Friday, June 12, 2009

The .50 Caliber Solution?

If you were expecting (and are disappointed not to see) 'Return of the Pro Loser' posted today as per the schedule you haven't been hanging around VFTD for very long, have you? Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. (And, no, that isn't a dungeons & dragons reference.) I make schedules meaning to keep to them but stuff happens and this is just a wee bit more topical at the moment. 'Return of the Pro Loser' will just get bumped to next week's schedule so you can breath a sigh of relief as you now have something to look forward to. Some more. Again.

Since the first "official" announcement about the coming .50 caliber solution was posted at P8ntballer--see, ' The Revolution Begins' below for the link--much of the dialogue has focused on the paintballs themselves and the unsubstantiated performance claims sorta being made. While all that is vaguely interesting (if you're a physics geek) I think it misses the point completely. I don't think it matters a whit if the small ball does exactly as claimed or not. (What matters is whether it's profitable for the manufacturers.)

Of late the biggest concern to both the industry and competitive leagues is a stagnant and/or declining player base from the heyday of a few short years ago. The blame has generally been assigned to cost (paintball is expensive and competitive paintball is even more expensive) and out-of-control rates of fire turning the basic game's fun factor into a fear factor. (Does the decline compare to the appearance of low-priced, high-performance markers?) Part of the latest response has been to cap ROF and steadily reduce that cap in order to encourage the use of lower limits across the board.

The GIMILSIM press release states, "The new era of 50 calibre paintball means cheaper paint for the paintballer, it means hundreds more paintballs in the loader, it means thousands more balls in your pots, it means a more accurate flight path, it means it shoots further and all this with the same marking characteristics as the original 68 caliber balls." Earlier in the press release the cost of participation is mentioned as an impediment to building the player base and seeing a healthy tourney environment restored. The idea being cheaper paint necessarily makes for cheaper paintball and more affordable paintball widens the potential player pool.

Here is where my interest--and questions--begin. Isn't cheaper paint in some respects counterproductive to the whole ROF limitation idea? (I suspect the answer to that is cheaper needn't encourage the use of more paint but that's really just a dodge, isn't it? Even if it's true to some extent it's like putting a limit on ice cream sundaes and then announcing the price of ice cream is going down.)

But more than that is the claim of cheaper paint to the end user, the customer, you, the player. It doesn't necessarily follow even if production costs are reduced. Here's the dealio as it currently stands: big paint companies are struggling to make a profit in today's market. Keeping it simple there are 4 factors involved; cost (to produce & sell), price (to retailer), volume (of sales) and margin (profit per unit sold). What the manufacturers need is a margin in sufficient volume to make their current woes go away. Reduced cost would be a good start but it doesn't follow that all costs (or prices) throughout the system drop as well. Part of the answer to that would be in pinpointing where the real problem is for the manufacturers. Odds are it's a combination of the 4 factors complicated by the debt load a couple of them are carrying. What margin would be sufficiently profitable given the current volume of sales? Will the small ball provide that or more? The point is simply this: Cheaper to manufacture doesn't automatically translate into cheaper for you and I to buy.

Admittedly there is lots we don't yet know and there is no reason to pass premature judgment on the 50 cal small ball just yet but at the same time it's no time to swallow the hype either. Even if it proves to be a better paintball will Paintball's problems suddenly disappear? I doubt it.

And to close (for now) here's some additional almost-on-topic food for thought. A) Paint is as cheap as it's ever been for the average customer. B) The advent of Xball saw the volume use of paint go through the roof in competition. C) the average age of the typical Xball player is younger than ever. D) Older players have more disposable income. E) If the ROF restrictionists are correct does it really make sense to make greater volumes of paint available for less than is the current standard? (Assuming the small ball will actually be cheaper.)


raehl said...

The cost of paintball has nothing to do with the cost of a paintball. If a player is willing to spend $50 playing, and the cost of paint goes down 50%, many players will just by twice as much paint. This will cause most other players to buy twice as much paint to compete. No one is spending less money on paint, but everyone is shooting twice as much of it.

