Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Next World Order

Say hello to the new boss same as the old boss.
For a lot of tourney players nothing much is going to change. Sure, a rule here, a rule there that add up to some minor changes but nothing major. I think this New World Order talk is perhaps overblown--even if some arrangement is agreed upon between the PSP and MS. Yes, they will be the leading tournament series but they don't and won't have a monopoly on tournament paintball. Most tourney players don't play in either of them and if either league makes enough decisions that alienate their customer base whatever they agree on won't much matter. What the next world order does offer is the possibility of formalizing and stabilizing the game/sport of competitive paintball. And that could be a very good thing.

Here's some of what I think you can expect. 5-man in a couple of variants; xball & something (very) similar to the way the PSP has been running their regular 5-man. At the lower divisions of xball play I don't expect (and continue to hope) there are no major changes. There could very well be more divisions of both xball and 5-man. The place where the greatest changes are most likely is at the top because that is where the widest divergence between the PSP and MS currently exist. I hope, for purely selfish reasons, that the end result is either allowed some flexibility or looks much more like the PSP version than the MS. The tension is between keeping the pro level game the format's undisputed flagship competition and the pressing need to reduce the cost of competing at the pro level. There have got to better ways to address those needs (and there are) than watering down the game--again.
On issues like locked divisions and restrictive non-sponsor possibilities I won't hazard a guess 'cus that's all it would be. I will say it strikes me as borderline insane to do stuff like that at the same time you're trying to forge a world game identity for your version of competitive paintball.

One of the critical discussions to be had as the next world order begins ought to be about what has been lost as much as on what has been gained. What, if anything, can be done to regain or restore some elements of the game play that may be seen as lacking or lost. Who knows, maybe it won't be much of anything but if one format is going to dominate and become the world standard that version of the game has an obligation to represent as much of the energy, excitement, thrill and skill as can be stuffed into it.

And Now For a Bit of Rampant Speculation: Given the seemingly odd timing of the NPPL filing I think one of two things probably happened. Either the NPPL & PSP worked out their bargain or Freidman decided it wasn't worth the effort--nor the likely continued cost--and simply wanted out. Both make sense. The former implies that Friedman remains interested in "selling" paintball. The latter suggests he's washed his hands of the whole mess and is satisfied to get out. For the life of me I can't see why he'd want to stay and keep trying to "sell" paintball on terms other than his own. And if he didn't think he could do it using the NPPL why would he think he can do it using the PSP?
More intriguing is what will become of the NPPL brand? I smell another cynical VFTD game.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I don't know Friedman, but operating under the assumption his a financial investor type I'm going to assume the massive losses from his other portfolios, coupled with the fact that everyone he would otherwise be seeking money from to advertise/market in his stable of products are now facing the same problem (ie. the incredible money-disappearing machine), he decided now was a good time to quit.

I don't know how much money he has (lost) but if he is facing 40% losses, or worse like many financial firms are, cutting your loses and pulling out of paintball is good sense. Why bother with all the inter-politicking of this industry when there is real money to be made (seized) on Capitol Hill?