Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Gun Whore Effect

I have a new theory on the decline of the industry. Like all the other theories it's short on verifiable facts but there is at least a certain logic to it--unlike some of the others, for example, oh, I don't know, say the trickle down theory of robotic hordes of ballers shooting mad paint because that's what the insignificant One Percenters do. (Not to be confused with the punk ass tourney wannabes swarming unwary fields across the country like a plague of locusts. Shooting mad paint. At high ROF.) And while I wouldn't give this theory a primary role in the decline it could have served to make matters worse after the fashion of what repackaged mortgage debt did for financial institutions during the real estate collapse--and beyond. I call it the Gun Whore Effect.

It might more properly be called the Turnover Effect but that doesn't have the panache of The Gun Whore Effect. Gun whores, in fact, have been with us almost as long as the game has been played. Once different kinds and brands of markers hit the market the gun whore soon followed. The gun whore is, of course, that select group of ballers who can't resist the next hot gat and will buy as many of them as possible--sometimes selling older guns in the process, sometimes not. There is also a gun whore lite group that may not have a stash of markers but must have the latest and greatest and as a consequence goes through guns faster than Tiger Woods does cocktail waitresses. The result is gun whores churn the turnover rate in gun sales well above the norm.

It used to be that gun manufacturers made guns and aftermarket shops customized them. Eventually manufacturers began to try and tap the custom market and in no time at all the cycle of "new" gun introductions was annual. In creating an annual turnover cycle manufacturers overheated the marketplace (although since this first occurred during the big growth years it went unnoticed.) Amongst gun whores the effect was to accelerate the rate of turnover; both buying more guns faster than the average but also dumping more used guns back into the market as well. When demand was still rising it didn't matter but as soon as demand flattened (and/or declined) the result was a market glutted with used guns of virtually identical performance and nothing like enough newcomers to sop up the excess and still buy new at anything like the volume the manufacturers had come to expect.

Today that glut continues and continues to depress new sales while manufacturers are stuck trying to differentiate their latest gear from last year's and perhaps even incongruously relying on the gun whore portion of the market for even their reduced sales. And since player numbers have been calculated based on new sales nobody really knows how the numbers stack up, only that the sales aren't there. The one thing I would be willing to bet is that there are a lot of guns collecting dust in a lot of closets.

14 comments:

Mark790.06 said...

From what I see there is more of lateral movement, that is a DM9 gets trade for a Luxe, a Luxe for an Ego, an Ego for a Droid etc. Sure these guns at some point must intially be purchased from the manufacturer but as the gun whore satisfies his fix through the trade route, fewer new guns are purchased. Sort of like if 75% of heroine addicts were supplied with methadone, heroine sales would fall.

Jonathan A said...

Speaking as an ex-whore, I agree. And this is one post I won't be repeating elsewhere.

john said...

So, did gun whores ruin paintball, or did we create an incredible cycle of industry that fueled the amazing growth of the greatest game ever played?

(I mean they, you know, those gun whores.)

I don't know about closets, but I saw a DM3 on craigslist for $699 the other night, and I almost got it because it is the professionals choice and the newest technology.

Reiner Schafer said...

The manufacturers ability to produce more markers than needed, especially with a decline in demand for these markers, has definitely made matters worse for the manufacturers in the industry. It has also lowered the cost of good used markers as well as new markers over the years. It certainly would not contribute to any decline in participation, especially not in competitive paintball. If anything, it would make entry into playing less expensive.

But yes, it is a definite case of over supplying the demand for a product. Since there are quite a few players in that game, it's not a simple matter of cutting back production and raising prices (although I have a feeling that is the direction SP was hoping to go when the Luxe was originally released in limited quantities). Right now, companies are just willing to sell what they can to keep the cash flowing. It's a buyer's market.

Anonymous said...

Now I have read pretty much all self-denial and blatant finger pointing ever.

You can't think of anything else and blame the consumers for spending money as downfall of paintball industry as a whole?