Getting shot at by twice as much paint is less fun. Less fun means players are less likely to continue participating. Less players participating means less money for the industry.

If we want to save the industry, fields just need to raise paint pricing to $90-$120 a case. Players will buy less paint and have more fun, and fields will have more money to spend on facilities to make their fields more fun, and manufacturing and shipping costs will go down, because we'll be shipping half as many paintballs per player because players will be shooting half as many paintballs.

Best of all, that change is free.

papa chad said...

who will play tournament paintball at ninety dollars a case? I guess this assumes no more tournament paintball?

raehl said...

Lots of people. People used to do it all the time - they just didn't shoot a sustained 15, 13, 10 bps. Think how many more pro team paint sponsorships there would be if pro teams used as much paint as they did 10 years ago. Actually, I think it would be pretty cool if paint was included in the entry fee (X cases per match) and that's all you got. Then the teams that advanced wouldn't be rewarded with larger paint bills.

But that's another thread. I was talking about rec field pricing, not tournament paint pricing. Tournaments (and tournament practices) can still be near-cost or BYOP.

Anonymous said...

A better analogy is putting a limit on the amount of sundaes you can eat in an hour and then announcing the price is going down.

But Raehl your wishful thinking doesn't exactly intertwine with REALITY!!!!!!

It would be in every retailer's (I in particular) dream to sell paint for that much. The only problem is we don't live in Dubai with there's gross amounts of dispoable income. Even a $10 increase in paint prices here sees a negative change in profit margin.

These great big wig ideas of yours are horribly, if not mildly, insulting. No tournament prizes = no tournaments. $120 a case = no players. This isn't theoritical speculation. It's business.

But I do welcome your return :)

anon-mike said...

0.50 caliber is retarted. That being said, does a flatter trajectory mean wider layouts? (more running)?

I think its embarrasing to play paintball, and look at some of the fat-asses that are D-1 caliber, but are not in any way an "athlete". I think high ROF and small layouts are to blame.

Scratch that. WERE to blame. 10.5 and the current layouts have made running, diving, you know PANTBALL stuff alot more interesting and neccasary. I really don't see there being a need to switch again so quickly.

Raehl is absolutely right about one thing tho; it wont make the manufacturers any more money, it will simply mean that someone will undercut them again, and we will be shooting more paint (and thus, driving more players away with more boring paintball).

Reiner Schafer said...

"It would be every retailer's (I in particular) dream to sell paint for that much. The only problem is we don't live in Dubai with there's gross amounts of disposable income. Even a $10 increase in paint prices here sees a negative change in profit margin."

I sell paintballs anywhere from $120 to $160/case ($200 if you are buying them in bags of 100) here in Canada (at our rec. field). I believe Canadians have less disposable income that Americans (we are taxed heavier). We have probably about 10 times as many customers over the course of a weekend as the local airball field selling paintballs at $50/case. We are doing quite well thank you, and we don't have a Skirmish or CPX level facility.

Fields with similar pricing as ours have also have not seen declines in numbers like fields with "normal" (cheap) paint pricing.

If you raise your prices by $10 and see a decline in profit margins, it's probably because you didn't raise your prices enough. Paintball at $40/case is not fun for the majority of the general public. Paintball at $50 is also not fun for the general public. By raising the price from $40 to $50 all you have done is alienated a good portion of the players still playing at the $40 to
$50 level. You have not attracted the people who prefer to play in a much lower volume paintball atmosphere. They will still stay away at $50 or even $60/case.

In my opinion, this is the main reason we have seen declines in not only rec ball but also in tourny ball. Tournament players traditionally "graduate" from rec players (a good portion of them anyway). Less rec players means less tourney players a year or two later.

