Like almost all paintball blogs, I did a featured on Empire’s spoof paintball video that went viral, suggesting that 250 calibre paintballs were the future of the game. In case you missed it, check it out.
However this got me thinking about what paintball might actually be like in the next 10 or 20 years. Players have already seen a huge progression from paintball’s original form of plain old woodsball using actual farming paintball markers, to being a multi-million dollar industry with professional players, corporate sponsorship and continually more impressive scenario playing fields. So, if things keep developing at this rate, we’ve got a lot of fun to look forward with paintball in the future.
Obviously no one can tell what direction the game will progress in. In the States, many players seem to be switching over to the likes of airsoft, as apparently there are too many ‘boring’ paintball venues that are little more than a field or a disused tennis court. What?! Good thing we don’t have that problem over here. I imagine that the influence of online gaming and, to a lesser extent, movies will start to make more of a dent on how paintball is played and what scenario venues look like. Along with your action-packed Bond/Bourne style settings, I can see more and more games being designed around the kind of operations and terrain used in games like Call of Duty and Modern Warfare.
We’ve already seen some pretty cool new equipment come out, with markers improving all the time, but it’s the fringe engineers and enthusiasts who I think will create the biggest shockwaves in the paintball industry. Sure the robots that I’ve mentioned before won’t be on a paintball field anytime soon, but what’s to stop the likes of an automatic sentry marker being used? As long as it had a kill switch which was operated by a safety marshal, then I think it could be a fantastic addition – even if it just shot water or something?
Moving into more hi-tech terrain now, who’s up for some serious black ops gear? Forget your 50 calibre balls and instead employ some stealth and technology into the fold with the likes of digital night vision goggles. Paintball at night is certainly on the increase (especially here in the U.K. where daylight can sometimes be of a premium) so they make sense. Sure they might defeat the purpose, but how cool would that be?
Similarly, I’ve always liked the idea of playing paintball across a much larger field – as in acres and acres – where becomes much more like games of Man Hunt we used to play when we were kids. In this sort of situation something like a pocket GPS device would be useful. Whether they tell you exactly where you are, or where your enemy’s base is, they could add a whole new dimension to paintball – kind of like orienteering, but way more extreme! Of course, they’re still not made to withstand the power of a direct paintball hit though…
All-in-all I imagine that the future of paintball will slowly start to rely more and more on technology as gamers come to expect more choices and dynamics from their entertainment, as a result of online gaming etc. The basics of the game won’t change though, and that’s what will keep paintball fresh and exciting for at least another 35 years!