Future of Mag-fed Scenarios

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2012 is drawing to a close and without any remaining scenarios on the calendar to prepare for this year, frankly, we’re bored.  So perhaps in the meantime we can get you thinking about various aspects of the game we all love so much.   Today’s thought:  the future of mag-fed scenarios.

With the rise of mag-fed markers over the last few years, there’s been a greater call for fields to start hosting mag-fed only scenarios.  The tactical element of a mag-fed event is something that appeals to a lot of paintballers.  Players with mag-fed markers are itching to try their skills in events that are fair and balanced to their style of play, but there’s a problem:  mag-fed events don’t pay the bills.  Most fields rely not on event fees to cover their expenses, but on the sale of paint.  With a mag-fed event, you’re just not going to move the volume of paint that you otherwise would during a normal scenario.  To complicate the matter, the majority of paintball players don’t own mag-fed markers at this time, so field owners are left with only a few, miserable options.  1:  Open the event to stock class and tac caps in addition to mag-fed.   Generally speaking, this is probably the safest option, though may undoubtedly upset some of the mag-fed purists and doesn’t really improve revenue that much, only attendance.  2: Partner with a company that can supply mag-fed rentals to players.  Unfortunately, this has the potential to increase the cost of the event to unacceptable levels in order to pay the company for their markers and puts the field owner at a risk of liability for the equipment.  3:  Make it a strict, mag-fed only event without outside support and hope for the best.  Obviously, attendance will be limited and it’s likely that the field won’t make enough money at the event to make future mag games worth their while.  4:  Flat out increase the field fee for the event.  Players are going to balk at this however, especially if they’re accustomed to attending events at a particular field under one price structure.

Personally, we love mag-fed events.  We tried our hand at partnering with Rap4 this past summer and running an  event in Ohio.  While it certainly wasn’t the highest attended game that we ran and .68 Cal wasn’t flying its staff to any tropical vacation islands afterwards with the proceeds, I think tactically, it was one of the most interesting.  It also ended up being an event that we received a tremendous amount of positive feedback on, so we feel that these games definitely have merit.  Unfortunately, as stated above, it’s a tough sell to a paintball field because there’s an understanding that they just aren’t going to make the amount of money that they typically would at an event.  Running a quality field is an expensive endeavor.  If paintball begins making a real push towards mag-fed and players that previously used 2 cases of paint at an event are now making it through a day with 500 rounds, where does that leave commercial fields for our sport?  How do they adapt to remain in business?

So what are your thoughts on mag-fed scenarios?   Is there a way for field owners to strike a balance between selling less paint and still turning a healthy profit at one of these events?  Or is it possible that an extreme rise in mag-fed markers will eventually be the downfall of a lot of commercial fields throughout the country?

10 Comments to “Future of Mag-fed Scenarios”

  1. By Shane, November 7, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    I would be interested! I will be shooting a Etha with a longbow mag which is 20 rds

  2. By Chris, November 7, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    As someone who enjoys spending $15 on a day playing paintball, the only real option I see for mag-fed only events is to bump up the admission cost, or up admission a little, and bump paint costs a bit. It’s not something I’d prefer, as a player, but makes the most sense.

    Looking at fields like cqb, they have a pretty high cost to play due to their unique field experience, yet they still seem to do a ton of business. I don’t think they require magfed markers but I don’t often see speedball guns in videos.

    So many fields run “scenario events” that are really are not much more than slightly more organized speedball-in-the-woods games with “objectives” tacked on to certain areas of the field. I think the key is generating an experience to the player, and that’s what you charge for.

  3. By Mark Fanslau, November 7, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    I attended your 11th Hour Event and enjoyed it immensely.

    I don’t know how you can make it commercially viable… however I’d be more than willing to pay more to play. My typical event before would cost me around 120-180$ for Paint and registration. If registration were 100$ and I bought a bag of paint, that would be more than acceptable to me.

  4. By evilelvis, November 7, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

    I think $90-100 entry fee and 500rds of HIGH QUALITY paint. Of course it will have to be better than speedball in the woods. Not necessary CQB type field but something tactical. As long as the event is ran good people will pay to play.

  5. By Doug Brown, November 7, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

    My response to fields who question how they make money on a mag-fed event is to counter with “How do you make money on an air-soft event?” I have yet to have anyone give a good answer to that as none of them sell airsoft BBs at the airsoft events they run.