If we want the industry to flourish once again, we need to provide an environment that's fun for a larger portion of the general public. Cheap paintballs does exactly the opposite at the local rec field; the bread and butter fields of the industry. What Richmond is trying to do (cheaper paintballs to attract more players) will have exactly the opposit affect. Paintballs are not like virtually any other commodity. Yes, on an individual level, lower the price and you will sell more, but on an industry level, we need to remember we are in the entertainment business, or the fun business...not the small spheres of goo filled gelatin business. Too many of those just hurts.

Is this concept really that hard to understand? Or is it just that those peope who have been in the industry for a while and have grown used to shooting and being shot at by huge volumes of paintballs, can't relate to everyone else that isn't used to that?

The manufacturers that went to Lane Wright and the other league heads to ask them to lower the ROF because it was scaring away the newbies had it half right. The ROF was/is too high. But it's not the ROF measured per second that is the problem. It's the ROF measured per outing or day that's the real issue.

One cent paintball, which is what G.I. Milsim is hinting at, will create many more problems than it will solve.

papa chad said...

I'm still trying to figure out how it would be bad to get two cases for the price of one. you could always just buy one case, which most recreational players would probably do anyway (most don't go to grind), or if you can't afford to practice on two cases, you could just buy one and still be able to go to the field.
Then, the teams shooting more paint at practice will just increase competition in MLP, and there might be some warrant for seven divisions.

raehl said...

If you get two cases for the price of one, then people will be shooting twice as much paint at you. So either you end up paying the same for paint anyway (and the field sends more of your money to the paint and shipping companies instead of using it to improve the field) or you compete at a disadvantage to the people who use the half-price paintballs to shoot twice as many of them.

And no rec player has ever quit paintball because they only got 500 paintballs instead of 1,000 or 2,000. Rec players quit paintball because they are not having enough fun to justify the money. And if you cut the cost of paint in half, then twice as much paint gets shot at the rec player. And a rec player who can't afford $50 for a day of fun definitely can't afford $10 for a day-long unpleasant experience.

Rec players DO NOT WANT PAINTBALLS. They don't consciously realize it, but a rec player does not want to pay half price for paintballs or get twice as many paintballs. A rec player wants to pay twice as much per paintball to have half as many paintballs shot at them.

Or, put another way, a rec player is paying to run around and NOT get shot at.

Anonymous said...

To sum up that thread on p8ntballer so far...

People in favor:

1. Robbo
2. Robbo's posse

People against:

1. 2 paintball engineers with relevant experience
2. Raehl faction
3. half the industry, who gain nothing by getting themselves mixed up in the situation

raehl said...

I'd put me more in the 'unconvinced' category. Could be cool for milsim, could be a way to steal airsoft players over to paintball, worried about impact on new rec players, as I can't see any way all the claimed performance is delivered without having a hit that hurts a lot. Hurts a lot is a good thing for any serious training program, probably not a major problem for milsim folks, but I think a big problem for newer, casual players.

papa chad said...

true that, if these balls hurt more it's a step backwards.

I'm not convinced that anyone if going to get shot twice as much, as players can choose to not hop into a game. at 10 bps it's not bad in the first place for rec ballers, and it still only takes one hit for a player to go out.

where I play, and everywhere I've ever played, newer and rec players play together, anyway. It's not like a pro with a machine gun is on the other side, and the players can, indeed, shoot back.
it's just hard to fathom that these "rec" players are running around trying to not get shot at. you would think these people wouldn't be at the field if they didn't mind the touch of a paintball. they are probably there to shoot their friends and I think most of them realize that means they, too, could be shot.
but again, if it hurts more, like it probably will, that hurts new players.

Reiner Schafer said...

Many of my customers have very little idea what paintball is really like. They are very apprehensive at first and I can guarantee you that most don't want to get hit. But they know they will be. But most new players are "scared" to a certain degree; scared of the unknown and if hit and it hurt (we all know it does hurt sometimes), scared of being hit again and again.

