You didn't think I was gonna let y'all off that easy, did you? One post on the new JT SplatMaster small ball (50 cal) spewing, plastic spring-actuated not-a-paintball-gun revolution was not enough. The only thing the SplatMaster is--besides a likely winner for KEE (depending on their projections)--is a gateway for small ball to establish its viability in paintball. The more success SplatMaster has with the field rental crowd in pushing the boundaries of the age limits lower and in potentially expanding the youth group play opportunities the greater its potential to remake paintball--not act as a gateway into "real" paintball. Until the SplatMaster's introduction (assuming the basic claims about the gun & paint are true) the dividing line between paintball players and not-paintball players was first contact with a paintball traveling at speed. If a potential paintball player survives first contact and isn't bothered by the sting the majority will want to play some more--and again--and again. If the pain is too distracting or off putting more paintball is out of the question. And as long as paintball relies on a 68 caliber paintball shot at velocities in excess of 250 fps the principle dividing line between player and not-a-player will remain the same. And SplatMaster won't change that. It might get more young players interested in checking out "real" paintball than might otherwise have tried it, though given paintball's ubiquity these days I'm not sure I buy into that argument, but even if it does the threshold remains the same.
Now depending on the overall success of the SplatMaster there will be a young generation of SplatMaster players who will want more at some point--which is where the whole gateway idea comes into play. But why rely on the SplatMaster generation potentially choosing to follow a paintball path (that already exists or lose them to Airsoft) when you can provide them with upgrades built around their previous experience--low impact small ball--and alter the threshold for paintball play and make it more inclusive of a wider percentage of the general population? None of the objections current paintball players have with the 50 cal paintball would be a deterrent to a generation of SplatMaster players. Before you know the 50 cal marker is back and its the basis for a youth movement in paintball and the prospect of more girls playing enters to picture.
At what point, how many generations raised on the SplatMaster will it take to convert the majority to a game based on the small ball instead of the current 68 caliber paintball?
The history of change in paintball is the history of changing technology & profits. If the SplatMaster is an enormous success it will signal the next great change to the future of paintball.