How's that for an attention grabber? Right up there with the social media attention whores who take almost racy pictures of themselves in mirrors to post on the internet. Or a George Lucas narrated remastering of THX 1138 with previously unseen footage now available on Blu*Ray.
Okay, so I've got your attention. (No, it's not real. I made up the THX thing and while I'm at it knock off the sycophantic drooling as a response to the attention whores. "You're so beautiful. lol XXX" Gack! It doesn't work. It makes me want to puke and I despair over what's become of the male gender. Of course paintballers probably shouldn't be reproducing anyway.)
The kids at ProPaintball (post title is the link) put up a couple of videos earlier in the week with Matty Marshall and there's one out there with Mr. U too. Both are introducing iCombat; a paintball-like game play variant using products being produced by irTactical. (irTactical is a division of Predator Games. Predator Games makes laser tag conversion equipment and have partnered with Tippmann in developing Tippmann Laser Tag.) irTactical's focus is for use as a training tool for police and military and includes realistic looking weaponry and a vest with multiple target receptors. (Which is a more sophisticated and accurate measure for confirming "hits.") iCombat takes that a step further and adds a skin contact that discharges a minor electric shock when the vest registers a "hit." And the iCombat kids are already introducing their use of the irTactical technology into paintball playing environments. More interactive related products are in the pipeline already.
VFTD continues to view all the competing games as, d'oh! competition. Airsoft has some crossover to parts of paintball but it's likely paintball is a net exporter of players. And while laser tag is scoffed at by many paintball players (and Tippmann is advertising their variant as a gateway game to paintball) the newest technology could pose a real threat. Add to that the recent incorporation of competing game products (including Airsoft) into industry conferences and what you are witness to is the breakdown of resistance to these direct competitors (to paintball) where it matters. At the local field level. The hook is new, different, more customers for struggling paintball fields. (Which is another post altogether.) Diversify your revenue streams. And why not? Better to have somebody on the fields playing than nobody and have to close up shop, right? Well, sure. For the field operator. But a field where paintball ain't being played is--wait for it--a field where paintball ain't being played!
Case in point: Is Tippmann's move to quick conversion kits for Tippmann markers to laser tag play intended to grow paintball or offer Tippmann--and some local fields with existing Tippmann markers in inventory--an alternative market (service/game)? (Or maybe both?)
I know, I know. It's hard to take too seriously. Now take a moment to consider the limitations placed on playing paintball. The regulated hazards of high pressure air. Growing environmental safety regulations. Zoning restrictions. Gun laws. Peripheral safety equipment like goggles. Cost of paint. The list doesn't end there. If you toss Airsoft into the mix you've got all those damned tiny plastic pellets everywhere.
Along comes another way to play the same game. No high pressure air. No projectiles. No paint. No pellets. No cheating--you get "hit" and your gun turns off. No need for goggles. No damage to the game play environment beyond the wear and tear of players moving around. Want realistic guns? Not a problem. Want to play Army? Coming soon--guns with 4 times the range of a paintball or Airsoft pellet. And, oh yeah, no welts. No pain unless you want the little jolt of failure but it's optional. Are you beginning to see the potential?
Today the top end equipment is pretty pricey. It won't stay that way. And when prices fall into a range similar to Airsoft and paintball it's gonna be game on.