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Baz JJ

Is Airsoft More Popular Than Paintball

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My perception is that there seem to be a lot of ex paintball sites and paintballers turned Airsofters.

 

Also, Airsoft seems to be gaining traction !

 

Is Airsoft starting to outshine Paintball ?

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nope.

 

 

..actually, I don't know.

 

I suppose I see more airsoft, but then again, I'm an airsofter. If you talk to people in general, they will know what paintball is. By the odd chance the person you're talking to would know about airsoft, it's usually the springer pistols they know about, not the actual sport.

 

There's quite a few shops around here selling airsoft stuff.. then again, it seems to me most paintball is rental.

 

 

But overall, I think paintball as a sport is still bigger than airsoft.

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Personally, ive known about paintball for donkeys years but only found out what airsoft was last year (whilst searching for a paintball site). I have yet to have a bash at airsoft but im 99% sure ill enjoy it more than paintball

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just a thought - there is a difference between paintball having a higher profile in the public eye due to past media and social coverage and it growing at a faster rate than Airsoft. Not necessarily the same thing. Also in terms of public awareness of anything, there is usually an inertia.

 

Many of my contacts has heard of Paintball and some have played it, once, usually on a stag do or birthday party. My gut feel with Airsoft is that generally speaking it attracts a more regular clientele.

 

These are all perceptions with no evidence to support them.

 

Im just interested in what others peoples experiences are ?

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At Dragon's Lair in Essex they were a Paintball site for almost 25 years before they started to see a big dip in regular customers and losing money (This story was in the Ai magazine a couple years back). Paintball does seem to be more of an event for those stag parties, work days etc and not to forget the tournament players/days.

 

They decided only a few years ago to switch their entire Paintball business into an Airsoft business and have absolutely flourished. Airsoft seems to have allowed them to push themselves a bit further with their site and game types (Also their immensely popular CoD days) than they could with Paintball and they have seen a huge number of returning customers at their site since changing to Airsoft.

 

I've heard stories of other sites doing the same switch from Paintball to Airsoft and not looking back, but I do believe it seems easier to promote Paintball to the masses than it does to promote Airsoft.

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paintball is not really something people do often as its expensive and not a hobby for most but airsoft is a hobby sport not a event sport so its hard to sell to parties

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The biggest obstacle that Airsoft has to overcome to appeal to the masses is the whole "simulation" aspect of things. Most outsiders looking through the magazine racks in WHSmiths seeing an airsoft magazine would instantly think "what a bunch of squaddie wannabes" and pass on by. I don't think it'll ever get as mainstream as paintball is (due its being linked with stag parties and y'know....fun). Which suits me fine to be honest. If all the paintball idiots started playing at my preferred sites I'd go find something even geekier to do. It's why I prefer Battlefield to CoD (or indeed Ghost Recon over BF).

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theres airsoft magazines???? man i have not been geeking out enough

 

 

You ARE kidding...aren't you? There's SOOOO much more geeking you should be doing!

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im genuinely not kidding. im clearly not geek enough. please teach me.

 

Dude, if you want me to bring you up to scratch on geekery you wouldn't have enough time to go airsofting.

 

But the main titles held by Smiths there's Airsoft International http://www.ai-mag.com/ which seems to have more gear reviews and then there's Airsoft Action http://www.airsoftactionmagazine.com/ which has a lot of site and event articles too. They both have their merits though which is why I tend to pick of both of them. Plus, y'know...geek.

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paintball turnover is massive compared to airsoft, like someone earlier in the thread said, paintball is an event - airsoft is a hobby.

 

Skirmish Exeter which is one of my local sites is a paintball business that does airsoft on the side a couple of weekends a month, the walk ons are always busy with 60 ish players but that's only once a fortnight. Their paintball numbers are so much larger, 60+ players a day, 5 days a week. Skirmish admittedly are a big operation that have been going for a very long time but I can't imagine that they're much off the norm for a commercial paintball enterprise.

 

With that in mind, while Airsoft is undoubtedly a growing hobby, there's a lot of growth required to even begin to challenge paintball for numbers/popularity.