Sure they know they will probably hit and probably know there might be some discomfort. But in an atmosphere of high volume paintball, it's not just getting hit that is the problem. Just the sound of many paintballs being fired and hitting objects (like the bunker the new player is hiding behind) is very intimidating. If a player is afraid to stick his head out or has 10 paintballs coming at (or near his head, when he does stick it out, he is not going to have very much fun.

I realize that the people on this forum got over that feeling probably on the first day they played, and that's why they are still here. But that doesn't change the fact that the game at most rec fields is too intense for the majority of the general population.

Keeping players seperate only works so far. Ww, as an industry have marketed paintball to try to attract more and more players. And obviously we have succeeded in that to an extent. We have many more than the original 12 players that started the game in 1981. Due to that success, when I get a group of friends, co-workers, team-mates, or any other group out, it is very rare that some of them do not have their own gear and some experience these days. This is going to continue, hopefully as the industry becomes more mainstream. Therefore people are going to want to play together.

All that aside though, even a first time player with a stock Tippmann 98 will have no problems shooting 2-3,000 paintball in a day if he wants to. If you sell him paintballs at 1 cent each, many will do just that. We all know that when people are shooting high volumes of paintballs at you , chances are you are going to want to shoot high volumes back.

Picture a group of 30 brand new first time players. Now picture them shooting 3,000 paintballs in a session and then picture the same group shooting say 600 paintballs in that same time span. The group has never played before and has no idea what is "normal". Which one of those groups will have a likelihood of having a higher percentage of players that enjoyed themselves and are going to want to come back next month? That's what it amounts to.

That's why tourney ball doesn't have the attendance it used to have. When paintballs dropped to $60, then $50, and then $40/case and less at local rec fields, many new players decided it wasn't fun and decided to stay away. Also, those players that traditionally "graduated" to more intense paintball in the tourney scene, no longer need to move up. The local rec field where everyone is shooting a case is intense enough. Why move up for that kick in adrenaline, when you can play at the local rec field and get it without all the commtment associated with tourney ball.

Pelc said...

What I don't understand about raehlz argument is that if someone buys two cases why does that mean they are gonna shoot twice as fast? If paint prices drop in half I will buy two cases but I'm not gonna go on the field with two guns to shoot twice as much. I'll shoot the same speed and prob carry the same amount or maybe A little more so in don't run out. It would lead to a longer day at the field for me And in turn making me a better player. And for every person I know who quit wasn't because they got bored. It was because rthey could not afford it anymore. So if paint wascut in half I could play for just As long the same way just as fun but half the cost. The only thing I don't like is the whole all gear is useless thing.

Pelc said...

And also what's gonna stop you people who charge way too much from continuing? It's more profit for you evil people.

raehl said...

1) Maybe some players won't shoot more, but most players will. That's just proven reality based on 30 years of history. And with some players shooting more, other players are at a disadvantage if they don't also shoot more and having less fun with more paint being shot at them.

2) The fields who charge more for paint DO NOT CHARGE MORE. They just operate fields where people shoot less paint. That means they have more income to maintain a better facility (more fun!) and provide a lower-paint-volume experience (more fun!) The problem is the fields who try to stay in business by winning on paint prices. Those fields always lose in the long run, but they provide a poor experience to the players who play there for the first time and we LOSE those players forever.

Reiner Schafer said...

Pelc, then by your reasoning, the guy playing a few years back when he was paying $30 for 500 balls, is now still only shooting 500 balls and paying $10 today? Have I got that right? Or is he still paying $30 and getting 1500 paintballs? Cause that's what I see. You're not going to tell me he is staying three times as long are you?

You don't need to change the ROF (bps) to shoot more paint. You just need to sustain fire for longer periods and/or shoot more often to go through more paint. Paintball, in virtually all it's formats has always been an arms race. Those with the better equipment and more paintballs win more often than not, all else being equal.

If wholesale paintball prices were to be cut in half, I would still be charging $120 to $160/case because I know that recreational paintball works well at that price. I know that lowering the prices is detrimental to my business. I start seeing less customers if prices approach $100/case (I know this because I've tried it). So for me personally, cheaper paintballs (maybe not the .50 caliber version) would be a godsend. I'd make more money, but I still don't want to see it happen because I know what it will do to the industry as a whole. I'd like to see the paintball industry flourish rather than lumber.

