I'm dodging a mailbag question I agreed to answer. Nothing outrageous or scandalous--I'd never agree to answer any of those--but it's gonna be a bit of work so why do today what I can put off until the weekend? Today you get a stream-of-consciousness response to various items of paintball news from the last few days. And if you find it all rather dull, join the club.
A marriage made in heaven--or was that hell?--redux. I apologise in advance for finding the news that Valken will be distributing Bob Long guns--again--rather amusing. Given that they've been there done that before and it worked so well they ended up in court suing each other what could possibly go wrong?
Then there's the latest scheme from Empire tying the Axe marker to potentially valuable paint savings in order to make a big splash in 2011 at the major league tourney level throughout the divisions. I don't know whose brainchild that was but it's looking like a winner and a number of the related emails I've seen have Johnny Posterivo's signature on them. Is it wrong of me to feel a little nostalgia for the old days, ugly and unproductive as they often were, when PBIndustry was a bunch of big fish in a small pond and every day was a food fight in the cafeteria? Johnny versus Gino in the squared circle. Family feud. Valken versus Kee. Let's get it on!
Speaking of the Axe dealio there's a bigger picture here, it seems to me. Given the price point and the general lack of flash if Empire can make the Axe both a general sales success and create a "cool" factor around its performance in 2011--putting the Axe in the dialogue--of must have markers it would be a real marketing coup. And could conceivably seriously erode the high priced end of the market. Peak popularity is fickle and if the time is right for the next "it" gun and it turns out to be the Axe ... all bets are off.
Then there's the new pro format announced recently by the NPPL. It's Race 2-2, more or less. And I don't think I like it much. Sure, one argument is that the better team(s) should win through more consistently and that the occasional flukey loss or poor referee's decision won't determine the final result--and I concede the point. And it's a good one. What kinda rubs me the wrong way is the sense that teams won't get to play against as many different teams in the new format as the old--and that's particularly true if you don't make it out of the first bracket--but in crunching a few numbers the teams that make the semi-finals will end up playing anywhere from 7 - 9 different teams during the event. The old way the max is 11 different teams with everybody playing at least 7 different teams. With the new formula 8 teams will only play 3 other teams. Perhaps it's viewed as potentially better TV. More pressingly I'd like to know how the initial seeding will be done and the reseed into the second round. And the scoring. And maybe even the new rules ...
I'm also still wondering about Facefull's future--and I'm still not seeing it. This isn't a covert rumor or anything of the sort. I just haven't seen a new mag in months, the website is collecting cobwebs and the lights were turned off a while ago at Facefull Online as the most recent mags available are over a year old. And I can't remember the last time I was able to pick one up at an event. (Yes, I'm a cheap bastard and part of the problem. It's that cursed pro sense of entitlement.) Somehow it seems inevitable--which is a shame. Perhaps the current plan is to keep the magazine alive by not actually printing any new editions.
In closing I'd like to welcome Robbo (of all things paintball fame) to the cyberpages of X3. Pete brings a unique perspective and I'm looking forward to his monthly contribution (in the Queen's English) and to see what our semi-literate hordes of punks and thugs make of his special brand of English abuse. Perhaps a small wager on the first appearance of "rocking horse poo" in his column is in order? (March) Almost like the good old days.