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Old 11-09-2012, 11:36 AM #1
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Decline of Speedball?

What do you think about the decline of speedball, more particularly, air ball?

10 years ago when I got out of paintball, Airball was the rage, fields were putting up Airball fields everywhere, even if they had to remove an already build field.

Back then, the NPPL and other leagues were the "top of the pyramid" as in most everyone looked to become that level / style of play.

I played in one or two of those leagues for a year, didn't find it was to my liking... the fields had no soul, the amount of ammo shot was/is insane, the competitiveness [its just a game!], the focus on ever faster ROF...

I'm a guy who likes to run around in the woods and sneak up on people to get angles... not sit behind a bunker, fire a case, and hope to get lucky.



Anyway, Upon re-entering the sport recently, I had assumed that the "Big Leagues" would still be the thing that most younger players looked up to and wanted to be like.

Come now 2012, and I am surprised to see that the Mil-sim movement and Rec-ball have come back strong in the last 5-7 years almost as a 'counter-movement' to Air-ball/Speedball in my opinion.

I have seen fields taking down Airball to put up more traditional bunkers (saves electric money to not need those pumps for Air-ball too!).

When I go to the paintball store, only half of the markers on the wall are aimed at air-ballers. That's down from ~85% a decade ago...


Part of this, is Airsoft bleeding over into paintball with its increased military basis IMO... but the other part is a 'counter pendulum' of people like me who don't care for air-ball, and just like running around in the woods where physical skill on a good sized field is what counts.

Airball and the Big leagues will never go away, they are too entrenched/popular for that. But the fact is, that newer players have another advanced avenue to take now and a lot like it better ["Advanced woodsball" over Airball]

This post was basically to note my observation, that Air-ball and the "big leagues" have come less and less to dominate the paintball market... and this was good surprise to me after 10 years and now getting back into the sport.

Any of you guys have thoughts on the topic?
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:11 PM #2
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First of all, I think there will always be a demand for competitive paintball.

From a field owner's perspective, there are several reasons fields have been getting out of the speedball business.

Most of the reasons, in my opinion, relate in one way or another to the ROF (measured in paintballs shot per second and paintballs shot per day).

First, there is only a fraction of the population that want to play paintball in an extremely intense format. Most people just want to have fun. When winning goes to the top of the list, above fun, the amount of potential participants drops significantly. I'm not saying that competitive paintball isn't fun, just that sometimes wanting or needing to win, overshadows the fun. Along with that come attitudes that will sometimes be fueled by something other than the desire to have fun. When playing a competitive game whose main objective is to shoot other people with projectiles that sometimes cause discomfort, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that not everyone is going to want to take part.

Second, competitive paintball, by it's nature gives advantages to players/teams who shoot more paintballs, all else being equal. Therefore to win, teams and players must commit themselves to shooting high volumes of paintball. If you can't keep up with the other teams in that regard, you will not have long term success. That means that players, unless they are independently wealthy, will spend as much as they can, or feel they can, to compete and to hopefully win. That also means that if you are a field that these teams compete and practice at, these players will spend a lot of money at your field. That's a good thing. However, it also means that you are dealing with a client base that is most often broke. Broke customers, out of necessity, will go to the fields that offer the best (cheapest) deals. You can't really blame them for that. But that means that if there are two or more fields competing for those customers, those fields will need to compete with vigor (read as: low profits).

So now you have a relatively small client base who are constantly shopping around for the lowest prices. From a business perspective, does that sound like an ideal business to be in?

Many of the fields that do still offer speedball, do so because the owner is or was a fanatic about the game himself. Most of them do it, partially out of charity. Most often they also have recreational fields as well where"regular" people can go play and have fun. We all know the rental business is the life blood for most fields. Often times, unknown to most of the speedball players at a field, the recreational portion of the business is actually subsidizing the speedball portion. The owner uses some of the funds he makes from his recreational portion to help pay for the speedball portion, because the speedball portion is his passion. The fields you see removing their speedball fields are field owners who have come to the realization that they will make more money if they stop subsidizing the speedball fields. Putting in new recreational fields will further help attract more recreational players, so it's simply a business decision based on staying or becoming profitable.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:23 PM #3
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What kind of paintball being played depends alot on location. I don't think some people realize the whole world or country even does not have the same paintball demographic as you do. No offense anybody on here.