Pelc said...

"Pelc, then by your reasoning, the guy playing a few years back when he was paying $30 for 500 balls, is now still only shooting 500 balls and paying $10 today? Have I got that right? Or is he still paying $30 and getting 1500 paintballs? Cause that's what I see. You're not going to tell me he is staying three times as long are you?"

You can't compare Now to ever like 5 years ago. The technology is so different and the game is different. 5 years ago the only electric guns were Angels and impulses so not everyone spent the ton of money on them so shooting a lot of paint was harder. Even today if you give someone a Tippmann it'll take them a while to shoot 500 balls. Give the same person something electric they'll have no problem shooting that. So by my reasonings I'm talking about the PRESENT not the PAST so thats irrelevant. Companies right now aren't trying to make faster guns than what they have now. Sure they'll say oh this gun can shoot 34+ BPS but its not what people are trying to do because NO field i've ever been to would allow someone to ramp that fast and NO one can shoot that fast. I think we hit the limit on the fastest guns and now we're going for smaller and more effiecent guns(Because going green is so in this decade).

But say if that guy who paid $30 bucks for 500 didn't change guns and played with 500 for 3 hours. Well if he still had the $30 dollars every weekend than he could buy 1500 and play for 9 hours instead of the 3. And the way I see it is thats more proffit for the field selling the paint. If someone selling paint for 50 a case made ten dollars proffit a box. If paint prices were cut in half. Than instead of $40 for cost it would be $20. They could still make the $10 proffit and charge $30 a case. So for $10 bucks more you could double youre paint which i think most people who go through paint quickly would do. But even for those who don't wanna spend more money could buy a case and a half for 45 bucks. That makes the player spend LESS money and MORE proffit for the seller at 15 bucks.

"Those with the better equipment and more paintballs win more often than not, all else being equal."

The thing is. Most of the time all else isn't equal. The people who are better tend to be the ones buying the better gear to help out their game. Equipment deffiently can help when you make the jump from Non-electric to electric but if you hand me any electric gun I can play just as well all the way from an ion to a the new SL and DM.

To Raehl

1)Like i said before. The increase of shooting in 30 years is the faster guns but I think they've reached their speed limits.

2) Thos companies that go under with cheap paint prices are not because they have cheap prices. It's because they're run by bad business people. If you don't want to scare away first timers than keep them seperate from the people who play tournament style paintball. If they watch it they think its cool but they don't wanna be on the recieving end of it. So let the new guys play only with the new guys unless they wanna try to play with the better guys. The field I play at has their cheapest paint at 38 a case I believe. He made a really good PROFIT for the last few years. He was able to completely back a Pro and Semi pro team without a penny out of his pocket from his original bussiness. I won't say his proffit number because it's something kinda private but i'm sure you'd all know it's not cheap to fly 16 people to and from an event every 2 months, pay hotel, food, and all paintball supplies. And that doesn't including flying the players for practice and paying them. So if he didn't want to sponser these teams to compete than he'd be making a pretty penny.

Reiner Schafer said...

Pelc, why would you ignore history? Don't we learn from history? You are, like most in the industry, focused on ROF (measured in bps). I'm not saying that the rate of fire isn't a problem at rec fields. It certainly can be (although I have no restrictions other than semi-auto only). But the average guy with a Tippmann rental isn't shooting 500 paintballs anymore. When a bag of 500 only costs $10, there's nothing to buying a second bag and chances are a third bag if things got really hairy.

You think like most naive field owners have for the past 30 years. You think that lowering the price of paintballs will increase the length of time players can play and have fun. History shows us that is not what happens. It's a good theory, but it's not reality. Instead players (all players, even renters) shoot more in the same amount of time, changing the environment.

