have been released on Microsoft platforms, while the Zen Pinball games were released on non-Microsoft platforms. Pinball FX 3 will be the first game in the series to target both Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms, and Zen intends that any future titles in the series will do so as well. Zen has stated that a "majority" of the previous downloadable content pinball tables that a player has purchased for either Pinball FX 2 or Zen Pinball 2 will be available in Pinball FX 3 at no cost; Zen cited issues with licensing that prevents some tables from being brought to the new version.[1] Zen Studios has affirmed that more than fifty tables will carry over, with only about half a dozen that will not.[2]

Pinball FX 3 launched with three new tables based on movie properties from Universal Pictures that includes E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, and Jaws. Additional tables are in development with new intellectual property holders.[3][2]

A version for the Nintendo Switch was released in December 2017, with one free table and 29 additional tables that can be purchased as DLC. The Switch version takes advantage of the unit's portability; the game can be played in portrait mode and the player can tilt the device to simulate tilting of the pinball table.[4] However, following release, players reported issues with low frame rates and poor graphics on some of the tables; while Zen Studios has said they were working on a patch to fix these as well as make other display improvements, the studio later announced in March 2018 that they had to forgo the patch citing that there was no universal fix as the issue was one done table-by-table; they can optimize tables going forward but could not justify the time and cost to fix the existing ones.[5] Reacting on the negative backlash of this announcement, the studio later reverted on this stance and is now committed to releasing a performance update during summer 2018 that will increase handheld performance to 60fps and will raise docked resolution to 1080p Full HD for all existing tables.[6]

In September 2018, Zen Studios announced that it has received the license to recreate several real Bally and Williams tables for the game.[7] This marks the first time in the Pinball FX series that real world tables are recreated in the game. This announcement came a few months after FarSight Studios, the developers of The Pinball Arcade, lost the same license.[7] These tables can be played in two visual modes that otherwise do not impact the game: one based on the more realistic appearance of the actual pinball games, and another that added Pinbal FX 3's simulated elements like animated characters, and unique ball trail colors.[8] However, as to retain the game's overall ESRB Everyone 10+ rating and to avoid the cost and difficulties of re-rating the game, original graphical elements of the pinball tables had to be censored or altered, such as altering innuendo that was present on the Fish Tales backboards.[9][10][N 1] Zen Studios' Mel Kirk said that while these tables had been released in The Pinball Arcade under its E10+ ESRB rating, Zen Studios' internal review believed that there was no way that the tables could have fallen within E10+. Kirk stated that he believed that with The Pinball Arcade, "somehow they flew under the radar and it was not caught".[10] Further, Zen Studios had had past issues with ESRB content ratings with games such as Infinite Minigolf and wanted to exercise caution.[10] The first of these tables were released on October 9, 2018.[9]



The game was nominated for the Central Park Children's Zoo Award for Best Kids Game at the New York Game Awards 2018,[14] and won the award for "Game, Special Class" at the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards.[15][16]


  1. ^ The Steam version and the stand-alone Wiliams Pinball mobile app available on iOS and Android will feature the uncensored, unaltered versions of the tables,[11] the latter which consequently was issued higher content age ratings (17+ on the Apple App Store and the ESRB's Teen rating on the Google Play Store, respectively).[12][13]


  1. ^ a b Matulef, Jeffrey (June 28, 2017). "Zen Studios says goodbye to last-gen with Pinball FX3". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Fahey, Mike (August 17, 2017). "Pinball FX 3 Is All About Cross-Platform Competition". Kotaku. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Makuch, Eddie (June 28, 2017). "Pinball FX3 Aims To "Redefine" The Video Game Pinball Experience". GameSpot. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Glagowski, Peter (November 1, 2017). "Pinball FX3 is tilting on to Switch soon". Destructoid. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "Zen Studios ditches plans to patch Pinball FX3 Nintendo Switch performance". Eurogamer. March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  6. ^ "Pinball FX3 – Nintendo Switch Update". Zen Studios. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  7. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (September 4, 2018). "Classic Bally/Williams pinball tables coming to Pinball FX3". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  8. ^ Moyse, Chris (September 20, 2018). "Pinball FX 3's Williams tables will feature Classic and all-new Remastered modes". Destructoid. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Moyse, Chris (October 10, 2018). "Pinball FX 3's Williams tables are available now, feature censored elements". Destructoid. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Orland, Kyle (October 12, 2018). "Zen Studios alters classic pinball art to protect family-friendly rating". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "Pinball FX 3 Williams Pinball - Frequently Asked Questions". Pinball FX 3. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  12. ^ "App Store listing for Williams Pinball". Apple App Store. Retrieved 18 May 2019. Rating: Rated 17+ for Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Gambling and Contests, Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity, Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence, Frequent/Intense Simulated Gambling, Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes
  13. ^ "Google Play Store listing for Williams Pinball". Google Play Store. Retrieved 18 May 2019. Rating: Rated Teen for Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes and Simulated Gambling (ESRB)
  14. ^ Whitney, Kayla (January 25, 2018). "Complete list of winners of the New York Game Awards 2018". AXS. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "Nominee List for 2017". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. February 9, 2018. Archived from the original on February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. March 13, 2018. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.