Some places or fields, towns speedball is all they play and some places they rarely inflate the air ball field (like here). It just depends on where your at, what is popular, and what kind of players you have.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:25 PM #4
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Paint for me at least has been the driving force moving me into the woods. I can make a case last through a day of woods play, a case on the speedball field is about half or quarter of that.

Also as I get older I find myself less and less excited to play with and against "kids" with bad attitudes and a drive to just win no matter what. Yes that is a generalization but it is what it is. I prefer to spend my limited disposable income on playing a game that I have fun with. Based on the OP's observations and my own, I don't appear to be the only one in that boat either.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:12 PM #5
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Speedball fields used to be fun, but this damn PSP field [my opinion] is extremely boring. Not only that, it is everywhere. I used to love diving over the snake somewhere in the middle of the field into the 40. I can't do that anymore, because the field does not reward aggression. When I watch paintball videos, the old school videos have more action than the 2012 videos. All I see is close up shots of people sitting on their ***** in 2012. I used to model my frontman style off of Rocky Cagoni.
Here.

These plays used to happen all the time. PSP just kills me with how it rewards people who keep their jersey clean the whole day. I can be more aggressive on most woodsball fields, than the PSP field. I have had the benefit of sitting out of paintball for four years, coming back, and seeing how much it had changed to a less aggressive, high ROF format.

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Old 11-09-2012, 04:43 PM #6
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I wouldn't be surprised if the continually growing popularity of 1st and 3rd person shooter video games have anything to do with it either. Seeing as how more of the bigger fields are designing urban assault type fields more like that which are seen in games like COD and the rest of those games. I see and hear it all the time. Online as well as at my job via co-workers.
Speedball is becoming more for those looking for organized tournament play. I rarely hear of people nowadays that play rec speedball. Its all tourny prep or tourny play.
Whether or not its a bad thing depends on what you like as a player. I came into the sport via woodsball. And while I play all styles I prefer those urban assault (scenario) fields most of all.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:04 PM #7
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I wouldn't be surprised if the continually growing popularity of 1st and 3rd person shooter video games have anything to do with it either.
Absolutely IMO. I tell parents (who tend to think of paintball in a negative manner) "Their gonna do the same thing on 'Call of Duty', at least paintball is less graphic and they actually get some exorcise!"

That changes the parent's entire outlook on the game, you can see it on their faces.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:28 PM #8
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the "decline of speedball" is directly tied to the decline of the economy. Paintball is, and has been for 15 years or so, a luxury sport. its expensive to start, expensive to play. It therefore stands to reason that with a tighter budget, it would be one of the first to go. Competitive speedball is going NOWHERE. The sport continues to grow and evolve, regardless of what the paintball anarchists on PBN say. Milsim is simply another style of play, and not a changing of the guard. you wont see high level milsim tourneys, and maybe only a few local ones....sorry to burst your little camo bubble.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:54 PM #9
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It may be on the decline but I believe it will be on the increase shortly. The reason I believe this is because of the recent exposure of paintball in TV, particularly children's shows like Disney channel. I have recently seen at least some aspects of paintball in at least 3 different shows in the past 2-3 months. When kids see this, you know the next thing they'll do -- ask parents if they could try it out (and maybe hound them about it).
When these kids go (hopefully have a good time at the rec fields) they'll be exposed to speedball as they are they see it in person. They'll see the super fast guns, flashy guns, fast paced action and they may be hooked.
Even if only 20% of these kids eventually make it into the speedball field or play regularly it should make a significant impact.
At the local field, almost each time I go there are at least 2-4 more private parties (namely birthday parties) that play recball and stand in awe as they watch speedball.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:48 PM #10
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Competitive speedball is going NOWHERE. The sport continues to grow and evolve, regardless of what the paintball anarchists on PBN say.
I agree, as I said it is too entrenched to ever go away. However, I do believe speedball has "stalled" and even lost ground in popularity. Back at the turn of the Millenium, I remember how Paintball only missed being an olympic sport by a few votes... Speedball had a chance to "make it big".

But after gettin out of the sport for a decade and coming back in, not only has it not grown in popularity significantly (never made those Olympics did we?)... But I don't see as many "speedball players" at the local fields as I did a decade ago.

Just an observation...

Quote:
Milsim is simply another style of play, and not a changing of the guard.
Exactly as I said, advanced woodsball/milsim is a different "avenue" for players to take... not a changing of the guard.