I don't have those problems at my field because to be honest, we haven't changed things much in the past 8 years we've been open and a competitor ran things very simialar for many years before that. It worked fine so we didn't need to feel a reason to try to fix it. While others have been seeing declining player bases in the last 5 years, we have still been seeing steady increases.

But having said all that, it would be very difficult for most field to reverse that trend and get back to good steady growth. I realize that. But I also realize that if you lower the price of paintballs further, which is what Paintball 2.0 is looking at doing, it will get worse before it gets better.

We'll just have to agree to disagree. Most disagree with me, so I'm quite used to it. But that doesn't change the fact that there just may be some truth in cheap paintballs keeping players away from recreatioanl paintball fields. Regualr recreational players just don't want to even think that there may be some truth to that. It goes against nature. Lower prices, more buyers, raise prices, less buyers. That holds true for a paintball store, but does not hold true for a recreatioanl paintball facility in the business of selling fun.

Pelc said...

I know for me cheaper paintball is a good thing and also for all the people I know. It'll increase my games played because I'm not shooting faster and I don't shoot at nothing so I won't shoot more than I do. I'll agree to dissagree

raehl said...

"Thos companies that go under with cheap paint prices are not because they have cheap prices. It's because they're run by bad business people."

Exactly the point. A good business person would have raised their paint prices - or not tried to stay in business by making it easier for their customers to shoot each other.

Separating tournament players totally misses the problem. The problem is that new players don't know how much paint they should shoot. They only way they have to decide is how much paint they have - if they have 2,000 rounds, they'll shoot 2,000, and if they have 500 rounds, they'll shoot 500. And how many rounds they buy is determined by budget.

As for your field owner who makes a lot of profit - is he running a tournament field complex? Does he market to new players? The only way to make a huge profit at $38/case is to sell LOTS of paint to each customer. For tournament players at a tournament complex, that's fine. But if he is selling paint at $38/case to rec groups, he is killing the sport, and I think that would be obvious if you were to look at the amount of repeat rec business he has. How many of his 1st time players become 2nd time players?

Again, not a problem if it's just a tournament complex targeting tournament players. Big problem if new players are being introduced to paintball at $38/case.

anono-mike said...

raehl needs to point to 30 years of history, rather then "economic theory which a monkey could do argument".

The problem with X cases per tournament is:
A. Too hard to enforce (read arguments for PSP mode, coaching, and more)
B. Games are no longer self contained. I'd much rather advocate for a certain number of cases per match (de facto limiting the total limit of paint). That way each game stays self contained. Still, too hard to monitor that ... checking peoples gearbags? It'd be easier to monitor it on a point by point basis.

The other problem is that most players dont LIKE limited paint, fast play, quick turn arounds. I feel like players try and limit the amount of running and thinking they have to do.

Anonymous said...

I just re-read Chris's point. You know whats even WORSE then rec players at <40$ case? Rec-players at 80+ with tourney players and refs with FREE paint. That is what drove me away from the sport (early in life). I thought thats just what paint COSTED. To have 100$'s of dollars of paint shot at me, while I am a rec kid with 100 rounds in his hopper? It made me a better player, for sure, but it's simply sinfully wasteful to a rec player to watch that. I was never drawn to a sport where I would be throwing away that kind of money, when I could be 90% as good, for 25-30% of the money.

BobCat said...

Honestly there should be no one who thinks PAINTBALL 2.0 is not a short sighted money grab. However nobody will convince you of that if you dont already see it. Just last year or early this year Billy Ball was hailed as a favorite for rental players and a great treat for veteran players at All-American Paintball Park. I am to lazy to find a link but you can look it up if you think I am making this up. Billy Ball is 1 paintball fired every 2 seconds, preferably from a Vibe since it has a board that can set such a rate of fire stock.
The two questions to ask regarding this exciting new Gardner brothers product? On what planet do people using rental gear enjoy hiding behind a wall and getting pelted with paint when they peek out more then once? Sure as hell aint this one. SP nearly killed paintball with the Ion and giving A-5 react trigger caring walkons double the ammo to pelt the guys with rental Spyders is going to be a train wreck in the name of progress (read profits).
Second question I have to ask is what field has so much money they can buy or retro fit their rental gear?

