In a recent interview with the Paintball Business Journal, Richmond Italia is quoted as saying, “Our sport is hurting and needs a cure fast. And I believe this is it [cheaper .50 calibre paintballs]. Most don't realize the number of players we lost to airsoft due to the fact that it is cheaper. Or how many are gone because they just can't afford it [to play paintball].
In a survey conducted by the Paintball Business Journal, the change that more players would like to see than any other change is lower paintball prices. I guess that confirms what Richmond is saying.
Does anyone else find it ironic that some think that players are dropping out of the sport during times when paintballs have been cheaper than any other time in the history of the sport because paintballs are too expensive?
So when has paint been cheaper for players? The answer is never of course.
Paintball is expensive. Or at least it can be expensive. It always has been and will continue to be out of the reach of some in our society. Lots of activities are that way. Many can’t afford to play golf. Most can’t afford to acquire everything they need to take up water-skiing. That’s just life.
We just hear more complaining (the complaint has always been around to some extent) about paintball being too expensive because over the past few years the demographics of paintball players has changed. The majority of players today are people who either get their income from mom and dad, or have jobs that are only part-time and don’t pay very well. The industry has been marketing to that demographic. And it’s worked. They are here. They are broke. And they are complainers.
In the process of this marketing change, we have changed the game completely. Fair enough. You have to give the customers, if that is who you want as your customers, what they want. But please do not complain when you have shifted your marketing efforts to a specific demographic, that you have alienated the rest of your previous demographics.
Golfers don’t complain nearly as much that their chosen pastime is too expensive. That’s because the average golfer isn’t working part time flipping burgers. Yet the paintball industry has taken it upon itself to market to the younger crowd, to do whatever is necessary to make them happy, with no consideration for those that don’t want to play in the new version of the game they have created for the new demographic.
So now that everyone has been staying away from the game, the younger crowd’s hours have been cut back further at the burger joint, all of a sudden there is a situation that we need a “fast cure” for. And apparently that cure is to further head down the road of making the impoverished sector of society our target market and to hell with everyone else.