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you wont see high level milsim tourneys, and maybe only a few local ones....sorry to burst your little camo bubble.
Good, I wouldn't pay attention if they did lol. You're still missing the point.

It's not always about a trophy and a spread in a paintball magazine.

I still have my neon orange team jersey in my drawer, maybe someday I'll taker it out again... but not soon...

Sorry to burst your ridiculously colored bubble
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:27 PM #11
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I figure everything sort of fluctuates and finds it level. Personally, for me, I started in the woods and that is where I have the most fun. As long as that doesn't go away, I am happy. I figure there's lots of other folks who started off some other way, or just enjoy it some other way. I don't think any style is ever going to go away forever, it just might not be the central focus in the future.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:52 PM #12
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The problem is how they changed the sport to what it is today. They took any sort of aggression out if the sport by the bunker setup. Ramping plays a part in it as well by condoning a more camp and dump till you get an elim.

If they brought it back to the early 2000's setups that promoted making big moves and pushing heavy it would help. The high volume paint this in turn will be lowered because there would be more movement.

Although it'll take a huge decline first and a swing from players from the rec ballers. If you start at local fields saying lets bring it back to SD 05. Or come up with their own layouts. Pitch them to the field manager/owner they'll take your opinion into consideration if you frequent there.

When the big leagues say "hey these guys aren't really playing much on our format anymore...we should do what they're doing" it's not an overnight process, and the problem would be having fields that support the tourney ballers who are trying to practice for the next event on the setup there.

I would also say the egos that kids have and their piss poor attitudes help drive people away from the airball fields. Now I know it isn't everyone, or just airball. But these snobby teens thinking that they're the best thing since slices bread come out and down play everyone else's game, talk trash if someone ain't good. And if you eliminate them with skill, you're cheating some how or its a lucky bounce.

Some bonus ball, overshoot, and ramp regardless of the situation. In a game of rec ball there's no reason to be blasting off at 12.5 when semi works perfectly fine.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:53 PM #13
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10 years ago "airball" was still pretty fresh, now it's levelling out. Seems pretty simple to me, overall.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:56 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishNinja6 View Post
Milsim is simply another style of play, and not a changing of the guard. you wont see high level milsim tourneys, and maybe only a few local ones
What about UWL? They have multiple divisions, world-class pro players EVERYWHERE and are branching into Europe this coming season... or is that not your definition of MILSIM?
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:44 AM #15
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I enjoy recreational speedball. Hands down. I love getting out there on the airball field with my mech guns and showing up the guys with the latest electros. I really do. Other than that, it really holds no value for me. It's great to go out there and shoot two pods a game, but for me it's a lot more fun to play on an urban field, or say a couple acres of woods. I have many friends in competitive speedball and I can tell you, it's becoming more and more a contest of who can buy the newest and best gear as opposed to who can snap shoot the quickest and most accurately, or who can bunker the most players. It's become who can buy the newest gear.
There's my two cents. I still miss old-school paintball, even though I got in back in '07.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:52 AM #16
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The 10 man speedball format was probably terrible for tournaments, but more fun for recball.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:47 AM #17
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The first paintball tourneys were in the woods and there was actually a 15 man format back in the day' so to speak. The sport has evolved over the years and continues to do so.....
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:14 AM #18
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the "decline of speedball" is directly tied to the decline of the economy. ...
man.. listen to the field owners. Horizon nailed it.. and he sounds exactly like the dozens of field owners I've spoken with who expressed the same thing.. the ones who are still in business that is.

IMO: the business that focuses on safely entertaining 10 yr olds for a reasonable price has a chance today. This is just as true today as it was 20 years ago. I think too many people just lost focus during the ROF race - owners, refs and players alike.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:36 AM #19
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Quote:
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man.. listen to the field owners.

IMO: the business that focuses on safely entertaining 10 yr olds for a reasonable price has a chance today. This is just as true today as it was 20 years ago. I think too many people just lost focus during the ROF race - owners, refs and players alike.
im not sure what your counter argument here is, but I feel like you just made my economy driven point...so thanks?


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Sorry to burst your ridiculously colored bubble
Black on the airball field, Camo in real life. the kids can keep their crazy colors.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:50 AM #20
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I agree, as I said it is too entrenched to ever go away. However, I do believe speedball has "stalled" and even lost ground in popularity.
I think that's fair. For a while, I feel as though paintball was almost tied to a sort of pseudo counter-cultural movement, and that after that faded some interest was lost.