    MagFed is merely another form of paintball. It is never going to replace walk ons as a field’s main source of income. What it can do, if promoted properly, is be just as big as any other segment of paintball. Will it be as profitable? No. Nothing is more profitable than a speedball field in a major metropolitan area with an endless supply of people willing to shoot an endless supply of paint. But as the industry has found out, that business model, as profitable as it might be, is not sustainable.

    MagFed is sustainable, with the added benefit that a small field does not have to separate them from walk ons with 200 round loaders. If someone is playing MagFed, they get the overshooting part. Its why they play MagFed.

  6. By D Team-PAIN, November 7, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

    Majority of players want to shoots ropes and are fine if that’s considered a lack of skill as judged by some. Limited paint and pump formats will always be a niche market. It will not make fields nearly as much money as players going through cases of paint. Let me pose a question. What’s more important regarding mag-fed games, the mil-sim factor or the atmosphere of playing with limited paint tactics? If it’s the former, then you are fighting an uphill battle where it will remain extremely difficult to put mag-fed only events together. Number of players interested and an even lower number of players willing to invest in a new set of gear will keep things small. If, it’s the latter, then you stand a much better chance of getting things of the ground. Limited paint games will attract more players. These aren’t just your walk-on masses, but players who respect the game and who are honorable. Game quality will be superb. Action will be “tactical”. Does it matter is someone is changing mags, reloading tac-caps or topping off their stick feeds? Does the paintball marker have to look like a real gun, or will you live if you see a pump in action? I’m willing to bet that players into this are willing to pay a little more for admission and perhaps drive a little further, because it offers them a high quality game, a great atmosphere and paint savings. Perhaps, it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I say, let mags, tac caps, 50rd grav hoppers, and stick feeds share the field and you’ll end up with good results.

  7. By Josh "Bulldog" Westhoven, November 14, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

    I’d happily pay triple the normal field fee – or more – to play mag-fed-only or even just limited paint, and since I’d be buying less paint I would expect to pay more per ball. Maybe the field can recoup some profits by selling 30-round hoppers, tac caps, and 10-round tubes to the walk-ons.

    I think that while mag-fed is growing, allowing tac caps, mini hoppers, and pump markers is a necessary concession to increase the number of targets on the field. It helps people try limited paint without having to buy a bunch of magfed gear up front, makes room for limited paint players who aren’t into the MilSim thing, and makes the events more profitable for the field and promoters so they’ll do more of them, which is the whole point. Once the events get overcrowded we can break mag-fed out into its own thing. ;)

  8. By Clarence, Owner, AC Tactical, November 27, 2012 @ 2:42 am

    Little late the party here, but I found this a compelling topic. I want to hand it to .68 Prod for doing 11th Hour. Everything I heard was all good. Seems that if you pulled the trigger on another event, you would have a good turnout. // I have had an interesting life. I talk a lot about my past in the tactical interdiction training community. However, to offer myself as an expert would be a huge disservice to those that truly are. I just happen to spend a good deal of time with them. I know my limitations. / Something else I do have background in is Event Productions and Promotions. I spent 12 years in the entertainment industry here in Southern California, throughout the late 80′s and 90′s. I even did 6 years as a radio personality. Here is my point, I see running a Mag-Fed Event the same as producing a concert, or more closely, a Festival. You offer something people want, bring all the elements together, and offer a price to pay the bills. (Hopefully you make a profit.) I truly believe in t

    • By Clarence, Owner, AC Tactical, November 27, 2012 @ 3:04 am

      (Continued after accidental SUBMIT)… I truly believe that Mag-Fed is ripe for an explosion, albeit, in regional locations such as California. But, I see a great deal of interest growing in the upper Midwest/Rust belt states (OH, PA, IN) plus Quebec. I speak constantly with mag-fed players from all over the US, and a few in Canada, on a regular basis. There is a kind of “hunger for more” out there, that is not being fulfilled. End War, as an example, is finally realizing true success after the first two events were “experiments” at best. #3 was an EVENT! And, for what it’s worth, END WAR 3 was successful because the Producer of the event (RAP4 this time) had total control (or nearly so) to achieve the goal of success. (Certain failures notwithstanding, it was a very well run event.) // I guess I don’t care if Mag-Fed ever achieves the numerical status of other paintball genres. What we want is the event. I would play once a month and travel 4-6 hours for a great weekend of MilSim, and really, that is what we want. If someone wants to come with Llimited-Ammo, or a Pump, no big deal; They want to play MilSim, that is what we do. Running with a Mag-Fed might just be more about the realism factor…but it shouldn’t keep the ot

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