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Paintball could/would have been huge in this country if not for a few greedy people...

 

The main line companies like skirmish, bedlam and delta force offer "great deals" to come for the ultimate experience blah blah blah, we have downed choppers, tanks, rifle style paintball guns blah blah blah...

 

Loads of people give it a shot only to find out that the sites use cheap, badly kept equipment, cheapest paintballs possible sold at a massive markup (I can get 3000 rounds of good quality paintballs for £30 delivered) & get fleeced from point one... They enjoyed themselves, but the damage to the wallet stops them from going again.

 

The sad thing is that the independant sites that do it for the love of the sport are constantly shouted over by these companies who only care about fleecing you for your money. Most of the independants work hard to make sure you have fun, use half decent equipment and make paintball an affordable activity that you can afford to do on a fairly regular basis.

 

I have been a paintballer for years (9 years) and an airsofter for only 2 years... The reason i enjoy airsoft is that i have more local sites and it is a bit cheaper.

 

If you wonder of paintball has a small following in the UK : http://www.northvsouth.com/ over 1800 players on the field on sunday, it is a hell of a weekend. They used to play airsoft over the same main gamezone on saturday, but stopped it due to lack of demand.

 

Anyhoo, rant over, it's safe to come out from behind the sofa :)

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There is a danger that Airsoft may go the same way if its gets too popular.

 

From some of the sites I talked to recently, I definitely got the impression that there are different categories of ownership.

 

Some of the sites I spoke to seem to treat it like a hobby and are incredibly cliquey and secretive/exclusive and some treat it like a business and are only interested in offering as little facilities as possible and getting as many regulars as they can to maximise the profit.

 

Its interesting to see which ones maintain active social media between games and which only pop up to tell you the next date.

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I would put Airsoft into the same kind of hobby/sport as 'Equipment activities' like Fishing, Mountainbiking Camping or Archery.

Lots of gear to aquire and modify.

Equaly you can take part with a bare minimum of stuff and have just as much fun.

In fact, I would say you can take part without leaving the house and setting foot in a wood, it's ideal for 'Gear Heads'

 

 

Airsoft doest need the level of 'honour' or honesty that Paintball dosn't as it is obvious when you are hit with a paint marker you don't need the level of 'immersion' or a game ethos.

 

I think for that reason Airsoft will remain out of the 'Mainstream'

 

Can you imagine 40 people on a Stag or Birthday or a Staff 'training day' calling 'Hit' and putting their hands up?

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Can you imagine 40 people on a Stag or Birthday or a Staff 'training day' calling 'Hit' and putting their hands up?

Funny you should say that, my local site regularly do private stag and birthday parties, apparently it all goes ok once people realise that if they cheat, so will everyone else!

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I can imagine for 'one off' well marhsalled events things can go swimmingly but if it was commercialised to the extent of Paintball I can see it not going so well.

Even at Paintball sites where the hits are obvious there are disputes and arguments.

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i almost got into a fight last time i played paintball. i shot a guy i the top of the head and he carried on playing. so i called a marshall to look at him but as i pointed at him he wiped it off and i went mental and started screaming at him for being a cheating cunt. my mates actually had to cool me down as such obvious cheating made me lose my shit

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Airsoft and paintball are extremely different, however there is always one constant; cheats. They should be banned no matter whether it's airsoft or paintball. In fact, my regular site bans any caught cheats for an entire year.

Completely discourages all forms of non-hit taking

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I think the balance is certainly shifting.

I play at Skirmish Airsoft more than anywhere else, which is actually "Skirmish Paintball" but the airsoft side of it. It's run by different people but there are often both types of game going on at the site on the same days, so you'll often walk past paintballers on the way to games etc.

The site owner once told me that back in paintball's heyday, about 10 or so years ago, he said they used to have over 800 people go through the site in one day. The most the airsoft side has ever brought in, after running every weekend for 2 years, is just shy of 90... On a free member's day.

One of the things that I always found odd about paintball once I'd started airsofting, is the fact that I've never seen anyone go paintballing who has their own kit before.