Fact is, that you lot, could not establish paintball as a widely accepted sport, failed to create format that would please media sources and same time alienated the paying crowd by forcing the game into TV mold that players did not enjoy. Failure to properly set paintball as competitive sport apart from the runaround in woods made the industry turn 180 and run back to tap from woodsball.

Now, you can't seem to find anything else to blame, you turn on random paintball consumers of various levels and start calling spending people gunwhores?

I wonder, when the fuck, is so called self entitled professional players and teams start to look what mistakes they themselves made in promoting and advancing the sport. It was eventually your failure in figuring out a proper format, model and place for the game to be separated from its woodsball roots to create environment where new players would be integrated into speedball directly for more than couple years during teens.

What you created, and I blame the "ambassadors" for this, is a throw-away speedball sport where kids come at age 15 play couple of years and then toss this game away. Like a quick RL counterstrike/FPS fix and they don't care for shit about the game itself. Pwning noobs in RL for couple of years and then back to serious things. That attitude and culture is your doing. Start fixing that before finding blame on consumers.

Where are the dedicated, large pro-clubs that will take the sport further? All I see is bunch of pros under a different gun sponsor banner every year smoking weed and playing a league for free.

Anonymous said...

Angry much?

Any chance you'd like to tell everyone about everything you've done for the sport?

Jonathan A said...

Pro clubs? Try an Academy, dedicated to nurturing young talent. Coming soon.

Baca Loco said...

Hey Angry Anon
You musta missed the link cus I've been onto gun whores for a while. :) Or else you've got a lot of guns in your closet. :D Geez, man, lighten up.

Anonymous said...

To angry anonymous:

Right on.

Every pro player that bitches that the rate of fire is too low is the problem. They ruined it for themselves.


To Baca:

Gun whores have nothing to do with it. The real problem is simple: New equipment purchased in 1999 was much better than new equipment purchased in 1998, which was much better than new equipment purchased in 1997, which was much better than new equipment purchased in 1996. Since new equipment in 1999 was much better, it wasn't competing against used equipment.

In 2010, new equipment is pretty much just as good as new equipment sold in 2006. So you've just found a roundabout way to say "There is now a used equipment market that didn't exist when technology was rapidly advancing".

When there is a valid used market, newsflash, you don't need as large of a new market.

Baca Loco said...

Last Anon--
Newsflash, it's not pros who ever complained about the ROF being too low. D'oh!

And I could take issue with your undefined "better" but I will assume you're claiming the transition from mech to electro--but that's another conversation altogether. You're not actually saying that an early days Indian Creek B2K was a superior gun to an Ego, for example, are you?

papa said...

"Every pro player that bitches that the rate of fire is too low is the problem. They ruined it for themselves."

baseless...

Missy Q said...

Angry Anon - who is 'you lot'?

Everyone but you?

Reiner Schafer said...

Angry anon, do you really feel it's a whole lot different in the scenario world? I see many of the same "mistakes" being made there as well. It too isn't a format that will hold onto new players for more than a few years and certainly is not new player friendly (at least not to new players that don't want an "extreme" experience). I see many woodsball players that care more about high ROF than they do about tactics and teamwork.

Competitive paintball does not have a very sustainable formula, but the way Scenario is going, I don't believe it will either. The big difference is that there are many more "woodsball" players in general and most Scenario doesn't try to force its players to practice and play as frequently, making it a little easier on the wallet.

Brandon Lambertson 909 said...

I remember the days when a real "Pro Shop" could take your stock cocker or mag and mastermind it into one uniquely trick and very competitive marker, all by hand. They didn't just slap on new upgrade parts, they actually took your existing parts and modified them to work better. Every "Pro Shop" had its own tricks that were learned from the relentless pursuit of being the best shop around. The era of true "air-smiths".

Once all the manufactures took what the shops had worked hard to create and started selling "stock" guns already upgraded, you started seeing the decline of the "Pro Shops" and the introduction of the "Mom and Pop" shops that entered the game in search of paintball gold. Let the price wars begin! Now we have "gun-techs" instead of air-smiths and markers that don't need anything besides a tank and loader. =(