Wednesday, December 3, 2008

1995: The Year the Game of Paintball Began to Die

Paintball is dying. The number of players is steadily dwindling; the number of major companies struggling or going out of business is alarming; the number of paintball fields and stores in the U.S. is shrinking daily and the number of guns being manufactured and sold is said to be at a five year low. From the SGMA reports to insurance statistics, the numbers bear out the statement that paintball is in a total freefall.

This Friday I'm beginning an article series called, “What Have We Done To Our Game” here at this Blog site. Let me first say this won’t be a “bash all” article, or one that just tells you the problems and reasons for them without any solutions. I plan to lay out the road to recovery—and this is not something I started working on this past Monday. This has been in the works for three years. Three years of participating, observing, asking questions, interviewing and keeping notes. The time is now. So join me here on Friday for Part One, titled 1995: The Year the Game of Paintball Began to Die.

12 comments:

D-Mac said...

Bring it on John. We def need something to happen.

Mach said...

I am defiantly interesting in seeing your "road to recovery" section!

Sam "Professor" Sheng said...

Looking forward to Friday. What are ways that each individual can do to help grow the sport of paintball, instead of watching from the sidelines and hoping that someone else will do it for us?

Our team does what we can to bring in new players, help new players, and be a good representation of Scenario Paintball, but there must be more.

Sideshow said...

I believe that it isn't really dying, rather getting away from the "mainstream" or "Tournament" level, and going back to its roots, the woods.

I have seen an increase in the "recball" Woods players and people converting over to the Scenario aspect of the sport, which isnt as widely public or mainstream yet.

Perhaps the focus and attention shoud be of the big companies to take a look at that route?

John Amodea said...

Sideshow, I hear your point and agree that there's a change slowly happening that has people playing woodsball more, but the bottom line is: Sales in every major company are down; companies are folding/selling left and right, sponsorship money in rec and tournament circuits are down, and all of the real data we have shows there are at least 30 percent less people playing now than there was five years go.

Teddy said...

I'm no expert here but I've seen the SGMA reports that show paintball is shrinking. I am curious John to see what you have to say. Thanks for doing this sereis.

the Stuntman said...

Looking forward to Friday...
I have my own thoughts on the subject & am deeply curious to see where you're gonna go with this.

I dont think paintball is "dying" though...rather its going thru a rough re-adjustment period. the whole industry - leauges, companies, price tags - simply got too big too fast & everyone seems to have thought the boom would last forever.
It didnt.
So what if half the companies go under? The ones that are left will be stronger & better adapted for real world economics, and the game will go on developing.

John Amodea said...

Stuntman, I'm not necessarily saying it's a good or bad thing, but you can't argue the numbers. Less people are playing....

Beherit said...

Ok I'm not from USA. I'm from Bulgaria. A not so reach country ant the corner of Europe. To start little statistics. Our monei are leva (lv.) so $1=1.56 lv. Salary is about $530. You don't expect that USA holds all industry of paintball. Europe pay for paintball as much as USA. What about Asia, Australia ?

So let's face it. Paintball is extremely expencive. Some time even strange expencive. And the prices rise. I have a motocross bike. And i have proper clothes that are same material same print. Everithing is same. So how you explain that my paintball jersey is $65 or 101 lv. but my motocross jersey only because it's for motocros cost $19 or 30 lv. And there are a lot of other examples.
Tell me if a ball made from what they say, what in the world cost $70. If you buy ingredients they will cost no more than $8. Here in Bulgaria for sure. So where are the money. I see those bankrut companies that bosses have huge houses and drive Hummer. There are money. No comersial no sponsors out of industries . That is the biggest mistake of that sport. Only depends on internet. That is bulshit.

Anonymous said...

Do you think the gun sales are low cus guns are lasting longer now?

brady moritz said...

We have been discussing the flaws in paintball for years, and my biggest concern has been the cost. There is no way the sport can be sustained when you expect 14 yr old kids to spend $100/weekend just to keep up with the other players. This has become a rich spoiled kid's sport, and paintball cant compete with other sports until you get this cost much much lower. You'll never replace "soccer moms" with "paintball moms" as things currently exist. Paint and equipment must get cheaper, and rates of fire absolutely must be reduced. And who decided we all had to be electric? Return to one- shot-one-pull, get rid of electric, make it affordable to play, and make the game available to the other 97% of the population that would actually enjoy playing more than just once a year at a birthday party.

Anonymous said...

To Address Brady's concern on cost:
Locally (milwaukee, WI) I can head out for a day of play, shoot a half case of paint (more than enough to have fun), and grab some lunch for pretty close to what it would cost to play 18 holes of golf. There are many expensive sports out there. Paintball happens to be one of them. Yes that will deter some folks from playing but lower costs are not always the answer to an industry's issues. There is a chance that with the economy as it is and the cost of the game that the crybaby overshooting immature players will drop out and play XBox leaving paintball to those that can afford and appreciate the game as the fun time it should be.
~Kurt