Ever.

Does paintball segregate their crowd and split up hires and own gunners or something? Why do they do that? I think the reason airsoft became a regular thing for me, but paintball never did, is because you're almost actively encouraged to buy your own equipment for airsoft, and it's self evident how to go about doing it.

Whenever I've been paintballing, there's been no one there with their own gun for me to ask about it, to find out where they got it, what they cost, or anything.

I've been meaning to go paintballing again for a while now, 'cos everyone you play against has only ever been about 5 times, and although I've only been about 5 times as well, I've been airsofting literally hundreds of times, so I bet I'd be pretty damn good against uber tactical noobs :lol:

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One of the things that I always found odd about paintball once I'd started airsofting, is the fact that I've never seen anyone go paintballing who has their own kit before.

 

Ever.

 

Does paintball segregate their crowd and split up hires and own gunners or something? Why do they do that? I think the reason airsoft became a regular thing for me, but paintball never did, is because you're almost actively encouraged to buy your own equipment for airsoft, and it's self evident how to go about doing it.

 

Whenever I've been paintballing, there's been no one there with their own gun for me to ask about it, to find out where they got it, what they cost, or anything.

 

I've been meaning to go paintballing again for a while now, 'cos everyone you play against has only ever been about 5 times, and although I've only been about 5 times as well, I've been airsofting literally hundreds of times, so I bet I'd be pretty damn good against uber tactical noobs :lol:

 

Well, as an ex-avid tourney paintballer, the issue is more that when paintballers want to step up a gear and move up a level, the only place to go is into tourney paintball which is in itself not only *at all* completely different to rec ball/woodsball, but goes out of its way to distance itself. The reasons for this seem to be a bit lost in the mists of time, but essentially, I think it was about making it more mainstream, more televisable, and less 'blokes dressing up'. Camo actually was banned at many Sup'air style events (though, as i the manner of these things, eventually came back in a 'look at me doing something so different I'm cool' type way.

 

This isn't a bad intro to what modern tourney paintball looks like. So I think that's why you don't get paintballers with their own gear at rec'balling events. I have done it - once. But it's not what I mean when I talk about paintballing, and the vast majority of paintballers with their own gear are the same (note that that may not be the case for paintballers on this site, in that they may not be the most representative sample). There's also an element of it being a bit like the Man U coach pulling up at your local 5 aside event on a Sunday. If it's really one sided, is it really that enjoyable? Maybe a little...

 

The interesting thing for me is as an ex-paintballer and new to airsoft, I'm really not interested in dressing up as a soldier at all. It's really not about military simulation for me - at least not in the normal sense, maybe a little in the Hollywood sense - but about running around a darkened building and having a blast. I wonder if I will be seen as being a bit weird in really preferring the concept of a two tone - perhaps not in the way they have to be for compliance, but in the CS:GO Arms Deal purple-gun-with-lightning-down-the-side way. And it seems to me since the bust out into the mainstream (well, sort of) of cosplay in the last few years, there's not only room for the milsim guys who effectively are doing a kind of cosplay, but also for people like me who come from a slightly different perspective.

 

That's the theory, anyway. Who knows..?

 

By the way, losing hits in paintball at the highest levels is every bit as much of a problem as non-walkers in airsoft. Football has never managed to get rid of diving, right..?

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Lots of text

I think you'll be fine, the hardcore 'immersion or nothing!!!' Airsofters are in the extreme minority and 90% of people who rock up to a walk on skirmish apply 'rule of cool' to their gear choices. For some this is dressing up as a soldier, for others it's agent 47 from hitman.

 

No one worth notice is going to look down on you for wanting a lightning bolt on your gun!

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Personally, I think Paintball is much more popular, because you see advertisements promoting paintball anywhere you go (I do anyway.)

 

 

One of the things that I always found odd about paintball once I'd started airsofting, is the fact that I've never seen anyone go paintballing who has their own kit before.

They do this to 'balance' things out, according to my brother who plays paintball a lot. He also says (at his local site) they have days where they allow people to bring their own kit.

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