Friday, September 10, 2010

Paintball Forums

I visit several forums on a regular basis (probably too regularly to be considered healthy). Anyway, a couple of posts on different forums asking why things seem so slow reminded me of feelings I’ve had for a while that paintball forums in general are a lot quieter these days (at least the ones I frequent). I’ve had these feeling for a quite a while now, probably a year or longer, but have kept them in the back of my mind. I don’t have statistics on post counts or anything to back these feeling up. But I’m quite sure I’m not imagining things.

Now this may be a direct relationship to the economy. People may just be staying home and watching TV. But then why aren’t they sitting in front of their computers as much as they used to (I certainly am). I have to conclude that there may indeed be less interest for paintball in general these days. I’m sure the manufacturers could confirm this. If people aren’t talking as much about paintball, chances are they aren’t playing it as much either, and if they aren’t playing as much, they aren’t buying as much gear.

Field owners as well might have some input. We are down slightly this year and the “regular” player portion is down more than the rental portion. The “regular” players are the ones that would be talking on the forums as well.

Anyone else notice a change in forum activity?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Technology to Blame?

I was reading one of those Smart parts was the Devil threads today where once again someone posted that Smart parts was to blame for much of the problems the industry faces because they put fast electronic markers in the hands of everyone with just a few hundred dollars in their pocket. The reasoning was that once “kids” could get markers ramping at tourney level rates relatively cheap, the sport started to go downhill.

Now I’m not going to argue that inexpensive, fast, dependable markers didn’t change the face of paintball. Of course it did. But anyone with a head on their shoulders would realize that if Smart Parts had not introduced the Ion, someone else would have eventually done exactly the same thing. It’s the American way and the way of the world. Technology advances. That’s just the way it is. When I was a teen my parents bought a 26” state of the art colour TV for about $800. A much better TV today can be had for under $200. Advancements in technology are going to happen, whether the old folks in their rockers want it to or not.

Some will say that the introduction of loaders capable of insane feeding rates, are what changed the game from a leisure activity into a high intensity pastime. There is probably some truth to that. For sure it was a contributing factor.

Technology is never going to stand still. Especially when there is a demand for it, and there certainly was in paintball. Players wanted faster, more dependable equipment and they wanted it for a low price, so that everyone could afford it and the game would expand in popularity to those that couldn’t afford it at the higher prices.

I wonder if those same people that blame Smart Parts for introducing the Ion would complain if auto makers came out with a high tech version of their cars for $10,000? I doubt it. But would that create problems on our highways, just like the Ion created problems at paintball fields? Maybe it would. All of a sudden, cars capable of insane speeds are available to virtually anyone. How would that affect the accident rates on our highways with everyone driving 220 mph? Or is that problem alleviated with enforcement of speed limits? Would cops handing out $200 tickets control the problem? At least a big part of it? Hmmm?!

So where are/were the cops in paintball? Oh yeah, they were busy selling paintballs. That’s sort of like giving gas station owners the job of enforcing driving habits. Probably a bad idea. Probably best just to blame the auto makers for bettering technology and making it affordable for more people. Cause technology really shouldn’t keep moving forward, right?