Reiner Schafer said...

"You know whats even WORSE then rec players at <40$ case? Rec-players at 80+ with tourney playes and refs with FREE paint."

I couldn't agree with you more. I place no limits of ROF or how much paint my customers take on the field. I do not however let my refs ever take more than a hopper on to the field if they play on their days off and they only get their paint slightly cheaper than everyone else. They are never allowed to take pods on to the field. That's part of the agreement when they take the job.

Pelc said...

The field is speedball but he gets a lot of first timers there and a lot come back. They do a lot to make sure the people are happy and they get young guys to like them so they have these kids as customers for a really long time. They're also really good with sales with guns/gear.

But back on subject you said selling paint at 38 a case for a rec field is bad. If thats so I still don't see how the cheaper paint will make the people who already make their money with the high priced paint can't keep the prices just as high and make even more money?

Bobcat- I think most people, especially here, see it as a way to pull in some extra money for a while but if it does as they claim i think it might even help the sport out. I'm willing to give it a shot. I'm due for a new gun anyway.

Reiner Schafer said...

"But back on subject you said selling paint at 38 a case for a rec field is bad. If thats soI still don't see how the cheaper paintwill make the people who already make their money with the high priced paint can't kepp the prices just as high and make even more money?"

They can. Absolutely. We haven't lowered my prices over the years as wholesale prices have come down. Well except once when we were still naive (stupid) and got caught up in a price war. That's when we found out that lowering our prices actually reduced the number of customers we got (not initially but after a couple of months).

So yes, for me personally, lower paintball prices puts more money in my pocket because I don't change anything in my business model just because my costs have dropped.

It's the general health of the industry that concerns me. I know that there will be many field owners that will pass those savings on to players. I'm sure there are many players salivating at the prospect already. Field owners tend to have knee jerk reactions. The field across town lowers prices of their paintballs by $5/cae, they feel they too need to lower their prices by at least an equal amount. They wouldn't want to lose the precious few customers that are left. Most field owners aren't making very much money, so they feel they can't afford to lose any customers. Most are operating on shoe string budgets just barely keeping things together. That's why there are so many "much to be desired" paintball fields around. That's the way it has been for a long time and honestly, I don't see it changing. There are a few smart field owners out there, but they are grossly outnumbered by dumb ones.

Missy Q said...

One thing.
if the field operator raises his price on a case of paint, it is impossible for that field-owners profit margin to go down, only his gross dollar revenue. I have seen people agonise over raising field prices so many times, and I have argued against in prices once...
After thyat I realised that the only difference it made was that there was more money to be spent, as the average cost per head went up. Paint consumption stayed where it was. Profit margin went up. Re-investment happened, and after that re-investment - attendance also went up.

Reiner Schafer said...

If paint prices are raised only a litle, paint consumption will stay very close to what is was. It would be difficult to notice the difference.

For instance if paint was $40/case and then raised to $50/case, it's only going to make a $5 difference to shoot 1,000 rounds. Very few are going to cut back to 800 rounds (especially since many fields don't sell bags of 100s anymore anyway). But if the case price is raised to $80, then there will be many players that will only buy 500 rounds. That makes a noticeable difference in the atmosphere at the field.

For me, I think pricing and how it affects a recreational paintball facility is the most misunderstood aspect for most field owners. Most seem to consider paintballs as a regular commodity and don't realize how the number of paintballs being shot affects the big picture.

Maybe they will understand when G.I. Milsim introduces $20/case retail as the norm. Not that they will do anything about it, but at least then they can put their face in their hands and say to themselves, "What have we done?" On the other hand, maybe after we get even less players playing at $20/case, they will say, "If only we could get paint prices down to $10/case. Then we would attract all sorts of new players!" duh!