Today's post was going to be about playing dead zones (as previously promised in the WCPPL field #2 post) but there's an interesting dialogue going on in comments from yesterday and I want to pick up on that and see if we can't take it a little further. (I will still get to the dz post but it may have to wait until next week as I'm leaving later today for NPPL Chicago and a long weekend.)
Before continuing read the comments attached to yesterday's post. There is a faction (led by Faction---otherwise known as chris raehl) advocating higher per ball paint prices, at least at the local field retail level. The idea is to improve margins, provide fields with greater pricing flexibility, put a passive break on use of high ROF guns of every sort & alter the general sort of paintball played. (I was going to say intensity but that's subjective to the player.) The advocates include industry peeps from different strata as well as a field owner who purposefully uses paint prices to restrict or modify his typical customer base--and he does it in an environment where there are other paintball field choices. In effect what he is doing isn't gouging his customers on paint prices--which is the standard complaint of the must have cheapest paint possible crowd--he is using paint price to control the paintball experience available at his field. And apparently it's working, at least in his area.
Keeping in mind that nearly everyone seems to agree that the use of high ROF guns in the recreational setting (and perhaps even in some competition settings) has been, to one degree or another, responsible for driving players out of the game and also driving potential or newbie type players from the game. Under such circumstances it seems like a no-brainer to implement something like what the faction has advocated, and yet...
Companies like Tippmann don't make guns capable of 15 bps because nobody is buying them. And I continue to wonder if what works for Reiner will work anywhere. I also wonder how you put the cork back in the bottle with online stores and even manufacturers selling direct at such low prices the local pro shop & field is behind the 8-ball before the potential customer even reaches the front door. And the majority (or at least a significant percentage) of today's players don't know any different sort of paintball than the way it was played when they started in the last five years. Or what becomes of the paint companies currently selling high volume on low margins. Where do they find an acceptable equilibrium in a shift to higher price, lower volume of production? The whole developmental history of paintball has led to this place. Is it possible to backtrack? To even agree on what needs to be changed or "fixed"?
Could the next wave of industry innovation be vertical integration?