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Back at the turn of the Millenium, I remember how Paintball only missed being an olympic sport by a few votes
No, this is not true, not even in the slightest. It is impossible for paintball to be up for serious consideration as an Olympic sport with the way the sport is organized.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:38 AM #21
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Quote:
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First of all, I think there will always be a demand for competitive paintball.

From a field owner's perspective, there are several reasons fields have been getting out of the speedball business.

Most of the reasons, in my opinion, relate in one way or another to the ROF (measured in paintballs shot per second and paintballs shot per day).

First, there is only a fraction of the population that want to play paintball in an extremely intense format. Most people just want to have fun. When winning goes to the top of the list, above fun, the amount of potential participants drops significantly. I'm not saying that competitive paintball isn't fun, just that sometimes wanting or needing to win, overshadows the fun. Along with that come attitudes that will sometimes be fueled by something other than the desire to have fun. When playing a competitive game whose main objective is to shoot other people with projectiles that sometimes cause discomfort, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that not everyone is going to want to take part.

Second, competitive paintball, by it's nature gives advantages to players/teams who shoot more paintballs, all else being equal. Therefore to win, teams and players must commit themselves to shooting high volumes of paintball. If you can't keep up with the other teams in that regard, you will not have long term success. That means that players, unless they are independently wealthy, will spend as much as they can, or feel they can, to compete and to hopefully win. That also means that if you are a field that these teams compete and practice at, these players will spend a lot of money at your field. That's a good thing. However, it also means that you are dealing with a client base that is most often broke. Broke customers, out of necessity, will go to the fields that offer the best (cheapest) deals. You can't really blame them for that. But that means that if there are two or more fields competing for those customers, those fields will need to compete with vigor (read as: low profits).

So now you have a relatively small client base who are constantly shopping around for the lowest prices. From a business perspective, does that sound like an ideal business to be in?

Many of the fields that do still offer speedball, do so because the owner is or was a fanatic about the game himself. Most of them do it, partially out of charity. Most often they also have recreational fields as well where"regular" people can go play and have fun. We all know the rental business is the life blood for most fields. Often times, unknown to most of the speedball players at a field, the recreational portion of the business is actually subsidizing the speedball portion. The owner uses some of the funds he makes from his recreational portion to help pay for the speedball portion, because the speedball portion is his passion. The fields you see removing their speedball fields are field owners who have come to the realization that they will make more money if they stop subsidizing the speedball fields. Putting in new recreational fields will further help attract more recreational players, so it's simply a business decision based on staying or becoming profitable.
this is the best argument on this ive ever seen!

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What kind of paintball being played depends alot on location. I don't think some people realize the whole world or country even does not have the same paintball demographic as you do. No offense anybody on here.

Some places or fields, towns speedball is all they play and some places they rarely inflate the air ball field (like here). It just depends on where your at, what is popular, and what kind of players you have.
yeah in texas we had hyperball but no speedball and we had woodsball

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Paint for me at least has been the driving force moving me into the woods. I can make a case last through a day of woods play, a case on the speedball field is about half or quarter of that.

Also as I get older I find myself less and less excited to play with and against "kids" with bad attitudes and a drive to just win no matter what. Yes that is a generalization but it is what it is. I prefer to spend my limited disposable income on playing a game that I have fun with. Based on the OP's observations and my own, I don't appear to be the only one in that boat either.
yeah tryhard little kids suck

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I wouldn't be surprised if the continually growing popularity of 1st and 3rd person shooter video games have anything to do with it either. Seeing as how more of the bigger fields are designing urban assault type fields more like that which are seen in games like COD and the rest of those games. I see and hear it all the time. Online as well as at my job via co-workers.
Speedball is becoming more for those looking for organized tournament play. I rarely hear of people nowadays that play rec speedball. Its all tourny prep or tourny play.
Whether or not its a bad thing depends on what you like as a player. I came into the sport via woodsball. And while I play all styles I prefer those urban assault (scenario) fields most of all.
yeah speed ball is growing IMO and yeah everyone is wired to be competitive so they always wanna do the best

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Absolutely IMO. I tell parents (who tend to think of paintball in a negative manner) "Their gonna do the same thing on 'Call of Duty', at least paintball is less graphic and they actually get some exorcise!"

That changes the parent's entire outlook on the game, you can see it on their faces.
yup and goin out and runing around is alot better than sitting at home playing COD lol
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